The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 13, 2019, 04:25 PM   #1
Nick_C_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 4,902
Used the last of my Unique. Not getting more.

Yesterday, I loaded 314 rounds of 357 range fodder. 158 X-treme (plated) SWC; under 7.0 grains of Unique (runs 1115 f/s 4"; and 1065 f/s 3"). That left me with about a Tablespoon of Unique remaining. I used it for an evening mini light show in my backyard.

That it. I'm out of Unique. Can't say it'll be missed. I first bought Unique when I first started loading. As a small point of historical amusement, when I first started loading (1984), I wasn't sure what powders to use, and the store where I was stocked almost entirely Hercules propellants. So I bought the "spectrum": Bullseye; Red Dot; Green Dot; Blue Dot; Unique; & Herco. So I tried them all. Getting off-topic, sorry. Point is, I had past experience with Unique. I believe I even bought more after the original purchase. But as my loading matured, Unique fell out of favor - as did everything that wasn't wide-open-throttle magnum propellants (by then, I learned of W296). Save for W231 for 45 ACP and 38 target shooters.

By the mid-90's, life was happening for me and I didn't do nearly as much loading/shooting. Come October 2012, my life slowed down enough to where I decided to get back into these hobbies (loading/shooting). I bought a few components to get some stock back up, but no intermediate burn rate powders (I had a little bit of HS-6). Then the horrific event of December '12 occurred that precipitated the great component shortage. I was caught flat footed. That, coupled with the fact that my shooting style changed and the big booming magnums weren't so much my thing any more. I needed intermediate powders. I got lucky enough to cross paths with Unique (twice, actually) and bought a total of 4#'s. At the time, this pleased me. I also got ahold of HS-6, AA#5, and Power Pistol. All of which I prefer over Unique.

So Unique sat in my inventory and collected dust. After the shortage, I resolved to pare down my powder inventory selection - I had 11 or 12 different powders. Unique easily made the cut list. So the last 18 months or so, anything that could be loaded with Unique, was. It's gone now.

I'd say "to make a long story short," but it's way too late for that So what is it about Unique that I don't like? Well, the biggie is that it meters slightly better than corn flakes. Per someone's advice here on TFL, I did learn the "double tap" method of dispensing with more consistency, but it still throws wonky and inconsistent at that. Getting the powder hopper set to a given charge weight is an exercise in frustration. That really won't be missed.

I also found it hard to make good ammo with it. Light bullets virtually guarantee huge Standard Deviations. Can't get it to do anything right in 38 Special. The only places where it seems to settle down into a good consistent running powder is with jacketed 230's pumped up to full-throttle in 45 ACP; midrange plated 158's in 357 magnum (as in above), and jacketed 158's loaded up good and firm (but if I'm gonna run a jacketed 158, I'm going full throttle with 2400). I can't tell you how much time I spent trying to get 125's (357) to settle down and run right. Velocities were good; but SD's were atrocious at any charge weight. I repeated my tests multiple times. I tried harder to get 125's to work than sanity permitted.

Power Pistol is my intermediate propellant of choice. All others are on the cut list. PP makes great high power ammo (save full magnum loads) in virtually every caliber; and still behaves well when you turn it down a little - unlike Unique; which gets sooty with unburnt flakes everywhere, etc.

I still have AA#5 and do plan on phasing it out. But I like it a heck of a lot more than Unique. I'm in no hurry to move it out of inventory; and will likely reserve it for 180gn plated 10mm basic range ammo - which is where it really shines with amazing consistency and accuracy. But I don't shoot 10mm much at all.

So good riddance to Unique. Thanks for listening. Feel free to comment on your experiences with it, and/or what you use instead as an intermediate burn rate powder.
__________________
Gun control laws benefit only criminals and politicians - but then, I repeat myself.
Life Member, National Rifle Association
Nick_C_S is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 04:35 PM   #2
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,141
I still have it, always was the go to for low power loads.

I have used HS-6 and kind of neutral, fine.

I guess I never got riled up about SDs for the pistol. Mostly used 2400 and 110, I still have good canisters of green and red (have to look).

