Unique powder question...


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cowtownup
June 5, 2013, 10:11 PM
I picked up a pound of UNIQUE last week and when I tried to setup today with my Hornady powder measure, I couldn't get consistent drops.. Typically I can get it to drop within a tenth every time with LONGSHOT or POWER PISTOL, but with UNIQUE I had up to .5 grain variation. Is this typical for this powder?

Also, I load in my garage and although its usually cool and dry in there, I am wondering how humidity is going to affect things through the summer. Thanks for your help in advance...

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kevinakaq
June 5, 2013, 10:21 PM
unique is known for its difficulty as it is a flake type...are you using the lnl powder measure or auto etc? If using the lnl measure i suggest the handgun metering assembly to help meter small loads.

Hope this helps.

Kevin

ArchAngelCD
June 5, 2013, 10:25 PM
It's not you, it's the Unique. That powder is notorious for inconsistent drops and it's on the dirty side too. Remember, that powder was developed long before powder measures were common and most reloaders where using dippers. This is one of the many reasons I do not use Unique. Ball powders meter like water, Unique and most of the other large flake powders meter like corn flakes.

MovedWest
June 5, 2013, 10:29 PM
Unique has a bit of a reputation for metering headaches. How bad depends on your powder measure. The best way I've found to dispense it is weigh every charge. YMMV.

-MW

rcmodel
June 5, 2013, 10:35 PM
The best way I have found is to use a Lyman #55 powder measure with the little trip-hammer thingny.

It was made for old flake powders like Unique.

I use more Unique powder in all handgun calibers then all others combined.

But I have 2 or 3 Lyman #55 powder measures set up all the time too.

rc

Hondo 60
June 5, 2013, 11:35 PM
I won't be buying any more Unique.
What a pain!
I have to weigh EVERY charge, because it's so inconsistent.

Constrictor
June 5, 2013, 11:44 PM
I love unique.
I have found the metering all depends on the powder measure your using,
It's funny I've used it in a dillon for decades without any metering issues whatsoever. Well recently I loaded some 9mm single stage with a Lyman powder thrower and had huge issues with the metering. I think it has to do with the shape and the charge bar inside. The narrower the gap the worst problems you will have. If the charge bar diameter is smaller then the gap is bigger and no problems metering. Of course the dillon measure is not a rotating one but a strait flat bar and has zero issues metering small amounts of flake powder perfectly.

rcmodel
June 5, 2013, 11:56 PM
I think it has to do with the shape and the charge bar inside. The narrower the gap the worst problems you will have.The Lyman measure has three adjustable charge bars in place all the time.

Read the directions to find out how to best use each one.

For normal loads of Unique?
Don't use the large one, or the smallest one.

The middle brass slide will be about 40/60 wide & deep when used with most Unique powder charges.

Then trip the trip hammer every throw to settle the powder each throw.

It's way easier then it sounds!!

rc

flipajig
June 5, 2013, 11:56 PM
I've used a RCBS Uniflow with the small powder drum and the micro adjust its prity concistant.
Flip

KansasSasquatch
June 5, 2013, 11:56 PM
Yeah, Unique is crap. You should never buy it again.







:evil:

Schwing
June 6, 2013, 12:19 AM
I hate to go against most of the folks here but I use unique all of the time. I use a lee disk powder measure and never have much variation in loads. It is my favorite powder to use in light plinker loads like my .38s and even in .45s.

I would also point out that unique was re-formulated a few years back and is not nearly as dirty as it used to be. I would consider it one of the cleaner powders out there. It is also REALLY easy to find load data on it for just about every cartridge out there.

Everyone seems to have their druthers though. For me, I have been relegated to using unique and blue dot for almost everything since it is all I have been able to get my hands on for a long time. I even ordered 8 lbs of hi skor 800x simply because it was in stock.... Ive never used it and hear a lot of bad about it but at least I will have something to use.

KansasSasquatch
June 6, 2013, 12:31 AM
I hate to go against most of the folks here but I use unique all of the time. I use a lee disk powder measure and never have much variation in loads. It is my favorite powder to use in light plinker loads like my .38s and even in .45s.

I would also point out that unique was re-formulated a few years back and is not nearly as dirty as it used to be. I would consider it one of the cleaner powders out there. It is also REALLY easy to find load data on it for just about every cartridge out there.

Everyone seems to have their druthers though. For me, I have been relegated to using unique and blue dot for almost everything since it is all I have been able to get my hands on for a long time. I even ordered 8 lbs of hi skor 800x simply because it was in stock.... Ive never used it and hear a lot of bad about it but at least I will have something to use.
I actually agree with you for the most part. Unique does burn pretty clean when you get closer to max loads. It can be sooty with light loads but the soot cleans up easily for me. Any charge within .3gr of my target charge works well enough that I can't tell any difference in .45acp and .38spl. And in those 2 calibers the only (listed) bad loads I've found were loads that were too weak to cycle the slides of my .45's, and even those were accurate enough. I love Unique. But I haven't seen any on a shelf since October.

