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Old 07-04-2017, 05:02 AM
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Default What is the Best all around smokeless powder

For 38Special, 40S&W and 10MM. I'm looking for medium to upper medium loads for jacketed bullets in all weights that's clean burning and consistent metering. Looking for 1 powder that does it all.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:33 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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The best "All Round Powder" is Gold! The best all round gunpowder is Unique! But for one just below magnum loads in those 3 rounds? Having both 38 special and 10mm is a pretty big difference.

Ivan
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:11 AM
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Too big a spread to have a single answer.

10mm will be the most limiting. Pick a powder for 10mm that is least worst for .38spl.
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:16 AM
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There is no "best all around powder" no more than there is a best all around food.

There are way too many bullets, calibers and other variables for there to ever be a "best powder" for multiple calibers.
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:20 AM
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Not hard to figure out! Unique! Load 'em all with Unique. And ... also use it for cast bullet loads in my 03 Springfield. For the .38 Special ... 5.0 gr. of Unique and a 158 gr. LSWC is a very good full power service type load. Load 8.0 gr. under a 165 gr. cast lead bullet in the .30-06 ... extremely good small game load. I've used it in vintage military rifle matches fired at 100 yds. with very good success. Shoots about like a .22 LR but really gets things done down range. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:09 AM
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No best all around, but Unique can make decent loads in many cartridges, handgun, and shotgun.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:23 AM
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Default IF BY "BEST" YOU MEAN VERSATILE. (may be used in many different calibers)

I vote for Unique as well.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:24 AM
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Another vote for Unique. You can load darn near anything with the stuff.
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:59 AM
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There are slow, medium, and fast burning powders for a reason, but Unique does come quickly to mind. I think it is being supplanted by BE-86.
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:19 PM
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Unique may or may not meter well for you, might be best to try some IMO.
I don't shoot 40/10mm but as I load in the three calibers mentioned good ole HP38 is a powder that goes across the board on all three at Hodgdon Reload Data site and HS6 both of which meter very well.
Karl
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:55 PM
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There is also 21-22.5 grains of Unique in a 12 Ga. shotgun load with a
1 1/8 oz. payload of pellets for a 1200 +/- fps trap load.

It works for me.
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Old 07-04-2017, 01:30 PM
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Only two kinds of folks use Unique. Really old guys and guys of any age that were mentored by really old guys!

C'mon now, true though that may be, I truly did intend for that to generate chuckles. The hardcore Unique guys shouldn't be offended at my quip.

Unique has earned it's legendary reputation for the countless decades where it was in -EVERY- single handloader's cache of powders, and probably used more than any others.

However, here in 2017, this stuff only exists because people are willing to pay for it. "Flammable Dirt" continues to be one of the absolute worst metering powders ever invented.

Which powder for .38 Spl, .40 S&W and 10mm?
I also agree that having only one means handicapping yourself. However, if I had to pick one from my favorites to do all three chamberings, I'd take Alliant Power Pistol.
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Old 07-04-2017, 01:36 PM
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During the last drought when I couldn't find anything else, I
remembered Herco was a go to powder for 9mm back in the day.

As It works out, 6 grains of Herco will run:

38 Spl 158gr lead
9mm Luger 124gr lead
45ACP 230gr lead
40S&W 180gr lead
10mm 200gr jacketed

I've only chronographed the 40S&W to just see what it's doing
out of the Shield and it's running right at 890fps.

I should take one of the Kahr CM-9s and one of the Centennials out
and see what the 38 & 9mm are running out of them.

Got rid of the 10mm so that load is academic.

The advantages for me were:

1. I could find Herco all the time anything else wasn't available.
2. All I had to do was to move the powder measure from toolhead
to toolhead on the Dillon 550 to load stuff which made setup and
tear-down easier.

One other thing I found, the S&B small primers work equally well
in the calibers I've listed and they run well in the 3000fps .223
loadings with 55gr fmj's

As far as Power Pistol goes. It does well. But the fireballs are
dazzeling.
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Old 07-04-2017, 02:02 PM
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Power Pistol gets it done well. There is the added plus of starting a close range assailant on fire.
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Old 07-04-2017, 02:08 PM
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Disclaimer: I load for .38 spl (75%), x39 (15%), .357 (5%), .30-30 (5%). If stuck on the proberbial desert island I would take 2400 if I could only have one, with it I could load all four. I prefer BE for .38 and 2400 for the others. W231 is almost as good at BE for .38 IMHO. TB is also a fun but less powerful propellant for all but x39.
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Old 07-04-2017, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Which powder for .38 Spl, .40 S&W and 10mm?
I also agree that having only one means handicapping yourself. However, if I had to pick one from my favorites to do all three chamberings, I'd take Alliant Power Pistol.
I was going to say the same thing, Power Pistol.

