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Old January 16, 2019, 08:27 PM   #51
Nick_C_S
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Did some loading today for the first time since I originally started this thread. The powder used today was - coincidentally - AA#2. Wow, what a difference in metering characteristics. With ease, I set the charge weight right down to the gnat's eyebrow, and it never deviated even in the slightest.

Like night and day.
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Old January 16, 2019, 08:38 PM   #52
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A Unique situation if I may say so...

I've used Unique for many years starting when the cans were cardboard and still said "Hercules" on them. I still have an empty one or two of those Hercules cans along with some metal Winchester WSF cans too. They always start a conversation when someone visits. I moved to Universal some years ago and found the same performance and seemed to use a few less patches when cleaning my revolvers. My Uni-flow did struggle with Unique as others have said and seems smoother with Universal too.
I bought some CFE to try, so far it is a nice powder in my 9, still working up a few loads for the revolvers.
E.
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Old January 17, 2019, 07:38 AM   #53
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I've used a bunch of AA 7 in my .41 and .357 Mags. I originally bought it for my 10 mm before I sold it, but now that I have my .40 I'll probably use it for that, as well.

Universal is the powder I chose when I started loading for .45 Long Colt. I was looking at duplicating traditional loads, but not really jumping up in power, and Universal seemed to be the best option for that.
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Old January 17, 2019, 01:59 PM   #54
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I'm down to my last 1/4 can of Unique and won't buy it again. Win 231 will now be the powder I use for all my pistol calibers except .44 Mag. 231 works for everything so I'll be buying it in 8# kegs.
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Old January 17, 2019, 02:46 PM   #55
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Quote:
231 works for everything so I'll be buying it in 8# kegs.
I have an 8# canister of W231; along with several singles. Excellent stuff. I love it. But I do consider Unique to be an intermediate burner; where W231 falls in the fast category. So they're kind of apples n oranges in my book.

Power Pistol is my intermediate propellant of choice moving forward. I have a 4# canister of it; along with a couple 1# units.
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Old January 17, 2019, 04:23 PM   #56
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It's a shame that hazmat shipping rules make it extremely difficult/impossible for all of us to swap powders. It'd be fantastic if we could all meet up at the same show. I'd finally rid myself of a 3/4 pound of Unique, 1.5lbs of Blue Dot, 3/4 pound of IMR-800X and GOD knows how much damn Green Dot, all stuff I won't ever enjoy having or using.

That stuff will be in my estate.
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Old January 17, 2019, 05:57 PM   #57
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Sevens, you crack me up .

I'm glad I don't have any of those powders you mentioned. Especially the 800X.

Propellants I have phased out:
Bullseye
HS-6
TiteGroup
Unique
W296

Propellants I still intend to phase out:

Nitro 100 - almost two canisters (12oz each)
AA#2 - almost two canisters
AA#5 - about 1-1/2 canisters
AA#7 - about 1-1/2 canisters

Honorable mention: I recently bought a canister (9oz) of TrailBoss out of overwhelming curiosity. Neat stuff. But I'm not sure I have a use for it. I've only loaded 50 rounds of 38 Spl with it. I won't likely buy more. Also, I originally intended to keep N310 in my inventory - replacing Nitro 100 - but my shooting styles have changed to where I don't actually need any propellant in that burn rate range (super fast). I have almost two #'s of it.
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Old January 17, 2019, 08:31 PM   #58
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I've been locked into my handgun powder choices for years...

WW 231. This is my primary for virtually all of my loading, from .32-20 to .38 Special to light .357 and .41 Magnum loads. I've also burned a lot of it in 9mm and .45 ACP.

WW 296. This is my powder of choice for fullbore .357 and .41 Mag. loads.

Universal. The only cartridge I use this for right now is .45 Long Colt.

AA 7. I originally bought this for 10mm, but I've also used it in .357 and .41. I'm also likely to use it for loading .40 S&W.

Trail Boss. When this powder cam out, it was a dream come true for my .44 Special loads. I had been using 231 and was very unhappy with the results I was getting from such a small amount of powder in such a large case.

I've used it in .32-20 with mixed results, so I'll just stick with .44 Special.
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Old January 17, 2019, 09:01 PM   #59
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Quote:
AA 7. I originally bought this for 10mm
Me too. And it works great for it. Full-house (for me) 180 JHP's. I know I could probably move to AA#9 and eek out a few more fps; but I don't see the point. 180's roaring along at 1222 f/s (G29) and 1268 f/s (G20) is plenty fast for me. AA#5 is my go-to propellant for 180 plated range shooters. Runs really nice. In fact, my remaining quantities of AA's 5 & 7 will probably be saved for only loading 10mm Auto. What I have is probably a lifetime supply - considering how much (little) I shoot the 'Tens.

