View Full Version : Reloads VS Factory ammo in SD gun CONT:
March 17, 2009, 01:20 PM
I addressed this debate to the Wyoming Attorney General who passed it to the Wyoming Dept of Criminal Justice (who handles CCW permits & Such).
Based on the response, I dont think I would loose any sleep regarding carrying reloads in Wyoming. (Based on Wyoming Law that States if one is involved in a ligit SD shooting, he/she cant be sued civily).
You're state may or may not be differant. Basicly one should carry what he/she feels comfortable with. Personally I feel more comfortable with my own ammo.
Dear Mr. Stuart,
Wyoming State Statute § 6-8-104 provides for the regulation of concealed firearm permits in Wyoming. The statute does not contain any direction on ammunition or set any standards. Therefore, the Division has no requirement in this area and can only defer to any Federal law on types of ammunition which may be carried lawfully by civilians.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question.
Kevin R. Smith
Deputy Director, CJIS
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation
March 17, 2009, 01:27 PM
I was told by my CHL instuctor to never use reloads for self defense, for legal reasons. What the reasons are I dont know, he didnt elaborate, and I didnt ask. Personally I would trust a Gold Dot or Hornady TAP over any of my reloads for self defense.
March 17, 2009, 01:34 PM
Based on the response, I dont think I would loose any sleep regarding carrying reloads in Wyoming.
Maybe not worth losing sleep over, but reloads cost money. That is what I tell folks. Even if your shoot is good, if you go to court your attorney has to be ready for anything and everything that comes up. Reloads are a potential problem area, whether one likes to admit it or not, so the attorney has to prepare for that issue. The attorney probably doesn't know that much about ammo, so he will need to hire an expert in the field to consult. If you are really lucky the expert will only cost around $500. Then the attorney will bill the hours he has needed to check with the expert and prepare for the issue. Let's say it's $1000. So your reloaded ammo has cost you $1500 in legal fees, and it is apt to get a whole lot worse. Given that factory ammo is just fine and will do an excellent job for SD, is the extra cost worth it?
What the reasons are I dont know, he didnt elaborate, and I didnt ask.
The biggest problem legal-wise, IMO,is that you can't get a testimonial exemplar. The other problems come from the other side being able to demonize the ammo, rightly or wrongly, and how that can affect jurors in both the criminal and civil case.
Glenn E. Meyer
March 17, 2009, 01:50 PM
There are two separate issues here. This is often forgotten:
1. Are there legal proscriptions against reloads?
2. Are reloads going to make a bad impression on the jury?
a. The DA explicitly brings it up and denounces you.
b. The DA just presents the reloads and describes them factual but hoping that the fact that you reload makes you look a touch off.
I'm bored repeating that jury research does show that the impression formation can be important in ambiguous shoot cases. The WY letter doesn't speak to #2. Nor would the impression formation issue usually surface in appeals or legal data bases.
Summary: Whatever you carry should be able to be justified as reasonable by your lawyer or expert opinion.
March 17, 2009, 01:52 PM
Let me back up. If its a ligit shooting, it wont go before a jury. If its not, then reloads are the least of your problems. Again, in Wyoming, if its a ligit shooting YOU ARE EXEMPT FROM CIVIL CASES.
I can also address Alaska. If its a ligit shooting you dont go to criminal court, the cornor's inquest determins if its self defence or not. I spent 20 yrs as a LE officer in Anchorage, and was certified as a EOD & Firearms Expert by the Courts of Alaska. SD ammo never came up. Any shooting goes to the Cornor's Inquest. That determines if it was self defence or an unjustifiable shooting. If its ruled as unjustifiable, then it goes to the Prosicuter who determines if he has a case. If he feels he does, it goes to the Grand Jury. They determine if there is enough evedence to bring it to trial.
But like I said, choose what you are comfortable with. Know your state laws, and get advise from the Attonrney General's Office.
March 17, 2009, 01:56 PM
+1 AR15Chase I wouldnt trust my life to my reloads.
Glenn E. Meyer
March 17, 2009, 02:01 PM
If you are in court, someone doesn't think it is a legit shooting and then you have to worry about image impression.
We can find SD cases that went to court and the actor found not guilty. Thus, they are definitionally ambiguous. Some thought it was bad and some thought is was good.
We are talking about if you go to trial - can appearances impact jurors?
For instance, I recall watching a trial of an officer charged with shooting someone. In his officer pictures - he has no glasses and one of those military haircuts. Looks like a real tough case.
One trial - he is wearing intellectual type glasses and has his hair grown out? Looks like a nice middle class guy - not a warrior.
March 17, 2009, 02:06 PM
A debate is going on on this topic in the reloading forum:
And they link to this post which lists three cases where reloads have been a factor (post is by Massad Ayoob):
While not by any means a prevalent factor in cases, it seems like the savings from reloading self-defense ammunition isn't worth it.
