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Old July 21, 2006, 01:43 PM   #1
kenneth owens
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self-defense reloads

wow!! ever since I joined the firing line thats a hot question.so here goes.
if the person chooses to use his or her handloads for personal defense you
better have years of loading and law reading under your belt! understanding the exact laws
as far as shooting an intruder (IN) your home. the reason you pulled the trigger,was the intruder armed?did you feel your life was threatened?or family.
all those things will be brought up in court including the ammo.so everything comes in to play here.and by years of loading under your belt I mean
every time you pull the trigger does it go bang?its a very touchy subject
I have been reloading for a long time I trust my reloads.but I only use factory self defensive ammo. that way I can be 110% that it will go bang.
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Old July 21, 2006, 04:46 PM   #2
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Curmudgeon's Response

There is a pretty extensive thread on this at the 1911.org forum. Every kind of failure you can have in a handload has also been experienced by someone shooting factory loads. No powder; loose bullets; excessive pressure; bullet setback in magazines leading to excess pressure. Bullets pulling from recoil in a revolver. I, personally, have two Winchester .223 cases without flashholes that I culled from a bulk purchase of new brass. Presumably they load these in the factory machinery, too. You have only to look at all the unfired commercial rounds abandoned at ranges with perfectly good looking firing pin indentations to realize this stuff was unreliable in somebody’s gun.

For the above reasons I prefer carefully loaded (one-at-a-time) and inspected handloads that I've fired lots of copies of without feed or firing failures. Extra steps I take include using include a K&M benchrest priming tool. This tool has a special compound leverage system that lets you feel the primer bottom out in the pocket without crushing it. It also has a spring-loaded sleeve that surrounds the primer and makes certain it starts squarely into the primer pocket. I use only new Starline +P brass that I've weighed and inspected. This brass is a little heavier than standard and less likely to bulge or cause extraction problems. I use Federal primers for adequate sensitivity, then apply sealant and dry them a week, then put them and the powder I intend to use in a sealed ammo can with a bunch of desiccant for a month before loading them. I keep them in dry magazines and rotate them out of the gun for shooting practice from time to time.

I use the .45 ACP so I can avoid the whole expanding bullet issue. The .45 is "pre-expanded". If the prosecuting attorney in a civil suit wants to make out that you used expanding handloads because you intended to inflict an inhumane and unnecessary degrees of damage, he will do so over the use of commercial expanding ammunition as well. I use a flat meplat solid bullet (usually the Hornady 230 grain FP ENC, pseudo-truncated cone). I choose that because hunting experience indicates a flatter meplat stops game faster than a round nose. That is my only concession to special shape. I load only to miltary ballistics; around 850 fps, and I observe rule 4, so I am not concerned about "overpenetration". Given the nearly random nature of much handgun ammunition expansion in real shootings, anyone who depends on expansion to prevent a bullet from damaging someone behind the perpetrator is foolish and quite possibly may be negligent in the eyes of the courts.

I read a post by a fellow whose med-school girlfriend did a forensics rotation and witnessed the autopsy of someone who’d been shot five times by police using Cor-Bon Pow’R Ball bullets. These have a polymer ball in their hollow nose to help them feed reliably. Anyway, the M.E. didn’t find any bullets and couldn’t figure out from the wound channels what had made the ordinary looking through-and-through holes, nor what all these little polymer balls were he found inside the corpse? So, they expanded, didn’t stop, and didn’t do any more damage than any other kind of bullet. Dr. Martin Fackler says that at autopsy it is often impossible to distinguish wound channels made by expanding handgun bullets from those made by solids. Unlike high power rifles, there just isn’t enough energy in a typical handgun bullet for the perimeter of the temporary cavity to be reflected in permanent damage. Human tissue is more flexible and stronger than that.

The argument might be made for hollow points limiting ricochet, but I would need to see that demonstrated. .45 slugs flatten out on hard objects pretty well, spaltter the lead core around, then what remains may go on a Frisbee tear (I’ve had a few whirr over my head; and no, don’t ask). For all I know, an expanding design would do the same?

