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Old March 5, 2013, 09:41 PM   #1
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Has any one tested older Unique againest a newer lot?

I just picked up a 15lb can of Unique and the closest I can tell is it was made in 1989 It has a Hercules label and was made in Wilmington Delaware.

I put a little from a new can that I have and put a lit match to it, and then did the same with the older can, it seemed to burn a little more intensely. I am about 100% sure I need to work up my load again, but with 15lbs and gobs of free led, that should not be a problem.
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Old March 6, 2013, 03:24 AM   #2
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I have been wondering that myself. Haven't found much in the way of data but here is a post that seems to indicate that the older Hercules Unique may be slightly less than the modern Alliant Unique. The opposite of what you were saying ? You may have to go back to the prior page to see what the poster is doing. The poster also indicates that he will be doing more testing to confirm his findings. I also remember he said something about the Alliant site reformulating Unique, which means it has changed.

Definitely do the load testing.
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Old March 6, 2013, 04:11 AM   #3
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I put a little from a new can that I have and put a lit match to it, and then did the same with the older can, it seemed to burn a little more intensely.
That really doesn't tell you anything except that both powders burn.

I'd load it with current data starting at the "start" load and working up as necessary. Stop as soon as you have acceptable accuracy or see a pressure sign such as sticking cases in a revolver.

Unless it has red dust or a funny smell I'd trust it.
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:00 AM   #4
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I have 1lb of unique and 1lb of bullseye that I bought back in the early 70's, they both still shoot the same as they did back then. I am thinking when I buy a new jug I will work up a load again just in case there is a difference between the old powder and the new powder.
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:43 AM   #5
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I had about 1/4# of 2400 left from the mid 80's that I loaded for .357s recently and they all went bang with no ill effects. It had been stored on a shelf in my den all that time, i.e. climate controled.
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:50 AM   #6
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I load most of my bullets on a progressive press (the older Dillon RL 1000) and load a thousand or better at a time.

A few years ago I had a lot of Unique (from the 70-80s) and ran out in the process of loading a bunch of 38s. So I finished up the batch with new unique.

I couldn't tell the difference, either i recoil, over a chronograph, or the target.

The only difference I could see was they change the outside of the can.
Kraig Stuart
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Old March 6, 2013, 10:00 AM   #7
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I think its been reformulated to burn cleaner, but all other characteristics are exactly the same as before
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Old March 6, 2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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I have been using Unigue since it was sold in square steel cans. The last can I bought was 1 year ago. Been using the same loads of Unique in both 9mm & 357 mag for many years. Unique is probably my all time favorite powder.

As far as accuracy, I have not noticed any difference between old & new.
Alliant says the newer stuff burns cleaner. If it does burn cleaner, I have not noticed any difference.
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Old March 6, 2013, 10:42 AM   #9
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I had a can of Unique from the 80s that I loaded up some .40 S&W, when I ran out I bought a can of "new" Unique. I worked up the load, but I didn't need to as I settled on the same load with the new stuff as the old stuff.
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Old March 6, 2013, 11:13 AM   #10
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I haven't done a direct comparison test but I do have a ~50yr old can of Unique that I used for case forming loads in 7mm-08. Compared to QuickLoad predictions, which are obviously based on the new stuff and are generally scary-accurate in bottleneck cartridges, the old stuff was considerably slower fps than expected.

That, and the gun looked like I dragged it through an ash bin.
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Old March 6, 2013, 12:19 PM   #11
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YES !!! In the ballistics lab. They were within five feet per second of each other and PSI levels were all but identical.
By the way, it was the same with the old and " new " ALLIANT 2400 propellent.
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Old March 6, 2013, 01:53 PM   #12
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As a reloader you should always use caution with powder.The maker and many others will say to check each lot of powder for they allow a +/- 10% change from lot to lot. ( new or old )

So I would just do a load test again starting from the low side and work up.
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Old March 6, 2013, 05:37 PM   #13
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I have (and still do) used Red Dot from the late 50's to today, and other than what I consider normal statistical lot to lot variations, I have not seen a major spread in velocities...

You are correct that any time you change lots or a component, work the load back up...
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