March 17, 2009, 02:19 PM
Let me back up. If its a ligit shooting, it wont go before a jury.
Not necessarily. Lots of folks think their shooting is legit, but it still goes to court. Basically anytime someone has claimed self defense they think it a legit shooting, but a lot of self-defense cases end up in court.
While not by any means a prevalent factor in cases, it seems like the savings from reloading self-defense ammunition isn't worth it.
That pretty much sums it up for me. By the time you get through paying people like me and Mas, by the time you pay your attorney, by the time you work to counter the jury impresion stuff tha Glenn mentions, it can be a pretty good chunk of money.
March 17, 2009, 02:46 PM
People use handgun reloads primarily to save money. If a person expects to be shooting people in self-defense on a very frequent basis then I could see how using reloads for self-defense would save a significant amount of money.
However, that's totally unrealistic.
Most of us will never be involved in a self-defense shooting, and those who are almost certainly won't be involved in multiple self-defense shootings. Which means that the amount of ammunition expended in a lifetime of self-defense shootings is quite small. At most, a person might need 300 rounds of self-defense ammunition for a lifetime of use. Enough to prove it's functional in their handgun and enough to make up for the wear and tear ammo incurs as a result of being carried.
But what about practice? For practice the shooter can use his own reloads which duplicate the basic characteristics of the SD ammunition.
Using reloads for SD has caused problems in a few cases. Not frequently, but it has happened. Those problems, while infrequent can cost a lot of money, hassle and may even result in prosecution*/civil liability in the worst case.
Against that, one must balance the savings on 300 rounds of factory ammunition vs. handloaded ammunition, amortised over a lifetime.
It's an easy decision once you look at it objectively.
*Prosecution due to the circumstances of the case being clouded by the use of handloads, NOT being prosecuted SPECIFICALLY for using handloads.
March 17, 2009, 03:07 PM
People use handgun reloads primarily to save money.
I'll have to disagree with that statement. Yes cost saving is a factor, but not the only factor.
I reload, because my reloads are better (for me) then factory. Its not necessarly cheaper in some aspects.
An example is the ammo I use for HIGH POWER. Cant really say thats cheaper then what I could buy.
I also have more confidence in my reloaded ammo. Factory have screw ups just like everyone else. Even the Army.
Once years ago DCM (before DCM became CMP) use to provide military ammo for leg matches, and required military ammo be used. We got a shipment of 30 cal ammo for the match that turned out not to have any primer flash holes. This would have been a problem but at the time I was running a NG sniper school using M1C/Ds and was able to provide M72 so we could fire the match.
APD use to issue, 125 Gn JHP Winchester 357 ammo. We found several cases where primers were in sideways, and the mouths were deformed because care wasnt used in belling the cases. Its not common, but it does happen.
One needs to inspect his ammo regardless whether its factory or handloads. With handloads its possible to imspect the components. If factory was perfect, there would be no recalls.
When I first hired on with APD, the issue ammo was 158 grn RNs lead that was cast and loaded by jail trusties, Needless to say I carried my reloads then too.
March 17, 2009, 03:26 PM
New Hampshire v. Sgt. James Kennedy and New Jersey v. Daniel Bias are the cases I'm aware of where reloads have been an issue. Massad Ayoob has been on here several times in the past talking about those cases in threads similiar to this one.
In the first case, the defendent (a police officer) was painted as a rambo for rolling his own ammunition, but he ultimately prevailed (I belive the case was about unintentionally discharging his handgun into a suspects foot).
In the second case, Daniel Bias was accused of shooting his wife. He claimed she committed suicide and that the gun shot residue tests were wrong, because the gun was loaded with light handloads and the State tested the gun with full power ammunition. I don't recall the final disposition of the case, but I want to say he was found guilty of killing his wife.
March 17, 2009, 03:55 PM
While I never worried about carrying reloads I decided to make it a non-issue.
1. I bought a box each of 125gr and 158gr bullets from Double-tap
2. I fired some of each to determine point of impact vs. point of aim with my fixed sight SD revolver.
3. I made my own full power reloads that match the poi vs. poa for practice.
4. I carry the DT and don't have to buy anymore because I'll never shoot it again other than in a SD situation. If I used them in a semi-auto they would get shot up over time because of the wear put on the cartridge by cycling the action. There is no such concern with a revolver.
