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Unique powder question...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by cowtownup, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. cowtownup

    cowtownup Member

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    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...
     
  2. kevinakaq

    kevinakaq Member

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    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
     
  3. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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.
     
  4. MovedWest

    MovedWest Member

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    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
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  6. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    I won't be buying any more Unique.
    What a pain!
    I have to weigh EVERY charge, because it's so inconsistent.
     
  7. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    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.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  9. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    I've used a RCBS Uniflow with the small powder drum and the micro adjust its prity concistant.
    Flip
     
  10. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    Yeah, Unique is crap. You should never buy it again.







    :evil:
     
  11. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    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.
     
  12. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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.
     
  13. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    <.....>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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2013
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  15. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    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.

    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
     
  16. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    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.
     
  17. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    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.
     
  18. TEC

    TEC Member

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    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.
     
  19. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    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.
     
  20. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  21. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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

    Slamfire Member

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    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.
     
  23. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    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.
     
  24. Ledhore

    Ledhore Member

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    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.
     
  25. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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    I agree with X-Rap. Been using Unique since 1987 loading 9, 45, and 38/357 on my Dillon 550B with no measuring problems.
     
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