I’ve seen two reports from the sandbox now saying the 9 mm frequently requires multiple torso hits to achieve a stop, while the .45 typically does it in one. This is ball ammo in both cases, but it seems the forgotten lesson of 1903 in the Philippines was no figment of the imagination. Maybe the Army is gradually relearning this? An interesting bit of information related to military cartridge choice comes from CBS News, here. It seems the government had more faith in the concept of spray-and-pray shooting than in training people to shoot. Now CMP volunteers are training Squad Designated Marksmen because the Army doesn’t have enough knowledgeable staff to do it any more.

The bottom line on ammunition is to get the most reliable you can lay your hands on. Whether it is your handloads or, lacking faith in them, a factory lot that has never failed you. Whatever you shoot, be sure you practice clearing exercises or else shoot a revolver. Much of the fancy commercial exanding handgun bullet stuff is just marketing hype. They don’t go out and test their theories on men.

If you have to shoot somebody in civilian life, be prepared to demonstrate they absolutely had to be stopped from doing what they were doing, and stopped then and there and that asking them to play nicely either didn’t work or wasn’t an option. Usually the purpose is to protect life, but preventing kidnapping or rape probably qualifies in most jurisdictions. Protecting property only counts in some. It boils down to preventing or intervening in an extreme violation of the victim’s rights, whether that victim is yourself or someone else. The violation should be extreme enough that taking life is justified in preventing it and your shot placement should reflect that. That this cuts down on follow-up civil suits is a bonus.

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Old July 21, 2006, 05:06 PM   #3
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I have a lot of faith in my Handloaded .45 ACPs... maybe more than I should, but I carry premium personal protection ammo. I am that worried about CIVIL Litigation… if worse comes to worse.
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Old July 21, 2006, 05:15 PM   #4
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See the second sentence in my third paragraph above. The civil attorney will want to make you look bad, no matter how rediculous considering his client's or his client's relative's behavior. The real problem with civil court is they only have to convince a majority on the jury, and not to achieve a unanimous jury decision.

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Old July 21, 2006, 08:23 PM   #5
kenneth owens
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thanks for the reply unclenick sounds like you have lots of knowledge on
the topic!! very good response.you just hear so many things on this subject.
when I handload I try to duplicate the same carry load that I use.I always use new components when loading my 9mm test loads.starline brass,hs-6
powder,federal primers.brass is weighed, primers,and even the xtp 115gr
that I use (sometimes golddots) I only load small batches at a time to see how the glock likes them. my carry loads are ranger 127+p+, corbon 115+p.
and again thanks for the awesome reply!! I will be talking to you soon.

kenneth owens. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
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Old July 21, 2006, 09:10 PM   #6
roy reali
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Legal Ramifications

My FFL dealer's "real" job is doing firearm, forensic work for our DOJ. In other words, he does that CSI stuff for cases involving shootings. I asked him the reloaded ammo question.

In a criminal trial it may or may not make a diiference. But you can be sure it will be brought up in the civil part of the legal process. Its a crap shoot in civil court anyway, you don't need to give the other side any more ammo then needed.
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Old July 22, 2006, 12:38 AM   #7
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So I can't use black powder firearms for self defense?

Would not a reduced 44 Mag load make you look good in front of a civil jury?

Can't you countersue for trespassing, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress?

A home invasion victim has more grounds to sue the intruder than the other way around.
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Old July 22, 2006, 11:49 AM   #8
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If you fire even reduced loads from magnum revolver, in civil court visions Dirty Harry will no-doubt be resurrected just because of the name on the gun. What you fired through it will be ignored and more than half the jury may well be unable to understand the difference. The gun will be made out to be the source of evil, and by extension, so are you.

Black powder is an interesting idea. "Shot in self-defense with an antique collector's gun." That's harder to make sound evil, though I don't know that I want my life depending on a cap-and-ball. A Peacemaker, maybe, with modern primers; that still fits the antique archetype.

If you are using expanding ammo in a 9 mm, I would choose one used by police departments and take the time to learn the names of some of the departments that issue them. In court you can say you chose them because they are used by police departments in (list cities here), and therefore you presumed it was a reasonable and humane choice.

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Old July 22, 2006, 12:11 PM   #9
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So you can't use a magnum in self defense?

