unique powder in my lyman55


February 5, 2012, 12:58 AM
I was looking for powder for 38 spl. and 357 mag,
I picked Unique, I think i had a brain cramp..
I can not get it to flow well in my lyman 55,Is it just the nature of the beast, or could i be doing something wrong,,I tried to get it to messure someting like 3 or 4 grs. I ended up just dumping powder in the pan, from the powder messure then pinching powder in the pan to get what I needed,, what a chore loading with this Unique powder,
I have some 296.and that metters very nice,I ended up using that for the rest of my 357s,,
Do any of you guys use unique powder, and hows that work for you
I only have one powder messurer,

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February 5, 2012, 01:38 AM
I stopped using Unique for that very reason over 20 years ago. I've got 6 different powder measures, and none of them will meter Unique worth a darn. It's like trying to meter corn flakes. Another powder that's even worse is IMR 800X.

Hope this helps.


Steve C
February 5, 2012, 01:59 AM
Make sure you follow all the directions in your manual. Lyman says to use only the top slide for light pistol loads, the other 2 slides need to be zero'd out. Reread the instructions on obtaining uniform charges and try to follow them.

Though a different measure, I get good repeatability (less than 0.1gr +/-) using Unique with my Hornady powder measure and the small charge pistol insert that should be used for anything less than 10 grains. The only exception is Trail Boss that is so bulky it takes up as much room as most powders at 3X the charge weight.

I would not use any charge of Unique less than 4.0grs with any bullet in the .38 spl. Generally I load 158gr bullets with 4.5grs of Unique for a standard velocity load and use 5.0 for a +P.

February 5, 2012, 05:54 AM
+1 for only using the top slide for light loads/flake powder. It will work better for me than any of my other measures. I still will always weigh my charge after throwing if it is close to max on any hard to use propellant for safety.

February 5, 2012, 08:42 AM
I use Unique in a few of my handgun cartridges, and I'm able to maintain a +-.1gr with the rotary chambered Lyman 55 by using the top slide only with small charges of Unique. The key with any measure is the motion of the operator, and the consistency of that motion. Lyman put a knocker on their measure for a reason, and when used in conjunction with a consistent motion of the charging handle, the Lyman will throw charges as well as any measure, regardless of cost. If all else fails, read the manual.


February 5, 2012, 09:41 AM
The best place for Unique is 20 ga shot shells.

February 5, 2012, 09:59 AM
Do any of you guys use unique powder, and hows that work for you
I only have one powder messurer,

I quit using Unique for that same reason. Since normal dispensing can give you a 10% swing in charge, NOT GOOD. Flake powders bridge so they fill the volume and are not compacted the same every time. Now on a SS press where the dispenser is not part of the press you can get them closer. For any thing under 12-15 gr you need the pistol rotor/cylinder and pistol piston. The trick with flake powder is to settle the powder the same every time. Years ago I use to do a double or triple tap at the top stroke to settle the powder before dispensing. Some attached small aquarium pumps to hopper to work as a vibrator to settle the powder, works pretty good. Once I used up my supply I never bought any more. I always buy ball powders when ever possible.

The stick tubular powders are hard to dispense too. But since you are working with heavier charges the error is way less. They normally cause the dispenser to hang/stick.

WW 231 has a similar burn rate of Unique and meter like the 296 being a ball powder.

2400 is another powder that's good for the 38/357 round.

hang fire
February 5, 2012, 09:59 AM
For the last 25 years, my Dillon Square Deal PM has thrown Unique loads very consistently as to weight.

February 5, 2012, 10:16 AM
I've never been able to get my Uniflo with the standard drum to meter Unique as close as I want. Always been meaning to get a small drum and try it, but never have gotten around to it.
It loves 2400 though and I use a lot of it.

February 5, 2012, 10:55 AM
My Redding #3 with the pistol micrometer and home-made baffle throws consistent charges of Unique.
For 38 Spl and light 357 Mag loads I've gone to W231 / HP38 since it works well in my 45ACP also.

February 5, 2012, 12:14 PM
I went down to my bench this morning,, I tried the top slide again,, Its a tad better, but I still have to use the scale for everyone, SO i put it away,, and went back the 296, Just to use it up. I only have a tiny bit left.I used that in my 44 Mag, and i sold off the 44 mag,,So i was looking for a way to use it up.
I also found my notes,( some place they shouldnt have been). I wrote in them,,
Unique wont meter well,,Damn I wished I would have found them before I bought this pound of powder,, Oh well.Im glad I found my notes,,Just wait untill the wife needs her under wear,Im sure she'll hear I dont wear them,, dont ask me,,LOL

thanks for the help.

