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Old 08-27-2018, 02:25 PM
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Default Vintage unique...how old

So last week my son and I won a few things at auction. A nearby farmer died about 25 years ago and the family was finally selling the contents. Ton of neat items but I only won a few. I did get a rather substantial reloading lot. One of the items was this tub of Hercules unique. Pencil price on top was 12.00. Its 3/4 of the way full. For living in his reloading shed for at least 25 years....well i already tried some. Still....works...great! ( using md Smiths light load of 3.5 with a 158 gr... Crazy. So Im wondering how old it really is
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:35 PM
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$12 in a cardboard container,I'd guess it's from the mid 80s.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:28 PM
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For a long time, at least until the early 1970s, Hercules used metal cans of several different sizes for commercial reloading powders. I worked for Hercules at that time. I would guess fiber drums for retail reloading powders would date from no earlier than that. In the mid-1980s I was buying 4- and 8-pound fiber containers of both Red Dot and Green Dot when I was doing a lot of skeet shooting. The larger containers had slip-over lids as the one shown does. Smokeless powder has a very long shelf life.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-27-2018 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:45 PM
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Thanks fellas
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:53 PM
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I would never use a open canister of powder . you don't know if its had a different powder accidently mixed in or what its been exposed to. I wouldn't risk blowing up a gun and your hand. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:01 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I still have cans of Herco and 2400 (and Green Dot, Red Dot, & Blue Dot)that are the same as that! How do you know it is Unique?

However, those cans were still on store shelves until the mid to late 90's. If the smell is like gunpowder and not like ammonia I think you could use it, once you're sure what it is!

Ivan
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:12 PM
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Hay;

just make the seller fire a few rounds to prove it is safe !!

No big deal.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:14 PM
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Unique is non-hygroscopic (does not absorb water), and no matter how old it is, it should still be usable. Your experience is (no pun intended) not unique.

John
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsfxst View Post
I would never use a open canister of powder . you don't know if its had a different powder accidently mixed in or what its been exposed to. I wouldn't risk blowing up a gun and your hand. Just my opinion.
Never is a big word to use here. I used up lots of very old powder so I'm not agreeing there is anything to worry about but if he feels the need to be cautious he could still consume it. The most dangerous case would be for the powder to be fresh Bullsye. Deteriorated Bullseye would be safer with the same loads. He could target shoot with charge weights that would be safe if it were new Bullsye. If that still makes you nervous he could fire .38 Special loads in a large frame Ruger or S&W .357. The most nervous nilly should be able to enjoy that and leave the range with a smile.

Last edited by k22fan; 08-27-2018 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:40 AM
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Looks bigger than a one pound canister.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
How do you know it is Unique?
Because that's what it says on the label..

Quote:
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Looks bigger than a one pound canister.
No one ever said it was a pound, but mention of 4lb and 8lb fiber canisters.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigggbbruce View Post
No one ever said it was a pound, but mention of 4lb and 8lb fiber canisters.
The canister is not big enough to be an 8 pounder. I think it is a 4 pounder.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:55 PM
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Looks like a 4 pound canister to me.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:37 PM
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Hercules powder used to be available in 3 lb containers. I have a 3 lb of 231. I'm guessing this is 70's to early 80's.
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:19 PM
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Earliest price tag on Unique I have is $4.39 on a 1 lb paper container. I date it from the late 70's.
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:48 PM
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Took this photograph several years ago when there was some discussion on forums about "cleaner burning" Unique.




Did some chronograph testing of several lots of Unique, both "old" and "new." The "cleaner burning" Unique did produce uniformly higher velocities, but not by much.
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:48 PM
Road_Clam Road_Clam is offline
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Mid to late 80's ? Kegs of Unique and WST.


Last edited by Road_Clam; 10-02-2018 at 07:50 PM.
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