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Old 01-02-2010, 02:58 PM
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Default Unique Powder: What is it good for?

Howdy all.
Before anyone jumps all over me, let me say that I have done a search on this site and others as well, for the answers that I am seeking.

Now. Here is what I have going on. I remember reading somewhere, either on one of the reloading forums or in a magazine, that every reloader should have a pound or so of Unique on hand, because it is so versatile. I happened to run into a pound of the "new cleaner burning" unique for a good price, and I bought it.

I have never used this powder to load anything in the last 20 years. I have used W-231/HP-38, AA powders #5, 7,and 9, VV N-350, Alliant 2400, and a host of others to load my handgun rounds. I have looked through my reloading guides, and see it used with a variety of bullet weights and calibers, but not with what I am currently loading.

Is this stuff good for the calibers I load, which are currently:
.38 special
.357mag.
.44-40
.44special
.44mag.
.45Colt
.45ACP

I am especially interested to see if it is any good with the 45 ACP cartridge. I am looking for a medium loading for a 230 gr. LRN and Plated RN.

Can anyone direct me to a guide for loading this powder. The Alliant site does not have a page dedicated to this powder that I could find.

Thanks,
WG840
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:05 PM
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Unique is good for all the calibers you list and I loaded it .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .44 Special, .357 and .38 Special.

I don't like to post loads on the Internet but I suggest you buy a current Speer loading manual or one from Lyman or Hornady.
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:07 PM
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Sir, FWIW, I've used Unique in .44 special and magnum, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt. It's not a good choice for "powder-puff" loads, but does very well in medium to medium-hot loads.

Alliant lists Unique under shotgun powders. Click here for the Unique page on Alliant's Web site. There's a link there to all their Unique data, listed by cartridge.

Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

Ron H.
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Last edited by Ron H.; 01-02-2010 at 03:40 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:38 PM
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Think that if only two powders were available for all my handloading of handgun cartridges...Unique would be number one, followed by Bullseye.


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Old 01-02-2010, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Unique Powder: What is it good for?
Everything.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:00 PM
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Unique is a great universal powder. You usually can get more power/velocity with another more specialized powder but most loading manuals list a moderate unique load for all the calibers you listed. I have a Lee and a Hornady manual and the both show loads for those calibers.

I also have Loadbook that you see for around $7 for the 45acp. It is basically just the 45acp section out of every bullet and gunpowder manufactuer reloading manual copied and bound into one book. I think that they are very handy and recommend them. I will list a couple of those loads.

I will also say that I have not personally shot all of these loads and this is coming out of the loadbook manual. I will list which company the information came from. These loads are for the 45acp using Unique powder.

Lyman Bullets
Mold #452374 225gr. RN sized to .451(#2alloy) CCI #300 primer 1.272"OAL
5.5gr. start 695 vel. 10,100c.u.p. ------7.3gr.max(this sounds hot to me) 905 vel. 17,300c.u.p.

Alliant Powders
230gr FMC .451dia 1.190"OAl Fed#150 primer
6.0gr 895vel. 16,000PSI
230gr lead .451dia. 1.190"OAL Fed#150 primer
5.0gr 790vel. 11,800PSI

Speer Bullets
230gr LRN .452dia speer part #4690 1.270"OAL
5.3gr start 764vel. -------5.8gr max 849vel.
230gr TMJ .451dia speer part #4480 1.260"OAL
5.5gr start 728vel. -------6.5gr max 832vel.

Again this is for Unique powder. Use this information at your own risk.

The loadbook has a lot more loads listed but this post seems long enough already and I get nervous and check the loads while typing them to try not to make a dangerous typo.

Hope this helps.
Ryan
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:24 PM
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+1 on the Loadbooks, I get one for every caliber.

I use Unique in .38, .45acp, .44 Mag, .405 Winchester, .45-70 and 12ga. I've even made up powderpuff loads for my .458 Lott and 9mm jhp loads just because.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:48 PM
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After all the bad things I have heard about Unique on this forum (dirty, hard to throw, sensitive), I cant understand why anybody would use it..............But I always have (50 years worth), and always will and consider it to be one of the most versatile handgun powders ever made available to reloaders.....I guess thats why they called it "Unique"....because it is!
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:53 PM
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Yes I agree Unique is a good powder. That said I use Hodgdon Universal as my most common handgun powder,38,357,40s&w,45acp,44spcl,& 44 mag. Of course they are lighter loads in the 357 & 44 mag.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:01 PM
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Unique is one of the most versatile powders out there. I recently picked up some 38/357 shot capsules. Opened the box and the enclosed instructions had five different powders listed for load data- at the top of the list... Unique. I tried a couple today. Unique works good for that too.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:12 PM
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I personally only use Unique in .45 Colt where it does an excellent job, but some of my friends use in most all calibers with good results. It needs a good firm crimp and is not a good powder for lighter loads. That just might be the causes of some of the dirty burning complaints.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:49 PM
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Ron H. and J. Galt, thank you for that link. It is exactly what I was trying to find, but couldn't.

