Unique Powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Akula69, Mar 20, 2021.

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  1. Akula69
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    Akula69 Contributing Member

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    I had a friend of mine call me - he wanted to come by to give me some Unique power he no longer could meter through his progressive press. When I saw it, I thanked him, but we mused about it's age and whether it should still be used.

    So - I ask the experts here: Should I still try and load this stuff? The can (yes, I said can) is not bulged in any way, and the discoloration on top appears to be something that was spilled on it. Pictures:

    image0.jpeg
    image2.jpeg
    image1.jpeg

    Evidently, he got it at a reasonable price too..
     
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  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Put some powder on a white sheet of paper and look for discoloration
     
  3. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    How’s it smell? If it smells ok, and since it’s unopened I bet it will, I’d use it
     
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  4. HankC

    HankC Member

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    Let your friend shoot it first!
     
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  5. Akula69
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    Akula69 Contributing Member

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    Well, I was hesitant to open it (foolish - I know) its been around for a loooong time. But, I did finally pull the tab and when I pressed the center of the cap a slight 'whoosh' was heard - it still had a good seal.
    Smell is fine, but there is a slight difference in some of the flakes - some are totally black and some are dark grey.

    I transferred it to a plastic bottle with seal - the color variation was consistent throughout. Can interior was spotless and shiny.
     
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  6. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Open it up and check it out.
    (if it is degrading you want to know so you can dump it)
    Does it look and smell ok?

     
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  7. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    If it smells fine, its likely okay.

    We have 30+ year old latex paint at work that has been unopened since it left the factory. Most times i go to get one to sell (for cheap and special circumstances) its perfectly fine.
     
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  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    The nitric acid will leach out of the nitroglycerin if it's "bad". This will leave a rusty, brown color and a sharp, acrid, distinctly acidic smell, like freshly cut red oak.

    Your treasure trove of Unique is a real find. Just note that it was made before they started to mill the particles to a consistent size. For the best accuracy, you'll either need to use it in a powder measure with a metal housing that has a consistent vibratory input, OR use one of the new electric measures that weighs each load.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
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  9. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Shoot it. I would. I would not Shoot it in any ammo that will sit for a long time, and I wouldn't use it in any redline loads.
     
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    when dumping it on white paper no red dust, smells good, and no rust on the inside of the metal can. If so I would shoot it. I would also keep it in the original can you will be able to spot deterioration better (rust) in there. The multiple colors are the factory blending two or more lots to keep it within the correct range for the data.
     
  11. Akula69
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    Akula69 Contributing Member

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    In reading the can, I note that Hercules had some reloading data on it way back when. I wonder if anyone in here would still have that sheet....

    I'm probably gonna load it in shot shell, #8 shot at 7/8 ounce. Not sure I want to trust it in metallic.

    Thoughts?
     
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  12. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    As it degrades it becomes less powerful not more powerful
     
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  13. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Load it like Unique. It isn’t degraded from the description so load it using published data and enjoy.
     
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  14. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    That tells me it's still good. Unique changed it formula a few decades ago to make it burn cleaner, retaining all load data. So current load data is the same. I would leave in the metal can. Always look for red dust or a smoky cloud when you pour. This will indicate the powder is breaking down.

    I have a can of Herco in the square can just like yours ,un-opened, metal tab intact. If I recall it was priced around $1.67 marked down from $2.??, from Gibson.
     
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  15. Virginia Jim

    Virginia Jim Member

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    Buy your friend lunch.
     
  16. mdi

    mdi Member

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    It was a sealed, never opened can? Shoot it!
     
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  17. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Lucky you! Unique is my favorite pistol powder! Follow others advice and Shoot it!!!!
     
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  18. jimboecv

    jimboecv Member

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    If you use it and it works fine, you gain $30 or whatever.
    If it doesn't work or epicly fails, what might that cost?
     
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  19. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    Yes there was and yes I have a copy. Is the load you are looking for in 20 gauge? It is the only one I found using 7/8 ounce of shot.

    hercules.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. ev780

    ev780 Member

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    Stock up on cleaning supplies!
     
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  21. Akula69
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    Akula69 Contributing Member

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    Well, I am using 12 ga., so no, not the load I was hoping for. Not having ever used Unique, I was unaware of the loads/shot recipes that are available.
     
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  22. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    The load data looks like this.......I had copied the 20 gauge.

    There may be 1 oz loads for 12 gauge. Back in the day, this load data was my preference.

    unique loads.jpg
     
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  23. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    That is premium powder and meters very well.
     
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  24. klausman
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    klausman Member

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    That can is from the early 60s. I have shot Unique/Infallible made before 1920. Since it looks and smells good, and there is no rust inside the can, go shoot it with confidence. It will be fine. It will be a little dirty, but that is just the way it always was. Enjoy.

    If there is a batch number stamped on the bottom of the can, you could call Alliant to see if they have a more exact manufacturing date for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2021
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  25. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    In 2001 Alliant changed Unique’s properties so that it would burn cleaner. The same load data could be used.

    Here are some links regarding this:
    Here is one Jeff Quinn did on “Gun Blast” in 2001
    https://www.gunblast.com/Unique.htm

    Alliant still says “cleaner burning” on their link. Odd, they changed it 20 years ago. Anyway look what they say about shotgun loading and there are links for load data.
    https://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/unique.aspx

    There is a lot of discussion on other forums. I will not link them here.

    I do recall when Unique’s formula was changed and my load recipes remained the same, but the new formula shot much cleaner.
     
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