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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 24 2017 at 11:18am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I must admit, I am a die-hard Hercules, now Alliant powders guy. Other than the BP I started with, Hercules/Alliant has been my "it" powder for well over a half century. I piddled with win630 long ago. W231.. HS-6, and some of the AA stuff but I always return to Alliant.

Couple days ago, at a shop new to me, I bought a pound of Universal powder to try in my handguns. Loaded 7.3gr in a .45Colt case with a Berry's Bullets.452" 250gr copper plated flat point. Guessing around 830fps, or a pinch faster, from my "purty 45" at 15yds it printed a 5 shot group of 2". That's good for me, Mr. Wobbles! Elevation was perfect. However, you guessed it, 3" left! But I'm happy with the powder in this loading, and I clearly see great potential for accuracy. Noticed some "puffed" powder partially burned in cases and bore. A few light brown carmal colored miniture rice chrispies looking stuff. No big deal and kinda funny in a way.
But the recoil to velocity ratio is lower than with Unique or Bullseye. Much like Blue Dot, Universal gives a little more down range punch, but with less pressure. And no sooty cases like with Alliant powders. Cleaning was a snap with copper plated bullets and this powder. Aside from the few "mini rice crispies" there was trace carbon left behind. Impressive.

38's and 44's will follow soon. Using around the same weight as Unique, Universal powder in my local is $3 less per pound than Unique and Bullseye. Another thing going for it. So far, I'm liking it. The real test will be my consolidation bullet for the 38Spl. If it delivers there, Unique might be out of a job in my 38's. We'll see.

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Rex
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Posted: September 24 2017 at 12:03pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

I have never used Universal but it looks like it is almost the same load data as Unique. I had a bad habit of shooting left and high. Finally ran my finger clear in to the first joint like I was shooting double action. A little work like that and things got a lot better.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 24 2017 at 4:39pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Yeah Rex, I apparently have some physical issue or a mental block with single action revolver shooting. And I believe it cannot be corrected. So I now aim to the right.

As to the powder, was out this morning with the 45Colt 7.3gr load with the plated bullets. Very consistent either elevated or pointed down prior to acquiring the targer. I did that up or down bit to place the bulk of the powder against the primer or bullet's base checking for position sensitivity. No discernable difference noted. And I still shot a tight group with good velocity, but with a very comfortable recoil.

At this point, I'm liking this powder. Very clean and consistent.

Edited by Old Ranger on September 24 2017 at 4:45pm


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richhodg66
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Posted: September 24 2017 at 7:52pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I have a half pound or so of Universal out in the barn I got from someone I trust so no fears about open cans of powder. Been wondering what to do with it. I'm pretty well set on fast and medium pistol powders, but just might give the stuff a try. Thanks for posting about it.

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RB in GA
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Posted: September 24 2017 at 9:03pm | IP Logged Quote RB in GA

Yeah, nothing wrong with Universal. In big bore 40+ stuff it is an alternative to Unique. When it was introduced it was supposed to be a clean replacement for Unique. After 30 years of reloading, nothing that goes boom and shoots down the bore is clean. I have gone back to Unique. It's 5 to 7 dollars per lb cheaper than Universal and has a 110+ year of history.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 25 2017 at 11:16am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Well, I ran my "consolidation bullet", the RCBS 140GR RNFP in a .38Spl with 4.3gr Universal from my trusty old S&W M&P. Holding v-e-r-y still @ 15yds and taking 10 min to shoot, got an inch 'n three-quarters 6 shot group. Pretty fair for "Mr. Wobbles". This powder resembles W231, but meters better through my ancient Ideal #5 measure. And this time the case was fuller, and the rice crispies were almost nonexistent as was the carbon fouling. Just a trace.

It really put them down range quick and tight, but an easier recoil than 5gr Unique. 4.6gr is a max Cowboy Load, and is rated at 17,000CUP and right at 1,000fps. Fast and as stout as I'd want in my old guns anyway.
That same bullet in a .357Mag case and 6.5gr Universal will be cracking at 1,300fps and around 28,000CUP. That's steppin' for a "Cowboy Load". From my 20" M92 Rossi, I'd be guessing maybe 1,400fps and then some.

RB, I'm sorry it cost more in your area. About 3 bucks cheaper here compared with Unique. Fact is, I'm going back to thst shop and buy some more.

Edited by Old Ranger on September 25 2017 at 11:25am


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LAH
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Posted: September 25 2017 at 2:41pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

Yer results look good.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 25 2017 at 6:11pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Yup Lynn, I am having some good results thus far. The lower "blast" from the loads appear to help my shooting too. Loads feel more comfortable, if that's a good explanation....

Rex, today I took out the 45Colt again. Had 19 200gr lead RNFP with 8gr Unique I loaded with the 310 a while back. Figured I'd pop em off at 15yds and see if I could hit the plate with a few. Several were way left... Then I remembered to hook my finger at the first joint like DA shooting like you spoke about. Dog gone it, I had 4 touching centered and 3 clustered an inch below, but still centered. But then I was out of ammo.... Neat trick! Gotta remember that. Been cramming my finger way into the guard and was shooting all over the place. Your trick worked for me! Also I slowed down a bunch too. Really taking my time. So far, so good.