March 17, 2009, 04:03 PM
I'll have to disagree with that statement. Yes cost saving is a factor, but not the only factor.It is by far the primary factor.People use handgun reloads primarily to save money.It's a very rare person who reloads handgun SD type ammunition for any other reason than cost savings.An example is the ammo I use for HIGH POWER. Cant really say thats cheaper then what I could buy. That's not an example that's really applicable to this situation unless you foresee using your HIGH POWER rifle in self-defense.People use handgun reloads primarily to save money.People often reload rifle ammunition to tailor a round to a particular rifle and maximize accuracy. Not nearly so much with handgun ammunition--there it's primarily about cost.Factory have screw ups just like everyone else.All things considered, if you buy premium factory self-defense ammunition (as opposed to questionable surplus, prisoner-labor reloads, inexpensive practice ammunition, etc.) you're extremely unlikely to have issues with the reliability of factory ammunition. Can it happen? Sure, but I'd bet my life on factory ammo anytime--matter of fact, I do, and I bet my wife's life on it too. So do the VAST majority of police officers, soldiers and citizens who use firearms to defend their lives.
The confidence factor (how you FEEL) is probably the most significant argument you've raised. Since how you feel about something subjective and personal, it's not really possible to counter that argument.
March 17, 2009, 04:35 PM
People often reload rifle ammunition to tailor a round to a particular rifle and maximize accuracy. Not nearly so much with handgun ammunition--
The other points have been hashed over so I'll not go over it again.
This comment I dont agree with at all. Pistols/Revolvers are every bit as differant as rifles. One size does not fit all. Look at any two or more reloading manuels. Each if loading the same charge of powder will get differant results, both in pressure and velocity. Even if they use the same brand model of test gun. My 642 has differant requriements for 148 Gn WC bullets then my Smith Model 52, My 1911 hardball (Bullseye) gun had differant target ammo requirements them my Center Fire 1911. My pin or steal gun has differant requirements then my Bullseye guns. My 6" in S&W model 27 has differant requirments them my 4" Model 28. I try to pick my powder burning rate based on barrel length. Lead for hunting with pistols should be harder then whats required for punching holes in targets. PPC matchs ofter require SWCs where straight WCs are better for 38s in Bullseye.
I can go on and on, but we can see the point. One size doesnt fix all in guns or anything else. That is the main reason I USE, for reloading, to tailer a give round for a given pistol/revolver. Something I havent found in factory ammo. Yes if you shoot alot, you will save money, that I will not deny.
March 17, 2009, 06:15 PM
That is the main reason I USE, for reloading, to tailer a give round for a given pistol/revolver.
Sounds like you are tailoring them for specific hunting and target situations. That is fine, but it doesn't change the fact that for SD purposes factory ammo will do anything and everything your handloaded stuff will do, without any of the potential downfall.
March 17, 2009, 06:16 PM
Pistols/Revolvers are every bit as differant as rifles. One size does not fit all. Look at any two or more reloading manuels. Each if loading the same charge of powder will get differant results, both in pressure and velocity. Even if they use the same brand model of test gun. My 642 has differant requriements for 148 Gn WC bullets then my Smith Model 52, My 1911 hardball (Bullseye) gun had differant target ammo requirements them my Center Fire 1911. My pin or steal gun has differant requirements then my Bullseye guns. My 6" in S&W model 27 has differant requirments them my 4" Model 28. I try to pick my powder burning rate based on barrel length. Lead for hunting with pistols should be harder then whats required for punching holes in targets. PPC matchs ofter require SWCs where straight WCs are better for 38s in Bullseye.I'm not saying that all handguns are the same or that precisely the same brand and load of ammunition will work in all self-defense handguns.
The above paragraph from your post is a whole school of red herrings combined with a good bit of hair-splitting. Sure you have widely varying ammunition requirements for all those guns you list. That's because all the guns you list are used for widely varying activities. This thread is specifically about SD and SD guns. That's ONE application, ONE requirement, ONE basic class of guns.
In my experience, it's easy to find premium self-defense factory handgun ammunition that is MORE than accurate enough to fulfill the requirements of the most demanding shooters. In fact, if you start with Federal or Hornady, you'll probably have to shoot only a couple of loads to find a round that provides accuracy that exceeds the accuracy capabilities of the vast majority of handgun shooters and that provides excellent terminal performance. If you want to get picky you can also select for things like low-flash, etc.
In other words, the vast majority of shooters can try a couple of different types of ammunition and find one that performs well beyond their requirements. There is simply no need for them to reload, and if they do the only significant benefit they would be able to point to is the difference in price.
It's not the same as trying to wring another fraction of an MOA out of a rifle at extended ranges, to use the example of high power rifle.
Furthermore, no matter how good a person's handloads are, they haven't been tested a fraction as much as premium self-defense factory ammunition is. The factories have the resources and expertise to tailor their loads to provide ideal penetration and expansion and the time and money to test them exhaustively to insure that they perform as expected even after penetrating likely encountered obstacles. No handloader has the resources to perform that kind of testing.
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