Quote:
Trail Boss. When this powder came out, it was a dream come true for my .44 Special loads.
I didn't even think of that. I bet TB would be a great choice for my Penn Bullet's 185 DEWC's. I'll give it a whirl this year. Also, I have 100gn DEWC's for 38 Special. TB would probably fit that bill well too.
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Old January 17, 2019, 10:07 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysouth
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.
Since when is Universal a ball powder? All the Universal I have is a flake powder.
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Old January 18, 2019, 07:52 AM   #61
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"Since when is Universal a ball powder? All the Universal I have is a flake powder."

Ball powder refers not to the shape of the powder granules, but the manufacturing process.

It was originally developed by Olin in the 1930s, and was first brought to market in the 1960s for handloaders.

The manufacturing process is faster than that for extruded powders like Unique.
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Old January 18, 2019, 10:06 AM   #62
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If anything meters worse than Unique, it’s Herco and Green Dot and Blue Dot. I’ve not messed with 800x yet. But I do have some, from back when it was made by DuPont.
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Old January 18, 2019, 10:27 AM   #63
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Quote:
Propellants I have phased out:
Bullseye
HS-6
TiteGroup
Unique
W296
I've been working through mine... I finally dusted off the last of my RedDot, working on the TiteGroup now. I have a can of H110, that I use for full-house .41 loads, but with IMR4227, it's likely once it's gone, it'll be gone forever. W231 is also another I have eliminated from the bench... I just really don't have a use for it.

Rifle powders are another story. I was down to something like 3 rifle powders... now I have 8. Gads...
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Old January 18, 2019, 07:56 PM   #64
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For me :

45ACP = WST (again my ex-IPSA buddy gave me an almost full 8# Keg for free)

10mm = AA#9 (a handloaders wet dream as far as metering)

9mm / 40 S&W I've moved past Unique, and now loving AA#5

357 mag = H110

44 mag (Desert Eagle) = 2400
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Old January 18, 2019, 08:14 PM   #65
300Whspr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
Ball powder refers not to the shape of the powder granules, but the manufacturing process.

It was originally developed by Olin in the 1930s, and was first brought to market in the 1960s for handloaders.

The manufacturing process is faster than that for extruded powders like Unique.
Do you have any documentation showing that Universal is maufactured by Olin's "ball powder" process?

Because, if it is manufactured by the ball process, it should look somewhat (or, exactly) like a ball powder.

But, all the "Clays" family of powders have the appearance and properties of an extruded flake powder, in my experience. I can find nothing that says they are "ball" powders.

Just curious where you got your information, I would be interested to see it.
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Old January 18, 2019, 08:52 PM   #66
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Quote:
If anything meters worse than Unique, it’s Herco and Green Dot
Well, my experience is quite different. While I run into problems once in awhile with Unique, Green Dot (or Red Dot or Blue Dot) has never presented a problem in my Hornady powder measure. In fact I use Green Dot as my goto load for .45 Colt and .357 now. Never have tried Herco ... yet. Every once in awhile I get the bug to do some load testing just for fun... So maybe down the road.


If 'Sevens' was near by, I'd pick up his Green Dot .

Quote:
it should look somewhat (or, exactly) like a ball powder.
Not necessarily. There is 'flattened ball powder' that somewhat resembles flake. I can't find a technical reference (haven't looked that hard) that comes right out and says what Universal is though...
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Old January 18, 2019, 09:14 PM   #67
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I’ve used Unique for decades. Bought some Universal and W231 in the last couple of years, and like them just fine. I use an old Lyman 55 for pistol ammo and when set up right, it throws Unique very well. I’ll keep using Unique.
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Old January 18, 2019, 10:09 PM   #68
300Whspr
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I haven't had any issues dropping any of the Alliant (Hercules) powders through my 2 Uniflow measures. I've got one with the large drum and one set up with the small.

My Uniflow measures drop most any powder that they don't have to "cut", ie. large extruded tubular powders, very consistently. It is all in the way you operate the measure, it's all about consistency of your technique. If your technique is consistent, .1gr variation should be the rule rather than the exception. Of course, ball powders are even better than that.

