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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All you older hands (that includes any age with more than 30 minutes experience), How many different calibers-guages rifle, pistol and shotgun can be reloaded with Unique. :-\
 

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Pretty much anything, really. It is less common in modern manuals, but most manuals over a cuple decades old will have Unique loads for most cartridges.
I've been loading between 15 and 20gr of Unique in my .308. A 30gr Double-Charge will just overflow the case, so such a mistake would be easy to spot. (I did this just out of curiosity). A 15gr load under a ~150gr jacketed bullet should do about 1400-1500fps, while 20gr should make it approach 2000fps.
Over on silencertalk.com LOTS of guys are using Unique for subsonic loads in their .308s (without fillers, BTW). Seems about 6-8gr is ideal for pushing typical-weight bullets (150-200gr) to around 1000fps. Trail Boss is becoming more and more popular for "gallery" loads due to its bulk, but Unique also remains popular because it can still be used in almost anything: I've used it almost exclusively in 9mm, .44mag (mostly in actual "magnum" loads), .410 shotgun, and I recently started playing with it in .308.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I recently purchased a used Mec 600 jr. set up for 20 ga. 2 3/4 shell 7/8 shot with a charge of unique.. Was wondering about using it for cast bullet loads in my 30-30 and .45 long colt.. :)
 

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It should work great, I use it in all my pistols and my .45-70.
 

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I haven't used Unique in ALL that many cartridges. I have, however, been successful in every cartridge I've tried it in. Here's my list of what I use or have used it in:
9mm Luger
10mm automatic
45 automatic
44 Rem. Mag. (I think I'm recalling this correctly)
30-30 Win.
30-06 Spgfld

I don't recall that I ever used it in 45-70, and that was back before I kept a load book, so I can't go look. I expect I'll use it in 308 Win. in the future, but that's a cartridge I've only recently acquired for the first time, so haven't tried it yet.

I also have some Trail Boss, and I like it for 'gallery' loads, too. It would simplify things slightly if I were to just use Unique and ditch the Trail Boss, but Trail Boss' bulkiness sure makes loading easy (basically, load to the shoulder, seat the bullet, and go!).

There's no reason I couldn't use Unique in my 223 Rem or 25 WSSM, but I haven't ever made 'gallery' loads with those cartridges.
Have fun!
 

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See the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, it has LOTS of loads using Unique. Remember that it is not the velocity but the pressures that will get you into trouble. Unique will spike in heavier loadings and that dreaded double charge has destroyed more than one gun. It can be avoided thru proper loading technique.
FWIW, you can use the upper cast bullet loads listed in that book for jacketed, though you should follow the admonition to reduce by 10% from top loads for any bullet weight in any caliber and work up since jacketed will have more friction, thus more pressure will be developed, and a bit less velo than lead. There are better powders for jacketed bullets.
Ive successfully used Unique for 30+ years, primarily with cast bullets. Now Im using Trail Boss.
 

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If it's a reloadable case it most likely can use a charge of unique powder. It's the oldest available smokeless powder.
 

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I've used it in 16 Gauge, 45 Colt and 38 Special. It works very well in 45 Colt either with cast or jacketed.
 

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To add another question, probably best asked of MZ5: How many loads do you get out of a pound of Trail Boss versus a pound of Unique, assuming each can is used for the same cartridge? I.e. how many .30-30 loads of TB, and how many equivalent .30-30 loads of Unique? I would think that the TB would run out faster since you use more, but (showing my ignorance as I have never used TB) if specific weight (weight per cubic inch) is lower for TB and it is measured by weight, it may be a wash.

Inquiring minds need to know! ;D

-WH-
 

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TB is VERY bulky, and thus its virtue to avoid air space in a case, something I have been concerned with for years shooting cast bullets. A friend gifted me with 1/2 bottle of TB to trial and I bought a whole 5# jug instead of Unique (its cheaper by the jug), and I should mention that Im a frugal guy. I cant exactly tell you how many loads per cal. (7000gr. /lb., you figure it); I consider it a cost effective alternative for my use and with the proper bullet alloy and dia. its working quite well. I cant tell you if it shoots the smallest groups, I just know I hold my own with the competitive boys I shoot with and Im the weak link in the accuracy chain.
BTW, I have NO connection with Hodgdon
 

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Winter said:
To add another question, probably best asked of MZ5: How many loads do you get out of a pound of Trail Boss versus a pound of Unique, assuming each can is used for the same cartridge? I.e. how many .30-30 loads of TB, and how many equivalent .30-30 loads of Unique? I would think that the TB would run out faster since you use more, but (showing my ignorance as I have never used TB) if specific weight (weight per cubic inch) is lower for TB and it is measured by weight, it may be a wash.