I used to reload the 380 Kurtz, I can't imagine why I did that?

Have to look to see if I used it in 9mm.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 04:45 PM   #3
std7mag
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 23, 2013
Location: Central Taxylvania..
Posts: 2,660
I still use quite a bit of Unique.
200gr LSWC in the 45 ACP,
115,124 gr LRN in the 9mm,
125gr LSWC in 38 SPCL.

Trying to find a home for the 2lbs of Blue Dot. Don't own/load 40 S&W anymore.
__________________
This country was founded on two beliefs.
And I'm pretty sure pork rinds was one of them!
std7mag is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 05:33 PM   #4
joed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2014
Posts: 403
I too kicked Unique to the curb. It metered horribly thru my Dillon measure causing squibs. Even though it was improved it created a lot of smoke. Used it up and replaced it with Power Pistol. No more complaints. However, I would like to try Universal but just can't find it.
__________________
The 6 gun was once as common as the cellphone is today, and just as annoying when it went off in the theater.
joed is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 06:03 PM   #5
pete2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,029
I shot the last of my Unique in 9 mm with 125 gr cast bullets. It shot pretty good, as good as plated 124s with Titegroup. I had bought 8# of Unique to load 20 ga shotgun with. I've also used Unique to load .38 Special and .357 with. I found that even tho it doesn't meter right on the nut it's still accurate unless you load powder puff loads. I won't rule it out in the future but at present I'm gonna shoot some Power Pistol and CFE to see how they do.
Actually with Green Dot and Unique I can load 12 and 20 ga and 9, 38 .357 and .45. Can load all with Green Dot but it will drop velocity in the .357.
pete2 is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 06:17 PM   #6
Wishoot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 5, 2009
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 1,072
I don't think your experience is unique, but I still use it often. Regardless of how poorly it meters, it's my go-to for most of my revolver target loads.

I know there are better options, but it's something I'm very comfortable and familiar with.
Wishoot is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 07:12 PM   #7
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: Potatoes and Hops
Posts: 11,923
Some people love it. Some people hate it.

I still use it.
But... I haven't had to buy any in 10+ years. It lasts forever at the rate that I use it.
__________________
Don't even try it. It's even worse than the internet would lead you to believe.
FrankenMauser is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 07:41 PM   #8
LE-28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 24, 2012
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 670
I quit using it years ago when I went to Universal Clays. When I couldn't get it anymore I started using Power Pistol and later BE-86.
I always liked PP and I still keep some PP around. It works good in just about everything that Unique worked in except for the flash it makes.
BE-86 corrected that.
LE-28 is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 09:24 PM   #9
Road_Clam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 21, 2013
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,354
I have about 7# of Unique that was given to my by a good friend who gave up shooting IPSA back in the early 90's. Loaded about 1500 rounds of 9mm to date. I'm with the general consensus that while it's a versatile powder the fact it's a flake powder is it's downfall. I too notice inconsistent metering. I will continue to use but no way would I pay for Unique. I'm developing a new admiration for AA#5 for 9mm . My AA#5, and AA#9 both drop SOOOO smooth and consistent !
__________________
"To be old an wise you must have been young and stupid"
Road_Clam is online now  
Old January 13, 2019, 09:46 PM   #10
Nick_C_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Taxifornia
Posts: 4,902
Quote:
Some people love it. Some people hate it. (Unique)
I think I'm somewhere in between. I have never tried a propellant that I couldn't find at least ONE thing it does well. But I do find it amusing that Unique has a reputation for being versatile. I'm not sure how the term is defined, I suppose. I guess it does a lot of things "good enough." I mean, it'll burn and send a bullet downrange. But performance has got to be a lot better than that before I consider it correct or the application.

Take 230gn 45 ACP for instance: It runs good pushed hard with jacketed bullets. That's what it does best from my tests, in fact. But when you move to a plated bullet and try to turn down the charge to make a more mild range round, SD's open up. In fact, you can even hear the variance of report when shooting them; with partially spent powder flakes about, etc. To me, that's not versatile.