I start using PP for 9mm. It works great for high velocity auto rounds, so it should be fine for 40sw and 10mm.

Once I started loading revolver cartridges, I got 2400 for magnum loads. However, I continue to use PP for my 38spl loads.

So I would say PP would work for all three of your calibers.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:40 PM
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Unique is the best all around powder. But it meters likes rocks and is dirty in light loads. I finally used up the last of my quantity and good riddance.

I switched to 231 and Titegroup. Easy to meter. Clean in light loads. Economical.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by df06 View Post
No best all around, but Unique can make decent loads in many cartridges, handgun, and shotgun.
This was talked about back when I first started loading in the early 1970s, the answer is still Unique!
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:01 PM
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I use AA#5 in .45acp,9mm,.44spl,.38spl and .357. It's burn rate is just slightly faster then Unique and it meters like water. I don't own a .40 or 10mm but I just looked at the data and it's listed for both in a full range of bullets weights.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jul View Post
For 38Special, 40S&W and 10MM. I'm looking for medium to upper medium loads for jacketed bullets in all weights that's clean burning and consistent metering. Looking for 1 powder that does it all.
You Can load any handgun caliber with any handgun/shotgun powder, but there will be compromises. Any medium burner from unique up to about hs6 works. The 10mm will not reach full potential though, you need something slower, which would suck in the 38sp. I would probably go with wsf, a tiny bit slower than unique, meters better. BE86 might also do well for those not liking unique.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:37 PM
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That's a fairly wide spread .
It's like wanting to have one pair of shoes to do everything, running , playing tennis , going to work , going to church or a fancy party....

About the best is good old Unique or Accurate Arms #5, neither is great for the maximum hot and heavy loads nor the best for light target loads. Looking in a few reloading manuals show that with cast or jacketed both powders will cover the middle of the road loads quite well.

I also notice that AA #5 is slightly slower than Unique , you need just a little more AA #5 to get the same velocity as Unique but with AA #5 you can reach a slightly higher velocity with the maximum loads . sort of tit for tat.
I've been loading Unique for 50 years and picked up some AA #5 last year , the targets from the last range trip have nice tight groups with it , I'm impressed with it so far.
I bought the AA #5 because the dealer didn't have any Unique and he had lots of AA #5.....
Unique or AA #5 , either will get the job done.
Gary

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Old 07-04-2017, 04:40 PM
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First off a powder well suited for 38 special won't be optimum for 40 S&W and it will be much to "fast" for 10mm.

If you want a powder that will work sort of well I would suggest Accurate #5 or Vihtavouri 3N37. Both have burn rates similar to Unique and both have superb metering properties. Downside to Accurate # 5 is that it's best suited to building +P 38 special loads, at standard 38 special charge weights it's operating below it's optimum ignition pressure and as a result you more velocity variation that ideal for great accuracy. As for the 3N37, works very well for 38 special but in the 40 and 10mm you'll be giving up just a bit of velocity. Actually the best powder for velocity in the 40 and 10mm I've used is Longshot and it meters about as well as dog poop, which means it meters identically to Unique. However if you are looking to get to the maximum possible velocities both #5 and 3N37 will do the job and they really do meter wonderfully in my RCBS Competition meter.

One note about #5 though, just like H110 the grain size for #5 is fine enough to leak in the Lee Perfect Powder Measure and cause the drum to jam. If you have one of these cheap Lee measures then either step up to the RCBS or just avoid the Accurate handgun powders and spend the extra money for the Vihtavouri powder.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:52 PM
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Don't avoid the Accurate powders...there might be be some good stuff there, I use a old fashioned Lyman 55 and dippers.
The old Lyman 55 design is a lot better than most people give it credit.
Just upgrade your measure or use a little dipper...don't avoid a good powder.
Gary
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:13 PM
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I like Power Pistol, Unique and Universal. I primarily use Power Pistol at this point in my shooting career.
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBnTx View Post
There is no "best all around powder" no more than there is a best all around food.

There are way too many bullets, calibers and other variables for there to ever be a "best powder" for multiple calibers.
EXACTLY!
Propellants are formulated differently for different tasks. What works in a 9mm may not work worth a damn in, say, the .45 Colt and vice versa.

Bob Nosler told me in an interview at NRA this year that reloading is a "recipe game." This is all about finding the right combination of powder, bullet and primer to do what you need done in the gun you have.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:31 PM
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10mm and .40 S&W are radically different from .38 Spl. I would not attempt to use the same powder in all three.