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LAH
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Posted: September 25 2017 at 6:20pm | IP Logged Quote LAH

Firearms are such a challenge. I'm 66 & learning stuff all
the time.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 25 2017 at 7:07pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Well Lynn, though I hate to admit it but I have been working on relearning many things after a stroke last year. It zapped my right side and I've been fighting things ever since to get back 100% of me. A fair guess would be I'm close to 80% now. Curling 20# to 35# dumbbell these days. A year ago I'd drop Dixie Cups with 2 ounces of water... I'm gettin there. Rarely walk with a cane anymore. So occasionally I have a hard time with my hands and shooting, but I'll get there.

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LAH
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Posted: September 26 2017 at 11:26am | IP Logged Quote LAH

Sounds like progress. Most people would have just sat
down.


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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 26 2017 at 12:12pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Oh, I may fonch and fume, and hoot'n hollar just like my cartoon hero, Yosemite Sam, but in reality I'll never just lay down and quit. Just not in my creed. So if I'm spittin', cussin', and fussin', I'm not quittin'... I'm just gearin' up for the fight!
Now that's not to say that I haven't destroyed stuff in place that really ticks my off, but I do try to restrain myself.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 26 2017 at 12:15pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

'n I like Universal powder too.

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mikld
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Posted: September 26 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged Quote mikld

When powder supplies got tight a few years ago, I coudn't find
any Unique, but I did find some Universal. For me, the two
perform almost identically. My Universal meters a bit easier,
more consistent and while it doesn't matter to me it seems to be
a bit cleaner shooting (but I haven't compared, side by side with
Unique). So now I have switched almost all my handgun loads
over to Universal and have 7 lbs in reserve...

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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 27 2017 at 2:31pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I'm leaning towards making Universal a "consolidation" powder. Going to buy more soon!

Hey Rex! Tested Universal with the 358429 and the 357446 today. Both over 4.2gr in a 38Spl case through my 1860 Army conversion in 38Spl.
My oh my, what a wonderful experience that was. Using your hook the trigger finger like a DA revolver technique, and aiming two inches under center gave me a nice clustered group of 3" with 18 rounds at 15yds. If Robin was here he'd say "Holy 'Sweet Load' Batman! You outshot Shame!"

Cleanup was ridiculously easy. Zero lead. Fouling super light. Took me no time to get my baby sparkling clean. And with heavier bullets and higher vel. loads, those little rice crispy residual partial burns were gone. So clean it made me wonder where the filth went.

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Rex
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Posted: September 27 2017 at 4:50pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

Wade, that's great! I knew you'd beat that thing. I've got one more pound of Unique in the drawer then I may give it a try.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 28 2017 at 5:43am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Funny, when the hoarding created the great component depression, I ran out of Unique, Bullseye, Blue Dot, Red Dot, hell I was out of all smokeless powder for pistols all together. At first, I was a little bent outta shape over that, but I had a good supply of American Pioneer Powder, a superb black powder substitute. I loaded my pistols with that until the panic lifted. So I guess that in reality, I can, and have, got along without Unique and all the others ok.

And loading with APP was just like old times, but cleaner.


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M700
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Posted: September 28 2017 at 10:42am | IP Logged Quote M700

I've been slowly whittling away at a substantial amount of the old dirty Unique. Dang that stuff is about one step removed from charcoal or black powder!

But it sure works well in several of the handgun cartridges I load with it:

.38 Special
.44 mag
.45 ACP
.45 Colt

I haven't tried a reduced load of it in the .500 S&W, but imagine that could work well too.

Problem is, having a quantity of the old Unique, has kept me from trying newer, potentially better powders... So, I'll keep whittling away at it.

Guy
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mikld
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Posted: September 28 2017 at 11:11am | IP Logged Quote mikld

Ranger, I've been curious about loading some of my revolvers
with black powder (38, 357, 44 Mag.). Don't think I wanna try it
in my semi-autos. Could you share a bit of your experiences
loading black in modern revolvers?

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Old Ranger
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Posted: September 28 2017 at 1:31pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Guy, I am having the same problem. After I did get some Unique, got 8#, and 3 more single # cans. But I was dying to test Universal. Average velocities in cartridges and bullets used being the same, I've determined a 5% overall decrease in chamber pressure, and 10% less weight used with Universal as opposed to Unique. Very clean burning powder and little or no soot on case exteriors.

I have a new system that I use. Once a month (retirement check) I'll buy a pound of powder and a brick of primers. Every other month, copper plated bullets. Believe it or not but its getting crowded in my little place! But tomorrow I'm getting another # of Universal and I think that's gonna continue for a while... I like it that much!


Mikld, rather that discuss BP loading here in this thread on Universal smokeless, I'll start a thread on BP pistol cartridge loading. Ok? Ranch13 has done volumes on rifle loading in that part of the forum.

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