I just don't want more people to catch on to how useful it is, then I'll never find it again.

And for what it's worth, I've tried 800X. I hate it. It meters worse than Unique and it seems more sensitive to variances in charge weight. I hope you have better luck than with it than I did. I still have 1/2lb that I've had trouble giving away.

Steve C
June 6, 2013, 12:43 AM
<.....>Unique will meter fine in your Hornady powder measure IF you use the pistol meter insert and drum (if needed). Usually charges of Unique are less than 10 grains and the pistol meter is for charges less than 10 grains. Using the standard meter insert for magnum pistol and rifle charges to try and measure a flake powder under 10 grains will produce erratic throws.

Pour in the powder and throw 4 to 6 charges which should be put back in the hopper to let the vibration of the tools operation settle the powder somewhat. Then measure a few charges and they should be dropping within .1 grs or less (though you can't measure < 1/10th grain with most powder measures.

I load several cartridges using Unique, and other flake powders like Green Dot, Red Dot, and Herco in 9mm, .38 spl, .357 mag and .45acp, using my Hornady LNL with the Hornady powder measure. Using the pistol insert I have no problem holding consistent charge throw weights. If you use the right tools you will get the right results.

cfullgraf
June 6, 2013, 12:44 AM
I picked up a pound of UNIQUE last week and when I tried to setup today with my Hornady powder measure, ...

You did not say if you were using the Hornady powder measure on a progressive or not.

Assuming you are not using it on a progressive, yes Unique can be difficult to get to measure consistently.

For batch loading on a single stage, I throw 20 or so charges before attempting to weigh anything. it settles the powder column. Any powder, not just Unique, but definitely dificult to meter powders like Unique.

I like to use a powder baffle in my drum style measures with the axis for the holes of the baffle parallel with the rotational axis of the drum. Therefore, the holes in the baffle do not directly line up with the metering cavity.

I cycle the powder measure the same way every time to minimize variabilities. I prefer to not induce any more vibrations than necessary, but some like to wrap the powder measure at the top or bottom of the stroke. The key is to do it the same way.

On a progressive, the vibrations of the progressive operation adds some difficulties. The height of the baffle may have an affect here but I cannot say form sure. Some folks have luck with the baffle half way up the reservoir.

Still, operate the progressive the same every stroke so the powder measure experience the same vibrations and inputs.

While I will not dismiss the Hornady powder measure on my L-N-L progressive, I did modify a Redding 10-X for use on my progressive and it works very well.

And, yes, the Lyman 55 has a good reputation of throwing consistent charges of Unique. (I have not used a Lyman 55, need to correct that one of these days.) I have a Dillon SDB progressive and the Dillon powder measure does a good job with 700-X, a similar flake powder as Unique.

Hope this helps.

35 Whelen
June 6, 2013, 12:53 AM
I love Unique as it is an extremely versatile powder. Yes, it is a little bit of a pain in the metering department, but like RC said, that depends on the measure.

All that being said, when my current 4 lb. jug of Unique is gone, I'll probably switch to 20/28. I've done a bit of testing comparing it to Unique and it's virtually identical. With identical charges, 20/28 yielded no more than 3% velocity increase when tested in one of my .44 Specials. Ditto for the single load I tried in my 45 ACP. The thread can be read here. (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=712606)

The reason I'll likely switch are twofold: First, being a small flake powder, it meters extremely well, much, much better than Unique. I keep my Lyman 55 set to drop 7.5 grs. of 20/28 for my .44 Special and never ever have to make adjustments to the measure. Second, it burns very, very clean.

35W

X-Rap
June 6, 2013, 01:14 AM
I've been using unique in a Dillon for over 25 yrs and done 10's of thousands of rounds. I love it and it meters in the Dillon like they were made for each other.

Sport45
June 6, 2013, 01:21 AM
I've used Unique in my Dillon 550b and it seems to work well. The +/- 0.2gr variance in charge weight shows up on my scale, but I've yet to notice a difference on the targets. That's loading .45 Colt, .38 Special, and .45acp mainly.

TEC
June 6, 2013, 01:23 AM
No problems with either the Hornady or the Lyman powder drops and Unique here, but I hand load and weigh every charge, so I always intentionally undershoot a couple of tenths then trickle to the exact charge. It usually drops to within 0.1 or 0.2 of where I set it. And I do use the pistol inserts. That said, Unique is a very good and accurate powder for almost every pistol round I load -- .380, 38sp, 9 mm, 40SW and 45 ACP. In the latest shortage, I also picked up a jug of Hogdon Universal (Clays) which performs very similarly to the Unique.

