Unique

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Unique

Postby Morne » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:00 pm

OK, so I remember when I first got into reloading that I was warned away from Unique. Something about it being too easy for a newbie to make a mistake.

Well, I've been loading for a few years now. Is that argument no longer applicable to me? What general precautions should I take with Unique if I want to try it out?

Is it deserving of its popularity?
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Re: Unique

Postby JustaShooter » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:34 pm

Unique is like many fast-burning pistol powders - for some loads it is possible to double-charge a case without overflowing it. It is considered by some to be a bit old-school, and a bit dirty. But, new formulations are less dirty than in the past and it is easy to clean. This is not your Grandfather's Unique (though it is still the same burn rate and same flat disks which may or may not meter well for you).

I've been loading with it since I began hand loading, mostly for my 9mm, and with proper care (like you should be using for hand loading anyway) there is no reason to avoid it.
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Re: Unique

Postby Mr. Glock » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:09 pm

Dirty and hard to meter. Not great in magnums. Not worth the effort.
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Re: Unique

Postby marca » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:36 pm

On the other hand, you can come up with a usable load for almost any handgun round using Unique. Perhaps a jack of all calibers and master of none.
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Re: Unique

Postby JustaShooter » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:14 pm

Morne, do I remember that you use the Lee Auto Disk powder measure? If so, I've found that Unique meters just fine in it - at least with cavities appropriately sized for 9mm charges, and keeping the hopper a minimum of 1/3 full.
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Re: Unique

Postby Luv2Camp » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:16 pm

JustaShooter wrote:Morne, do I remember that you use the Lee Auto Disk powder measure? If so, I've found that Unique meters just fine in it - at least with cavities appropriately sized for 9mm charges, and keeping the hopper a minimum of 1/3 full.


I have been using unique for the last 25 years and love the stuff. Also use the Lee auto disk powder measure and verify on my digital scale and spot on metering for me.
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Re: Unique

Postby Luv2Camp » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:38 am

Let me clarify my statement on the metering is spot on. I find that what is published by Lee on how many grains is thrown is less than what my scale shows it to actually be. I simply use my digital scale to measure the true grain drop on the Lee disk until I get the one that throws the charge I am seeking. Once I have the disk identified, the grains thrown are spot on. I also verify on my scale whenever I use a new lot of powder to be sure there is no variance from lot to lot.
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Re: Unique

Postby JustaShooter » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:15 pm

Luv2Camp wrote:I find that what is published by Lee on how many grains is thrown is less than what my scale shows it to actually be.

Agreed, their chart is off for a number of powders. I'm guessing they haven't updated it in a long time, if ever. When doing volumetric metering, one should always verify proper charge weights on a good scale rather than trusting a powder density chart.
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Re: Unique

Postby Morne » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:48 pm

JustaShooter wrote:Morne, do I remember that you use the Lee Auto Disk powder measure? If so, I've found that Unique meters just fine in it - at least with cavities appropriately sized for 9mm charges, and keeping the hopper a minimum of 1/3 full.

I use the Lee Perfect Powder Measure.

Trail Boss doesn't meter well at all in it.

Accurate powders meter like champs.

W-231 does well enough.

Promo a bit less well.
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Re: Unique

Postby Klingon00 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:56 pm

It’s not my favorite powder but has been around so long that you can find recipes for literally everything. Rifles included.

I’ve played around with it loading light .32 Winchester Special loads with cast bullets to simulate the pressures you can expect under BP with less mess and I enjoyed it as a cheap plinking load.

I mostly use it under cast bullets when loading .45 ACP.

As others have said, it’s larger flake size over some more modern powders means you have to be more careful you are getting consistent charge. I’ve had no issues using my Lee disk unit once I figured out what aperture to use and got it nice and broken in.

Just weigh and verify often at first to make sure things are still going right. Do a quality check every so often after that is never a bad idea.
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Re: Unique

Postby Morne » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 pm

So it is a big flake powder like Trail Boss? It is also very high energy density and thus can be doubled up?

Pass, thanks. I'm not averse to using big flakes if there's a good reason to. Nor am I averse to using high energy density powders. But both of those features in one?

Hard no.
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Re: Unique

Postby Sevens » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:57 pm

There are no particular safety cautions against Unique for a seasoned and conscientious handloader like yourself.

I've said before and will again -- typically only two kinds of folks that actively use Unique:

1) old guys, set in their ways
2) younger guys who were mentored by #1

In my opinion, if you are a long time user/lover of "flaming dirt", have at it. But here in the happy and easy going post-Barackolypse where selection and stock is fantastic AND also here in 2018 where many newly developed powders have hit the scene... it's silly nonsense, wasted time/effort/money to start using Unique. Not with the amazing offerings out and available today.

You have the same sickness that I have spent YEARS fighting and recovering from: your enjoyment of the experimenting associated with this hobby has you cautiously optimistic that a life-changing propellant has been lurking in plain sight and you will experience nirvana as soon as you figure out which one.

I don't think it exists... but it's been a long recovery for me to believe that.

If you want your best shot at it, skip Grand Dad's favorite brown paper bag of Unique and go buy some Vihtavuori. ;)
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Re: Unique

Postby JustaShooter » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:08 pm

Sevens wrote: typically only two kinds of folks that actively use Unique:

1) old guys, set in their ways


Hey, I resemble that remark!

But seriously, I don't think I'd work up anything new with it but I've got a big ol' jug of it I'm working through for my 9mm and figure I'll just keep at it till it's gone and then see what's up. (For the record, that jug of Unique is sitting beside a similar partial jug of Bullseye I use in my .45 ACP practice loads... Yup, that's me over there with the green scales and long tail. Handloadasaurus Senex in the flesh. :mrgreen: )
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Re: Unique

Postby Sevens » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:47 pm

Bullseye was my first EVER powder. Still use it (a lot!) and still love it and still buy it. Starting new? No, I wouldn't recommend it because there are better alternatives.

My second ever powder was Green Dot. And it sucks. Sucked then, sucks still today. I still have some and there are occasional places where I... well, I hate it less than I typically hate it. I would never buy it again at any price, to be honest. And then one #%*%'er who I had thought was my friend gave me EIGHT pounds of it, that dirty rotten no-good so & so.

Oh yeah, I have a plan allright, I'm gonna give that crap back to him one day when he least expects it. :D
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Re: Unique

Postby The German » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:12 am

I would only be extra cautious in case you also load with Universal. Too close of names for my personal taste - a load for Universal with Unique used instead will most likely not be a pleasant experience.
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