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Opinions on unique powder?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Marty B, Sep 17, 2008.

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  1. Marty B

    Marty B Member

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    I'm loading 9mm, 38 spcl, 357, 44 mag and 45 auto with both lead and jacketed bullets and found the most versatile powder to be Unique. I noticed yesterday when shooting light loads with lead bullets out of my 44 that it felt like something dusting my face just a little bit and then noticed some unburnt powder falling out of my brass (only noticed this with the 44 mag). It also seems as it burns a little dirty. Has anyone had this same problem? Is there another powder that is as versatile in the applications that I metioned that will work as well? I would rather keep it to one powder if possible.
    Thanks in advance for any help,
    Marty
     
  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    For light loads in the .44, you might try Red Dot (or Promo.)

    It will also work well in most of the other cartridges you listed (you probably won't like its wimpy performance in the .357)
     
  3. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    I love unique. But when working with lower pressure rounds it tends to burn incompletely, just like many other powders. With unique it tends to like to be loaded up to mid to higher end pressures, to avoid most of the unburnt powder (of course, follow all standard practices to work up loads). It is a somewhat dirty powder, which is fine if you clean your firearm after every outing.

    Unique may be dirty and it may leave some unburnt powder, but good luck finding another powder that is as versatile and accurate over such a large range of cartridges. It is one of the best all around handgun powders money can buy.
     
  4. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I switched to AA#5 as meters better for me and it burns cleaner at lower pressure. For .357 and .44 mag a powder like AA#9 or 2400 will give you much better performance.
     
  5. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

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    Unique burns dirty, at times incredibly dirty, unless the pressure is juuuuust right. You have to play with it in your loads until you get a clean burner. The main reason people still use it is the versatility and the power. It is the most versatile powder out there, so when you buy a pound or eight it'll be useful for a long time.
     
  6. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I used to load with Unique, but finally got frustrated with it not metering uniformly through either of my Redding powder measures, my Dillon powder measure, My Hornady powder measure, or even my old Belding & Mull. I won't use a powder that won't meter properly, and I don't limit myself to just one powder. I prefer the powder that will do the best job for the application, which is why I have many different powders in my inventory. I load for 29 calibers now, and there's no one powder that is going to come close for all of those, so I just buy what works best.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  7. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    This pretty much says it all.


    I go thru a lot of ammo each month. A lot. Being able to buy 8lb jugs of Unique and crank out 1000 rounds of cast 9mm and 1000 rounds of cast 45ACP each month from the same jug makes my life a lot easier; I get to focus more on shooting and less on reloading. Unique meters well in my Lee AutoDisk thingee and I can use the same powder for all of my common pistol loads.

    Works for me, although I'm probably going to switch over to Ramshot Zip as soon as my current supply of Unique runs out. My only motivation for doing so is that I can buy Zip for a lot less than most any other pistol powder and it performs acceptably well in 9mm, 40S&W, and 45ACP chamberings with cast bullets.
     
  8. sniper7369

    sniper7369 Member

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    I've noticed the unburned powder all over my right arm shooting my 1911 loaded with Unique. It doesn't meter well at all through my Lee Pro Autodisk, but it works fine in my RCBS Uniflow. I have a couple loads I use it for, but for the most part I much prefer WW231.
     
  9. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    I am a big unique fan. I never had good luck at lower pressures either. I'd get some accurate loads, but I would look like I lost a fight with a pepper shaker when I was done shooting.

    1911fulleffect was spot on with his load suggestion. mid to higher level loads work great. You can use unique in almost every case- its so versatile its nearly unbelievable. A lot of cast shooters use reduced loads of it in rifle rounds too with good results (don't do this unless you know a fair bit about it- its easy to blow up nice guns)
     
  10. Lazuris

    Lazuris Member

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    I use unique for .38 .40 .357. 44. 45 and some shotgun. It works great all around. I use 6g for the 38 and 40.and 45 12g for 44 and 8g for 357. Granted it does not provide maximum power as 2400 or h110 does. However, for volume shooting, IDPA, and hanging out with the buddies its a great powder. For full powder loads i use 2400 up to 44mag and h110 after that. And power pistol for accurate 40-45. However, how often do you need full horsepower loads when just killing tin cans and paper?
     
  11. DMZ

    DMZ Member

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    I have develop some of my most accurate loads in 9mm, .38 Spl, .357 mag and .44 Spl with Unique. It is a bit dirtier many powders, but it cleans up easily with Hoppe's #9.