Inquiring minds need to know! ;D

-WH-
Basically you'll get about the same number of rounds per lb of powder, as the weight of powder charges of the two are quite similar.
You won't get the accuracy or velocity with trailboss that unique will deliver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great! Though I've messed with guns fer years I'm very green at reloading. Going slow and asking questions. the question about the Unique was to determine if it would be a good powder to stock jist to keep a variety of arms shooting. I'm living below the poverty level and have to watch the dollars closely. It seems that it might be possible to "make meat" with cast bullets and Unique in most every thing I own. Ya'll are the best!
 

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2400 and bludot are powders that serve well in a variety of uses.
Unique may not be the best in all cartridges but there's precious few it wouldn't work in.
 

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Air space in cases is a non-issue with Unique. I don't use fillers.
 

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I've heard LOTS of people say that if they could only have ONE type of powder for all of their loading, they would use Unique. Nearing the max, you can still load it in a .30-06 and push a 150gr bullet to about 2300-2400fps, getting ~.30-30 ballistics. I copied down the snapshot of a manual someone posted and it was saying 25gr under a 150gr bullet would give you 2400+fps at 60k PSI of pressure. OBVIOUSLY, START WELL BELOW THIS IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PUSHING ANYTHING WITH UNIQUE. Even though most people probably wouldn't be interested in trying to push Unique very far, I think being able to make loads like this that are still perfectly capable of taking Deer and such, but with half the powder and still significantly less recoil and muzzle blast, makes for a great alternative. I mean, toning it down a bit it is still easy to get 2000+fps at a relatively mild ~40k PSI, and it would still be effective at up to 200 yards on medium-sized game. But you'd be using half the powder ($$), have less recoil, and notably less muzzle blast. Out of my rifle, a 17gr load of Unique sounds about like a 9mm handgun, while even 40gr of H335 (a bit below the starting load) has significantly more "bang."

Also, FWIW, Unique has about twice the bulk of the H335 rifle powder I use in my .308. That is, my standard load has become 40gr of H335, and without adjusting my powder measure I get almost exactly 20gr of Unique per load. Both of those fill the case to a bit below the shoulder (shaking completed cartridges results in audible powder movement with either powder).

Rifle loading is slow enough for me that I can check every case so I'm not worried about double-charges. Plus since my "starting" Unique loads still fill a hair over half the case, a double-charge would be obvious. However, I can see where one could potentially have issues trying powder charges of about 13-14gr in the case, as a double-charge would be well over max (26-28gr) and would probably even be compressed under a bullet, but the case wouldn't overflow so a careless loader wouldn't have that obvious clue to stop him. Again, in general, I'd say start at a load that fills half the case (unless you are specifically looking to go slower and are willing to take the extra care to check each load), and you shouldn't have a problem. You could potentially even do this by adjusting your measure until two charges will just overflow the case. Half of that should be completely safe and still quite mild.
 

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Ranch13 said:
Winter said:
To add another question, probably best asked of MZ5: How many loads do you get out of a pound of Trail Boss versus a pound of Unique, assuming each can is used for the same cartridge? I.e. how many .30-30 loads of TB, and how many equivalent .30-30 loads of Unique? I would think that the TB would run out faster since you use more, but (showing my ignorance as I have never used TB) if specific weight (weight per cubic inch) is lower for TB and it is measured by weight, it may be a wash.

Inquiring minds need to know! ;D

-WH-
Basically you'll get about the same number of rounds per lb of powder, as the weight of powder charges of the two are quite similar.
I have found this to be the case, too. Charge weights are very roughly the same (or quite similar), so the lower-priced powder, on a per pound basis, will be the more economical. I have found Unique to generally be noticeably lower in price per pound. There are trade-offs to be made concerning one's preferences for load density (IMR's SR-47xx powders are another bulky alternative for reduced rifle loads), but the higher-load-density rifle powders don't offer the kind of flexibility Unique does for crossing over between pistol and rifle cases.

For those who might choose to spend money on these sorts of bases:
Trail Boss is made in Australia by French defense giant Thales (partially French-gov't-owned).
Unique's origin is not known for certain to me. I believe it to be American-made by American defense giant ATK.
The IMR SR-47xx powders are made in Canada by American defense contractor General Dynamics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So, Mc Donald, Unique is sorta like a plug horse(won't pull the biggest load or run the fastest, but will serve faithfully and get the job done)I reckon.. :)
 

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Absolutely :) . Unique is a bit dirty, but I won't stop buying it because it is so danged versatile! Everything from .32acp to .308 to .45-70 can be made to work with it, heh. I bought 8lbs when I first started loading .410 and I've since used it in every caliber I've owned, heh.
 

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One thing that always makes you grin with unique and the 44 special... it'll load 1000 rounds before you need another can. With 38 spec it'll make 2000...
 
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