Now, I haven't tried 800X in either of my 2 Uniflows yet... but I do have some in the cabinet. I'm curious to see how those big donuts behave.
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Old January 18, 2019, 10:43 PM   #69
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I like the way Unique works in my .41 plinking loads, but not in warm loads & I really don't like how it meters.

I use W231 for .45 & am happy with it, but have bought some WSF to try in 9mm & .45, so when I'm out of Unique, I'll try some WSF for .41 plinkers.

I like 2400 for stiff loads in the .41 & had planned on using it in .357Mag as well, but I just loaded a bunch of .357Max with 4227 & depending on how it shoots, I may give it a try in the others.
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Old January 18, 2019, 11:15 PM   #70
Mike Irwin
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"Do you have any documentation showing that Universal is maufactured by Olin's "ball powder" process?"

At the moment, no. My original response was of more general terms than specifically about Universal. I should have been clearer.

I dashed off a quick e-mail to Hodgdon technical services this morning, though, and hopefully should have an answer next week.



"Because, if it is manufactured by the ball process, it should look somewhat (or, exactly) like a ball powder."

Not necessarily. Ball powders, especially handgun powders, are often flattened during the manufacturing process to alter the burning rate, giving them the appearance of an extruded flake powder.

WW 296 and WW 231 often appear to be extruded flake powders due to this flattening process.

Good example pictures can be seen here:

https://czfirearms.us/index.php?topic=62199.0

Enlarge the image on your monitor to see them more clearly.
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Old January 18, 2019, 11:17 PM   #71
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I should add that I have used a lot of Red Dot in the past for 12 gauge light target loads. I really like it in that application.

I tried it in my .38 Special many years ago and it was god awful filthy. So bad that I quit using it.

Which is sad, because the loads were exceptionally accurate.

For rifle powders I generally use only IMR 4064, but I've not loaded rifle rounds in probably close to 20 years.
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Old January 19, 2019, 12:29 AM   #72
300Whspr
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Mike, I don't know.

In the 35+ years I've been handloading, I've never had any difficulty discerning a ball powder from a flake powder. The two just do not look anything close to the same to my eyes. Maybe it's because I'm blessed with 20/15 vision... maybe it's just that I know what I'm looking for to tell the difference, I don't know. But to me it is easy to discern even a severely flattened ball powder like Win231 and WST from an extruded flake powder (take your pick of any...) Ball powders, after flattening, have irregular sizes and shapes of the individual granules, where extruded flake powders (which are really no different than extruded tubular powders except for the fact that the tubes are sometimes larger diameter and cut VERY short to make the flakes) are uniformly round at the edges, although there may be some rippling effect probably from the coating process that some of the powders receive.

I'm eager to hear what Hodgdon has to say. I haven't loaded any Universal in a few years, I may have to go back in my reloading room and take a look at what I have. But, I'm quite sure it is an extruded flake powder, with an unusual light tan color... I'm guessing that it does not have much graphite coating to give the usual dark color.

**EDIT**

I had to go down and look at my Universal, which was purchased in early 1997... the label is "Universal Clays", before Hodgdon shortened the name to "Universal". It is a dark gray powder... so I looked at my bottle of regular "Clays"... it is the lighter colored powder I was thinking of, although it is darker than I remembered... but, it is 1993 vintage (26 years old, DANG IT I'M GETTING OLD!!), so maybe it has darkened with age. But, it still smells good.

Anyway, I will be surprised to learn that Universal is a ball type powder... sure looks like a small grained flake to me. Maybe the newer vintage is... but my old stuff sure looks like a flake powder.f

Be sure to share what Hodgdon has to say, I'm definitely interested!

Last edited by 300Whspr; January 19, 2019 at 01:23 AM.
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Old January 19, 2019, 02:32 AM   #73
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"old man powder"

One writer termed Unique as an "old man powder". Only us old guys use it, and we use it for about everything. I have always used very limited pistol powder, usually, 2400, Unique, and Bullseye.
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Old January 19, 2019, 06:28 AM   #74
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I bought a pound of Unique, once, never again. They don't call it Flaming Dirt for nothing.
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Old January 19, 2019, 06:46 AM   #75
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I've used Unique since the 70's and have had no issues other than metering +/- a few tenths which has not been a deal breaker since I don't load to max. I will most likely continue to use it along with Power Pistol for most of my pistol loads. Unique may end up being my reserve for when the next shortage pops up since Power Pistol meters more consistently for me.
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