.45 acp loads.......Unique


Ak Guy
June 4, 2004, 02:48 AM
I've just started reloading .45 acp, and for lack of a better plan, started with Unique powder. I've sort of settled on 5.5 gr with a 230 gr RN West Coast copper plated bullet, and all seems to work quite well. My question is, I never seem to read in here about others using Unique powder. Does it have a bad rep? Am I passing up something a lot better, and if so why so ?? My use is all target or IDPA.

Also, does anyone know what the min. power factor is for IDPA shoots, for .45 acp in SSP ? (I think it's either 125,000 or 165,000 ) ??

Thanx for any info you can provide............

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June 4, 2004, 08:19 AM
I load most everything but full house Magnum loads with Unique. Been doing so for many years. Works well for me in .380ACP, 9mm, .38Special, .40S&W, .45ACP and .45LC unique works well for reduced power lead bullet loads in .44Mag and .357 mag.

Most folks consider it a dirty powder. I've found my loads seem to burn much cleamer since I got the Lee Factory Crimp dies. The "new improved" Unique is supposed to be cleaner burning, I've bought some but haven tried it yet having just opened my last can of the old stock last night.

This versatility and the fact that its a bulky powder which makes it really hard to fit a double charge into a case without noticing it when you seat the bullet IMHO makes Unique a great choice for beginers.


June 4, 2004, 08:41 AM
Unique is a VERY good powder, one that I could not do without. There are some others that will also work well for you but you aren't missing out on anything.

Stephen A. Camp
June 4, 2004, 08:43 AM
Hello. I use Unique with .45 ACP and normally use 6.5-gr. with 225 or 230-gr. CRN bullets.


June 4, 2004, 10:36 AM
Unique is a great powder. I use it for medium and factory power loads in the .45acp. Quantrill

Dave R
June 4, 2004, 11:16 AM
I use Unique for 9mm and .380acp. I am surprised at how well in meters in my Uni-Flow. Nearly perfect metering.

June 4, 2004, 11:27 AM
Unique @ 6 grains under a 200 gr SWC is a super performer in my Colts.

Johnny Guest
June 4, 2004, 12:13 PM
Possibly the single most versatile powder there is. Handgun loads from pretty light to low end magnums, shotgun, gallery rifle loads. Truly "Unique" in its range of uses.

I know I've loaded over a hundred thousand .45 ACP rounds with Unique - - probably a lot more than that. The majority were with 225 and 230 RNL bullets, both home-cast and commercial, with 6.5 powder. This was mainly back in the late '70s and early '80s, when I was extremely active in IPSC competetion. I later backed down to 6.2 gr. The same powder charge under a 200 gr. cast SWC makes a good, accurate, lighter load.


Steve in PA
June 4, 2004, 12:33 PM
6.0gr of Unique and a 230gr FMJ bullet work for me.

Shoots great out of my Sig P-220.

June 4, 2004, 02:03 PM
I only reload 45acp, sometimes .40S&W, and shotguns (12, 20, 410)

I use Unique for all applications. Easier on a guy that can't remember much anymore. Simpler is better (for me anyway)


June 4, 2004, 11:15 PM
Unique is able to make very accurate handloads in low pressure large capacity cases, like 6 gr Unique, 300 gr 45Colt.
No other powder I tried would do that.

Mr. Chitlin
June 5, 2004, 09:32 AM
I like to be simple in my components. I reload 38 Spec, 357, 41 mag, 44 mag, 40S&W, 9mm and 45ACP with Unique. Also 12 gauge when I reloaded shotgun shells. It makes a great mid range load.

Desert Dog
June 5, 2004, 10:09 AM
Unique is a staple of my reloading. Almost all of my target loads for .45 Colt and a whole lot of .45 ACP loads utilize Unique.

Good powder, and I don't find it to be that dirty...

June 5, 2004, 10:15 PM
I used Unique when I started reloading. IMO it was super dirty and didn't work well with my Dillon measure

I was using 185 and 200 grain LSWC's. I suspect that it works better in 230's because it's pushed harder and so it burns cleaner. In my 45 LC it was a super mess. I had another shooter ask if I was using black powder. Big case volume and moderate loads are not a good combination for Unique.

If you're ever going to lighter bullets, I might suggest AA5. Ball powder that meters well and is super clean.

EDIT TO ADD: After reading this, I got to wondering why my experience was so different from some of the others here. I had experimented with different brands of lead bullets. Perhaps the lube was a lot of he problem. I do know that the soft "crayola" lubes on lead bullets can cause some or a lot of the smoke and soot problems

Ak Guy
June 6, 2004, 02:16 AM
Thanx to all of you for your replies. With so many positive comments from "senior members" , I feel quite assured that I'm not off in left field somewhere.
I guess I'll stick w/ Unique, at least 'till I use up this 4 pound jug I bought!
Thanx again...........