Of the intermediates that I have used - HS-6, AA#5, and Power Pistol, I would consider only HS-6 to be less versatile.
__________________
Gun control laws benefit only criminals and politicians - but then, I repeat myself.
Life Member, National Rifle Association
Nick_C_S is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:01 PM   #11
Carmady
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 26, 2013
Location: on the lam
Posts: 1,272
Quote:
...I do find it amusing that Unique has a reputation for being versatile. I'm not sure how the term is defined...
Jack of all trades - master of none
__________________
John Wayne called a revolver a pistol so it's a pistol, pilgrim.
Carmady is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:17 PM   #12
jaysouth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2001
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 751
I have been using Hod. Universal is place of Unique. It is a ball powder and meters much more accurately. Not a lot of data, so start low and work up keeping an eye on pressure.
jaysouth is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:18 PM   #13
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 743
I still use it without any accuracy problems in my Ruger GP-100. Unique for 125gr JHP in .38 Special and 2400 for the same bullet in .357.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:21 PM   #14
huntinaz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 21, 2010
Location: az
Posts: 1,298
I like it. Mostly load 45 Colt and 9mm with it. It has a big following with the 45 Colt crowd for good reason and it’s right up near the top for 9mm Performance I believe.
__________________
"When there’s lead in the air, there’s hope in the heart”- Hunter’s Proverb
"Feed me, or feed me to something. I just want to be part of the food chain." -Al Bundy
huntinaz is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:26 PM   #15
huntinaz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 21, 2010
Location: az
Posts: 1,298
Quote:
I have been using Hod. Universal is place of Unique. It is a ball powder and meters much more accurately.
It’s a flake powder too. Meters pretty good in my limited experience.

I have found that Unique is not the only powder that doesn’t meter that great and that it still shoots good anyhow.
__________________
"When there’s lead in the air, there’s hope in the heart”- Hunter’s Proverb
"Feed me, or feed me to something. I just want to be part of the food chain." -Al Bundy
huntinaz is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 10:49 PM   #16
FoghornLeghorn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 2011
Posts: 688
I use it for all my handgun calibers. It meters just fine in my Dillon Square Deal and has just about the right burn rate for my 9mm and 45 ACP loads.

I even like it for shotgun reloads. Plus, it's not as dirty as it used to be. You should have seen it back in the day. Cleanup was like I'd been shooting bullets made of coal.
__________________
"I say, boy, I say, you're doing a lot of choppin', but no chips are flyin'."
FoghornLeghorn is offline  
Old January 13, 2019, 11:04 PM   #17
Bimus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 15, 2018
Location: Farmington NM
Posts: 122
Dearing the last powder shortage Unique kept my 308 30-06 7mm08 shooting cast bullets . Fun and enjoyable loads it let us keep shooting and not using our regular powder .
Bimus is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 12:05 AM   #18
Charlie_98
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2011
Location: McKinney, TX
Posts: 1,039
I just bought another 8# can of it... I love it. I have a shrine to Unique in my reloading room, and burn the Eternal Flame to the gods of Powder (well, not really. At least the flame part.) I have loaded everything from the .380 to heavy 45 Colt loads with it, and, now .45-70. It is my go to powder for .45ACP and the 230grn bullet, and anything .41, .44, or .45 Colt. I loaded a lot of .38/.357 with it. I don't like it in 9mm... when the charge weights get below 5grn, with my Hornady measure, it starts to drop wonky, but I have no problems with it 5grn and up. It is a very forgiving powder when pushed; back in my younger days, I pushed both .41MAG and the .45's over the limits... and it never bit me.

Are there better powders? I suppose, if you wanted to get picky and find a specific powder for each and every cartridge and bullet combo, nothing that Unique can't handle, anyway. No, it's not W231 or W296, but it covers most of the middle ground between the two... and that's pretty... uh, Unique.
__________________
Dennis

Wherever you go, there you are...
Charlie_98 is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 01:38 AM   #19
mpowers
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2013
Posts: 5
I use it....heavy bullets in 38 special and 45acp
mpowers is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 06:52 AM   #20
zeke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 1999
Location: NW Wi
Posts: 990
Have found numerous very good to excellent loads with unique, and am getting to point of not wanting to keep trying other powders. The only low powered load that met my accuracy criteria was 5.5 gns unique under a 230 lrn in 45 acp. The rest are mostly vermin loads

