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Old June 28, 2020, 12:54 AM   #1
Gulfcowboy
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unique 38 special loads.

I recently posted a thread about loading 38 in trailboss, but a friend has given me a unopened can of unique. There is alot of load data for unique out there, I would like to get feedback from individuals that have loaded 38 in the past with it. I was thinking about using 4 or 4.2 grains of unique behind a 157 grain TC Outlaw Bullet. Let me know what you like, and what works for you. Thanks for any info given.
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Old June 28, 2020, 07:50 AM   #2
cdoc42
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I load a 125gr JHP in my .38 Special with 6.0-6.5gr of Unique without any problems. I gave this range because I used 6.5gr until I read more recent recipes which list 6.0gr as max.

A side note about Trail Boss. I find it very effective in my 1873 Thomas (Uberti) Colt .45 with a 255gr Keith-style cast SWC. But I was dismayed by the container only having 9-oz of powder at a cost of $16.86, which translates to $29.97 for 1 lb.
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Old June 28, 2020, 09:40 AM   #3
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It seems to be priced by the geometric mean of volume and weight. The square root of the square of 9 multiplied by the square of 16 (the weight of normal powder you could put in the same jar) is 144. Divide by 100 to get 1.44. Divide the price of Trail Boss per pound by that, and you have a good price for a normal pound of powder. Or, square 16 and divide by the square of 9 and take the square root of the result (1.777…) and multiply that by the price of Trail Boss to get the price per pound of Trail Boss.

Joking aside, it is the cleanest powder I ever ran, though; at least it is with heavy bullets.

Alliant's current data puts 4.7 grains as maximum for an LSWC at standard pressure and 5.2 grains for +P maximum. For 125 grains for a Gold Dot HP, it is 5.7 grains and 6.0 grains, for standard and +P maximums.

Everybody's old load data was developed in production guns while watching for pressure signs. As pressure measuring equipment has come to be considered important for liability reasons and the makers have either acquired their own test equipment or borrow it or contract the testing of their pressure sign-developed loads outside, many of those old loads have turned out to be higher in pressure than originally thought and have been adjusted down.

Additionally, the load manual authors have developed a practice of not letting the top load out of a test run of 10 shots run over the SAAMI MAP. This is why the pressures listed for maximum loads don't match. The powders that had more variation get a lower maximum pressure to keep the warmest load in a 10-shot average from running over SAAMI MAP. That has the advantage for a person choosing a powder to pick one that has a lower pressure variance than the rest by picking from among those with the highest maximum load pressures.

But the above is not how the MAP is designed to be used. It's supposed to be a limit for the average peak pressure for the ten shot test, not a limit for the single highest pressure shot out of the ten. But the load manual authors know not all the powders they list are the most appropriate for the cartridge and bullet and primer combination. They are listing some just so more shooters can use something they have on hand, even if it isn't optimal. The result is wider pressure variation in the less appropriate powders than the SAAMI standard allows, and they figure to give themselves some safety margin with the way that is done anyway.

A statistical shortcut:

Look up the MAP (CUP MAP or psi MAP, whichever unit the load data pressure is given in) for your cartridge in the appropriate SAAMI standard. Multiply it by 0.938 for cartridges listed in the centerfire rifle standard and by 0.923 for those in the centerfire pistol and revolver cartridge standard and by 0.885 for those in the shotshell standard. If the result is greater than the maximum pressure listed by the load data source, the chances are strong that particular powder cannot be loaded to the SAAMI standard average pressure method without seeomg pressure variation that exceeds SAAMI's pressure SD limit (4% for rifle and 5% for handgun cartridges and 7.5% for shotshells).
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Old June 28, 2020, 01:06 PM   #4
1MoreFord
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Like many others I started loading using Unique.

Loading .38spl plinking loads using lead bullets I found it to be absolutely Filthy. I'd need to take a shower after going shooting. The best piece of advice I ever got in a gun shop was to switch to W231.

I finished my stock of Unique loading 9mm where the added pressure of the loads cleaned it up fairly nicely.

YMMV
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Old June 28, 2020, 02:18 PM   #5
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You are planning to give the OP a free pound of 231, right? Otherwise, the switch will change his powder price.
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Old June 28, 2020, 11:06 PM   #6
cdoc42
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Unclenick: my forte for math is as far down the line of skills as one can get. So, do I understand your statement to be correct?

"Divide by 100 to get 1.44. Divide the price of Trail Boss by that, and you have a good price for a normal pound of powder."

My price of Trail Boss was $16.86. Divided by 1.44 = $11.71 I can't recall when I paid that for any pound of powder -maybe in the 70's. Although I will admit it IS a good price.
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Old June 29, 2020, 09:31 AM   #7
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I wasn't clear, so I fixed it. What I meant to describe was making an apples-to-apples comparison by dividing the price per pound of Trail Boss by 1.44 so you are comparing the price per pound of Trail Boss to the price per pound of the regular powder. 16×$16.86/9=$29.97 which is the price per pound of Trail Boss. And then $29.97/1.44=$20.81. You do still see some powders in the $20/lb price range (Shooter's World powders at Midsouth, for example), though you find a few that are cheaper (see Tightgroup at Midsouth) and some that are close to that $30/lb price point (see H4350 at Midsouth).

Do bear in mind that the whole paragraph on pricing math was tongue-in-cheek. It's a little like numerology, where one looks for numerical correlations and, finding them, chooses to assume they are linked or causitive when, in reality, they are coincidences.
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Old June 30, 2020, 07:12 AM   #8
cdoc42
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" It's a little like numerology, where one looks for numerical correlations and, finding them, chooses to assume they are linked or causitive when, in reality, they are coincidences."

As an aside, that seems to explain what has been happening in the medical literature. The desire to pursue evidence as a basis for diagnosis and treatment more often than not produces associations (links), which is certainly not evidence of causation.
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Old June 30, 2020, 07:32 AM   #9
ghbucky
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Quote:
But the load manual authors know not all the powders they list are the most appropriate for the cartridge and bullet and primer combination. They are listing some just so more shooters can use something they have on hand, even if it isn't optimal.
I was pretty surprised when I looked up .223 rifle load data and found Clays in there! I mean... wow.
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Old July 5, 2020, 07:30 PM   #10
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Running 4-4.2gr Unique behind 158gr LSWC bullets here. Like others have mentioned it does run a little dirty.
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