Saturday, February 27, 2010


Back in the day, we who handload our own ammunition could pick up powder at one of a variety of places. I can remember as a kid, hanging around the McBride Rod and Gun club at England AFB, LA. In the corner of the reloading room were stacks of 30 pound kegs of rifle and pistol powder. All surplus powder. The common practice at that time was to bring in a bleach bottle, fill your bottle with whatever powder you wanted, then drop five dollars in the club till.

It ain't like that any more. With the advent of fire codes things changed. With the election of our latest President, things really changed.

If you're a serious reloader, you probably have Unique powder on your bench. Lots of folks say that Unique is dirty, but I've never found it to be so dirty that I couldn't clean it from a gun. I'm using my last pound of Unique, bought before the turn of the century. I got a deal on several one-pound canisters and never found a reason to buy more. I shoot a lot of Unique, but I had a lot of Unique in sealed, one pound containers.

That's an old container. The company has changed names, but the powders remain.

At any rate, I was running low on Unique and as we all know, the powder situation has been terrible for the past year or so. Our President scared the hell out of a lot of us and all the ammo and components flew off the shelves.

Things may be getting better on the powder front. I was surfing around yesterday and went over to Powder Valley. I've done business with them in the past and they're good folks.

Here's the interesting part. If you look at a close-up of my old Unique tin, you'll see it's marked $16.95. I didn't pay that for it, but that's the marked price.

So, when I saw that Powder Valley had Unique and Bullseye in stock, I ordered some supplies. I figured the haz-mat fees, shipping, and powder cost and I'm getting my new stocks in the door at $17.81 per pound. If I was buying it downtown, I'd be paying $26.00 or more per pound. And, they probably wouldn't have it in four pound jugs.

Next moonth I'll start looking for IMR 4895. As versatile as Unique is for pistol and revolver loads, 4895 is that versatile as a rifle powder. I'm down to my last 8 lb jug.


Old NFO said...

I gotta move... not being able to reload is killing me AND my wallet... sigh...

be603 said...

Unique dirty? That's lubricant not grime!

Can't imagine buying Unique in anything less than 8lb'rs. Anything smaller would be like drinking coffee from a shot glass. :-)

Owen said...

I am so very sad i am down to my last three pounds of unique. Shoot Uniques grim is good your fingers and your guns!

Rich Jordan said...

My small supply of Unique is still the older Hercules brand too. I don't shoot a lot with it because every load I've tried in several calibers smokes a bit too much for use in the indoor ranges around here.

Its accurate enough and not too hard to clean up afterwards, but the folks in nearby lanes definitely get unhappy with the fog a few cylinders full create (yeah, ventilation could be better...)

Anonymous said...

When I first started handloading in eighth grade in 1958, I bought 4831 and 4895 from Seattle Sporting goods on Roosevelt Way in N. Seattle. They stocked both in fiber drums at the end of the pistol display case. It was self service, you dipped the powder into a paper bag with the proper powder number stamped on it from a pile on the counter, stapled the bag shut and took it to the cash register where the clerk took your 50 cents and gave you a receipt. The price was nominally 50 cents a pound. One of those bags held more than a pound and a half.

Gerry N.