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Thread: Unique in .357 'lite'? 125 grain cast

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Throckmorton's Avatar
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    Unique in .357 'lite'? 125 grain cast

    I need to use some Unique,for 125 grain boolits,and keep it around 800 fps for cas match.
    A fella gave me a load of 6 grains for the .357,but that just seems too much compared to the loads that I do see in my older LYman's.His Lyman's was newer,but online info is something I like to verify,ya know?

    Can someone with a newer Lyman's than my 47th veriry or dany that loading? Or offer others for Unique and that weight boolit?

    Thanks for your time
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throckmorton View Post
    I need to use some Unique,for 125 grain boolits,and keep it around 800 fps for cas match.
    A fella gave me a load of 6 grains for the .357,but that just seems too much compared to the loads that I do see in my older LYman's.His Lyman's was newer,but online info is something I like to verify,ya know?

    Can someone with a newer Lyman's than my 47th veriry or dany that loading? Or offer others for Unique and that weight boolit?

    Thanks for your time
    Mike
    I have to agree with you. My favorite load using a 150 gr RCBS SWC is 6 grs of Unique and out of my 4 inch Model 19 it gives me 1000 fps or so. That would be more then you wanted with your 125 gr. The older Lyman doesn't list a load that slow. The 38 special hits close to it, but the case volume is different. You might try 5 grs.

    Joe

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    Mike, I just checked the Lyman 48th Edition Manual. For the Lyman boolit #358093 which is a 125 grain boolit, 6 grains of Unique gives a velocity of 769 fps. That is the start load. The max load is 7.8 grs. for 1290 fps. I hope this is usefull to you...Ray
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    Boolit Master

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    Each to their own, but I wouldn't throttle back a Unique load.
    I burn a bunch of it every year and find that it burns very dirty at lower velocities.
    But, if you insist, 4.5gr Unique should get you real close to 800 fps.
    I would be inclined to try Bulleye for light loads or one of the other faster burning shotshell powders.
    Since it is made specifically for CAS, Trailboss might be an even better choice.
    I'm as cheap as the next guy but I've found that there are just some things that you take your loses and move on.

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    Agree with jhrosier

    Don't throttle back Unique in the .357 case with light 125 gr bullets. It is very powder sensitive with that circumstance.

    As mentioned use Bullseye, about 4 gr.

    Better yet would be to use a .38 special case with that light bullet to cut down on case capacity. Any accuracy difference between the two cases in moot in a CASS match.

    Larry Gibson

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    Boolit Master Throckmorton's Avatar
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    I really 'need' to use Unique,finances dictate this week as my alternator hit the pocket book for 170.00 bucks. ugh
    anyhoo,I"m still perplexed.Lyman's says 6 grains will propel a 125 grain slug at kist under 800,yet
    Joe says his heavier boolit...150 grain... goes 1000 fps with that charge.
    I"m really beginning to think that the LYman's is a misprint,especially when I compare other similir weight boolits and their velocities for the charges given.

    I think I'll break into the emergency fund and get a different powder just to be sure and safe.

    thanks for all the responses.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throckmorton View Post
    I really 'need' to use Unique,finances dictate this week as my alternator hit the pocket book for 170.00 bucks. ugh
    anyhoo,I"m still perplexed.Lyman's says 6 grains will propel a 125 grain slug at kist under 800,yet
    Joe says his heavier boolit...150 grain... goes 1000 fps with that charge.
    I"m really beginning to think that the LYman's is a misprint,especially when I compare other similir weight boolits and their velocities for the charges given.

    I think I'll break into the emergency fund and get a different powder just to be sure and safe.

    thanks for all the responses.
    Mike
    I have some 125 gr casts. Today at daylight I will assemble some and shoot them over the chrono and report to you what I get. This will be out of a 4 inch Model 19 Smith as I stated before.

    Joe

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    6.0g Unique does provide 796 fps. However, I wouldn't go that low. When I first started shooting cast I tried some commercial hard cast boolits that were about 22 bhn over 4.0g unique in 38 special cases out of my model 65 s&w. Got poor accuracy and a lot of crude to clean up from unique's dirtiness... I would go with a 38 special case if I could and 4.5g Unique. That was the sweet spot for me. However, I would suggest bullseye over it. Burns cleaner.

    That said I have 3/4 a pound of Unique I will be loading with soon. As I want to use it up. But as said before, don't go with low end loads. Its dirty.
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    Boolit Master Throckmorton's Avatar
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    Joe,I look forward to your results. !

    thank you !!

