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Old 06-28-2022, 05:20 PM
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Default "Flaming dirt" ?? Unique......

So I took down the the unknown powder loads as discussed in a recent thread "Unknown 44", switched out the 288 gr lead LSWC bullets for 240 gr LSWC and pulled the 14.4 gr unknown powder load for 7.1 gr of Unique and kept the unknown primers.


Went out the the range today and shot a lot of much older S&Ws, 2nd model 455 Webley (A joy!) 22 Combat Masterpiece (A real joy!) and the diminutive H&R model 732 32 S&W long (a gun I carry often and a hoot to shoot), all with factory loads except the 32 which I load with the Unique powder, but I digress..


The main reason for the trip was to see what the 44 Magnums were like in the 8 3/8 629-1.


Very accurate, nice flat trajectory from 20 yards out to 60, but... Sooooooooo dirty!!


Is this a case of too light a load? first time seeing Unique on a stainless gun? unknown primers? A combination of all or???


I didn't see any unburned powder, but definately a "running rich" situation....



Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2022, 05:39 PM
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Unique has always been trashy - I've replaced it with Longshot for nearly everything except 38 Spl lead bullets over the past few years.
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Old 06-28-2022, 05:49 PM
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Unique is dirty,but 7.1 gr is on the light end too. Make some up increasing gradually to 10 gr and see if the loads are any cleaner.10 gr became my standard load,but it’s been so long I don’t remember if it was any cleaner than 7 or 8 grains.
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Old 06-28-2022, 05:50 PM
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Unique powder has been called the flaming dirt powder and yes it and other
powders from this company can add a "Film" on the revolvers, mostly with lead bullets.

However it is still used, because it does offer good fps and good accuracy
in a lot of guns that many of us shoot.

I find that the powder smudges are long gone, way before I can get the lead fowling off of the face of my shiny stainless M49 or my 686 cylinders.

I think that is why someone invented, Flitz ?
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Old 06-28-2022, 06:20 PM
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That's always been the 411 on Unique and my experience as well. Heavier charges burned cleaner for me but sill left soot (for lack of a better word) on my revolvers.
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Old 06-28-2022, 06:27 PM
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Iv'e been shooting some of the cardboard can Hercules Unique in 357 MG, 6-6.5g 158g LSWC GC with fed standard SMP, and not getting dirty film. But on a blue steel 586. Might show up on a stainless.
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Old 06-28-2022, 06:53 PM
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Been shooting unique since mid 70’s in 45 ACP, no issues for me as I clean after shooting. IIRC an 201grn cast Keith over 6.1 grns of unique, very accurate.
In 38 Spl and 367 Mag also use unique under 150 grn K.T cast, don’t remember the grns but accurate and also clean after shooting.
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:03 PM
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Unique does leave a lot of soot and unburned powder behind in my guns but it is very versatile, it gives good velocities and accuracy (at least in my guns) and most importantly, I was able to accumulate 10+ pounds of it in the past 2-3 years at very good prices.

I use it for my .45 auto, .45 Colt, .44 Magnum and .38 Special loads, all lead SWCs. For .38 WC and .45 "target" loads I use Bullseye for pretty much the same reason--I was able to lay in a good supply cheap.

The only disadvantage of Unique's sooty nature is if you shoot/plink a lot then holster your pistol--I would not want to grind all of that residue into the leather. Since the public range here does not allow holstered pistols on the range, it's a moot point for me.
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:06 PM
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Default Thanks all....

What is your experience with say Vihtavuori N320?, noticeably cleaner?


Thanks
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:37 PM
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Pour a bit of N320 along with a few other powders on a board and light them up.
The N320 almost disappears compared to BE, Unique and others.
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imissedagain View Post
Pour a bit of N320 along with a few other powders on a board and light them up.
The N320 almost disappears compared to BE, Unique and others.

