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For years have loaded Unique over a CCI300 primer with a cast Keith style 255gr SWC. Current data for Unique shows 9.0gr for 941 fps. I have been under the impression that my 8gr load would yield about 800fps. I want to reduce my load somewhat but the new data leads me to believe the newer powder is "hotter" than the older stuff I'm loading?? Anybody got some advice??
 

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It might just be me but for some reason or other loads keep getting lighter. Maybe
they have better pressure testing equipment now than they did years back. I have
a 1960's Lyman manual and the loads seem like they are smoking by today's
standards. How about Elmer Keith shooting 18 grains of Unique in a .44 Special. I
shot that load one time and I thought the gun was going into orbit, and me with it.

Zeke
 

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I have a manual I bought around 15 years ago and it lists the maximum pressure for the .45 colt as 16,000 psi. Now it's 14,000. I guess SAAMI revises cartridges periodically.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well, that, and we have much better primers. That gets overlooked. If you get a chance to read Phil Sharpe's "Complete Guide to Handloading," you'll note they had no end of trouble with primers in that day and age. 1920s and 1930s were interesting times for handloaders.
 

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8.0 grains of Unique shows about 850 fps from a 7" bbl with a 250 grn bullet
Pressure is under 12,000 cup.

Unique is OK to use for reduced loads unlike some other powders likn H110 and Winchester 296.
The load I listed should come close to what you are looking for.
 

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In my experience 8.0 grains of Unique will nudge 900 fps from 7 ½” barrel. It won’t quite make 900 fps but it is close.



If you drop down to the 4 ¾” barrel it takes another grain of powder for the same approximate velocity.



Personally I use Alliant Bullseye for reduced loads in the 45 Colt. Other than having to use caution about double charges Bullseye works very well in the Colt.

J.R. Mattern listed a load of 5.0 grains of Bullseye as the 1920’s factory load and it works very well giving approximately 750 fps from the 7 ½” barrel.



I use 6.0 grains of Bullseye in most of my 45 Colt plinking loads. This works well in the S&W M-25 and the Taurus Thunderbolt.



If you want to stay with Unique you will find a lot of modern reference to loads between 8.0 and 9.0 grains using both 250- and 255-grain bullets.


zb, I agree some of the loads from the 1950's and '60's seem warm. The new pressure testing equipment has changed things a bit. While men like Elmer Keith are best known for their maximum loads they shot a lot of light or gallery type loads. Keith wrote in the 42nd Edition of the Lyman Reloading Handbook (1960) that he shot a lot of indoor gallery loads in the 44 Magnum using the Lyman #429421 bullet ahead of 5.0 grains of Hercules Bullseye. For light loads used outdoors Keith said used 8.5 grains of Hercules Unique.

It seems that while they all shot a lot of light loads Skeeter Skelton and George Nonte seem to mention them more than other gunwriters of the 1950’s and ‘60’s.
 

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The 8.0 gr Unique with 250 gr. bullets is my pet load in the .45 Colt. Very accurate and my shooting hand still has feeling after 100 rounds.
 

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My std. plinker load is 6.5 Gr. Unique and a 200 Gr. RNFP bullet. I don't have a chronograph currently, but I have had no FTF and I use no filler or wads and std. CCI primers. ;) Ultra light recoil and very accurate. I can waste clay pigeons consistently at 30+ yards.
 

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The 48th Edition of Lyman's Reloading Handbook Has 8.5gr of Unique for 845fps with the 255gr bullet and 9.0gr of Unique for 875fps WITH a 250gr cast bullet. Forty years ago eight grains of Unique was always considered a standard load compared to factory ammo with the 255gr bullet. Of course we have so many powders today that we didn't have back then. If you want to reduce your load, the book has 6.0gr as a starting load. I use 7.1gr of W-231 as a standard load with a 250gr cast bullet. My cowboy action load was 6.5gr of W-231. I finally got tired of switching loads and went to 7.1gr of W-231. It's a nice clean burning load.
 

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If you're looking for a load in the 750 to 800 fps area, try Trailboss powder. 6gr.under a 255gr. RNFP in my 4in. Redhawk over MY chrony, 12 rounds, 749 to 760, right at 800fps in 5 1/2in BBH. Light recoil, VERY accurate and clean burning. Smells a little funny though. Fills the 45 case nicely so no worry about a double charge. Meters well through my powder measures. I've used alot of different powders in the 45 colt (rugers) including Unique, HS6, (11.0gr. is good in my guns) W231, 2400, bullseye, Blue Dot, W296 &H110, (still use those two for heavy loads (infrequent) and 7 and 800X. I've just about convinced myself that the 6gr. trailboss load will be my everyday load for hiking and Horseback in my area as we're fresh out of Grizzleys and Rhinos in Southern Washington State...:D It's easy to load, easy to shoot, and will bring about the demise of anything I will need to shoot around here. I like it..
 
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