ColtPythonElite
June 6, 2013, 01:28 AM
I load with Unique regularly with my LnL AP. My charges are usually dead on and rarely off more than a tenth in either direction.

GW Staar
June 6, 2013, 01:44 AM
Yeah, Unique is crap. You should never buy it again.

:evil:

My thoughts exactly....leave more on the shelf for me.

Don't know a thing about Lyman P.M.'s but the trick to using RCBS Uniflows and Hornady P.M.'s is to get some plain ole Johnson's Paste Wax. Liberally apply it to all interior surfaces that the powder will touch, let it dry, and buff the hell out of it. Then buy or make a baffle.....the combo (paste wax and baffle) will surprise you.

ADD: I agree with other posts that the small capacity cylinder is a must, and grounding the casting in high static areas is also. Didn't think of those last night...late.

BTW, Unique is pretty forgiving. Even .45 ACP Loads with +/- .2 gr. variances won't make a difference to your velocity or your accuracy.

silicosys4
June 6, 2013, 03:40 AM
What a bunch of whining cry babies. Unique will meter fine in your Hornady powder measure IF you use the pistol meter insert and drum (if needed). Usually charges of Unique are less than 10 grains and the pistol meter is for charges less than 10 grains. Using the standard meter insert for magnum pistol and rifle charges to try and measure a flake powder under 10 grains will produce erratic throws.

Pour in the powder and throw 4 to 6 charges which should be put back in the hopper to let the vibration of the tools operation settle the powder somewhat. Then measure a few charges and they should be dropping within .1 grs or less (though you can't measure < 1/10th grain with most powder measures.

I load several cartridges using Unique, and other flake powders like Green Dot, Red Dot, and Herco in 9mm, .38 spl, .357 mag and .45acp, using my Hornady LNL with the Hornady powder measure. Using the pistol insert I have no problem holding consistent charge throw weights. If you use the right tools you will get the right results.

This mirrors my experiences with Unique and the Hornady LnL throw exactly

SlamFire1
June 6, 2013, 11:24 AM
I load my pistol ammunition on a Dillion 550B. I take the average of ten or twenty drops and set my powder measure accordingly. I believe Unique is a half grain varience per drop and it does not matter with thrown charges. I have chronographed Unique loads and AA#5 loads, AA#5 is a ball powder and throws much better, but over the screens, Unique is equal to or better to the ball powder in terms of velocity extreme spreads.

So, don't worry about the varience unless you are loading maximum loads.

X-Rap
June 6, 2013, 11:47 AM
I've not yet used the wax on my Redding or RCBS powder measures but I will say that baffles are a must and with regards to the RCBS I would say that the small charge drum will work best for lighter loads.

Ledhore
June 6, 2013, 11:59 AM
My problems with Unique went away after I grounded my press. I grounded it to the grounding wire in an electrical outlet using a 1 meg resister. Unique appears to be very sensitive to static electricity. I very successfully use it now in my Hornady LNL AP measure.

Another thing to try is to bend the baffle so it stays where you place it in the measure, and raise it about 1/3 to 1/2 up from the bottom of the measure.

Bud0505
June 6, 2013, 03:27 PM
I've been using unique in a Dillon for over 25 yrs and done 10's of thousands of rounds. I love it and it meters in the Dillon like they were made for each other.
I agree with X-Rap. Been using Unique since 1987 loading 9, 45, and 38/357 on my Dillon 550B with no measuring problems.

GW Staar
June 6, 2013, 06:25 PM
I've not yet used the wax on my Redding or RCBS powder measures but I will say that baffles are a must and with regards to the RCBS I would say that the small charge drum will work best for lighter loads.

Agree on the baffle and small powder reservoir! Didn't think of the latter last night.

BTW, I learned about the wax from a mod (Dryflash 3) on AR15.com. He was polishing the innards of his P.M.'s (Reddings, Hornady, and Uniflows) to get more uniform throws. He decided that the polishing was a lot of work for nothing, when he discovered that waxing the rough castings had the same effect, same performance. I tried it and came to the same conclusion....after I already polished one....:rolleyes:.

au_prospector
June 6, 2013, 07:50 PM
Unique appears to be very sensitive to static electricity.

Yup! I use Unique when loading 20 Gauge shells. When I drop it, the powder clings to the inside of the hull and the wad rides over the top of it so it doesnt all get pushed down into the powder pocket of the wad. I simply stand up as many hulls as I can in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. One quick shot of "Static Guard" aerosol and viola, no more static cling!

I hear you can wipe down the inside of your powder reservoir with a dryer sheet and that helps too! Never tried that one though.