February 5, 2012, 12:31 PM
I use 3 Lyman #55's, and I use Unique almost exclusively in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .44 Spl, and .45 Colt.

If your Lyman #55 isn't throwing Unique well, you are doing something wrong.

Maybe it need to be dissembled and cleaned?
Maybe the large steel slide isn't seating and shutting everything off except the small brass slide?
Maybe you aren't using the little hammer knocker?
Maybe you are not dumping the first 10 - 15 charges back in the can to get the powder in the hopper settled?
Maybe the measure is getting bumped around between charges witch packs powder in the reservoir differently.

I don't know what the problem is, but it will work if you figure out what you are doing or not doing.


February 5, 2012, 01:46 PM
I cleaned it out real well. I use the knocker on every pull.. Im only using the top slide. like i said its better,, but when your wanting a 4 gr, charge. and it dumps 6,,, See thats not going to end well in a 357 case,,I do pulll the handle at least 20 times and I put back the powder. and i make sure the hopper is filed.
I dont recall unique being as big flaked as the powder I had before.. Did they change the size,, What I had before must have been 20 or so years old.I just can't trust getting my scale to 4 gr, and think everyone will be right at 4. And scaling every charge is no fun,,,that gets old. I done that alot before.

February 5, 2012, 02:13 PM
I've use a 55 for about forever. Perhaps install a baffle/bridge. Not that I use, need one.

February 5, 2012, 02:13 PM
Unique was redone about 8-10 yrs ago, to a smaller flake. You should beable to get a lot closer than 2gr. At the worst case I was getting 0.2-0.3gr. Now if you have the rifle rotor in your dispenser that explains the big swing.

February 5, 2012, 07:27 PM
"... if you have the rifle rotor in your dispenser that explains the big swing. "

Lyman's #55 is an entirely different - and much more flexible - measure than what you're thinking of.

February 5, 2012, 08:34 PM
but when your wanting a 4 gr, charge. and it dumps 6,

If that's the case, then you are not doing something right. I drop 3gr on the button, loading my 32 S&W Long, and 2.5gr in my 32 ACP without a hitch. You need to check that you have the major drum slide and the middle slide completely closed. Visually check inside that they are exactly even.
The Lyman 55 is way better than you're showing.


February 5, 2012, 11:41 PM
yes the bottom and middle all closed all the way,, and the botom is locked in place,,and when i trun the handle,before i bring the handle up,I swing the knocker, and thats on every turn of the handle..
maybe tomrrow I'll try it again..So far this is the only powder thats givin me any heart burn,,
some of the powders I have used in this #55
imr 3031,win 296, 2400,4227 4198,H and imr,bullseye,4320,4350,4895,, 432,and so on,,Not one gives me trouble like the Unique,,

February 5, 2012, 11:45 PM
Whats the rifle rotor,(,Now if you have the rifle rotor ) my #55 is black,, and clear plastic tube,I'll check my paper work that came with my 55,,maybe that might shed some lite

February 6, 2012, 12:18 AM
The 55 only comes with one rotor. I am getting good accuracy---same as RC, I am also thinking you must be missing something IMHO. Try taking the rotor apart and cleaning it, that might be the problem.

February 6, 2012, 01:05 PM
Same reason I quit Unique too. Try Universal or Power Pistol and you'll be smiling. I had too many times where I'd get light charges with Unique. Also an extremely dirty powder too.

February 8, 2012, 10:00 AM
With my #55 I've found it works best when I make most of the adjustment with the larger slides and use the top slide for fine tuning. I figure when I use only the top slide I'm subjecting a bigger percentage of the thrown volume to the shearing action of the drum.

February 8, 2012, 10:13 AM
My old #55 measures Unique just fine. It meters Bullseye the best. I throw lots of 45 ACP loads with that measure.

February 8, 2012, 11:32 AM
My Redding #3 with the pistol micrometer and home-made baffle throws consistent charges of Unique.

+1. Zero problems.


February 8, 2012, 12:34 PM
My Lyman 55 does a pretty good job measuring Unique for my .45 ACP loads.

I have to throw about 15 loads back into the hopper to settle it down, but then it's pretty consistent.

I did add a baffle the last time I used it and I think it helped a little.

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