I'll take that as a "flaming" endorsement.
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:45 PM
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I would normally use Unique for target loads in 44 with lead bullets. I used Blue Dot once for 200gr bullets. I don’t think it was a light load. It was for a Ruger SBH. Now still using 2400 and JHPs in it for over 50yrs.
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Old 06-28-2022, 10:24 PM
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I swapped 2400 for Lil Gun just as I swapped Unique for Longshot. Same reasons - cleaner, as accurate, less pressure for similar velocities.

And yes, I've heard about Lil Gun being the devil's blowtorch, destroying steel in just a few rounds. I'm on my third 8-lb jug with the same 357, 41, and 44 mags, and have had exactly zero throat erosion and topstrap cutting.

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Old 06-28-2022, 10:53 PM
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Iíve been shooting Unique in my 45 acpís since 1980 to the exclusion of other powders.

My ďeverything ď load is the H&G 68 at about 1,000 fps.

Iíve never found it to be too dirty.

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Old 06-29-2022, 07:57 AM
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Even since I started powder coating my boolits, I learned that most of the smoke from Unique loads actually comes from the lube.
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
Even since I started powder coating my boolits, I learned that most of the smoke from Unique loads actually comes from the lube.

These bullets do seem heavily lubed, the one on the left is the 240gr I had, compared to the 288gr that I pulled.


The lube has to go somewhere and that would explain why my 32 long loads with unique are not particularly dirty.


Thanks for that insight!
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Old 06-29-2022, 11:59 AM
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I love Unique!!! I use it in 12 ga-20 ga-44 spl-45 LC. And can use it in numerous other cartridges if needed. Unique is over 100 years old. I don't need to swap it out for anything else.
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Old 06-29-2022, 12:12 PM
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Unique is an extremely flexible powder . Like 4895 is to rifles , so is Unique to handguns . 7grs is light for 44mag . Unique like all the other Alliant flake powders will not burn clean until it reaches it's preferred pressure level . Most double based powders are the same . Vihtavouri N 320 does burn clean treat it like W231 .
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Old 06-29-2022, 12:19 PM
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I used a lot of Unique until the obumma reign when I couldn't find any and switched to Universal. I found that Unique will burn clean in the upper, higher pressure loads. But I wasn't concerned mainly because I cleaned my guns after each range trip, and I didn't wear my white kid gloves or my white tux when shooting...

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Old 06-29-2022, 12:26 PM
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You might also try a bit heavier crimp allowing the powder to burn a bit more inside the case.
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Old 06-29-2022, 12:48 PM
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While I know Unique has a very loyal following I use W231 instead. I just can't deal with the dirt all over everything including my hands with Unique. I know I can clean it off after I shoot buy why make things harder when I feel W231, W244 or W572 will do just as good a job without all the soot?
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Old 06-29-2022, 01:08 PM
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Unique can be dirty but fortunately I know how to clean a gun.
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Old 06-29-2022, 01:49 PM
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Lots of varied opinions here. I've yet to find a powder that left any handgun in immaculate condition after firing and required no cleaning. After more than fifty years of shooting mostly cast bullets (but some jacketed too) in a variety of handguns, I've found it takes the same amount of effort to clean a gun that's just a little dirty as it does to clean one that's real dirty.

We have these days a group of shooters extra sensitive to "dirt" and can't abide smudged fingertips, but if a load shoots well, I find the alleged "dirt" nemesis becomes pretty secondary.

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Old 06-29-2022, 02:39 PM
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BTW; every range I frequented in So. CA had restrooms with soap and water, and now when I shoot at the local "range" (a wide spot 10 miles out of town in the hills), I bring water and paper towels and rags. Another good item to take to the range is a jug of sanitary wipes. Since the covid mess I now keep a jug of wipes in my shop and in my range bag, cleans up my hands well after reloading or shooting...

If you wanna stay clean, take up knitting...

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Old 06-29-2022, 02:41 PM
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I like Unique because I can generally come up with a good practice cast bullet load for rifles and handguns. That is what I shoot mostly.

