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View Poll Results: What do you prefer? Win 231 or Unique in your handloads?

Voters
245. You may not vote on this poll
  • Winchester 231 (Or that Hogdon Equivalent)

    98 40.00%
  • Unique (whoever manufactures that)

    147 60.00%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Results 101 to 117 of 117

Thread: Win231 vs Unique: Which do you prefer? What do you use it in?

  1. #101
    Boolit Master
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    Dec 2021
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    I can't chose because for my uses they do a different job. I think of WW231 for real light loads in handguns. When I go to Unique I'm usually going for heavier loads. I love 231 for the 45 Colt because I can use a bit less than 7 grains and attain the thrifty 1,000 shots per pound of powder goal I like.

    I have an 8lb can of WW231 I've been shooting out of for years and it seems to have no bottom. My Unique supply shrinks much faster for some reason.

  2. #102
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    915
    ^
    And for these light loads, the charge of W231 is just a tiny speck in the bottom of the case. So even though it flows great in a meter, it doesn't mean the charge is any more accurate. This is one of the first powders I started with. But half a bottle sits on a shelf and hasn't been used in 10 years. There are fluffier flake powders that will do light loads cleanly and make double charges impossible.

  3. #103
    Boolit Buddy Tall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Not unfortunate.

    Some people should not reload.
    Been using W231 for 45 years. Winchester has not dropped it.

  4. #104
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    54
    Quote Originally Posted by pdgoutdoors View Post
    I use 231/HP38 mainly because I cannot find Unique for the life of me, or if I do its almost 50 bucks a pound.
    Get used too it most of the distributors are reporting price increases for 2024..

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

  5. #105
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Montana boondocks
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    23
    I'm considering giving up use of 231 in my revolvers due to the amount of powder residue left in the barrels and chambers. Some of the residue is light colored and some is grey. I can shake it out of the cylinder and blow it out the barrel. I'm using fresh powder, not long-stored. Loads are mid-range in .327 Mag, .357, and .44 spl. Anyone else noticing or experiencing this?

  6. #106
    Boolit Buddy Dom's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
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    W. Montana
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    If I had to choose between WW-231 & Unique it would be Unique every time. Unique is far more versatile than 231. Unique will handle the light loads & some fairly heavy loads. 231 for sure has a niche, Unique just has more niches.

  7. #107
    Boolit Master
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    Feb 2021
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    1,089
    I’m hoping W231 will be fast enough to get me a good chamber seal in a .45 Colt 1873 - I have on good authority Unique will not serve that purpose. I loaded W231 for the first time yesterday. It’s been a few years since I loaded Unique. Neither meter well, and I must trickle charge for precise load work ups. Both are in the form of flakes from my powder cans. Anyone who thinks these meter well has not used anything from Ramshot/Accurate. I spoiled myself (as far as metering is concerned) by going with True Blue & Enforcer early on.

  8. #108
    Boolit Buddy Tall's Avatar
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    W231 is great in 45 Colt - my favorite powder behind a 255 grain .454" SWC.

    I loaded some 32 WCF today with 3.7 grains of W231 behind a 100 grain powder coated SWC. It seems like very little powder compared to how much Unique I have to use.

  9. #109
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Texahoma
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    I duplicated the velocity of 45 Auto Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel with 5.3 gr W231 and 5.8 gr Unique under 452374 bullet.
    I'm not sure where all the money is that I've "saved" by casting and reloading!

  10. #110
    Boolit Mold
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    Dec 2023
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    western kentucky
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    Pretty much what ever I can get, currently.

  11. #111
    Boolit Buddy Tall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I have nearly given up on Winchester powders. 231 works well but whenever I find a powder that does all I want, that is a WW powder, they soon drop it. I have no trust that they will be there year after year.
    In my opinion W231 is the perfect powder for 45 Colt behind a 255 grain lead SWC. I've been buying it for something like 45 years. I don't see any shortage around here.

  12. #112
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    HP-38/231. I use it for .38 spec., 9mm, most .44 spec., .45 ACP & mid-range .45 Colt. Unique is Ok, but HP-38/231 seems to burn cleaner & is more available in my general area.

  13. #113
    Boolit Mold
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    Nov 2018
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    Unique gets my vote, just because it is more versatile. I load with both powders. Unique can be used for almost anything in a pinch. On my bench Win 231 is used for handgun cartridges only.

