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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all -

I've posted a couple of powder/published data questions on sixguns and I really haven't had an answer regarding loading data pertaining to Universal Clays and Unique.  My understanding, which originated here, is substituting Universal Clays, grain for grain, with published Unique data is safe.  The benefits of using Universal are easier metering and cleaner (unbelievably was the term used) burning.  So far so good.  My Hodgdon's #27 manual lists a max charge of 8.5 grs. Universal for @ 255 gr. slug.  The Hodgdon's #26 manual lists a max charge of 11.5 grs. of Unique for a 260 slug.  Respondents at sixguns tell me NOT to go over the published max of 8.5 grs. Universal in the #27 but no one is commenting about the 11.5 gr. charge published in the #26.  The max loads from each manual is three grains apart and for a fast burning powder, that's huge!  I do not wish to tempt fate by throwing caution to the wind and pump out 30,000+ CUP loads using Universal.  I would like to use a powder that gives me the flexibility to load in the 850-1050 fps range with acceptable pressure and accuracy.  Is this unrealistic using either Universal or Unique??  
 

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Alan,

Not to worry, you just need to look a bit closer at the numbers. The load in the #27 manual does list the max load for Universal at 8 grains. Look close and you'll see they rate this load at 14,000 CUP. Remember this is the max load for black powder power level guns. That's just wimpy stuff. The load you quote for Unique in the # 26 manual of 11.5 grains is rated at 28,800 CUP. Now we're talkin'. The difference in the two is pretty clear.

That Unique load data is from the Silhouette data. The good +P, 30,000 CUP stuff. Real power. If you check the standard data for the 45 Colt in the #26 manual you find that the max load of Unique is.....8 grains rated at 15,500 CUP. When comparing apples to apples these powders look pretty close, huh?

Now you can begin to see the similarities between Unique and Universal. Their burning rates are very close and I think that the load data from many other respected sources shows that these two may as well be twins when it comes to filling cases. Marshall has posted many times that he has loaded the two powders grain for grain with great sucess. Of course as with any data, you'll be working up, using your manual and chronograph as your guide. Right?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"Right?"

Most assuredly 'right'.  What makes me question this MT is that I've received e-mails from a couple of the big names on Sixguns quoting the 8.5 max and one person in particular knows without a doubt I am reloading for my Redhawk.  The reason I like the #26 manual is the +P loading data it provides.  As I mentioned above, I want to develop loads (using Universal) which will give me the flexibility for 850-1050 fps range loads while maintaining acceptable pressure and accuracy.  Anything above 1050 fps, I have 2400.  Anything above 1200, I will use H-110.
 

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Ah come on, what's in a name? I'm just a Forum Moderator, not even an Advanced Load Developer like our friend Contender. The names that are e-mailing telling you to be careful have your best interest in mind, I'm sure, but there's more this powder than Colt Peacemaker loads. I'm all for caution but limiting Universal to a 14,000 CUP load is a waste. I think this may call for Hodgdon to give us some 30,000 CUP loads. I'd give them a call and see what they say. That 8 grain loading with a 260 grain bullet should give you about 850 fps. Its in the range you want, but some more flexablity is in order.

Remember one thing, folks have been loading with Unique since we began producing smokeless powders in this country. It was one of the first two. People tend to become attached to things that have been around for awhile. 10 grains of Unique in the 44 mag or 45 Colt is easy. Easy to quote and easy to remember. Dirty, but easy. Now if some upstart new powder comes along and does everything good old Unique does, but better, some folks won't believe it. Or they might believe it but won't change.

Its easy for folks to say "Nope ,its not in the manual, don't do it !" Find me a manual that lists a 44 special load using around 17 grains of 2400 and a standard primer and produces around 1200 fps from a 4 inch barrel. Can you find it? Nope. Does the load sound familiar? Ever hear of a fella by the name of Elmer Keith? Sometimes just because it isn't in print doesn't mean it doesn't work.

