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Thread: 9 grains Unique; 45 Colt

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy bmanis's Avatar
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    9 grains Unique; 45 Colt

    Is 9 grains of Unique pushing a Lee TL 452-230 TC a safe load to shoot in Uberti 1866 and 1873 Levers? The boolit weighs 238 grains after lube. What pressure and velocity am I looking at with this load. Accuracy wasn't great with 8 grains so I figured I may need to speed it up a bit.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Bmanis

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Well it is hard to find info for all bullets so I just go by weight. A RCBS 230 grain bullet with 9.3 grains of Unique is a max load and the vel is 1249 there is no pressure listed. This was in the new Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. Rifle Data. A Winchester 94 AE with a 16 inch barrel was the test rifle.
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  3. #3
    Fuzzy Boolit


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    If you have any Universal lying around I found my Trapper and RBH prefer it over Unique. My fun load was 7.5 grs Universal under a 255 gr Lyman 452424. Mild, clean & accurate.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Don't know about that load being "safe" as I've not pressure tested it. However; "Accuracy wasn't great with 8 grains so I figured I may need to speed it up a bit. May be going in the wrong direction. You may actually need to slow it down a bit and Unique is not the best powder in the larger 45 Colt case with lighter weight bullets like your 230 gr cast. You may want to try a faster powder like Bullseye starting at 6 gr and work up to 7.3 gr. These run 1050 - 100 fps with 200 - 225 gr cast out of my 20" barreled Uberti M73 and about 50 fps faster out of my 24" M92 Rossi. I've pressure tested the 7.3 load several times (M43 Oehler with Contender test barrel) and it does not exceed SAAMI PMAP for the 45 Colt of 14,000 psi. VV320 and Tin Star are also excellent powders for such loads.

    Larry Gibson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    I had the same thing with heavy loads of Unique in my Blackhawk. Backing down to loads in the 6.5 - 7.5 grs range improved the accuracy. I've had some good luck with AA #5 and a Lee 200gr RNFP or for light recoil loads I've been using Trail Boss.

  6. #6
    Fuzzy Boolit


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    When I was using Unique in 45 Colt 8 grs was as hot as I went with acceptable results. Had to check my old notes to confirm. I think Larry's got a point here. Sometimes Unique likes to go fast, sometimes it doesn't.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy bmanis's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help guys. I am going to pull the ones I've already loaded. I will load some with 6.5 and some with 7 grains of Unique and give them a try. I may also try to pick up some Bullseye this week as well.

    Bmanis

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I shoot 9g in the 38-55, which is a whole lot bigger than a 45LC. But Unique is unique in that small loads in big cases seems to work great. The 38-55 folks have been advocating this load for years and I simply never believed it. But I finally bought some Unique and gave it a try. Easily the most accurate load all three of my 38-55 rifles shoot.
    I also use small loads of Unique in my 45-70 for my Trapdoor reproductions. Fantastic accuracy.

    I would think 9g in a toggle action lever gun might be pushing it a bit. Certainly I wouldn't shoot this load in an origional 1800s rifle. And even in the Italian reproductions, it might be a bit much.
    Last edited by rbertalotto; 01-10-2013 at 09:56 AM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Ziptar's Avatar
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    I load anywhere from 9 to 10 grains of Unique with the 270-SAA but it's a much heavier bullet and I use a Marlin 1894. I find that Unique gets messy when loaded below 8 grains. If you are getting down to 6.5 - 7 grains in your loads you my find Unique to be sooty and even gritty with unburned powder. For lighter loads you might want to try other powders as rexherring said Trail Boss might be what your after.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Just in case you are not aware of it, here is the link to Aliant's reloading data. 9 Grns of unique is listed as the max load for a 230 grn in 45 Colt. I load 9grns in my 44 SBH with a jacketed bullet. I have gone as high as 10grns but it is a Ruger Super Blackhawk and I believe I could go a little higher if I wanted. Can't comment on accuracy. I usually drink too much coffee before I go to the range.