It does have a fine residue but never had a gun so badly fouled that it would not function.

Unique has a "sweet" spot where accuracy is best IME. Use the start load and work up slowly.

I recently picked up a S&W M69 2.75" and was not surprised that the Skeeter load worked great in 44 Special cases. John Taffin has a preferred Unique load in 44 Magnum case with the Keith bullet that I am going to try next time at the range.

I also use Unique for various 9mm, 38 Special and 357 Magnum loads.

I could try to figure out loads for other powders, but I would rather be shooting.
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Old 06-29-2022, 03:15 PM
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Recently loaded up some 125 HP cast boolits and some 158 SWC in 38 special. Used HP38 in both and the 125s were lighter loads than the 158s. The 158s smoked almost as bad as black powder and put a nice coating on the outside of the barrel. The 125s barely smoked at all.

I am guessing the smoke was the lube on the 158s.

Rosewood
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Old 06-29-2022, 03:26 PM
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I like Unique in 45 Colt and several other cartridges. It does burn dirty if not loaded to mid/max loads. Regardless of powder used, I still have to clean my guns.
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Old 06-29-2022, 03:52 PM
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I use 240gr fn plated for the weeny loads in 44, didnít start having much accuracy until I hit 7.7gr of unique and up. Any load under 9gr leaves the gun looking smoked, cleans up easily though and doesnít jam the action. I use magnum brass as well.

10gr has some kick, but itís clean and out of my 629 6Ē, hits bottle caps at 50yds, 8-9.5gr is a golf ball at 50yds.

If you like variety, Winchester 244 is a darn good substitute, I get same accuracy, nowhere near as dirty. Loads are a smidge different, but in the same ballpark.

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Old 06-29-2022, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockquarry View Post
Lots of varied opinions here. I've yet to find a powder that left any handgun in immaculate condition after firing and required no cleaning. After more than fifty years of shooting mostly cast bullets (but some jacketed too) in a variety of handguns, I've found it takes the same amount of effort to clean a gun that's just a little dirty as it does to clean one that's real dirty.

We have these days a group of shooters extra sensitive to "dirt" and can't abide smudged fingertips, but if a load shoots well, the alleged "dirt" nemesis becomes pretty secondary.
And are obsessed with scrubbing off the burn rings that are on the front of the cylinder.........That come back the very next time you pill the trigger......Life's too short to be obsessed with such trivial stuff.
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Old 06-29-2022, 04:35 PM
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I still like Unique so well for non-magnum revolver and auto pistol cartridge applications that I even put it on my corn flakes in the morning, yum!

I care not if it's dirty. I clean the guns after each use anyway. I feel that I know my way around Unique's "unique" characteristics. Unique gives me perfect satisfaction in a wide range of loads if used in medium to heavy charge weight applications. It's kind of dishwater if loaded to minimum charges in my experience with large extreme spreads and incomplete burning. It cleans right up if pressures are a little higher.

It's great at "half-throttle" in old revolver cartridges, low velocity rifle loads in old guns such as .32-20, 38-40, and 44-40, can build up a decently useful head of steam when used at full throttle charge weights in the Magnum revolvers, serves for shotgun loading and can even make good gallery loads in bottle-neck rifle cartridges.

If there hadn't always been Unique then someone would have had to invent it.
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Old 06-29-2022, 05:18 PM
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+1 for burning dirt.
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Old 06-29-2022, 06:29 PM
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If you are actually shooting your pistols, you and the pistols are gonna get dirty. Use a lot of unique, and it needs to be up to pressure to shoot cleaner. While alot of people use it for cast loads, it also does very well with jacketed. Some don't like it because it may not be as consistently thrown through some powder measures. They get caught up with statistical calculations for the weight being thrown, without applying the same measure to velocity/accuracy of the actual load.

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Old 06-29-2022, 09:31 PM
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I have used Unique for years with cast bullets in my 38's and 357 Magnums. It smokes a bit but most of that is the lube.