I hope you see the grin on my face while you read this. Sometimes folks take themselves a bit too seriously or read text and not get the feel behind it. I want you to be safe and I want you to be able to get good answers.

Here's another monkey in the wrench, have you looked at Accurate Arms #5 in place of Unique and or Universal?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm all for being safe MT - I'm a measure twice, cut once anal retentive  :biggrin:

I will give Hodgdon's a holler tomorrow and report back with the results.  I've already contacted Accurate Arms and a tech sent me heavy 45 colt loads that are scheduled to be published in the 2002-2003's #3 manual.  All of the loads are for AA#9, no (as in none) #5.  If anyone is interested, drop me an e-mail and I'll forward the Excel attachment I received.  From published data I've read to that posted on reloading boards, I don't see what #5 can do that Universal does and does more economically.
 

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MT,

There is actually a back-handed mention of Elmer's .44 Special loads in the Speer No. 13.

There are some 44 Special loads published in other books and magazines that were never tested on modern pressure equipment. We tried one "famous" load with the big Keith bullet and found it produced almost double the 44 Special's pressure limit! (p. 558)

That would be around 31,000 psi. Not so good for many
if not most .44 Specials, modern or otherwise. I say this as someone who trashed three Charter Bulldogs!

But getting back to Alan's point, since I have the Speer manual handy, I see they offer up to 9.2 grains of Universal with a 250-grain swaged SWC. Alan, use the Hodgdon #26 data and don't wory about it. Back when I did such things, I used substantially more than 9.2 grains of Unique in the .45 Colt. I never had anything spooky happen before even I stopped. And no, don't ask.

:wink:
 

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Lyman's "Ideal Hand Book" No.38, pge 105....Bullet #429421-250 gr-18.5 grs #2400 @ 1200'/"- "Keith Load. This load for Heaviest frame guns. Hard crimp and bullet not over size more than .001 or .002" (their wording). I believe this load was clock by Elmer from a 6" Model 50 target. When the Mod 29 came out he move over to 4" barrels.
Best Regards, James
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bill wrote, "And no, don't ask. "  LOL!!!!  But I promise I won't tell a soul  <!--emo&;)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->

Gentlemen - once again I thank you for input and guidance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
According the the Hodgdon tech, all of the +P data from the #26 manual is in the #27.  The only difference, says he, are various loads using other brands of powder because "they (manufacturers) no longer list those loads in their own reloading manuals".  I find that the  #26 is far more generous than the #27 in providing lead vs. jacketed and bullet weight choices.  

When I asked about the interchangeability of Universal and Unique, he was in favor of not doing so because "they are not the same powder.  Thank you for call Hodgdon".

My conclusion:  proceed forward using standard procedures and practices and have fun....pretty much what all of you have said from the beginning.
 

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James,

I knew you'd get me on Keith load data being listed after I posted. I should have specified loading manuals released in the last 10 years or so.

Alan,

Sounds like your on the right path. I looked over my downloaded version of Hodgdons newest load data and still can't find the silhouette data. I'll keep looking though. Books are just better, thats all
 

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Alan,

I like both powders and they give similar results in the .45 Colt.  The "old"  UNIQUE is dirtier than Universal Clays but I understand that Alliant has reformulated it to  cleaner burning status.  

Interestingly, when UNIQUE was developed by Laflin & Rand just before the turn of the century, it was intended for both reduced loads in the .30 Cal. U.S. Govt. (.30-40) rifle and service revolvers.

I like 8.5 grs. of either powder in my .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy under a .457 dia. 255 gr. cast bullet. This loading develops 1,190 f.p.s. in the 24" barrel and shoots well all the way out to 300 meters.

I must confess, that if I were limited to one handgun powder, it would be W231.  It works as well, if not better than the others and is not as position sensitive.
8 grs. turns up 1,170 f.p.s. and is very accurate. I have fired a few 10 shot groups at 100 yards in my Marlin Cowboy that have gone under 3" using this powder.

John
 
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