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Old October 4, 2005, 07:08 PM   #1
darkvibe
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Hand loads for personal defense?

I hear people talk about using hand loads in their carry weapon. I see this as a lawsuit waiting to happen in the event that you ever had to use it. I can see a lawyer convincing a jury that you could have loaded it hotter on purpose to inflict more damage.

Thoughts?
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Old October 4, 2005, 07:12 PM   #2
leadcounsel
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Nah....
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Old October 4, 2005, 07:33 PM   #3
SteelToe
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yes

You are 100 % correct. I am not sure about all states but here in California you would most likely face pre meditated charges with hand loads. My CCW class instructor says he has seen it. He says to use gold speer as it is what the police use. If a lawyer tried to claim the hollow points were made to kill you can counter with the truth which is they are made so as not to over penetrate and hit innocent bystanders thus why the police use them after reviewing many rounds for official use.

Not trying to be mean but that guy that said nah needs to be carful in the advice he gives. This is potentialy the rest of this persons life if he got convicted. Just my thoughts and the info i have for my state. Good luck!
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Old October 4, 2005, 07:40 PM   #4
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Hogwash.
There's about a thousand more important things to worry about.
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Old October 4, 2005, 08:34 PM   #5
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From what i have heard, no one has been able to produce any links or other evidence that using handloads will get you procecuted. If it's a justifiable shoot, it's a justifiable shoot.
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Old October 4, 2005, 08:36 PM   #6
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Do you honestly think that forensics could tell the difference? hpg
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Old October 4, 2005, 09:05 PM   #7
swmike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelToe
I am not sure about all states but here in California you would most likely face pre meditated charges with hand loads.
Funny, I have heard that you probably could be prosecuted in California for passing gas. They would probably jail you on an air polution charge
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Old October 4, 2005, 10:05 PM   #8
MRex21
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Quote:
You are 100 % correct. I am not sure about all states but here in California you would most likely face pre meditated charges with hand loads. My CCW class instructor says he has seen it. He says to use gold speer as it is what the police use. If a lawyer tried to claim the hollow points were made to kill you can counter with the truth which is they are made so as not to over penetrate and hit innocent bystanders thus why the police use them after reviewing many rounds for official use.

Not trying to be mean but that guy that said nah needs to be carful in the advice he gives. This is potentialy the rest of this persons life if he got convicted. Just my thoughts and the info i have for my state. Good luck!
+10 Absolutely correct.

If you handload, and you kill someone with one of your handloads, you will be sued, and you will lose. Never use handloads in a personal defense pistol. Practice with handloads all you want, but don't use them in a carry pistol. It leaves you open to some anti-gun DA being able to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. Factory ammunition with all it's modern killing potential wasn't good enough for the defendent. He had to cook up his own handloads "hotter" than any commercial round, more certain to kill someone " (and so on ad endless nauseum...)

This is precisely why I'm not handloading Golden Sabres for my .380, though I would love to.
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Old October 4, 2005, 10:53 PM   #9
Garand Illusion
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+10 for absolutely wrong.

Don't know about other states ...

In Colorado if your are allowed to use lethal force then you are allowed to use lethal force. The logic you're using here is that I might be charged with pre-meditated murder (apparently I planned to have the BG break in) because I shot him with my hand loaded .380. Whereas I could have shot him with a factory produce .500 S&W and I'd be fine.

No jury is going to put away someone for criminal charges because they shot the serial rapist with a hand load.

As for a civil case ... I dunno. To make sure it's not a problem pass a law like Florida's or at LEAST like Colorado's.
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Old October 4, 2005, 11:00 PM   #10
MRex21
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Quote:
+10 for absolutely wrong.

Don't know about other states ...

In Colorado if your are allowed to use lethal force then you are allowed to use lethal force. The logic you're using here is that I might be charged with pre-meditated murder (apparently I planned to have the BG break in) because I shot him with my hand loaded .380. Whereas I could have shot him with a factory produce .500 S&W and I'd be fine.

No jury is going to put away someone for criminal charges because they shot the serial rapist with a hand load.

As for a civil case ... I dunno. To make sure it's not a problem pass a law like Florida's or at LEAST like Colorado's.
Hope you enjoyed your house.
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Old October 4, 2005, 11:06 PM   #11
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Yeah, I can see where you would get into trouble for making someone more dead.

Isn't a firearm considered a deadly weapon? The intent to kill is implicit in shooting someone, regardless of what happens to be coming out of the gun?

I'd like to see a reference to any case where someone who would have otherwise been found not guilty was convicted for using handloads.

I'd stick to factory ammunition, but for reasons of reliability rather than any legal concerns.
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Old October 4, 2005, 11:38 PM   #12
MicroBalrog
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Quote:
If you handload, and you kill someone with one of your handloads, you will be sued, and you will lose.
Can you link us to a precedent, please?