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    Good morning
    Unique is about all I have here... unless I can scrounge something from old shotshells I come across. But in my 357 3" & 3.5 " Unique gets real "Sooty" when downloaded. All smokeless has a minimum pressure to ignite and burn Normally. You get below that that and it just "Fizzles". In .357 I have tried Unique down to 4 grains and I do NOT load that anymore. 5.5 is my absolute minimium with 150 grain. This is right at the edge of being "Sooty" in my S&W. I do not cast for lighter boolits here.
    If you want to use less powder get some 38S&W cases and go with 3 grains with a 125 gr. BUT accuracy will not be on par. 38 special cases with 4 grains again is about minimum to stay reasonable clean.
    For slow fps you need some very fast burning powder.
    God bless you

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    Okay did the test for you this morning. This was 6 grains of Unique with a 125 gr cast bullet. By the way the diameter of the bullet was .357. This makes a difference in my revolver as I tried some sized smaller for my 9mm and the velocity was lower. Anyways the average for five shots was 1008 fps out of my Model 19 Smith 4 inch. Now this revolver has a very very smooth bore in it. There has been a lot of cast through it. Now the loads sounded right up there and although you could definitely feel the gun fire, I wouldn't say there was much recoil. The primers were still very round cornered. To tell you the truth for as how clean or dirty it was I saw no difference between it and my 6 grain load with the 150 grain bullet which does show some recoil. For the dept that bullet was seated in this test, the 6 grains filled a pretty good portion of the case. I believe in a 38 case the result would be much different to the side of even higher velocity and more recoil. Personally I don't think the new Alliant powers are that dirty. Yes dirtier then many of the new era powders out there. Unlike others I don't see a problem with reduced loads of Unique, after all look at how many of us use it in cast rifle cartridges. I don't see Unique as dangerous or bad burner in this role. Yes something faster would be nice, but you said you don't have that option. I use just a few grains of Unique in 32 acp loads and yes I know the capacity is different. Just pointing out why they call it Unique....because is really is.

    Again depending on the diameter of your bullet, your bore and groove, neck tension, and how much of a crimp you put on....6 grs I believe will give you more then the 800 fps you seek, but you know what it's a mild mild load even at 1008 fps.

    No need to thank me, I got to shoot and that's fun.

    Joe

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    Boolit Master Throckmorton's Avatar
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    Joe
    "No need to thank me, I got to shoot and that's fun."

    lol

    you confirmed my suspicions that the Lyman's load is just not accurate as to fps.
    I sure agree about unique getting lots of bad press that it does not deserve.

    Thank you very much.

    this board is A-number 1 !!!

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    My Lyman manual (don't know the number - can't find it ANYWHERE!) shows 1200 fps for 6 grs of Unique and the 358242 boolit in 121 gr persuasion. Max is 9.0 grs giving 1600 fps.
    Echo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo View Post
    My Lyman manual (don't know the number - can't find it ANYWHERE!) shows 1200 fps for 6 grs of Unique and the 358242 boolit in 121 gr persuasion. Max is 9.0 grs giving 1600 fps.
    Well that's different then my Lyman. There are two 121 grain bullets. One is a round nose and the other TC nose. They start the TC at 7.2 at 1134 to 9.4 for 1484. The round nose is 6.2 at l006 to 8.6 for 1356. Difference looks to be the TC is a single lube groove and what appears to be a 9mm bullet. The other is a more normal revolver bullet with two lube grooves. Different resistance, different pressure.

    Joe

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    Throckmorton

    Joes chronograph results are nice and he assumes "reduced loads of Unique" to be safe. For the most part reduced loads are safe. However you were not discussing 'reduced loads" you were asking for "lite" loads. There is a difference. In a "reduced load of Unique" the pressure is sufficient for the powder to burn efficiently. In a "lite load of Unique" the pressure is not sufficient for the powder to burn efficiently. When a powder does not burn efficiently crazy things can happen. For instance; on another forum there is an ongoing discusion concerning lite loads of Unique loaded in a .357 case under a 125 gr jacketed bullet giving definate signs of excessive pressure. Here is a quote from that thread;

    "I use a very similar load in 38 Special case to demonstrate the effects of powder position in a half-filled case. It shows 18K psi with powder forward and 27K psi with powder back. Ken O

    Now "Ken O" just happens to be Dr. Kenneth Oehler of Oehler chronograph fame. I also have one of his M43s with which I measure pressures. I can also state that "lite" loads of any powder that does not burn efficiently can cause crazy pressures in any case.

    As you can see from the 1000+ fps Joe got with 6 gr of Unique you will have to go to a lighter "lite" load of Unique to get down to 800 fps. Joe may not "see Unique as dangerous or bad burner in this role" but the facts speak otherwise. Pressure spikes because of powder positioning are not good.

    Do as you suggest "break into the emergency fund and get a different powder just to be sure and safe".

    Larry Gibson

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    Here's that gentleman's post on his 357 Magnum and the Unique powder so thought problem:

    Piece is a .357 S&W 640 Centenial with a 2-1/8 barrel. Load is 7.4 grs. Unique behind a 125 jacketed HP. The manual lists this as the starting (minimum?) charge. The primers are flattened pretty bad and the cases won't fall out of the cylinder after pushing on the extracter rod. The cases slide out easy enough, however, I have to manually pluck them with my hand as they hang-up at the neck (?) a little bit. I tried a heavier charge (7.9) as I thought I might be having a detonation issue. Heavier was worse! Do I dare go lower? (as I think I should) The manual warns that it is dangerous to go lower than published loads. Really need advice. I don't have enough know-how on this one.