  14. #114
    The Brass Man Four-Sixty's Avatar
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    I am using W231 for 38 Special loads cause I can find it locally. I have some favorite Unique loads in 45 Auto, but am looking at other powders not made by Alliant where possible. I'm quitting my use of Alliant powders where possible. I'm going to give my business to other companies who are going to regularly support reloaders.
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  15. #115
    Boolit Buddy Tall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Four-Sixty View Post
    I am using W231 for 38 Special loads cause I can find it locally. I have some favorite Unique loads in 45 Auto, but am looking at other powders not made by Alliant where possible. I'm quitting my use of Alliant powders where possible. I'm going to give my business to other companies who are going to regularly support reloaders.
    I kind of can't blame you. Alliant has not done the brand any favors. All the powder I bought was made by Hercules. I will be shooting it for the rest of my life and unlikely I will ever run out.

  16. #116
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Unique. I reload for 10 or 12 pistol cartridges, and have used it in all but two, the 9mm Win Mag and 45 Win Mag. The cartridges it really shines in (for me) are the 38 special and 45 LC. I haven't found anything else as versatile. Unique and 2400 account for just about all of my reloading, with the rare usage of 296 being the outlier.

  17. #117
    Boolit Master

    jdgabbard's Avatar
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    For me, it's Unique. When I first started using it I found it to be dirty, but providing good accuracy. It's never metered well in any of my meters, either hand operated or auto (disk/drum) - but these are all Lee products, so take that for what it's worth). Then I figured out that it doesn't really like starting loads. It prefers to be on the heavier load side, and once you get there it burns relatively clean. If you are finding unburned flakes in your brass, you're not loading it heavy enough... For my 38s, nothing beats a 150-160gr lead bullet over 5.0gr of Unique. At 4.0gr it just doesn't burn as clean. 9mm, just about any 115-125gr lead bullet over 4gr of Unique, working up to 5.0gr has proved to be clean, accurate and reliable. It can be used in rifles of small, medium and large-ish cases. Though, Red Dot can also be used here. But when you consider that there isn't quite as much data out there for Red Dot as Unique, the latter becomes the clear winner. When I realized just how versatile of a powder it was I fell in love with it. I'm just not sure there is another powder than can be used in as many applications as Unique.

    And considering it's been around for over a hundred years at this point, I don't see it disappearing any time soon. It's one of Alliant's Flagship Powders. People cannot buy enough of it, which you've probably could tell over the last 4-5 years when it's been continuously absent from the store shelves. Meaning it'll probably be here in another 40-50 years, assuming we're still allowed to do this kind of stuff at that time. Win231/HP-38 is already on the chopping block. Back in 2015 Mike Daly indicated that the plants that make 231/HP-38 are going to begin phasing out production. That doesn't mean they won't have a different powder with similar burn rates available. But the fact is that they are planning on doing away with it.

    Winchester 231 certainly has been hard to get. The plant that makes Winchester powders does not want to make 231 as well as a few other powders. These older technology powders have different chemistry than the new powders and this older chemistry makes it much slower to make powder: basically, you can make about 2.5 times as many pounds of new chemistry powder in the time it takes to make 1 pound of old chemistry powder. During the process of making the old powders, the waste stream created is huge compared to the waste stream of the new chemistry powders. Chemical waste is very expensive to get rid of. So, the plant wants to phase out the old chemistry powders and replace them with new chemistry powders. While they are still making 231, the amount is being reduced and the amount of new powder such as Titegroup and Longshot is being increased.
    Now, we are kind of stuck in the middle. The market is demanding 231 but the maker is not wanting to produce the powder. The result is, over time, 231 is going to go away. Shooters should begin using other powders as they can.

    Mike Daly
    Hodgdon Family of Fine Propellants
    Hodgdon Smokeless Powder
    IMR Powder Company
    Winchester Smokeless Propellants
    GOEX Blackpowder"
    The downside to Unique is that Alliant seems to be having some troubles. Between not being able to get components to make enough powder, raising prices to absurd levels, and cancelling long standing orders, Unique is going to be difficult to get your hands on. So I guess there is a certain level of uncertainty as to whether you can actually get your hands on it today, and if so at what price. At the moment of writing this, Unique cannot even be had from Powder Valley. But if it could, they're charging $48/lb or $325/8lb jug. So a 150% increase in cost over prices in 2010 back when just about any Alliant powder would cost you $18-20/lb. In fact, the 8lb just I'm currently working through was purchased in 2014 for $169.99, or $21.25/lb. That was just 10 years ago. So we're looking at a 150% increase over the course of 10 years....

    This has forced me to look into other powders, that are a little more economical. I've been playing around with Shooters World, Ramshot, surplus, and even other alliant powders that seem to remain in stock. Though, in truthfulness, I just haven't found anything as reliable as Unique. The closest alternative for me is either Red Dot, or Bullseye in small pistol cartridges. Red Dot has a little wider application than Bullseye. But both serve nicely. But again, that's if you can find them...
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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