If I were attempting to stockpile a single powder for a rainy day, I would select either Unique or Accurate No 5. With either of those powders, I can load something for every cartridge from 9mm to .44 Magnum, with either lead or jacketed bullets.

Will the loads function? Yes. Will they be accurate, clean-burning, or excel at anything I choose to do? Doubtful.

But powder is cheap. Consider a more appropriate .38 Spl powder like Bullseye, WST, or Accurate No 2, and then select a slower powder for .40 and 10mm.

The shelf above my bench is currently home to no less than seven different powders, for a handful of handgun cartridges. Aside from perhaps Hodgdon Universal, I've not found a single one I wouldn't use again (and I know lots of people like Universal). At various times, I use every single one--and I've got three new ones en route from Midsouth as we speak.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:55 PM
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Unique does well in many cartridges. I have used it with good results in 9mm through 45-70.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:51 PM
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Hard to beat ol' WIN 231 for 380acp, 9mm, 38 S&W Special, 40 S&W, a mild 357 Magnum, 45acp & 10mm... And 44 Magnum & 9mm Makarov and 45 Colt, but only occasionally. Not necessarilly the absolute best in every application, but they all go BANG! and there are some loads that are quite accurate. Not for bear protection, but the paper targets are shakin' in their boots!

My 1st 8lb. jug of Unique may not agree?

How can any one powder (or any one caliber) be the best (for everything)?

Cheers!
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:31 PM
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Go to the hodgdon site and look up those calibers. You find CFE Pistol can do them all reasonably well. It also meters very well.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:38 PM
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Default W231

I don't use Unique, I can't meter that stuff whatsoever.

I can get by with W231 in almost everything. Don't load too light but if loaded medium it's great.

If you load light and was to plink: Bullseye.

You guy here but mentored by a really old guy too. That's how I even got a bottle of Unique, bullseye and 2400.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:52 PM
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If I had to get rid of all my powders except 1, I would keep HERCO!
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:08 PM
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Ok, Ok, lets just talk about pistol and revolver loads and leave out the flaming dirt "Unique" powder.
No rifle or shotgun data.

So from the little .380 up to the Big 50 cal. loading...............
what do you guys have that works for light lead target loads and full bore Jacket bullets?

I know this new power of today is some great stuff, so what one powder....................
does it all ?

Ring, ring....... hello ?
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:55 AM
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It's stupid and dangerous to try and make one do it all. The powder that makes slugs move in massive-large revolver rounds will stick bullets in the "little .380" and the fast burning powders are train-wreck awful and half the required idiocy for detonating the large magnum rounds.

It's a lousy idea, it's poor handloading, awful performance at best and catastrophe at worst.
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Old 07-05-2017, 04:04 AM
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Default Just buy another powder.....

If you want the best, two or three powders can do it all.

Target loads like fast powders Bullseye, Titegroup and that ilk. These can usually be loaded to 'warm' loads.

Medium shooting takes Medium powders. Unique, HP 38, etc...

The heaviest loads require slow powders. H110, 2400 and that group.

Unique can do all of those things, but you won't get the top performance out of all of those cartridges with it.


9mm and 10mm are newer, high pressure cartridges in relatively small cases. .38 is a different animal. It was a large black powder cartridge that was switched to smokeless. It also has a much lower working pressure than the 9 or 10mm.


You decided what kind of shooting you want to do with each gun and that will tell you a lot about the powder you need.
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:20 AM
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I guess my question should have been >>>Best powder for each of these calibers not 1 powder for all 3. I have been reloading for 30+ years but have not had a chance to try any of the latest and greatest.
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
It's stupid and dangerous to try and make one do it all. The powder that makes slugs move in massive-large revolver rounds will stick bullets in the "little .380" and the fast burning powders are train-wreck awful and half the required idiocy for detonating the large magnum rounds.

It's a lousy idea, it's poor handloading, awful performance at best and catastrophe at worst.
That's a bit of an overreaction. For instance, I can quite safely use Bullseye to load pretty much everything from .380 to .44 Magnum. Data exists, it's not voodoo, and it's not inherently dangerous.

