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Unique in the 38-48 #15830240 02/24/21
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I'm trying to work up some light smokeless loads to shoot in an original 1873 38-40 mfg 1890, using Buffalo arms 180 gr cast. I have Unique, but am puzzled by the wide range of data.
Lyman 44th manual lists under rifle w/172 cast 6.8 to max 10.2
pistol w/172 cast 7.2 to max 10

The Hornady 5th only lists pistol w/180 cast 4.3 to 6.2 max

Alliant shows a cowboy load w/180 cast 7.4 max
quite a broad range.
I loaded up six with 4.4 Unique and the 180 Buffalo I hope to try this afternoon. It doesn't look like a lot of powder in that case, and I start to wonder if it needs a filler? I just want to plink, or maybe shoot a close range coyote sometime.
Anyone have any experience with Unique in a 38-40 ?
Hodgdon sent me loads with Tite Group, Trail Boss, and Universal (I have Universal) with pressures from 7000 to 8200 PSI
Lots of people say use BP, and maybe I'll try it in warmer weather when I can clean it outside, too cold out now.
Thanks

BP-B2

Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15830495 02/24/21
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Swifty52 Online Content
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Might confuse you more, but the 1937 Phil Sharpe handloading book list 180 grain cast using Unique 8.0-10.2 grains in 38.40 so Lyman 44 might not be far off.



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Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15830571 02/24/21
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Lyman “Case Bullet Handbook #4” lists a Unique Load with a 180 grain RCBS cast bullet at 6.5 to 7.2 Max grains with 10,000 to 11,100 psi and 826 to 897 fps. That was tested in a Universal Receiver 7 ½" barrel.

Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15831657 02/24/21
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Thanks. Cartridges of the world lists !0 Gr Unique w/180 lead as max for handguns. I was somewhat concerned about too light a load and "Detonation". The more I read the more confused. I want to keep pressures down , but most manuals don't list pressure except for shot shell loads. Waiting for the Oregon bullets to arrive, hope they have a crimping groove .

Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15838168 02/26/21
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Well I kept 5 shots in about 2 1/2 in at 30 yds with one flyer . Original sights and 69 yo eyes, maybe invest in a Lyman tang sight at some point. That was 4.4 Unique, might move up to 5gr and try that. Primer rationing is my issue right now.

IC-A

Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15860042 03/03/21
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I would stay away from that 10 grains of Unique and a 180 in the .38-40. I had an old reloading manual from the 40s and loaded that in a Colt SAA 'cause I didn't know any better. It was hot. Clipped lead. Didn't realize how hot it was 'til I shot some in a Blackhawk a few months back .. dang, it had some bark for a .38-40.

I'm not sure what I'd use in Colt or S&W today. The Ruger shoots better as the load gets hotter .. hotter than I want to shoot in any other gun. I've run up to 18.5 grains of IMR 4227 under 180 and 200 grain cast bullets. I went up to 14 grains of 2400 under a 180 cast recently. Accuracy was improving as the charges got heavier. Pondering exceeding posted max for a bit more accuracy .. no decision yet. With a Colt or S&W I might just try Holy Black.

Tom


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Here be dragons ...
Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #15996092 04/15/21
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I was shooting 2400 in my old Marlin 94 rifle with a 180 gr cast

Sharp's manual calls for rifle loads of 17 gr-1340 fps, 21 gr-1715 fps, 23.6 gr-1940 fps, but I think I settled on 16 grs as most accurate. His load for Unique is 8 gr-1300 fps with a max load of 10.2 gr-1555 fps - . These loads were too hot in my Colt .

He list rifle loads and separate revolver loads. With revolver loads and Unique for a 180 gr cast as being:

6 gr-720 fps, 8 gr-930 fps, and 9.2 gr-1040 fps. No loads are listed for 2400 for revolvers.I had luck with Universal Clays.

Those old rifles you need to slug the barrel.I had John Walsh in Washington state reline my barrel.
A application of Dyna Tek will help those old bores for fouling and accuracy.

Last edited by saddlesore; 04/15/21.

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Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #16519092 10/11/21
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My 1873 is 4 years older and has a strange shaped chamber.
The space for the bullet is the same diameter as the space for the case neck.


[Linked Image]
In 12 days I am going deer hunting with a 38-40 lever action Winchester 92.

I will have other rifles, but it will be my close range putter.


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps
Re: Unique in the 38-48 [Re: Masshunter] #16522703 10/13/21
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I had a 1916 built 1892 in 38-40 with a chamber like that. Blew the shouders right out of the brass into a nearly straight case. My brass life was pretty short, the necks liked to split after a couple resizings squeezing them down that much.

The rifle had a pretty rough bore and wasn't much of a shooter anyway, so I parted with it and saved myself the headaches.


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