This goes into the same box with all the other "Use gun N and you will get sued" allegations.
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Old October 5, 2005, 12:04 AM   #13
bdc
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urban myth

There is a new expression in the language - "urban myth".

Handloads leading to a lawsuit - hogwash. My Cal. Bar No. is 60822 and I also hold licenses in Nevada and New York.

Handloads leading to failures to fire; split cases, duds? Absolutely. Yeah, I know - YOUR RELOADS NEVER FAIL. It is always the other guy's reloads that fail. Yeah, right.

In 1979, I bought a case of Federal 12 ga. that were oversized and that could not function through anyone's Remington 1100 at the range. A few years ago, I had a dud US military issued 30-06 round. That's it folks. Conversely, I have had literally thousands of bad reloads supplied by homebrewers, guys who never before had reloads fail and two commercial reloaders .

If any one thinks that reloads in a handgun buy you better performance that US manufactured, quality ammo, he is wrong. My licensing was Class 23 - and that makes me an authority on ammunition.
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Old October 5, 2005, 12:40 AM   #14
Johnny Guest
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I tend to hit a middle ground

Before I retired, under agency SOPs, I carried all factory ammo. We issued Speer Gold Dot HPs, and my sidearms shot it fine.

Since retirement, and being constrained only by good sense, I still prefer to carry a good factory load IN the sidearm, but am not bashful about carrying handloads as spare ammo.

In .45 ACP, I still carry factory 230 Gold Dot HP ammo, both loaded and for reloads.

In my snubbie .38s, it is a factory 158SWCHP, but frequently carry handloads in a speedloader or Bianchi Speed Strip.

I often carry a Model 65 S&W 3" with carefully assembled handloads - - 162 gr LSWC bullets cast from my old Saeco mould, over 7.0 gr of Unique in magnum cases. They clock an honest 1050 fps and are very accurate. This is a heavier load than .38 Spl +P, but more controlable and with less muzzle blast than full-house magnum loads.

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Old October 5, 2005, 02:24 AM   #15
Garand Illusion
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Quote:
Hope you enjoyed your house.
I love it. And since handloads make me absolutely NO MORE likely to lose it, I would use them if I saw the advantage. (since I don't load myself I actually don't, I buy premium SD ammo over the counter).

As has been said ... lots of people say this, but no one actually points to a case. And I have talked to a lawyer about this and he agreed that if you have cause to use lethal force, the type of lethal force isn't important.

The only time something like this could come in to play is if you had a relationship with the person, there were other suspicions, etc. -- but not if it's a clean shooting of an intruder.

Don't know why people get so attached to this urban myth. Maybe it's not a myth in some other states. Other states have some weird laws.

So now I'm going to go:

+20 for absolutely wrong!



If you have some kind of proof to back this assertion up, then by all means do so.

But you won't. It doesn't exist. At least not for my state.
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Old October 5, 2005, 06:47 AM   #16
ISP2605
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Been in LE for over 34 yrs. Have investigated and supervised many, many shootings, some with handloads in handguns, shotguns, and in one case a rifle. I have never seen a case prosecuted because of handloads. Neither have I seen it brought up in any resulting civil case.
For many years I have researched and asked for a case cite of any case, criminal or civil, where handloads was the basis for the charges or suit. So far, I have yet to find a case nor has anyone produced a case. It should be simple enough for someone to do. All they have to do is provide the cite. Don't want to hear about somebody's instructor who says he "knows" or "has heard". If they "know" or "has heard" then they'll have a case cite. Just because they're an instructor, and for many that term is loosely defined, doesn't mean they know, just that they're repeating rumors. Next time someone says the "know" just ask them to provide a cite. I really want it if they have it.
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Old October 5, 2005, 09:35 AM   #17
Edward429451
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I have handloads in my CA Bulldog right now. Loaded lighter than the factory SD loads to allow faster more accurate follow up shots because the gun is so light, and I may even be shooting one handed when/if I ever have to defend myself. Plus, I believe that placement is more important than sheer power.

Does this mean that I'll get credit with the prosecuting DA for premeditated niceness?
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Old October 5, 2005, 09:53 AM   #18
MRex21
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Arguementum ad Ignorantiam

Suit yourself. It's your house.
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Old October 5, 2005, 11:22 AM   #19
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Thanks, I will. Good luck with that case of paranoia.
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Old October 5, 2005, 11:25 AM   #20
MRex21
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If your definition of 'paranoia' means 'common sense', then I suppose I'm guilty as charged. I'll try to live with that.