danski, your advice is very well taken, but I have more load books (including the ones you mentioned), binders full of powder company dowloads listed on theweb sites, and 75,287,639 of those powder manufacturer pamphlets that they give away free at the gunshops! What I couldn't find was a link to loads specific to Unique. I do appreciate your imput and it is great advice to newer reloaders.

From seeing the loads listed, it appears that Unique is not as fast a burning powder as W-231. It seems to have a burn rate closer to AA#7. I know that the data is not interchangeable, just making an observation. I was surprised to see it as a powder for the .44mag.

I will be printing out the load data from that link to put into my reloading data binder, and give it a real good looking over! Thanks again all for taking the time to reply.

WG840
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Last edited by Wheelgunner840; 01-03-2010 at 12:46 PM.
  #13  
Old 01-02-2010, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelgunner840 View Post
Ron H. and J. Galt, thank you for that link. It is exactly what I was trying to find, but couldn't.

danski, your advice is very well taken, but I have more load books (including the ones you mentioned), binders full of powder company dowloads listed on theweb sites, and 7,5287,639 of those powder manufacturer pamphlets that they give away free at the gunshops! What I couldn't find was a link to loads specific to Unique. I do appreciate your imput and it is great advice to newer reloaders.

From seeing the loads listed, it appears that Unique is not as fast a burning powder as W-231. It seems to have a burn rate closer to AA#7. I know that the data is not interchangeable, just making an observation. I was surprised to see it as a powder for the .44mag.

I will be printing out the load data from that link to put into my reloading data binder, and give it a real good looking over! Thanks again all for taking the time to reply.

WG840
Sir, glad to help. BTW, Unique is very close to AA#5 in burn rate, falling about halfway between 231 and Herco. It's nowhere close to AA#7, which is considerably slower. So says Sierra Edition V, anyway.

Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

Ron H.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:17 AM
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You're welcome, but I hadn't noticed Ron had already posted it.

Mostly all I reload is .45 ACP w/230 gr ball and Unique. I see no reason to change.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:18 AM
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Yep, it's good for everything, including shotgun and centerfire rifle plinking loads. Classic in .45ACP and .45 Colt.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acl864 View Post
Unique is one of the most versatile powders out there. I recently picked up some 38/357 shot capsules. Opened the box and the enclosed instructions had five different powders listed for load data- at the top of the list... Unique. I tried a couple today. Unique works good for that too.
Agreed....back in '81, I started loading .357 Mag cases with Speer shot capsules containing 3 rounds of #1 buck over a charge of Unique. Slip one of those into the cylinder and have your buddy explain how you managed to get 8 holes on your target with just 6 shots.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:18 AM
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Win 45 acp case, Fed 150 primer, 5.5 grains unique under a .452 230 lrn. About 800 fps and very good accuracy.

Win 45 acp case, Fed 150 primer, 6.4 grains unique under a Win 230 fmj. About 850 fps and very good accuarcy. Win 230 fmj's seem to like stiffer charges for accuracy. May have to do with smaller dia and lead base.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelgunner840 View Post
From seeing the loads listed, it appears that Unique is not as fast a burning powder as W-231. It seems to have a burn rate closer to AA#7.
The Hodgdon site has a relative burn rate chart for most commonly used powders-- including competitive brands. Use the link below to access it.
Burn Rate
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:45 PM
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For me Unique is good for 20ga,28ga,38,357,44spec,44mag,45colt and 45acp and when I had a 9mm I used it there also.
Most of my shooting is killing paper with light to maybe mid range loads. If I want to step up the 357 and 44mag for something larger I have 296 on hand for that purpose.
I have a load for the 45 colt with Unique that is suitable for deer and this year I will have one for the 44 special also,probably 7.5 grains under a Keith swc.
Many years ago $$ for components was a bit thin,so I started using cast bullets. Also back then there were not as many powders available as there is now. So to me it seemed cheaper(more frugal) to find one powder that could do most of it for me.
By using Unique I keep my inventory of powder to just a few and I buy it in 8lb cans. Yes in light loads with cast bullets it is a bit sooty,dirty,smokey. But I have to clean the handgun anyway.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:01 PM
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I have a recipe for 30-30 loads - used it couple of times for 170gn LRN loads. I did not gather bgallists - next time I will. Anyone else have rifle loads for Unique?
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:24 PM
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G2240. I had forgotten about that burn rate chart. Thanks for the reminder. I have printed it out, and put it in my reloading binder.

