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Old January 19, 2019, 07:53 AM   #76
Mike Irwin
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I just stumbled across the National Center for Forensic Science's masater smokeless powder database...

Very interesting close up views of just about all of the smokeless powders that you can think of.

http://www.ilrc.ucf.edu/powders

I'm still searching for Universal. Not much organization in the list... Ah, the search button at the top of that page. It's not very intitutive, but you can search on a lot of different characteristics and parameters.
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Old January 19, 2019, 08:02 AM   #77
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OK, the database cites Universal's powder shape as "disk."

That may or may not be indicative, but in the close up view of Universal Clays (as they identify it) it shows vertical striations of the kind that are seen when an extruded powder is cut to length as it comes out of the extruding die.

So, it's looking strongly that Universal may be an extruded powder.
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Old January 19, 2019, 08:03 AM   #78
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"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."

An interesting point about 2400, Unique, Bullseye, Red Dot, Green Dot, etc., at least in the Hercules days...

They were all the EXACT same gunpowder formulation.

The differences in burning rates were controlled through size of the flake, thickness of the cut, and deterrent coatings.
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Old January 19, 2019, 08:15 AM   #79
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"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."

I have a circa 1920-1926 5" S&W M&P in .38 Special. I use Trail Boss with 158-gr. SWCs as my primary load for it simply because I don't want to stress the old girl.

4 grains of Trail Boss develops (per the Hodgdon loading site) right around 750-800 fps., or right in the ballpark of the original black powder .38 Special load.

It's a dream to shoot, with virtually no recoil.
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Old January 19, 2019, 09:02 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntinaz
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.
Don't bother. I bought 2# of 800X when I was first getting set up to load 10mm. What a NIGHTMARE powder to work with. Light flaky powder that meters horrible, and produces pretty significant extreme spreads for velocities. My remaining 1.99 lbs of 800X is now allocated for garden fertilizer !
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Old January 19, 2019, 11:08 AM   #81
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I’m one who swears by it instead of at it. When I get down to one #8 jug I get nervous and buy another. I load several handgun calibers and 12 & 20 ga shotshells. I have been experimenting with Trail Boss in 45colt, 41, and 327 with lead and having good results. Unique usage may go down if TB continues to show promise but it will never go away
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Old January 19, 2019, 11:20 AM   #82
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Mike, thank you for sharing that incredible link!!
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Old January 19, 2019, 02:21 PM   #83
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Quote:
I’m one who swears by it (Unique) instead of at it.
Well, it's been around since nearly the beginning of smokeless propellant, so it's safe to say somebody likes it.
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Old January 19, 2019, 02:33 PM   #84
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Before Al Gore invented the internet, gun magazines were the standard of disseminating info for the world of shooting, guns and certainly handloading. Perhaps one of the finest gun writers that ever lived and plied his trade was Skeeter Skelton and his writing influenced more than a generation of handloaders, and Skeeter was a big lover of Hercules Unique.

I bought a load old gun magazines running from the late 1960's through the mid-1980's in one fell swoop, I think I paid ten bucks and it FILLED it little red wagon (like a Radio Flyer) at the Coon Dog Nationals in Kenton, 1991 or maybe 1992. So while I wasn't a gun magazine reader when Skeeter was actively being published, I have read a large portion of what he's written in my old issues of Shooting Times.

I'm willing to bet that if you were a handloader in the 1960's or 70's, if you owned revolvers and you were American, you had Unique and you used Unique. You may very well have used more Unique than any other powder unless you were a bullseye or PPC shooter, in which case you burned more Bullseye.
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Old January 19, 2019, 04:45 PM   #85
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Believe a large part of my powder usage is for powders am familiar with, have worked up loads for and fit the purpose of my most used firearms. Undoubtedly there are better selections for other people, and new powders coming out that i will never even try. Not to mention all the older powders that have never tried.

But have also experienced having a cabinet full of various powders that have been tried, and not in regular use. Ain't likely to start down that road again, at least till i get rid of all the present stock or win the lottery.

My most used pistol powder is hp-38, but not the most versatile. Hp-38 is for lighter lead target loads in 38 special, 44 special, 45 acp and 45 LC. Also fills in for a full powered 115 grain jacketed target load in 9mm.

Last edited by zeke; January 19, 2019 at 11:43 PM.
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Old January 19, 2019, 05:08 PM   #86
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Quote:
But have also experienced having a cabinet full of various powders that have been tried, and not in regular use. Ain't likely to start down that road again, at least till i get rid of all the present stock or win the lottery.
I have that also but we certainly see the same thing from entirely different directions! While I do have a few that clearly I don't like (I mentioned them above), what I see when I notice my 25+ different powders is that basically NOTHING new to me can show up at my bench that I cannot at least get started with right away. Maybe I have to find bullets, but I may well have that covered too.

I think it's awfully nice that I can just get started right away and I don't have to shop for a powder when I take on a new round. (not that I do this as much these days, but still...)
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Old January 19, 2019, 05:52 PM   #87
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".I do find it amusing that Unique has a reputation for being versatile. I'm not sure how the term is defined..."

It's very simple. you can use it in handgun ammo from moderate target to close to full power magnum loads. You can use it in rifles for gallery loads and light target and plinking loads. Works great in cast bullet rifle loads. I've been using it since right around 1954/55 and never have had a problem in using it.
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Old January 19, 2019, 05:59 PM   #88
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Not to mention, it was a shotgun powder too. I still use it....accurate as ever. Did not know it was dirty until the new-fangled internet told me it was.....

Several years ago Handloader Magazine published an article.....don't remember which one of the "old established" authors wrote it.....but it was entitled "If I could only have two powders what would they be"

Thought it was interesting...... he chose IMR4895 and Unique.

Last edited by GWS; January 19, 2019 at 06:05 PM.
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Old January 20, 2019, 05:17 PM   #89
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Quote:
They don't call it Flaming Dirt for nothing.
Never heard that one... in 30 years of handloading.

Quote:
Several years ago Handloader Magazine published an article.....don't remember which one of the "old established" authors wrote it.....but it was entitled "If I could only have two powders what would they be"

Thought it was interesting...... he chose IMR4895 and Unique.
Those would be my 2 picks as well... I've always considered IMR4895 the 'Unique' of the rifle powders. That is not to say I haven't found better powders for some cartridges, obviously, but it's worked in everything I've tried it in.
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Old January 21, 2019, 03:20 PM   #90
Mike Irwin
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I heard back from a Hodgdon representative.

He confirmed that Universal is an extruded powder.
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