380 full powered 90 grain jacketed
9mm full powered 115 and 125 jacketed
357 mid range 125 jhp jacketed
.40 full powered 150 gn plated and jacketed
44 special full powered 180 and 200 jhp
44 mag mid range 180 jhp
45 acp target 230 lead and 230 fmj hardball
zeke is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 07:34 AM   #21
MarkBailey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2019
Location: Deep South
Posts: 3
Unique has been my go to powder for .45 acp since 1980. It is perfect for 200 gr. SWC for me.
__________________
I think, therefore I am... Libertarian
MarkBailey is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 08:09 AM   #22
Brit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 29, 2005
Location: Orlando FL
Posts: 1,613
I had two Star machines that I used to load .45 and .38 Special for my classes in Toronto, back in the day. Then I bought Dupont 700X a shotgun powder.

The Star progressive reloading machines were born the same year that I was 1935, save you working it out, I am 83 YOA! With my Wife loading the primer tubes, 650 rounds per hour were easy to do.
I loaded countless thousands of .38spl projectiles, bought commercially.

I bought it in 12 lb metal kegs. Don't tell the Canadians, but it came home from Buffalo NYS, less Duty!

When I shot IPSC 5.2g pushed a 200g SWC cast lead bullet just fine, made the power factor. With my 4 bullets at a time, Hensly and Gibbs mold. Not sure on the cost now of 700X, but it might be worth a try.


When 9mm became the round of choice, I went to factory fresh rounds, W/sale.

Last edited by Brit; January 14, 2019 at 08:15 AM.
Brit is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 11:52 AM   #23
jetinteriorguy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2013
Posts: 1,054
I'm not a fan of Unique, I've found Green dot to be a much better powder in the same applications. For the same performance the GD just seems less snappy, meters better, and much cleaner. Just my limited experience, I've been using GD for over 30 years and it's a permanent powder in my collection.
jetinteriorguy is offline  
Old January 14, 2019, 12:05 PM   #24
dahermit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2006
Location: South Central Michigan...near
Posts: 5,687
I have found over the years (started handloading in 1963), that Unique was particularly useful for heavy cast lead bullets at moderate velocities. For many years that was my main area of interest...moderate loads in .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .45 Colt, .44 Special, and 230 grain cast round nose .45 ACP.

Nowadays however, I shoot mostly light weight cast lead bullets in .38 Spl., so not using so much Unique anymore.
dahermit is online now  
Old January 14, 2019, 12:21 PM   #25
mikld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Location: Southern Oregon!
Posts: 2,856
I guess I don't expect a powder to do everything perfectly. Yep, Unique doesn't meter as well as some powders in my 2 powder measures, but neither does some of the "log" powders I use. I don't have a quota and 99% of my time at the reloading bench is good, I don't mind "throwing short and trickling up", and sometimes when the stars line up just right the charge variations from my CH or my Lee powder measures are close enough for range ammo. If I load Unique on the light side, yep, it will burn "dirty", but "dirty" is subjective. Your "dirty" is prolly way different than my dirty (I don't wear my white shirt and white gloves when I shoot and every indoor range I used had a bathroom to wash up in. I have rags in my range bag to wipe off any excess soot. When I shoot at the local "range" I take water and paper towels along with the rags to wipe my hands. I have never had a gun, pistol or revolver malfunction from "dirty" Unique. Light loads of Unique under a cast/lubed bullet can leave more GSR on the gun or my hands than upper loads with jacketed bullets.). But one major pro is that I have loads for Unique in all my handgun handloads. I still have a little Unique left, but during one of the panics, I couldn't find any so I tried Universal. Worked good so I bought 8 lbs and still have some left.

Reloading is hugely personal choices. If whatever powder works for you and your guns, great, but that choice may not fit my wants/needs/lifestyle. But it is good to read other's opinions on their choices. It keeps me informed and I may find something I like "better"...
__________________
My Anchor is holding fast!
I've learned how to stand on my own two knees...
mikld is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12193 seconds with 10 queries