According to that chart, Ron H is right on the money. Each burn rate has a numerical designation according to it's burn rate.
W-231 = #23
Unique = #25
AA#5 = #34 (much slower)
AA#7 = #41 (very slow in comparison)
AA#9 is #45 is what I use for my heavier bullet, higher velocity .44 mag loads.

Even though it is closest to W-231, it appears that there is still a huge difference in pressure and burn rate. I tend to follow the guide lines very closely when building up loads.

I think I will keep this jug of Unique unopened, and maybe buy another just experiment with to add data to my binder. It does seem to be quite versatile.

I wish it wasn't so darn cold out today, as I have a bunch of test loads to chronograph. The really cold temperatures lower the velocities of some powders significantly. If I adjust loads that have been chronoed when it's cold, they end up being too heavy come summertime.

Thanks for all the info folks. I may see what this stuff does with the .38 special 147 grain LWCHB heads that I have on hand.


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Old 01-03-2010, 04:35 PM
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Unique is good for duplicating full power loads in the calibers you listed.

I've used it in 9x19mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, and .45acp.

The last batch of .38 Special I loaded, I used Unique and 158gr. LSWCs.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:05 PM
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With the exception of a half used can of W296 (does work good for .357 Magnum loads) all my handgun reloading is with Unique. Loads using four grains to eight grains of Unique covers my handgunning requirements.WG
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:18 PM
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Why I even read that it could cure cancer! (Just kidding!)

It will work fine in the calibers you have listed. It isn't going to be a favorite powder in any of them if you use new data though. It just won't work well at the "lawerized" loads that you will find in most manuals today.

Since FT has used it for so long maybe he would share some of the loads he has developed with you through PM's.

I know there are lots of folks that have used what would be considered +P+ loads with it safely for a long, long time.

I have limited experience with it. I have used it but find that there are better suited powders for each of my specific needs.

The mental image that I get when I hear "Unique" is one size fits all. Like back in the '60s when the MOOMOO dress came out. They surely would fit ALL but none well.

That is just my opinion, don't shoot me over it!
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:16 PM
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unique? that stuff aint good for anything, send it to me and ill get rid of it for you, unique is my favorite powder i love it, i could get buy with it in all my handguns but i would miss 2400 and bullseye try it you will like it!
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:16 AM
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Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

....

I'm wondering how you missed these, or am I missing what you are looking for? Alliant seems to have those calibers on their site ... go through each caliber you are loading and select the bullet weight and type you interested in loading is what I do. Good luck, and keep it safe.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:06 PM
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Thanks Hook686.

I was able to find the site, but I was looking in the wrong section. Ron H and J. Galt set me straight by directing me to the shotshell section.

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...spx?powderid=3

It was there that they had all the info on Unique pistol loads. I printed everything out, and put it all into the reloading binder. Thanks for the imput.


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Old 01-11-2010, 10:48 PM
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I started reloading with bullseye due to being cheap, but quickly figured out there was too much room for error with something that required such small amounts of powder. So I switched to unique. As I got a little more experience I started buying bullseye again and keep a can of each on the shelf.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:52 PM
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si-----------

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Old 01-16-2010, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flat top View Post
After all the bad things I have heard about Unique on this forum (dirty, hard to throw, sensitive), I cant understand why anybody would use it..............But I always have (50 years worth), and always will and consider it to be one of the most versatile handgun powders ever made available to reloaders.....I guess thats why they called it "Unique"....because it is!

Amen to every word of the above.I find all the complaints about it to be amusing.I have more of it stored than any other one powder.
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:25 PM
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Unique, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh

Unique, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y'all

Sorry, I couldn't resist the lyrics. Unique has the distinction of being used in almost every cartridge. I used it for many, many years. Just recently I quit using it. It is a dirty burning powder and the Dillon powder measure has problems with it. I have replaced it with Universal and I'll see how that does.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:58 AM
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I used Unique when I first started reloading many moons ago. I thought new-fangled powders had to be better and didn't use it for many years. Of course it has its' adherants, so I thought I would give it a try again. I am amazed that shooters have had a powder this great for 100 years. I will always have a soft spot for this enduring product that is supremely versatile.

Shooters complain about it being dirty or difficult to meter, but when you have been at the top of the heap for so long, you will take some cuts. It is clean enough and meters good enough. In some cartridges and pressures it as clean as anything. The accuracy is why people love it.

