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Unique Advice

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by preacherJohn, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    I bought a pound of Unique about a year ago to see how it would perform. I must say I was slightly surprised to see it almost fill the case of a 9mm with 5.5gr. I was shooting the 124JHP RMR's with Fed cases and there weren't any pressure issues. So I bumped it up to 5.7gr and the case was so full I was almost afraid to shoot it. Same bullets too and after getting my chrono to start working I was looking at 1130ish fps. I only loaded 10 rounds and was able to get 3 to chrono out. Still there wasn't any pressure issues that I could see. I"m thinking about bumping it up another .1gr to 5.8 and leaving it there. These will be SD loads to put aside. I was thinking of 1200 fps or there about with the 124JHP's. That's what my Federal HST's are pushing. Any thoughts or recipe's for Unique? pro's and cons?
     
  2. twistytorn

    twistytorn Member

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    Speer lists a max of 5.8gr Unique with the GDHP @1180. Not sure if there's a +P version that might get 1200 with Unique. I don't use Unique.

    You might look at BE 86, it's clean, accurate, and Speer shows a max of 6gr at 1199 within SAAMI pressures. BE 86 is one of my favorites.
     
  3. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    I've seen a lot of wisdom with BE 86, and I've thought about buying some (if available tomorrow @ Cabelas's) tomorrow when I roll into town. It's a 65 mi drive. I need to use this Unique up sooner or later. Loading with it is slow because it keeps metering one way or the other and it's hard to zero in at a constant with loads reaching higher pressures. So far all I've charged are singles with an RCBS powder drop in a loading block. I'm not sure I want to try it on the LNL. Does the BE 86 meter pretty constant? I use the Hornady Lock N Load unless I'm working loads up.
     
  4. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    I use Unique on my LNL but not sure if I would with 9mm. I’ve never checked each powder throw but do every 5 for the first while and it’s never been out more than .2 grains. I use it for 44 special/magnum or 45 Colt low or mid loads as that .2 grains doesn’t make any difference to me in those cases.
    But loading higher 9mm not so sure.
     
  5. twistytorn

    twistytorn Member

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    BE 86 meters very consistently in my Lee auto drum. I load toward the mild end with 9mm, so it's never been an issue.

    There's a huge BE 86 thread on this board: https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/be-86.760289/

    BE 86 and Unique are very similar in burn rate and the Speer data I quoted above indicates that there's not that much difference in the velocity--although they don't indicate that the 5.8 max is compressed. Maybe that's the case volume difference or more likely the seating depth of a GDHP vs. the MPR? Perhaps a search of Alliant's online data or their downloadable catalog would turn up other Unique options?
     
  6. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    I use only Unique powder for 9MM. My loads range from 5.0 at approx. 1050 fps up to 5.4 grains for 1134 fps in 4.1" Glock 19's. At 5.4 grains this is the maximum I want to load. I consider anything above 5.4 too warm or hot. Not worth pushing the limit for another 30-50 fps for me. I use CCI 500 primers in various cases. Plus hotter loads can be rough on pistols.
     
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  7. FAL'er

    FAL'er Member

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    Are you using the small metering drum on your RCBS powder drop (UniFlow?)?
     
  8. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Unique is a very good all-round powder, but it meters poorly.
     
  9. Zendude
    • Contributing Member

    Zendude Contributing Member

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    Be careful if you are getting into compressed loads. Maybe increase the OAL if you can to give it a little freeboard.
     
  10. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    I use the RCBS Competition Powder Measure-Pistol. It's close; most drops are consistent, but it does swing a grain or two one way or the other occasionally. At 5.7 gr I was correcting them when they went high.
    Well yeah, they can be if you shot them on a regular basis; I have plenty other loads I target shoot with. This will be one of the SHTF loads that after testing will only be used when necessary.
    I checked their data and they didn't have much for this round. Just a starting chg, then a maximum which I think I could take higher. I'm not sure about compressing it too much though. I contacted Jake over at RMR and he recommended BE 86 for the MPR.
    I don't shoot 44, well not yet. I do shoot 357 though; maybe I could save the Unique for that application.

    I just ran off a bunch of 124CPFP's for target applications with HP38 and filled up a ammo can. I really wanted to load 45acp next, but while the 9mm dies or on the press and I have 1000 or so MPR's, I figure I run some SD loads.
     
  11. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    At 5.5gr I was setting the bullet @ 1.095 in FC cases with no problems. When I stepped up to 5.7gr I set the bullets @ 1.105 but I used different cases (PPU). Then looked OK also.
     
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  12. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    I did use two different guns on the two test. The 5.5 gr loads were shot out of Beretta 92FS with a 5" barrel. The 5.7 loads were shot out of a Sig Pro with a 4" barrel and I'll be dang if I didn't nick the chrono with that gun and also bent one of the diffuser rods.
     
  13. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    Are they similar in volume also? What I'm asking will the BE 86 fill up a case similar to the Unique? Thanks for the link to the discussion on BE 86, I'm going to take a look at that tomorrow if not tonight if I have time.
     
  14. twistytorn

    twistytorn Member

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    BE 86 is much finer than Unique. Unique is like flakes, while BE 86 is more like tiny discs the size of fine sand, so I'd expect that would take less volume per grain than Unique.

    Might get you away from the compressed load situation.
     
  15. twistytorn

    twistytorn Member

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  16. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    That would definitely be a blessing.