The dirtiest powder I ever used was older factory loaded Dynamit -Nobel 38 Special Geco brand. By far the dirtiest powder I ever saw!
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:41 PM
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I like Unique! It works well with my revolvers and it works well with my rifles using cast bullets. I've used Sketter Skelton's load of 5.0 gr. under a standard 158 gr. cast lead bullet since about 1980. Wonderfully accurate in my guns with more than enough power for typical shooting. Load 8-9 gr. in a .30-06 w/ a 165 gr. bevel-base flat nosed .309 bullet and you'll typically get one hole groups at 25 yds. and under 2 inches ... at 100 yds. I have won with this load firing vintage military rifle matches. It is an excellent small game load. Guess I'm just partial to it b/c it was the first powder I ever used for reloading handguns ... .38 Special loads in a six inch 28-2. Have used others, but just keep coming back to Unique. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:52 PM
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I don't like Unique. I like Hodgdon's Universal. Close to the same burn rate, cleaner, meters better, and I find it every bit as versatile and accurate as Unique. It's really wonderful in lighter .41 Magnum loads.
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Old 06-29-2022, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
I still like Unique so well for non-magnum revolver and auto pistol cartridge applications that I even put it on my corn flakes in the morning, yum!

I care not if it's dirty. I clean the guns after each use anyway. I feel that I know my way around Unique's "unique" characteristics. Unique gives me perfect satisfaction in a wide range of loads if used in medium to heavy charge weight applications. It's kind of dishwater if loaded to minimum charges in my experience with large extreme spreads and incomplete burning. It cleans right up if pressures are a little higher.

It's great at "half-throttle" in old revolver cartridges, low velocity rifle loads in old guns such as .32-20, 38-40, and 44-40, can build up a decently useful head of steam when used at full throttle charge weights in the Magnum revolvers, serves for shotgun loading and can even make good gallery loads in bottle-neck rifle cartridges.

If there hadn't always been Unique then someone would have had to invent it.
A late friend of mine told me that his granddaddy would, instead using black pepper, sprinkle black powder on his eggs.
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Old 06-29-2022, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
Unique can be dirty but fortunately I know how to clean a gun.
Some people could take offense to that statement. It's like saying anyone who doesn't like the soot generated by Unique don't know how to clean a gun. After your post a whole bunch of posts piled on.

For me, I don't like the dirt and soot because in a long match there is a possibility the soot can gum up the works of a revolver or a semi-auto pistol. In the revolver it can make extraction difficult and other problems too. Losing time when there is an alternative is not a good idea IMO. It's not just the cleaning....
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  #38  
Old 06-30-2022, 09:22 AM
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You don't want to shoot that old , nasty , dirty Unique powder ...
it will just dirty up your gun .
I have started a free service to properly dispose of that dirty old Unique ...
Send it to me and I will see that it is "properly disposed" ... Free of Charge.
Just PM me for my mailing address .

Gary ... the Disposer
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:10 AM
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As for me I really like Unique. No it doesn't throw powder charges like a ball powder..sometimes a little dirty esp in lighter loadings. But it is named perfectly. It is Unique. As stated it works well in so many instances. I have used a lot of pounds...mostly in shotguns...20 and 28 ga. 15.5 gr and 13 respectively. Hercules/Alliant cleaned it up a bit...I think in the late 80'S? When I shot it in lemon hunnerts I did wipe the mag tubes off between 100s...but I had to do that using RD GD or 700X in the 12 ga too. Although I learned about 1100s starting their 1st year. I used up a few pounds in the 44 too. I didn't shoot match handgun but never had any problems with it in revolvers...4227 and 2400 were much more problematic. Most times I wiped handguns off with a rag. Cleaned when I got home. Unfortunately, I am almost out of Unique as I only have about 4 pounds left. I always had at least 1 8lb jug...usually more
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
You don't want to shoot that old , nasty , dirty Unique powder ...
it will just dirty up your gun .
I have started a free service to properly dispose of that dirty old Unique ...
Send it to me and I will see that it is "properly disposed" ... Free of Charge.
Just PM me for my mailing address .

