Ball Powder Replacement for Unique?


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spencerhut
July 16, 2007, 11:50 AM
My current powder of choice for light lead loads in 9mm, .38 Super, 40S&W and .45ACP is Unique. Here again I'd like to know if there is an equivalent ball powder to make loading in my progressive powder measure more precise. Right now I'm getting up to a .3g variation with Unique. Power Pistol and HS6 are usually dead on whatever I set the measure to.

I am using a RCBS Pro2000 if it matters.

What BALL powder would you replace Unique with?

The lead bullets I use with Unique:
9mm 120g Lead
.38 120g Lead
.40 170g Lead
.45 200g Lead

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steve4102
July 16, 2007, 12:35 PM
Zip, Silhouette, True Blue

byf43
July 16, 2007, 12:41 PM
What BALL powder would you replace Unique with?

The lead bullets I use with Unique:
9mm 120g Lead
.38 120g Lead
.40 170g Lead
.45 200g Lead



.38 and .40. . . I have NO idea!


.45 200g LSWC, I use with GREAT results:


5.7 gr. of Winchester 231.
Incredible accuracy from my Gold Cup NM out to 50+ yds.

908 fps. from my pistol.

IHTH.

specwar451
July 16, 2007, 12:43 PM
Winchester 231, any of the Accurate pistol powders

spencerhut
July 16, 2007, 01:26 PM
Funny, this is the direction I was heading in.

Okay, couple of votes for 231

Which AA / Ramshot would be the closest equivalent to Unique?

Is this just a preference thing or is one really better than the other?

Jim Watson
July 16, 2007, 01:49 PM
I have loaded all manner of .38, 9mm, and .45 with Win 231 (and HP38 off the same production line.) I don't own a .40, but moderate loads with cast bullets should do as well.

AA #5 has been promoted as the Ball process equivalent of Unique. It has also been said to have blown up more Glock .40s than any other powder.

Were it me, I'd load .45 with 231 and get some WSF for the other, higher pressure, calibers. This one powder for all guns dodge sounds convenient but gives up some flexibility.

jfh
July 16, 2007, 02:12 PM
I was using 231 exactly as Jim Watson describes.

I'll look for some of those .40 loads and see what the recipe was.

Jim--if you look at the Handloads.com / handguns forums or the S&W reloading forum, you'll see I have a topic running on using 231 (and titegroup)in .38 / .357 loads with light bullets for a practice ammo in my 640 / 340 j-frames.

Any observations you can add would be fine--I've found little data for cast bullets at 110gr in either cartridge, specifically with 231. (I have lots on hand from my 1911 production days.)

Jim H.

spencerhut
July 16, 2007, 02:22 PM
Where does this statement come from? Is the powder really to blame? :confused: Why would AA#5 be any more or less likely to grenade a pistol?

fecmech
July 16, 2007, 02:25 PM
What BALL powder would you replace Unique with?

WSF

cherryriver
July 16, 2007, 02:37 PM
I like WSF a lot; it's given me the most consistent velocities I've ever had, used in 147gr 9mm loads. But Winchester's not giving any data for .38 and .357 that I can see, so I'm not sure it'd be good for that.
Since I'm still searching for the perfect full-power 158gr .38 load powder, if WSF could be used, I'd sure try it.
Meanwhile, VV320 has done great for .38 like that, high velocities and exceptionally clean in the gun. .357 doesn't care for it, though, with fast-rising pressures that are hard to keep track of.
WSF seems to be more for small-capacity cases, just looking at the available data tables.
Bill

Jim Watson
July 16, 2007, 02:44 PM
Where does this statement come from? Is the powder really to blame? Why would AA#5 be any more or less likely to grenade a pistol?

Hey, man, I got it off the internet. Doesn't that make it right?