What I can't do is use Bullseye to get 1250 fps out of a 255-grain LSWC in the .44 Magnum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jul
I guess my question should have been >>>Best powder for each of these calibers not 1 powder for all 3. I have been reloading for 30+ years but have not had a chance to try any of the latest and greatest.
You're not missing anything. Some guys like Power Pistol or Hodgdon CFE, but powder is not magic dust.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:37 AM
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I've been using Unique and Bullseye for years. But I just went to Alliant's website and read about their newest powder for handgun loads, BE-86.
I am considering using it for 9mm and 45ACP loads. Has anybody been using BE-86?
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Only two kinds of folks use Unique. Really old guys and guys of any age that were mentored by really old guys!

C'mon now, true though that may be, I truly did intend for that to generate chuckles. The hardcore Unique guys shouldn't be offended at my quip.

Unique has earned it's legendary reputation for the countless decades where it was in -EVERY- single handloader's cache of powders, and probably used more than any others.

However, here in 2017, this stuff only exists because people are willing to pay for it. "Flammable Dirt" continues to be one of the absolute worst metering powders ever invented.

Which powder for .38 Spl, .40 S&W and 10mm?
I also agree that having only one means handicapping yourself. However, if I had to pick one from my favorites to do all three chamberings, I'd take Alliant Power Pistol.
To say Unique is the absolute worst metering powder ever made is evidence of someone who has never experienced the nightmare of 800-X.
But I also have come around to Power Pistol as my current choice for loading .357 Magnum, 9mm and .45 ACP. And, if I had a .40 S&W and 10mm, I would probably load those with Power Pistol, too.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:22 AM
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I use Unique as my "go to" powder because it works well for me when I want medium power loads:

.38 spl/.357 mag
.44 spl/.44 mag
.500 S&W

At this time I don't reload for auto cartridges, but contemplating
.38 Super and 10mm.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:16 AM
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Default Best smokeless powder

Use 231. 38, 45ACP, 9mm. HP38. Can't go
wrong. 10mm, don't know-
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:47 AM
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I was just kicking the ball a little farther down the street on post #32.........
I did not mean to ruffle any feathers. Sorry if I did.

I also agree, as a loader, a fast, medium and slow powder on my shelf is nice to have
but one can work if on a shoe string budget.

I have tested the new BE-86 in 38, 357 and 9mm loads
from light lead to full loads and find it very close to Unique.
In the 9mm, it actually got higher fps in the heavier bullets
due to the fact that Unique was at a full volume loading.

I am still working on.......... how low can you go in the 9mm.
Looking for fail to eject or cases so "sooty" that I give up, for a cleaner case.

I do not know if BE-86 works in a 380 or the 40mm or larger loads
but being a fine ball powder, it might do well.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:01 PM
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I quit Unique simply because I found a much better powder , IMO , that I use in over 90% of my reloading in pistols . Limiting yourself to one powder , the performance will suffer on one end or the other of your spoken calibers.
Yes , it will go " bang " but not up to your expectations in performance . If you must use only one powder and it's something in the " unique " category I would strongly suggest BE-86 . It's not my everyday go to powder but I have tried it and liked it in 357 sig . It is just slightly slower in burn rate than unique , meters much better and shoots clean , when loaded properly .
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crankyoldlady View Post
Unique is the best all around powder. But it meters likes rocks and is dirty in light loads. I finally used up the last of my quantity and good riddance.

I switched to 231 and Titegroup. Easy to meter. Clean in light loads. Economical.
For most of the last 25 years I subscribed to the "Fast rifle/slow pistol high density" powder theory, then a few years ago I had to economise on the number and type of powders I purchased. While I don't use it as a universal powder my main go to is Tightgroup.

4.2 gn under 148 gn .357 HBWC in 38 Special. Shot to 50 meters in Service Match out of my 6" 686 AFS will hold 6 rounds in the 9 ring of an ISSF Rapidfire target when I do my bit from prone.

5.5 gn under 200 gn LFP in 44/40. Out to 25 meters in my Uberti SSA revolvers and at over 100 m in my Rossi Puma those steel CAS targets ring out loud and clear.

5.8 gn under 200 gn JFP in .45 ACP. Will hit a 8-10" steel plate at over 40 meters standing, 2 handed, from my Springfield Armoury 1911 A1 at least 2 out of 3 shots. This is above the recommended max load which would not make power factor in my gun and shows no overpressure signs.

I have found Win 231 more accurate with a 230 gr LRN in the .45 (5.6 gn) but the Hodgdon site shows Tightgroup loads for the 40S&W/10mm and I'm sure something good could be worked up with some time, a chronograph and some patience.

And while the same 4.2 gn Tightgroup under a 100 gn LFP .357 in Magnum cases was okay in my Henry Big Boy I found my old standby of 10.5 gn H4227/AR2207 worked much better.