Gary ... the Disposer
And I will take those primers that you are using with that filthy powder, they are partially responsible.

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  #41  
Old 06-30-2022, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
Some people could take offense to that statement. It's like saying anyone who doesn't like the soot generated by Unique don't know how to clean a gun. After your post a whole bunch of posts piled on.

For me, I don't like the dirt and soot because in a long match there is a possibility the soot can gum up the works of a revolver or a semi-auto pistol. In the revolver it can make extraction difficult and other problems too. Losing time when there is an alternative is not a good idea IMO. It's not just the cleaning....
There are other "Dirty" powders out there that might gum up a gun.
I Had a J frame freeze up with just one cylinder of IMR4227
when a flake or two, got under the extractor star.

I know.......
not the best powder for a 38, but "Things" do happen.
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  #42  
Old 06-30-2022, 12:56 PM
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My last thoughts on the subject; GSR is present with any smokeless gun powder, some powders leave more, some less. I have a habit of cleaning my guns after each shooting session, whether I fire 10 rounds or 100, just part of the sport. I don't slur anyone's choice of powders but it does get old reading disparaging remarks about perfectly good choices. In about 30+ years of using Unique almost exclusively, never had a gun get so dirty it wouldn't function. (I have switched over to Universal, but still on occasion use Unique.). There are very few "laws" for reloading and it is very personal, so if some want to use Unique, there is really no reason for any innuendos about his choice, and all are free to choose their own powder...
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Old 06-30-2022, 01:36 PM
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Any propellant performs best within it's preferred pressure range . Double based powders with their higher nitro content / retardant coatings will simply not burn as complete as a single based powder . This also makes them hard to ignite . Because they are more energy dense more powder will fit in a case . All this is why most choose a double base powder for higher pressure loads or any time performance is hampered by case space with a single based powder .
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  #44  
Old 06-30-2022, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TheHobbyist View Post
+1 for burning dirt.
Good that you don't like it..............Leaves more for me!

Heck. It might even be good sprinkled on sliced tomatoes........Might have to try it.
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Old 06-30-2022, 03:47 PM
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Also my last thoughts. There are plenty of powders "close" to unique for loading. I've used most of 'em but still rely on Unique . but if I run out of Unique I have most of the others too. Just hope we are able to continue the reloading game going forward!
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:01 AM
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Unique is one of the oldest powders on the market for reloaders, and one of the most versatile.

I'm one of the oldest reloaders now, having been doing this for 50 years, and Unique is one of my standby regulars in multiple calibers.

My grandfather required that we clean the firearms after every use. Staff Sergeant Gilcrest reinforced that habit during Army basic training in 1968. If I use a firearm I expect that it will accumulate some powder residue and I will clean it before putting it away at the end of the day.

It is what it is; very good, very consistent, very reliable.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:51 AM
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Unique is not dirty. I think it gets this reputation because people like to talk about how flexible it is and then people download it and complain about filth. Like pretty much all powders ive used it performs best and cleanest toward the top of its range. I use no less than 8.5 with a 240 in 44RM brass. Do as you please, but you may notice it’s no dirtier than any other powder if you increase the charge weight and pressure. By the way, im no Unique fan boy. I actually believe there are much better options in that burn rate range.
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Old 07-05-2022, 01:04 AM
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I found out that if you load any powder too low, it can be dirty.

I found that even CFE-P & w231 can be dirty in a 9mm loading.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
I found out that if you load any powder too low, it can be dirty.

I found that even CFE-P & w231 can be dirty in a 9mm loading.
When I first started hand loading, I used universal in 45 colt and found unburnt powder all over everything.

Rosewood
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Old 07-05-2022, 08:18 AM
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why use a powder that doesn't even meter. If you like to hear a gun go bang, it may be good enough.
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