And if you read the AA and Laser Cast manuals they will scare you to death about "unsupported" .40 chambers which everybody knows means Glocks.

rdhood
July 16, 2007, 02:45 PM
I've been using 4.3gr of W231 for my .40 S&W with Ranier/Berry plated 180gr RNFP bullets in a 5" barrel. With W231, I think the range is 4.2gr to 5.x? gr. You can also google "IPSC .40 S&W" to get various recipes that others have used. I believe that W231 (&HP38) will work for all of OP's calibers.

spencerhut
July 16, 2007, 02:46 PM
Where does this statement come from? Is the powder really to blame? :confused: Why would AA#5 be any more or less likely to grenade a pistol?

strat81
July 16, 2007, 03:28 PM
Titegroup.

SlamFire1
July 16, 2007, 04:28 PM
I gave AA#5 a try in 45LC and it shot great. Should work equally as well in a 45 ACP. Accurate Arms use to recommend it for the 45 ACP. It is a ball powder. Unlike 231. I thought titegroup was a flake powder.

You will find that .3 grain variation in throwing pistol loads to be inconsequential on target. Unless you are loading maximum loads, which a case, primer, or bullet change will blow a primer. And that is why I don't like maximum loads.

Sistema1927
July 16, 2007, 04:45 PM
W231/HP38

Same powder under different labels, buy whichever is cheaper at your favorite toy store.

the pistolero
July 16, 2007, 11:29 PM
any of the Accurate pistol powders
Those with more knowledge and experience please feel free to correct me if I am wrong here, but I would think Accurate No. 9 would produce pressures a bit too high for .45acp, no? No. 5 and No. 7 should be pretty good, from what I can tell.

Walkalong
July 17, 2007, 08:23 AM
I gave AA#5 a try in 45LC and it shot great. Should work equally as well in a 45 ACP. Accurate Arms use to recommend it for the 45 ACP.

It does shoot great in the .45


but I would think Accurate No. 9 would produce pressures a bit too high for .45acp, no?

#9 is to slow for the .45. Accurate does not even show loads with it.

I like WSF a lot; it's given me the most consistent velocities I've ever had, used in 147gr 9mm loads

I just tried some WSF in the 9MM with 115 Gr. bullets and it is great stuff for that. As good or better than #5 that I was using. I have not tried it in the .45 yet, but it should do very well.

redneck2
July 17, 2007, 08:55 AM
Those with more knowledge and experience please feel free to correct me if I am wrong here, but I would think Accurate No. 9 would produce pressures a bit too high for .45acp, no?

AA#2 is the fastest, #9 is a LOT slower. This would be a good place to refer to a burn rate chart. Hodgden has a pretty good one at their site. There's also one at Benchrest Central or Centerfire Central.

trueblue1776
July 17, 2007, 09:02 AM
Gold Bond Medicated is an excellent ball powder.

tbtrout
July 17, 2007, 09:11 AM
Win 231

nitesite
July 17, 2007, 10:19 AM
I gave AA#5 a try in 45LC and it shot great. Should work equally as well in a 45 ACP. Accurate Arms use to recommend it for the 45 ACP. It is a ball powder.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y141/nitesite9/AA5.jpg

I thought titegroup was a flake powder.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y141/nitesite9/Titegroup.jpg

You're correct on both counts! :)

CMcDermott
July 17, 2007, 10:34 AM
Unique burns well in a wide range of pressures (8,000 psi shotgun loads to 35,000 psi loads for 9mm, 40 S&W and magnum cartridges), no ball powder has this capability. W231/HP38 comes closest and you will be able to find loads for all of the cartridge/bullets that you listed but you may give up some performance.

Jim Watson
July 17, 2007, 10:36 AM
I thought titegroup was a flake powder.

You're correct on both counts!

Actually not.
Win 231 and Titegroup are Ball powders. They have just been rolled flat to change the geometry and get the burning rate wanted. But the manufacturing process is Olin-Winchester Ball Powder.

nitesite
July 17, 2007, 10:41 AM
Thank you for the correction, Jim.

