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Old 02-21-2015, 20:13   #1
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Old Unique powder vs new Unique, any difference?

Hi Guys, I have a few questions and am hoping for a little help. I am getting back into reloading after being out of it for about 15 years due to moving around the country. I have set up my reloading bench in my new 'retirement shop', and have reloaded for my 10mm first, and it is a good load using a new powder to me, the 800x (but it measures like crap).

In all of my old stuff, along with what I inherited from my father in law, I have a bunch of Unique, which use to be one of my favorite pistol reloading powders. Since my reloading books were so old, and didn't even have a 10mil or 40 listed in them, I had to buy new books. Well the new books are showing a little difference in loads for 45ACP compared to my old books. To give you an idea of the age of the powder, one is a 4lb canister, was $21.60 and is lot UN011. The other canister is a 1lb'r, $6.95 and has lot UN 099 on the bottom. As far as storage of the old powder, it was always in a dry, cool, dark place, boxed up. No change in look, feel or smell.

SO, my question is, are there differences in the old load charts vs new charts due to differences in the make up of the newer powder? It shows using just a little more using the older powder vs the newer. I know I will have to go on the conservative side to begin with, so am thinking about right at 6.0 grains pushing a 230 grain FMJ-RN and using just a Large Primer vs Magnum.

Last edited by GPutt33; 02-21-2015 at 20:15..
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Old 02-21-2015, 20:22   #2
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They reformulated Unique along the way, what I experienced with the new is a fluffier powder (more volume for weight), a powder you can download a little farther before it starts looking like burned dirt. I use the same load data for both. Unique is a very forgiving powder, at least till you get round the bend.

I was in a gun shop this morning, that had all my favorites, Unique, Bullseye, Red Dot, Green Dot, Extra Light (3/4oz skeet loads). I just stood there with tears in my eyes...
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Last edited by WeeWilly; 02-21-2015 at 20:23..
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Old 02-21-2015, 20:25   #3
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When I started reloading for my .45acp, I was using the "old" Unique, with 6.5gr and 230gr FMJ. When the new stuff came out, I worked up loads and ended up at 6.5gr again.

Other than being cleaner and less dirty, I found no difference between the old and new stuff. Your experience may differ.
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Old 02-21-2015, 20:37   #4
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Thanks a lot you guys, that eases my hesitation in going with a lighter load then I'd like. I just received 1000 rds of 230gr RN in the mail today, and I have a bench with 100 rounds of cases just waiting for primers, powder and a round seated in them We are presently in the middle of a pretty good little blizzard that is suppose to last till Monday, so I have nothing else to do tomorrow other then retreat down into the shop

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Old 02-21-2015, 23:44   #5
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I tested the last old Hercules Unique I had from 1984 against some early 2000"s Alliant Unique and only saw about a 5 fps difference in the 2 powder dates shooting both in 9MM loads. They changed Unique a bit to make it cleaner burning but the burn rates are nearly if not exactly the same.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:56   #6
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In most instances, the difference between new load date and Old load data is due to improved testing methods and testing equipment.

If you have new data and it is less than old data, use the new data, even with the old powder.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:02   #7
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Old Unique - I could find everywhere.
New Unique - I can't find anywhere.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:49   #8
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The same as it was 100 years ago except cleaner.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:09   #9
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Thanks again for all of the help. I will use every grain of Unique I have. I was using it for reloading of my 357 and 44mag Ruger revolvers. These will be used in my 3 Glocks, a gen3 21, a gen3 30S and my new Gen4 41MOS . I never thought of the powder as burning dirty before, mainly because of using it in the wheel guns I guess. My 21 has a TRL-2 hung on the bottom rail, and with factory ammo after about a 100 rounds at the range the glass on the flashlight has a heavy grey powder residue covering it, hopefully the old Unique isn't even dirtier then these.......

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Old 02-22-2015, 22:46   #10
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I agree with the others that there is very little difference other than the newer stuff being slightly cleaner.

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