Last edited by Kiwi cop; 07-05-2017 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
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No best all around, but Unique can make decent loads in many cartridges, handgun, and shotgun.
Even some rifles. Especially reduced loads.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:14 PM
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An experienced reloader would never ask this question.
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Old 07-06-2017, 05:14 AM
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An experienced reloader would never ask this question.

And why is that?
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:18 AM
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Also have to agree that Unique is one that can do most things well in most calibers. Another one that is often overlooked that will give better topend velocities is the now discontinued SR-4756.

And OP you really never did say what velocity you wanted to run with the various calibers.... For target to mid-range loads you can you a lot of powders...when you really want topend however you are limiting yourself.

Bob
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:01 PM
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As you see from the many posts on three pages the .38 Special and 10mm are just too different to use one powder and do either well, sorry.

.38 Special
Clays, AA#2, W231/HS-6, Zip

40 S&W/10mm
AA#7, AA#9, HS-6, LongShot, Power Pistol, 2400.

The above are just to name a few in the burn rate range associated with those cartridges.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMan View Post
Also have to agree that Unique is one that can do most things well in most calibers. Another one that is often overlooked that will give better topend velocities is the now discontinued SR-4756.

And OP you really never did say what velocity you wanted to run with the various calibers.... For target to mid-range loads you can you a lot of powders...when you really want topend however you are limiting yourself.

Bob
I plan to stay with mid range loads and a few upper mid range. I have been shooting hot loads forever but it's time to key down.
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Old 07-06-2017, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wise_A View Post
That's a bit of an overreaction. For instance, I can quite safely use Bullseye to load pretty much everything from .380 to .44 Magnum. Data exists, it's not voodoo, and it's not inherently dangerous.

What I can't do is use Bullseye to get 1250 fps out of a 255-grain LSWC in the .44 Magnum.
I agree with you -- probably much more than you'd realize. An "over reaction" perhaps, but it was a direct response to the generalized post above mine.

Let me expound a little bit... and yes I do realize that I need to explain in a manner that sounds less like preaching and more like sharing my own discovery in hopes that other do the same.

I'd been a safe and successful handloader for many years and many thousands of rounds all the while dead-blind to exactly HOW different powders and burn rates actually work. And if I have to guess (and using my experience to guide me...) -many- new handloaders see almost exactly the same (limited!) view that I did before I saw the whole picture.

New guy starts with one or two or four handgun calibers. He's already overwhelmed with information overload and the money he begins to realize he needs to throw at this hobby to "save" money. The idea to use one magic powder to load many calibers is 100% natural and dangit -- the powder manufacturers show PUBLISHED data for these very fast burners in very large volume, high pressure magnum revolver rounds. "Hey, says right there, Titegroup data for .44 Mag!"

Do -any- of these handloaders, even ONE of these new handloaders know powder the way we know powder?

Do they know that even a compressed and "barely in there" crazy over-max load of H110 in a modern .44 Mag wouldn't grenade the gun but a double charge of Titegroup may very well throw metal? And I say this knowing for sure that you can probably actually fit a TRIPLE charge of Titegroup in that case?

Do they also have a mental picture of how linear, predictable, and SAFE the pressure curve is in a .44 Mag handload when you use the proper slower burning powders -- and how the pressure curve looks on a graph if you build .44 Mag with Titegroup or Red Dot or W231?

Do they understand even a little bit that their .44 Mag published max load with Bullseye gives them the SAME or MORE peak pressure as a proper load built with AA#9 or 2400, but gives them 200 less FPS? Do they have even the slightest idea that the proper powder exhibits a very smooth rise to peak while the pistol powder goes from "bang" to "OH GOD" in a third of a grain?

Again, my direct response was to the idea specifically about loading .380 and "the big .50" which, in handguns, is arguably going to be either the .50AE or the .500 S&W Mag. Pick either, argument is the same-- this is a horrendous idea, all risk with no reward I can imagine. The proper powders for either "fifty" will stick a bullet in .380 (next shot catastrophe) and a proper .380 powder won't make any semi-auto .50AE operate and when used in .500 Mag will return either a safe powderpuff load (in a handgun the size/weight of a field artillary) or, if the handloader is careless or clueless, will potentially blow up the gun in a way that H110, 300-MP, AA#9 or 4227 isn't capable of even approaching.

Haha, and a shout-out and high-five to the guy that suggested to me that 800-X is worse metering than Unique: yes brother, I also have my "half can of 800-X", hell yes it meters even worse. I didn't bring it up because 800-X has maybe 1/50th of the popularity of Flaming Dirt, the true "Hall of Famer" Hercules/Alliant Unique.
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