One of Ayoob's articles.
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Old October 5, 2005, 11:27 AM   #21
liliysdad
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There are absolutely no grounds for prosecution based no handloads, trigger jobs, acessory sights, grips, blah, blah, ad nauseum. Urban myth. A righteous shoot is just that, doesntmatter if you used a .17 Mach 2, or a .50 BMG. You had the right to defend yourself, you saw the need, and you took the oppurtunity.

In civil cases, its a different matter. The fact it, if you kill someone, you will be sued. It might be frivolous, it might be bogus, but it will be a lawsuit. You might lose on technicalities such as handloads, etc, but I would venture to guess the same would apply to long hair, and driving a Camaro. The plaintiff will use anything, and it doesnt matter what you prevent, they will go after something else.
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Old October 5, 2005, 11:56 AM   #22
Glenn E. Meyer
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This question has been asked a 1000 times. It is a variant of will some kind of gun make me more vulnerable to a suit.

The main evidence for this in the gun world usually resides in the writing of Massad Ayoob. Some people don't like him.

The next part of the debate is for someone to come up with a case from some legal search engine that is based on such issues. That has been hard to do. We do see DAs waving weapons around to incense juries do.

However, the issue would have to be noticed by the criteria of the legal databases as in appeal.

Thus, it is thought that the visible case criterion may not be good enough to determine the issue.

It is also said forth rightly that if you have a good shoot you will be ok.

However, again - are all shoots good or can they be ambiguous? Do we see DAs using the appearance of a weapon rhetorically in arguments to the jury? Would such theatrics influence a jury in an ambiguous shoot or would such issues make the search engines or case law?

These problems are not considered in the usual dismisal of the risk.

However, there is a literature on jury response and in that literature, weapons issues have influenced juries in simulated trials. I am fairly sure that ammo type hasn't be tested but other variables have and have influenced the simulated jury.

The answer to the question is that one can demonstrate weapons type risks in the lab in some circumstances. Similar presentation styles have been seen in court, where the researchers got their idea for the studies.

The solution is that one can avoid the extremes and/or make sure you have a lawyer that is knowledgeable of weapons issues and one who knows the jury research literature as the issue can be defused by expert presentation.

That is the real answer when this type of question comes up. Opinions by those based on anecdote and without real targeted expertise is not really helpful.
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Old October 5, 2005, 12:15 PM   #23
leadcounsel
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Any criminal or civil suit based on handloads alone (presuming it's a clean shooting) would fail for at least the following reasons:

1) Handloading is not an illegal practice
2) I could easily put a ballistic expert on the stand to explain reasons why people handload and the fact that there are more powerful factory ammuntion and guns on the market than the one that I had used in handload;
3) One could explain that handloading is more economical, it's a hobby, and it allows the shooter to shoot more often to become a better shot and that by being a better shot he lessened risk to innocents by HITTING HIS TARGET, which he was lawfully allowed to do in self defense.
4) Hollowpoints are perfectly legal;
5) The idea that hollowpoints are more deadly than FMJs as a basis for a lawsuit is hogwash and could easily be defeated because HPs are SAFER for innocents due to less overpenetration, and the police use them.
6) Handloading recycles spent brass and is more environmentally friendly than just throwing them away;

Bottom line, dead is dead and lethal force is lethal force. Any DA persuing a case against you on this grounds alone is soon to be out of a job for wasting resources. You can also threaten to file a frivolous prosectuion lawsuit against the city if they pursued the prosecution. Further you would win any civil case on this ground and can also ask for attorney fees for the frivolous case, or counter sue (I recommend pressing charges against the BG for assault and considering immediately filing an offensive lawsuit against anyone you are forced to use deadly force against for any number of tortious acts on the BG's part).
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Old October 5, 2005, 12:34 PM   #24
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Glenn ~

Good post.

Quote:
The solution is that one can avoid the extremes and/or make sure you have a lawyer that is knowledgeable of weapons issues and one who knows the jury research literature as the issue can be defused by expert presentation.
Absolutely. When such a subject comes up (and it likely will), a good expert can shoot it down.

To my way of thinking, given that lawyers and their experts get paid by the minute, every single issue that I can reasonably avoid having come up in court, I'm going to do. Sure, a good lawyer can shoot down the silly notion that handloads are more deadly than factory loads, or that using a handload shows malice aforethought. But how much is that defense going to cost me, and wouldn't it be better to avoid such an unnecessary issue in the first place?

When it comes down to it, I'd rather my lawyer spent his court time positively establishing my case than to have him spend needless hours defending against stupid and really irrelevant stuff that nevertheless might sway the jury against me.

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Old October 5, 2005, 12:47 PM   #25
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Better to use factory loads, find out what the cops use and use that, just like SteelToe said.
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