SlamFire1
July 17, 2007, 11:14 AM
Win 231 and Titegroup are Ball powders. They have just been rolled flat to change the geometry and get the burning rate wanted. But the manufacturing process is Olin-Winchester Ball Powder.

News to me. But if it ain't round any more, is it still a "ball" powder?

Ball powders metering consistency is in the 0.1 grain range, at least for me. Flake powders around 0.3, and stick, well 0.5 to 1.0. I have used W231, have about 3 pounds left to reload, the stuff looks really flakey to me, but I don't remember the metering consistency.

Jim Watson
July 17, 2007, 12:28 PM
Thing is, Ball Powder is defined by the manufacturing process, not the shape of the granules. There are a lot of flattened Ball process powders out there.

W231 measures very precisely. Even though rolled, the granules are smooth and rounded.

strat81
July 17, 2007, 05:58 PM
Hodgdon's website lists Titegroup as "spherical", hence my mention of it. It meters very consistently out of my Pro Auto Disk. YMMV.

CZ57
July 17, 2007, 09:10 PM
True Blue. No doubt about it!;)

Grump
July 17, 2007, 11:48 PM
For light loads, WW231

For heavy loads, Power Pistol

For both, look at the target and the velocities closer than the powder scale. If you're .3 in total range, or even +/- .3 for a spread of .6, AND the velocities are within 50 fps ES and groups are as tight as quality factory ammo, what's to complain about?

Some might still be "cleaner", but even the so-called cleanest powder still leaves you with a dirty gun.:neener:

spencerhut
July 18, 2007, 09:58 AM
Our silhouette and true Blue are very close. Silhouette being slightly faster burning and is actually the Winchester WAP powder. Both these will work well for IPSC type calibers and loads. ZIP will be ideal for the low pressure 45ACP type loads.

Regards
Johan Loubser
Ballistician
Western/Accurate Powders

Grump
July 18, 2007, 06:07 PM
From what spencerhut posted, I'd join his suggestion of Silhouette. As WAP, it metered great for me, flashed a LOT less than Power Pistol, and came sorta close enough for max velocity with 125-grain bullets in .357 Mag to suffice....so long as you're NOT after 1400 FPS from a 4-inch revolver. I just couldn't get it there without ugly primers. You can get real close to top velocities using WAP/Silhouette in 9mm, .40 & .45 ACP, though, and it works fine at less than full throttle, too.

Grump
July 18, 2007, 06:20 PM
AA #5 has been promoted as the Ball process equivalent of Unique. It has also been said to have blown up more Glock .40s than any other powder.

Citation?

Try this: http://www.thegunzone.com/glock/tapioca.html#nb8

Note: in all fairness, correlation does not equal causation, and being "associated with" blow-ups of both Glocks and at least 1 H&K .40 is not conclusive. I would suggest checking with Clark Magnuson and his destructive testing events to see whether he's used any version(s) of AA #5, and whether cases failed at a lower threshold of overcharge than other powders.

CZ57
July 18, 2007, 08:57 PM
Johan Loubser once told me that True Blue is a variant of Vectan SP-2 (around AA#7 in burn rate) and closer to their estimation of where it ranks on their burn rate chart, so don't accept his oppinion as gospel just yet. The placement on their burn rate chart is incorrect. I should have known better because Vectan powders come from France and True Blue is manufactured in Belgium. He has also told me that TB's burn rate is slightly faster than AA#5. I don't think he's figured it out yet. I've been using True Blue longer than he has and he was part of the package when Western Powder Co. (parent co. of Ramshot) bought Accurate. Silhouette is an outstanding powder. Particularly for 9mm and .40 S&W, but for all the calibers mentioned by the threadstarter, True Blue is more flexible, and more flexible than #5 in my oppinion, especially in the .40 S&W. Considering the topic of a ball powder replacement for Unique, forgetaboutit, True Blue is better and becuase it is a ball powder with a high bulk density and being fine grained, it will meter like sand.;)

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