    http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...aspx?gtypeid=1

  11. #11
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    Ziptar--I like your avatar! I've loaded a whole lot of 250-260 grain boolits ahead of 9.0 grains of Unique in 45 Colt revolvers, ranging from a Uberti Cattleman (SAA repro) to the Ruger muscleguns. The load has always been tractable and reliable in the rollers, with no bad habits or quirkiness. I haven't owned any leverguns in 45 Colt, so I can't comment on how the load would perform in the longer barrels. As for use in a '73 Winchester action......I do see the platform being used for 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum chamberings these days, and the SAAMI-spec loads for those calibers (36K PSI) would scare me spitless in those toggle actions. I am certain that the 45 Colt/9.0 x Unique runs at half that pressure reading, perhaps less.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    9 grains of unique with a 250-255 gr lead bullet has been a "standard" load for the 45 colt for decades. It usually works quite well in either handgun or rifle, and as most data with pressure test numbers will show is at or below the SAAMI spec for the 45 colt.
    So assuming that your rifle is in good condition there should be no problems using 9 grs of unique with your 230 gr bullet.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Man Rooster59's Avatar
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    As some have noted, lower levels of Unique, coupled with lighter than 250gr bullets can be dirty. My Puma 92 prefers 250gr RNFP with at least 7.5gr of Unique. With 200RNFP and the same or lighter charges of Unique I would get hot powder popping back in my face from blow by past the brass in the chamber. That could certainly be a factor of how generous the chamber is in that rifle, but it is not uncommon to have generous 45 Colt chambers from my reading experience. At least in rifles. When I stopped using the 200RNFP and bumped all my Unique charges to between 7.6 and 8.2 accuracy was good and much less soot in the chambers. And on my face/glasses.

  14. #14
    Boolit Man Griff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    ...I do see the platform being used for 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum chamberings these days, and the SAAMI-spec loads for those calibers (36K PSI) would scare me spitless in those toggle actions...
    The .357 Mag mdl '73 clone has been around for decades. Have seen a few that have been shot out of spec, whether from a steady diet of magnums or even some over-charged loads, I don't know...

    While they LIST the .44 Magnum as being available, I've yet to see or hear of anyone actually buying one. I suspect that it's much like that 2006 mdl 94 Winchester "Take-Down"... cataloged, but never produced.
    Quote Originally Posted by Don McDowell View Post
    9 grains of unique with a 250-255 gr lead bullet has been a "standard" load for the 45 colt for decades. It usually works quite well in either handgun or rifle, and as most data with pressure test numbers will show is at or below the SAAMI spec for the 45 colt.
    So assuming that your rifle is in good condition there should be no problems using 9 grs of unique with your 230 gr bullet.
    +1. (emphasis added)
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  15. #15
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    i'm in the it's a bit much in the 1873 especially with the toggle link, i really like the looks and handling of the 73's but have passed on some good deals just because......insert reason here..
    i load 8.5 under a 250 rnfp quite a bit and i'm a bit leery of using those in my usfa's [modern colt revolver clones]
    it's all i can hang onto with the blackhawks little tiny grips.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    I limit my Uberti to published max loads under 14K PSI. I shoot 250 grain RF cast bullets with 5.8 grains of TB or about 6 grains of Unique. I have to keep velocity under 1,100 FPS for club targets, so I don't need to push it. My most accurate load is with 250 Nosler jacketed and IMR4227, but it's a very hot load for an 1873. It's a published load for .45 colts (not the "Ruger Only" data) but it has way more kick than anything else I've tried. I'm pretty sure this goes above 1400 PSI, so I'm not going to recommend it or even say how much powder!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    I with the above. Max standard pressure load for 255 grain SWC is 9.5 grains last time I checked with Alliant site. Agree, Unique is not position sensitive and likes to be loaded toward the high-end for best results. For 230 grains I would go somewhere in 9 to 10 grain range.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    Unique is one of my lifelong favorite powders. For a couple years after the "pickle suit time" in my life Unique was about all the powder I had to keep my .357's & 38's popping.
    But FYI Unique will go erratic if you stray above max loads. It will pressure spike. You may load 5 rounds and fire the first 3 OK but maybe #4 torches off and all the little gremlins that were waiting their chance suddenly pile in at once. Talk about a stuck case !
    So anyway I shoot 9 grains in my 44-40 1892 with a 220 grain Saeco Boolit without so much as a hick-up. But no way am I going to load one of those in a toggle link 1873 design. Nope not me !
    New steel and all they want to say.... it is still a 150 year old design that has 1/8" little steel rods holding toggles that flex and are loosly held in place by sideplates. If you need more power get a modern 1892.. they are far lighter to carry and will not bulg out the sideplates ever.
    Mike in ILL
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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy bmanis's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help. I ended up pulling the ones I had previously loaded and reloaded them with a light charge of Bullseye. I haven't had a chance to shoot them yet as it has been rather wet here in the south. This forum is a great resource for information.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Well that's to bad you pulled those unigue loads, you were well within the sammi pressure limits for the 45 colt. Bullseye is a faster powder than unique, so you will need to be extra cautious with it as it will build higher pressures than unique.
    GUSA #6
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