Blue68f100
June 6, 2013, 07:59 PM
I switched to WSF which has almost the same burn rate and meters like water since it's a ball powder. The only time I will use Unique if it's not on a progressive. But I have not replaced it since I used it up several years ago. You can do the tap dance with the dispenser handle and get a consistent load. The best accuracy of powder dumps have only been ±0.2gr on a progressive. So if your loading <5 gr, that's almost a 10% swing. Not worth the risk if you at the upper end of the scale. I can get a lot close if loading on a bench. Then since it is a dirty powder I prefer not to use it. There are better options out there now.

I have not seen any powder dispenser except electronic ones that will give the accuracy of a ball powder.

cowtownup
June 6, 2013, 10:18 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions.. I guess I'm stuck with this pound, so I'm gonna use it up and consider it a lesson learned... Who knows, I might end up LOVING this stuff... LOL..

kevinakaq
June 6, 2013, 10:31 PM
Stuck with a lb of unique? I know quite a few people who would love to have that problem...lol.

Seriously though it is good stuff, just have to have the right tools. Its an all around pistol powder that I use for 40, 38, and 9x18. Get that pistol meter and it will solve all drop problems 10 gr and under...I was pounding my head against the wall with unique and drops until i bought it. Went on to new and different problems to solve...plenty of those.

orionengnr
June 6, 2013, 10:36 PM
I've had similar problems metering Unique with my Dillon 550, RCBS and Lee powder measures.

I only use Unique when I am willing to hand measure each charge. And if you do enough reading, you will find plenty of people who have had the same experiences.

NCsmitty
June 6, 2013, 11:33 PM
rcmodel said; The best way I have found is to use a Lyman #55 powder measure with the little trip-hammer thingny.

Absolutely key to dropping consistent charges. When used properly, the Lyman 55 is the most accurate powder measure for the money, that I have ever used, and that's with any powder. Unique is a +-.1gr drop every time when you use the knocker and the drum rotation with consistent movements.


NCsmitty

Hondo 60
June 7, 2013, 12:13 AM
To Those Who Have Good Luck With Unique - I hate you! :neener: :rolleyes:

Seriously, I have a Dillon, an RBCS Uniflow & a Lee Pro Auto.

I can't get it to meter for crap in any of 'em!
So I will be leaving more for you.

steelerdude99
June 7, 2013, 08:37 AM
I don’t use Unique unless the charge is above 5 grains. I’ve have loaded many 38 special with 5.0-5.1 grains for a 125 grain bullets using the .66cc LEE auto disk and have had decent luck. I just don’t expect that Unique’s course flakes will “reliably” drop using any of the smaller holes of the disks less than .66cc. And the further I go above the .66cc disk, the variations seem to drop off even more. The disk size that LEE says gives me 5.2 grains for Unique is supposedly the .57cc. The charge given with a .57cc disk is NOT even close (going from memory) and with significant inter-charge variations. Ditto on BlueDot, but I use that for 357 magnums. As such, using a big holed disk makes inter-charge variations that are minimal. Like Unique, the disk size that LEE says gives a BlueDot charge is never right. So for me, I just don’t expect to use unique with small charges. Knowing this, I even bought more Unique.

chuck

GW Staar
June 7, 2013, 03:39 PM
To Those Who Have Good Luck With Unique - I hate you! :neener: :rolleyes:

Seriously, I have a Dillon, an RBCS Uniflow & a Lee Pro Auto.

I can't get it to meter for crap in any of 'em!
So I will be leaving more for you.

It's the Dillon. :)

Just kidding....try waxing....or trade the powder to some poor smuck whom Unique likes. It must like me.....a 40+ year relationship.

The latest common complaint is that Unique is dirty. Funny, I never noticed until the internet forums came along. Of course I do clean my gun after a shoot, no matter what powder I use. IME no powder is that clean.

KansasSasquatch
June 7, 2013, 03:49 PM
Yeah it looks pretty dirty but it cleans up easily.

ColtPythonElite
June 7, 2013, 04:05 PM
Near max loads burn much cleaner.

James2
June 7, 2013, 07:49 PM
RC:
The best way I have found is to use a Lyman #55 powder measure with the little trip-hammer thingny.

It was made for old flake powders like Unique.

I use more Unique powder in all handgun calibers then all others combined.

I am right with RC on this one. Lyman 55 works well for me with Unique.

BYJO4
June 7, 2013, 09:47 PM
I use Unique with my LNL AP for all my larger handgun calibers. I have no problems at all and powder drops will stay within +/- .1 grain. It sure does produce some accurate loads.

Sport45
June 7, 2013, 10:20 PM
To Those Who Have Good Luck With Unique - I hate you!

Seriously, I have a Dillon, an RBCS Uniflow & a Lee Pro Auto.

I can't get it to meter for crap in any of 'em!
So I will be leaving more for you.


Set it to throw at least 0.4gr below max and give it a go.

See if the variance you're worrying about really makes a difference. You may be surprised.

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