Don't consider it a lead bullet powder for classic cartridges. It works great for jacketed bullets in modern chamberings. I took the Nosler manual advice for an indicated accurate load for 10MM. It is clean and extremly accurate in this cartridge.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:40 PM
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Back when I started reloading, an early lesson on powder came from my grand father who cast and loaded his own (circa 1970). I could only afford one or two powders, his recommendation was Bullseye and Unique. I went with Unique and kept myself shooting for many years. It's a great powder and I still use it today. I use it in 44mag, 41mag, 38 special cast bullet loads running anywhere from 800 to 850 fps.

Last edited by 1006610MM; 01-23-2010 at 11:43 PM.
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  #34  
Old 01-28-2010, 09:06 PM
Cool Hand Hodge Cool Hand Hodge is offline
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My pet .38spl load is made with unique. Its the one powder i can buy anywhere. I load them very light...just fast enough to not keyhole at 25 yards...works well enough but it is very dirty.
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  #35  
Old 01-29-2010, 11:27 AM
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Well, I burn a fair bit of Unique. I use it in .38spl, 9mm, .45 Colt, and .44 Mag.
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  #36  
Old 01-29-2010, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Hodge View Post
My pet .38spl load is made with unique. Its the one powder i can buy anywhere. I load them very light...just fast enough to not keyhole at 25 yards...works well enough but it is very dirty.
Light loads with Unique will do that. I load .45 Colt and .44 Special with Unique and a medium to heavy crimp and don't have that problem.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:00 PM
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You mean there are other powders? I use it for most everything in pistol and a couple rifles, mostly using my cast.

Say... I haven't been here in a while, what happened to the post count? Yee haa I'm young at last
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  #38  
Old 02-02-2010, 02:46 PM
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I use it a lot for both 38 and 357, like it a lot, meters just fine if I tap the Lee powder dispenser with the micrometer adjustable powder bar just before charging the case and I don't find it very dirty at all.
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  #39  
Old 02-03-2010, 02:03 AM
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Here is a list of what Unique is not good for:

















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  #40  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:26 PM
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It handles almost all of my handgun needs, and has for many years.

T.
  #41  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:39 PM
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My most accurate load for my 8 3/8" model 27 is a 125 gr hp over 8.4gr Unique. This is not a maximum load but I can get 2" groups at 50 yds with it from a sandbag.

I use a bag with real sand.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:59 AM
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I use Unique in my 38spl loads, 357mag, Thurdy-thurdy, and 308win. The Thurdy-thurdy and 308 use a 150gr cast boolit with 11.5gr for a MV of over 1500fps in a Rem. 5R mil spec Tac. rifle. My kiddos enjoy them very much! I do too.
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Old 12-12-2022, 01:11 PM
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I use Unique in 9mm and .44 Special/.44 Magnum almost exclusively, also use it for cast bullet loads in .35 Whelen. These are the only rounds that I load and shoot these days, using one powder for everything makes life simple.
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Old 12-12-2022, 02:32 PM
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Recall an article by Lee Jurras years ago, he recommended Unique as the do it all powder, said you'll lose a little velocity in magnum loads, that's all.
That was my experience.
  #45  
Old 12-12-2022, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Galt View Post
Ditto. I have loaded just about every pistol cartridge that I load for with Unique, and have loaded shotshells and light rifle plinking loads with lead bullets with it, too. Itís as close to a do-anything powder there is.
  #46  
Old 12-12-2022, 04:17 PM
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Haven’t used Unique for awhile, but I got an 8# jug of Universal. Very close to duplicating the performance of Unique.
  #47  
Old 12-12-2022, 06:43 PM
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12 ga. 28 ga.

Not much good for rifles. But good for everything else.
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  #48  
Old 12-12-2022, 07:11 PM
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I currently use it in .41, .44, and 45 Colt loads with cast bullets. 7.0 grains works in all of them. However, next time I load .45 Colt loads I will up the charge due to the case size.

I have a 4 pound jug of it and if need be, I can use it in the other pistol rounds I load for. I have used it for 50 years, so why change?
  #49  
Old 12-12-2022, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
12 ga. 28 ga.

Not much good for rifles. But good for everything else.
If you put on your Stetson and Cowboy up, Unique is fine for
300gr-400gr leads in 458 Win Mag rifles.

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  #50  
Old 12-12-2022, 07:36 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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You either like "chocolate" or you don't.......Leave it on the shelf for us.
BTW I use it 12 ga
20 ga
44 spl
45LC
38 spl.
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357 magnum, 38spl, 41mag, 45acp, 639, bullseye, cartridge, chronograph, colt, crimp, hornady, micrometer, model 27, nosler, primer, universal, winchester

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