    I've been reading those old post on the BE86 thread. That was when powder was hard to get. Those days I'd like to forget, LOL. I went months without any, I just couldn't find any around me and even the online stores were out.

    Maybe I'll find some tomorrow after church. I was going to pick up some new brass at Cabela's anyway.

    I'm going to run over to Alliant's data site and check it out.
     
  17. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  18. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, Unique is a large flake powder compared to W231/HP-38 (Small flattened ball powder)

    [​IMG]

    Here's close up of Unique compared to W231/HP-38 and BE-86 being much smaller than Unique (Notice BE-86 granule size is smaller than W231 and more uniform?)

    [​IMG]

    Here are 9mm cases filled with Alliant/Speer max charges for 124 gr JHP/GDHP - https://www.speer-ammo.com/download...m_caliber_355-366_dia/9mm_Luger__124_rev1.pdf

    Top of Unique charge was .180" below case mouth and top of BE-86 charge was .240" below case mouth.

    [​IMG]
    Unique is fluffy and can settle in case quite a bit.

    [​IMG]

    Using RMR 124 gr MPR with bullet length of 0.558" and average resized RP case length of 0.749", we can calculate OAL that won't compress 5.8 gr charge Unique:
    • OAL - Bullet length = Max case fill
    • Top of powder charge below case mouth = Case length - Max case fill
    Since we know 5.8 gr of Unique fills the case to 0.180" below case mouth,

    Top of powder charge below case mouth = Case length - Max case fill

    0.180" = 0.749" - Max case fill

    So Max case fill = 0.749" - 0.180" = 0.569"

    And we have,

    OAL = Max case fill + Bullet length = 0.569" + 0.558" = 1.127"

    You will need to load longer than 1.127" OAL/COL.


    And here's Alliant load data calculations for comparison using 124 gr GDHP at 1.120" (Average bullet length 0.562")
    • OAL - Bullet length = Max case fill

    And 1.120" - 0.562" = 0.558"

    So, Case length - Max case fill = Top of powder charge below case mouth

    0.749" - 0.558" = 0.191"

    Since top of 5.8 gr charge of Unique is 0.180" below case mouth, there is 0.011" compression of powder charge but Speer load data lists 5.8 gr of Unique loaded to 1.120" not as a compressed load.

    So, you could subtract 0.011" from calculated OAL of 1.127" to get 1.116" OAL for RMR 124 gr MPR and 5.8 gr of Unique (Do this at your own risk). What if your barrel requires OAL shorter than 1.116" for RMR 124 gr MPR?

    You can go with BE-86.


    Using RMR 124 gr MPR with bullet length of 0.558" and average resized RP case length of 0.749", we can calculate OAL that won't compress 5.9 gr charge BE-86:
    • OAL - Bullet length = Max case fill
    • Top of powder charge below case mouth = Case length - Max case fill
    Since we know 5.9 gr of BE-86 fills the case to 0.240" below case mouth,

    Top of powder charge below case mouth = Case length - Max case fill

    0.240" = 0.749" - Max case fill

    So Max case fill = 0.749" - 0.240" = 0.509"

    And we have,

    OAL = Max case fill + Bullet length = 0.509" + 0.558" = 1.067"

    You will need to load longer than 1.067" OAL/COL.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
    rfwobbly, AZAndy and twistytorn like this.
  19. twistytorn

    twistytorn Member

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    Bonus points for use of math! Thanks for sharing that simple, but extremely useful approach!:thumbup:
     
  20. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    I used to be hesitant about loading the 9mm "too hot" and I gingerly started from an initial 5.0gr.
    But after reading about Stephen A. Camp, and finding his sight http://hipowers-handguns.blogspot.com/, I went ahead and made batches from 5.2, up to and including 6.0.... my BHP found it's sweet spot at 5.8.

    Unique doesnt care if it's compressed. most of my rounds are 5.8 (five point eight) with a 124gr XTP, CCI 500, and set at 1.110. they avg right around 1200 FPS.
    I have a bunch of 115gr (a JHP I had a ton of, and no brand name to be found) too, also loaded with 5.8, but I'm biasing more towards the 124.... no signs of pressure issues with either. Not much in the way of soot either....
     
  21. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I just thoroughly enjoy BE-86 in 9mm, and I’m almost through pound # 12. I use from 5.0-5.5 depending on which gun I’m loading for. Using RMR 124 jacketed or my home cast and coated, the results are just fantastic. Almost time to get another keg of it. :)
     
  22. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    Boy, talk about "in-depth," those calculations and the pictures you uploaded are fantastic LiveLife! Thanks tons for sharing!

    This is pretty close to what I'm seeing and I'm at 5.7gr of Unique right now. If Unique isn't picky about compressing it, and I'm guessing because it's so flaky and settles, I'm going to bump up another notch to 5.8. What barrel length are you using? I get a few extra feet out of the 5" Beretta over the 4" Sig.
     
  23. preacherJohn

    preacherJohn Member

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    When I'm using the HP38, my Hornady powder drop is "right on" every time. The BE 86 looks like it would be very similar if not better if that's possible especially for running a production on the LNL. I'm definitely going to try it out; you guys have really sold me on it.
     
  24. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    my barrel is 4 and 7/8".
     
  25. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    It meters well by volume, but poorly by weight. But, it shoots well when measured by volume, this is why folks that use dippers like it so much. When I set up my powder measure for Unique, I throw ten charges and adjust accordingly. Then you know you will never overcharge, even small cases by volume.
     
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