Unique Powder

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by The_Vigilante, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. The_Vigilante

    The_Vigilante New Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    El Paso, Texas
    I am just getting into reloading-just purchased and am waiting for the Lee Classic 4-Turret kit. One of the gun dealers I deal with has recommended Unique powder for all of my pistol reloading needs. Some of what I have read about Unique is that it is a very dirty powder. Before buying it (or not buying it) would like to get the opinions of those in the forum that have used it. I will be primarily reloading for .357, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Colt, and .454 Casul. If not Unique, what other powders would be recommended for these calibres? Thanks in advance
  2. Dakota Red 1

    Dakota Red 1 New Member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Unique is a very versatile powder that works in everything from small autos to magnum revolvers. I will say that although it does a good job in the heavier loads for the magnums, I have gotten better performance from the slower burning powders like H110, 2400 and 296. For lighter loads and in non-magnums I have, besides Unique, done well with Blue Dot, 700X and Bullseye.

    I use a lot of Unique but haven't noticed if it is particularly dirty. Accuracy, power and consistancy I notice.

    Reloading is a relaxing and enjoyable activity for me in the evenings. There is always more to learn or try out so it keeps your interest too. I use some well thumbed manuals, but the bullet and powder companys have lots of information on their web sites that cover the reloading process, load data and balistics.

    As you are just getting started, I would advise you to follow the instructions carefully, pay attention to detail, try not to get distracted while reloading and work at being very consistant with each step of the process. Especially, check and double check that your powder charge is of correct and consistant weight.

    In particular for the revolver calibres that you will be reloading for, tight, uniform crimps are important for good performance.

    Have fun with it---Mike
  3. Haligan

    Haligan Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    FEMA Region II
    Welcome to the forum
    I use Unique alot from 9mm, 38s, 357 mag, 40, 45 acp, 45 colt, 44 mag.
    And that's where I stop.
    I have used Unique with 454 casul and my results have not been good.
    454 is huge case and the max load, 15-16 grains on typical 300 grain bullets, does not fill the case sufficient to enable the pressure to build for consistent ignition.
    Slower burning powders is the way to go for big magnums, like 454 and up.
    Aside from that Unique is my favorite powder. (dirty smirty, clean your guns after every use and you'll be fine.

    Disclaimer: The author assumes no responcibility from now untill the end of time. Check your reloading manual, gun manufacture's manual, boyscout manual, automobile manual, NRA rules and regulations, Local and federal law, UN charter, Treaty of Versie, and Guenieva Convention for proper reloading practices.
  4. jcwit

    jcwit New Member

    Jul 4, 2007
    I've used Unique and it worked good but again I consider it dirty. Personally I like the Accurate powders or Solo 1000 sold by Accurate, but thats just me. My best advice would be for you to buy a reloading manual and read it thoroughly, either the Lyman manual # 48 or # 49 or the Lee Modern Reloading come to mind. Both are excellant, the Lee will give you more recipes for both jacketed & cast bullets if you would ever want to get into casting your own. Any way welcome to the hobby, and you have many years of good shooting.
  5. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    Unique has been around for over a century and just about every handgun caliber can be loading with it. I use Unique for my .44 Spl and .45 Colt loads. It might not be as clean as some of the ball powders, but it's an old favorite of mine.

  6. schabortz

    schabortz New Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    New Jersey
    I do a lot of shooting in indoor ranges. I'm searching for the cleanest burning powder I can find. The locals don't like a lot of smoke. I reload in a Lee Pro 1000, a pain to tweak but once done a pleasure to reload with. I'm looking to cover the following calibers with the same powder. 9mm, .40, .45, .38 spec and 357 mag. Again looking for cleanest burning. Any Ideas?
  7. RugerBob

    RugerBob New Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Unique is what I use most. As far as dirty, I only notice it on the spent brass. I tried TrailBoss and it was alot cleaner,and cost per round was the same. Its larger granulation, so a double charge would be easily noticable. I load it for 45LC for rifle and revolver. Just my 2 cents, Bob
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    The_Vigilante and schabortz:

    It is best to divide your cartridges into two batches: regular and magnum.

    For regular cartridges a good universal pistol powder like Winchester 231 or its clone Hodgdon HP38 is a very good choice and very economical.

    For true magnum cartridges one of the slower burning powders is most useful for full magnum loads (but these magnum cartridges can be slightly down loaded with the W231 as well). For those full magnum loads any of the following powders work just fine: H110, W296, Acurate Arms No. 9, 2400, and IMR4227.There are several other newer powders that are specifically made for magnum level loads.

    Unique is a very old powder with some of the problems of powders desgined many, many years ago, so I rarely recommend it. I think for magnum loads you are better served by much newer powders.

    W231 (and its clone HP38) can handle almost any pistol cartridge you name and it is economical as well, as long as you can settle for a bit of reduced velocity for the magnums. When you need more power out of the magnums just load them up with the slower magnum powders.

  9. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Unique works well for me and mine. It was upgraded a bit a few years ago into a 'cleaner burning' propellant, and the differance was noticeable.

    When i first began reloading, I used several powders, almost to the point of a 'best' for each gun! I've since simplified, though. Unique for the .45 Colt; Blue Dot for the .44 S&W, ect. Loved that sweet smelling Vithovouri! I've since simplified everything, Unique, Blue Dot, and Power Pistol.
  10. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Unique used to be a lot dirtier than it is now. As far as one powder for all calibers Unique potentially could be a powder to do that but I use different powders for different applications. I usually use Unique when I just want to punch some holes in paper for practice. For heavier 357 and 44 Mag loads (hunting and self defense) I usually use 2400 or Blue Dot and for 40 S&W and 45 Auto I have had good luck with Power Pistol. I also use Bullseye, Red Dot and American Select when I want a faster burning powder.

    Of all those I listed based on my experience only American Select is probably the cleanest and Bullseye the dirtiest and Unique is in the middle.

  11. Erich

    Erich New Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    Albuquerque NM USA - 6000' above sea level
    I've used Unique for more than 20 years: it was my first powder, and it's the one I've used the most of. "New" Unique is definitely somewhat cleaner than "old." Unique burns a lot cleaner at pressures equivalent to a +P .38 Special and higher (figure 17,000 psi +) - using it for very light target loads with the .38 will get you a lot of soot.

    But that's all we're talking about: soot. Wipes right out with solvent.

    I would look into H-110, 2400, 4756, and Lil' Gun for the calibers you specify. Unique will be able to do an adequate job of moderate loads with them, but to reach the (heavy power) potential of the rounds you list, you'll want a slower-burning powder.
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