    I have come to like the smell of it as I think I have unconsciously associated it with pleasing groups on my targets.

    A similar powder, that burns cleaner is Universal, which I use a good deal of loading 9mm.
     
  12. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    I used to use Unique but switched to Universal Clays near the same burning rate and much cleaner burning.
     
  13. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I have a bunch of different powders (but I'm trying to consolidate to maybe a half-dozen or less.) I tend to load any cartridge up near the top end of its SAAMI limits, and I get the power level I want by selecting a fast or slow powder accordingly. The powders burn a lot cleaner that way.

    Currently I'm using a lot of Bullseye and AA#7 because they both meter really well. I have Green Dot in the single-stage press's powder measure right now just to use it up because it meters like crap (but it's an excellent powder for 9mm and .45 Colt and for .38 Special target loads.)
     
  14. putteral

    putteral Member

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    I like the versatility of Unique. Just wish it would meter better.
     
  15. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I started out using Unique for most of my pistol loads. I found it to be kind of dirty and switched to Bullseye. That was about 25 years ago. Never went back.

    Seems to me I used to use Blue Dot for 44 spl loads sometimes.
     
  16. Otto

    Otto Member

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    Hodgdon Universal works in almost every caliber from 25ACP to 454 Casull. Much cleaner than Unique and meters better as well.
    For the 40 S&W I wouldn't use anything else.
    Universal has been around for two decades so you shouldn't need any luck 'finding' it.
     
  17. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    If I had to get by with one powder that powder would be Unique. I've loaded everything from the .32 ACP to the 30-30 with Unique. In the medium pressure cartridges like the .38 spl and .45 acp it will produce the best velocities. The "New" Unique is cleaner than the old formulation but it needs decent pressures to clean up.
     
  18. Asherdan

    Asherdan Member

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    I like Unique for 44 mag cast loads just fine. I do step up to 2400 for full up jacketed.

    I use the Lee PPM with Unique and as long as I follow a few rules it works accurately for me.

    >Hopper always more than half full.
    >10 drops to set up the hopper flow pattern.
    >Stay consistent on measure operation.
    >If I pause, start over with several drops that go back in the hopper.

    Someone mentioned Unique for rifle use, Greg Mushial has done some very interesting work there that's worked out well for me.

    Unique, 350g cast, 50 yards kneeling. I'm sold on it and load 'em by the barrel.

    1895G_50yd_Knee_Unique.gif
     
  19. Marty B

    Marty B Member

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    Thanks for the help so far. Yea, I havent found anything as versatile as unique. It seems like every load and caliber of pistol you look at, there it is. It may not be the best for everything but works pretty well for everything. I don't have any trouble with it metering (usually within +.2 -.1) with my RCBS uniflow as long as I use the tap-tap method at the top of the stroke Knowing that it burns better at higher pressures helps out a lot. I can deal with the dirty, as I clean after every trip, but it would be nice not to clean so much. I also keep some h-110 for 30 carb and noticed that it works pretty well for the 44 so I can use it too. I'll look into some of the others and see what I can find out. The only load manuals i'm using are Hornady and Speer for pistol so I'll look at some of the powder manufacturers data because they seem to list more loads for their powder.
    Thanks
    Marty
     
  20. Marty B

    Marty B Member

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    Looks like Hodgdon Universal might be a winner after looking at their data on their website. What thinks y'all?
    Marty
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    IMO: Universal is dirtier (and way more spastic on velocity variations) then Unique unless you run max loads all the time.

    I have not found a more versitile powder then unique. It may not be the absolute very best in everything, at every power level, but there isn't much you can't reload with it.

    rcmodel
     
  22. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    +1 on this
     
  23. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    I like Unique. I haven't found it to be dirty at all but then again my comparison is Winchester White Box ammo <grin>.
     
  24. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    I use Unique in .38, .357, 44 special, 44 Mag reduced loads, .41 mag reduced loads & .45 colt full loads. Haven't tried the newer powders as Unique has served me well for over 35 years.
     
  25. XD-40 Shooter

    XD-40 Shooter Member

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    I've been reloading 40 S&W with Unique for 2 years now, well over 7500 rounds. I'm very pleased with the accuracy and performance I'm getting. Unique also works well in 38 special, mid-range 357, 45 ACP, and 9mm. Like others have said, its an extremely versatile powder and gives good performance over a very wide spectrum.
     
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