June 6, 2004, 10:06 AM
Just to join the band, I use 5.6g Unique and a 230g lrn for my 1911A1, 5.6 for 124g lrn in 9mm for a BHP, P38, and Radom, and 5.9g with a 124g fmj for my Lugers. Till I sold it I also used it for my .38/357.


June 6, 2004, 06:07 PM
I've been using Unique for over 30 years. In the early years, it was used in my Ruger Blackhawk .45 Long Colt.
More recently it's been used for the .45 Auto in my Kimber Custom Classic Target: 6.0 grains under a 230 grain hard-cast lead roundnose, or full metal jacket. The same charge works for both, so I don't have to adjust the powder measure in my Dillon 550B progressive press.
I've also used it in the .38 Special, .32 Smith & Wesson Long, .25 Auto, .357 Magnum, .44 Special and .44 Magnum. And some lead plinking loads in the .32 Winchester Special and .45-70 rifles. Also a few times with the 12 and 20 gauge.
A most versatile powder!
It has its problems, though. Perhaps this only applies to the older Unique, I haven't tried the newer stuff yet.
In very cold temperatures --- 20 Fahrenheit or -7 Celsius --- or colder, when used in cases with large volumes such as the .45 Colt or .45-70, its ignition may be problematical.
I learned this in the early 1970s, while shooting outside of Spokane in 10 degree (-12 C) cold.
The first shot went BANG! The next shot went Foop! The third shot went Blap! Then a BANG again. I couldn't hit the can sitting on a stump because the velocity varied so much shot-to-shot, that my bullets were landing at different elevatons.
The stump showed a vertical line of bullet strikes, varying from near the bottom of the can to the bottom of the stump! :what:
Later, I read about this characteristic of Unique in a gun magazine. But it only applies to very cold weather, with an equally cold gun and ammo (the ammo and gun had been stored in the trunk of a car overnight) in cases with large capacity.
If you carry your pistol in a shoulder holster under your coat in cold weather, where the ammo is kept warm by your body, it wouldn't be a problem. In fact, a shoulder holster is THE way to carry a pistol in cold weather. With a side holster, you often have to lift your coat out of the way to get access to a sidearm; not so with a shoulder holster.
In the .45 Auto, I don't believe ignition problems in cold weather would be a problem, owing to the much smaller volume of the case.
It may become a problem with very lights loads in the .38 Special and larger cases. And certainly might occur in the .45-70 with its cavernous capacity.
But perhaps the newer Unique no longer has this problem. I can't say. Just something to keep in mind if your ammo and gun will be exposed to sub-freezing temperatures.
I still use a lot of Unique. In the past few years it's been dismissed as dirty-burning and creating a lot of smoke. Frankly, I suspect that's due more to the bullet lubricant than the propellant. I don't recall ever having that problem with my Ruger .45 as long as I had a good crimp on the bullet.
But fail to get a good crimp and most propellants will durn birty ... er .. um .. burn dirty ... heh.

June 10, 2004, 12:34 PM
I have been using Unique since 1984. My "pet" .45 acp load is 5.5 grains for a 230 grain lead round nose bullet. I also use it for just about all non-magnum bullets.

Jim Watson
June 10, 2004, 12:43 PM
Power factor for IDPA SSP is 125,000 regardless of caliber.
Factory match .45ACP of a 185 at 750 has PF 138 and that is about as light as you can go and get reliable function, maybe not even that far.

Which gun? G21, P220, LDA, or what?

Unique may be "dirtier" than some powders but it is so well known and characterized it is easy to find a load for about any caliber.

June 10, 2004, 05:15 PM
I like 6.2 grains of Unique with either a 225 grain cast flat point or a 230 grain cast RN.

I don't find Unique particularly dirty. It seems to me that the amount of firing residue is more a function of the bullet lube (and perhaps the alloy?) than the powder.

Dave R
June 10, 2004, 08:15 PM
Redneck2 and others, the difference between those who find Unique very dirty, and those who don't, might be the "New Cleaner Burning" formula.

I started using Unique with the new forumla. So I don't find it to be that dirty. But I've heard stories from the ones who used the original formula.

I don't know when the new, cleaner burning formula was introduced. It was before my first bottle about a yr. ago.

June 13, 2004, 08:46 AM
I use 5.8 grs of unique under a 230 gr bullet, works great. Its the only powder Ive used for the 45 acp.

June 13, 2004, 08:53 AM
When I reloaded (many years back - hope to start again soon) I used 5.7 gr of Unique over a 230 grain lead bullet for IPSC. It was a very accurate load for me.

June 14, 2004, 04:33 PM
I found Unique to be dirty and the grains just the right size - or the wrong size? - to gum up my Uniflow measure, a problem I've never had with any other powder, be it ball, flake, or stick type.

A friend liked Unique solely because - at least in some references - it was supposed to give highest velocity in .45 ACP, though some of the loads that used to be recommended are too hot for me to post here, especially when working from memory. :what:

I found that SR-4756 fills pretty much the same niche as Unique and burns cleaner. (And some older references gave loads that were unreasonably hot for that powder, too.)

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