    As you see increase the charge made it worse, so it wasn't a reduced or lite load problem with Unique.

    Later in the post Larry made this statement:

    However, I suspect there is something else wrong here. The reason is I have shot lighter loads than this with Unique in .357s without any indications of pressure problems. Also the fact that prplbkrr states; "I had to rubber mallot the extactor a little" using loads of 9 gr Unique (still not a max load with 125 gr bullets). A safe load in his S&W 686 should be safe in his S&W 640, both being .357s.
    Notice in that Larry said he has shot lighter load then that when initially he's telling the poster that it's too reduced load mainly because of where the powder positions itself, which was brought up by Ken Oehler in the same thread. Ken was talking about a 38 special though.

    Note the guy said the cases slide out, but stick right at the case mouths at the ends of the cylinder. Later he discovers what the problem was which you will read next:

    O.K.I need to clarify a couple of points.The bullets are copper jacketed hollow points with an exposed lead nose.Rounds were fired "powder forward" as I had the muzzle down when loading the gun,raise the muzzle,aim,fire.
    The canister of Unique was dated March 26,2008,so I would think it is still good.These loads shoot just dandy,9.0grs. in the 686,cases fall right out of the cylinder after hitting the extractor rod(?).Absolutly no problems in this gun.In the snubby,7.4 grs.load,303 guy got it right, the cases hang-up just at the case mouth.
    I used a hooked paper clip to check the cylinders.There is a definite ridge where the casemouth (neck) and the bullet meet in all the cylinders.If it is caused by carbon,I can clean that,but what if its a reamer mark?


    Then Larry goes on to say in that thread this:

    Now "Ken O" just happens to be Dr. Kenneth Oehler of Oehler chronograph fame. I also have one of his M43s with which I measure pressures. I can also state that "lite" loads of any powder that does not burn efficiently can cause crazy pressures in any case.

    Well Larry I concede. I guess that you owning an Oehler chronograph makes you an expert in these matter. I'm sure you will be so kind as to make up a chart on all handgun loads as to what's the most reduced or lite load we can use. That's pretty ambiguous too isn't it reduced, lite, reduce, lite....hmmmm. You have Excel right Larry.

    No Larry just another one of your attempts to try make someone look bad and your famous select the part of a post that best serves you to really misconstrue the facts. By the way I did tell Mike he would be better served by a faster powder and I did the chrono test to show him what 6 grains of Unique would do (out of my revolver with a 125 cast...sorry it wasn't an Oehler so not professional...shucks) as opposed to what the manuals said. I also assume nothing.

    Joe

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    Boolit Master jimkim's Avatar
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    I think you should switch to 38 specials. If you decide to do that I'm sure we can find plenty of data for you. If you need to we can swap some brass. I can always use more 357 mag cases.

    This is from 38 Special Pistol (Oregon Trail Handgun/Standard Loads)

    test gun: Smith & Wesson 686 6", WSP; do not exceed maximum loads; never reduce stated overall lengths

    125gr Truncated Cone
    Alliant Unique 4.1gr, 742fps
    Remarks: starting load; minimum OAL: 1.450
    Last edited by jimkim; 02-25-2009 at 04:13 AM.

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    Last edited by acemedic13; 03-08-2009 at 04:59 PM.

  19. #19
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    I just checked three more Lyman manuals for data. In all three cases they deal with boolit #358242 a 121gr. RN. The 1973 Cast Bullet Handbook (2nd Ed.?). starts @ 6.0grs. for a velocity of 1200 fps. and ends at 9.0 grs. for 1605 fps.. Lyman Reloading Handbook 45th Ed. starts with 4.0 grs. for 715 fps. and ends with 8.5 grs. for 1387 fps. Lyman Reloading Handbook 46th Ed. starts with 6.9 grs. for 1088 fps. and ends with 9.1 grs for 1409 fps..

    The information seems to be all over the lot. These are all older manuals so we're not dealing with new verses old Unique. I think I would chose a different powder as others have suggested. Maybe a call to the makers of Unique would help to alleviate your concerns seing that you asked for information newer than your 47th. Ed. manual. I'm guessing that your dealing with the new Unique...Ray
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  20. #20
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    Starmetal wants to do his usual argument here by quoting everything out of context but I'm not going to play his game. Starmetal was making unsafe statements that Unique was not a "bad burner" in this role. The facts speak for themselves; Unique is a "bad burner' in the "lite" load role. Starmetal was giving unsafe advise. If that makes him "look bad" then so be it.

    I made the distinction here between "lite" loads and "reduced" loads. Starmetal apparently doesn't understand the difference. The increased loads are not relevent to Throckmorton's question. My advise to Throckmorton stands. Do not decrease the Unique loads in your .357 into the realm of "lite" loads as pressure spikes are common with that combination. Pressure spikes are not safe.

    I'll not address any further of Starmetals comments here as he just wants his usual p*ssing contest.

    Larry Gibson.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check