Unique Powder Questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by SBray, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    Lately I have been experimenting with Unique powder loading 200 grain coated 45 Auto Rim cartridges. I'm using Winchester LP primers so I figured the results would most likely be the same with other brand primers.

    The first thing I noticed was that Unique powder drops are very inconsistent on my 550. Having recently used PB and N320 that seem to seldom vary in dropped weights, Unique is driving me nuts. Unique measurements are nearly always off one or two tenths from my desired amounts.

    The second thing is there is a noticeable amount of unburnt powder when I eject the spent cases. It's not very much, maybe a tenth of a grain. Whose to say how much went out the barrel and onto the ground.

    I think this is weird since I have never had this happen before.

    I won't even concern myself with how dirty this powder is since it's already got a reputation of being dirty.

    Lyman Cast Manual shows Unique powder range from 5.0 to 6.8 grains for a 200 grain cast bullet. I have tried 5.0, 5.2, and 5.4 grains. The 5.2 and 5.4 grains seem to have more unburnt powder than the 5.0 amounts.

    Maybe I need a hotter primer, or maybe Unique would perform better towards the higher amounts.

    Any suggestions from those of you that use Unique would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

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    Unique does cleanup and perform better at higher pressures, and the 45 AR is already a lowish pressure cartridge.

    1-2 tenths metering variation is typical in my measures, but I don't use Dillons. I don't worry about it because the relative metering inconsistency doesn't seem to affect anything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020

  3. GoetzTalon

    GoetzTalon

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    I have the uni-flo measure from rcbs where I charge each case for my single stage and it feels like I'm cutting grains in half sometimes lol. I load 6.0 with a cci 300 primer with a 230 grain cast lead bullet and it burns super clean. I never tried it with the 200 grainers.
     
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  4. fredj338

    fredj338

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    If you rununique above midrange, it burns better. Most medium burn powders do btw.
     
  5. HAMMERHEAD

    HAMMERHEAD

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    If you want clean, light loads, try WST. It also meters far better than Unique.

    Otherwise, shovel in more coal for a cleaner burn.

    No safety issues with a +/- .2 variation.
     
  6. cheygriz

    cheygriz God Bless Trump

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    Don';t worry about plus or minus .2 grains. That's insignificant. I've had good results loading Unique 2-3 percent below max.
     
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  7. uzimon

    uzimon Daca is caca

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    Course cut powders benefit from rigging up a vibrator to the dispensor. I bought a cheap aquarium aerator for $10 iirc.attach with zip ties. Works great
     
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  8. judgecrater

    judgecrater

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    Steve,
    That variation won't effect your tragectory, plus or minus a tenth is not much. And yes min loads of Unique leaves unburnt powder. I noticed this with 45 Colt too. Up your load to upper mid and i think you will see an improvement. If you want to go to a lower velocity, try Bullseye.
     
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  9. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    I’m going to try moving it up from 5.0, 5.2, 5.4 grains to 5.6, 5.8, and 6.0 grains. We’ll see what happens the powder burn consistency and velocities. I’ll hopefully get to the range tomorrow and report back the results.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
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  10. sig357fan

    sig357fan

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    another factor I think comes into play with Unique is case capacity, I could get much better burn with 357 mag at the higher end of the charge weight than I could with 44 mag.

    your using it in a 45 AR, what type/amount crip are you using, I've got no data to prove it but I believe a slightly heavier crimp helps with the burn, 9 mm with the flare removed seem dirtier than 38 spl with the case mouth turned into the crimp groove.
     
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  11. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    Very good point! The crimp would effect how long the powder has to burn while contained in the case. I tend to use as little crimp as possible when using plated or coated bullets so as to protect the bullet shape. I’ll apply a slight more crimp to see if that makes a difference in the amount of unburnt powder.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  12. jim c

    jim c Millennium Member

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    If possible besides upping the powder charge, try making that crimp a tad tighter. AND polish the inside of the powder unit. ALSO use a dryer sheet / anti static in with the powder. I rub the inside of the powder dispenser before adding powder. Then tear a section (length wise) to have with the powder.


    For drier climates like where i live. I also have a section of dryer sheet hanging over the powder canister when pouring back in, to avoid and potential for a static charge. One never knows.
     
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  13. fredj338

    fredj338

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    It really doesn't do that much with medium burners, more important with slow powders. all powders have a sweet spot in the pressure curve where they burn completely. The slower the powder the higher the pressures to get it to burn better. Hence being well above a midrange load with powders like unique.
    If you are loading on a Dillon, make sure the powder safety rod is snug & returns the powder bar with a little snap. That settles the powder & getting 1/10gr accuracy is not diff.
     
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  14. fredj338

    fredj338

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    I think you will find the sweat spot around 5.4-5.5gr with a 200gr bullet. A mag primer will help a bit.
     
  15. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    Well I tried the other loads and only 5.8 grains did not seem to have any unburnt powder left in the cases. I don't know how to explain that but I'm going to check my primer inventory to see if I have any large magnum pistol primers. I'll give that a try.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
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  16. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    Today, after testing rounds using magnum primers, I’ve come to the conclusion that keeping away from the lower end of the powder range is going to be the key to better ignition of the Unique powder. I saw no difference in unburnt powder residue in the cases. I’m going to make further tests next week when the range isn’t so crowded.
    Steve
     
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  17. sourdough44

    sourdough44

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    I use a bit of Unique, mostly for medium loads for larger bore revolvers, 45 Colt, 44 & 41 mag. If just loading 25-50 rounds I’ll just measure each charge on my scale. Unique may not do great with some powder measures or ‘drops’.

    I agree, burns cleaner when not a min charges. I bought a good supply of H Universal a while back, I use that often where some may think Unique.
     
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  18. sig357fan

    sig357fan

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    Unique is the one powder I've burnt the most since I started reloading decades ago, even tho I've not had it in my inventory for at least 10 years.

    because of the inconsistency with powder drops, unburnt powder and sooty cases, I looked for a substitute and landed on Win 231 for everything handgun and 2400 for everything magnum handgun.
     
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  19. SBray

    SBray NRA & Second Amendment Life Member

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    Just got back from the range. It seems that once I got to 5.9 grains of Unique, and used a slightly tighter crimp, the unburnt powder was scarce. I don't think the magnum primers played much in the calculation, but I will use up the remainder of the 200 I bought.

    Thank for all of your suggestions folks!
    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  20. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544

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    Unique can be used in pistol, rifle and shotgun loads. It has been around for a long time. You can find a good load for most cartridges. It is a favorite of mine for certain cartridges and bullets. It is a bit dirty, but it is a soft fouling and does not interfere with functioning IME.

    There will be a sweet spot so work up slow. I use .2 gr increments. Most will be near max.
     
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