Maybe it is better to give away all your possessions and allow the robber to fulfill his sexual fantasies rather than risk getting sued.
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Old July 22, 2006, 12:31 PM   #10
roy reali
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Fickled Juries

In civil court, you never know what hogwash a jury will buy. Remember the woman that won millions from McDonald's for spilling hot coffee. Yes, a judge reduced the award, but the point is the same.


Remember, the attorney that will represent the family filing suit against you will only be paid if he wins. He will pull out all stops to empty your wallet.

A deer rifle is more lethal then any handgun. If you pop someone in your home with your lever action .30-30, that'll look better then a AR type weapon to certain folks. You, me, and most folks that understand the shooting sports know better. But if the jury pool was formed in Marin County your odds of finding anyone with any gun knowledge will be slim and none. Of course, the lawyer coming after your money will educate the jury about guns.
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Old July 22, 2006, 12:52 PM   #11
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The very same attorney will make the very same arguments against your 30-30. Remember John Wayne? Do you know the negative connotation of "Cowboy?"

This whole discussion is silly.
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Old July 22, 2006, 01:29 PM   #12
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Actual example(s)

I don't subscribe to the idea that "This whole discussion is silly," since it seeks to be on the side of law-abiding citizens who become victims to heartless, ruthless criminal elements - a seemingly growing number. However, it is not helpful to scare oneself into inaction if confronted by criminals when that "scare" is based purely on hypothesis. Does anyone have hard facts related to actual example(s) where reloads became the cause of the further victimization of the law-abiding citizen who was forced into SD?
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Old July 22, 2006, 01:49 PM   #13
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Not using your magnum would be stupid if it's what you have and are good at using. I'm just making the point that reducing the loads in it probably won't gurantee you any brownie points in court.

An attorney friend of mine has great fun arguing both sides of the McDonalds thing. To those who dismiss the suit as totally abusrd, he asks: "Really? Do you realize the coffee didn't simply burn her? Do you realize it ran down into her lap and actually melted her genetalia? When you get skin hot enough it melts like wax. Do you really expect someone to sell you cofee hot enough to melt flesh?"

To those who think that last bit of information justifies the suit, he asks: "Really? Do you think its reasonable to expect that someone whose been on this planet for 85 years doesn't know that hot liquid will injur you? Knowing this, wasn't she assuming the risk and flagrantly violating basic, common sense safety measures?"

Another absurd suit I mentioned from an article on absurd suits was a guy who sued the phone company because a car hit the phone booth he was talking in. My friend said he was familiar with that case. Did I realize that the victim saw the car coming but the phonebooth door stuck and he couldn't get it open? Did I realize that eleven complaints had been filed with the phone company about people getting stuck in that booth in the five months preceding the accident and they still hadn't fixed it. Did I realize that in the decade preceding the accident the phone company had replaced five other phone booths at that same location that had also been smashed into by cars, so they knew it was a dangerous spot and kept rebuilding there anyway?

Must have been profitable booth location up to that point. Attorneys can offer up all kinds of ways of looking at things.

Nick
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Old July 22, 2006, 03:02 PM   #14
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918v is right

This element of this discussion IS silly. Lets hear cases and not speculation based on our understanding that lawyers are scum.

FS




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Old July 22, 2006, 11:09 PM   #15
918v
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Uncle Nick,

When you are attacked with violence, you can respond in kind. The cases you cite involve negligence, not violence. There are different rules involved. In the former a duty of care is needed. In the latter, imminent threat of death is the trigger. The method of defense, so long as it is legal, is irrelevant. You can drown the bastard in a bucket of urine if you want.
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Old July 22, 2006, 11:19 PM   #16
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i would never use reloads for SD because the world is full of idiots... an lots of idiots end up on jury duty.... would you really like to trust your fate to 12 people who weren't clever enough to get out of jury duty?????
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Old July 22, 2006, 11:24 PM   #17
918v
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Those idiots will find you liable regardless.
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Old July 22, 2006, 11:25 PM   #18
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Yep!!!!!!!
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Old July 23, 2006, 01:33 AM   #19
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Only took 18 posts to wear the topic out this time.

Please do a search on the variants of the topic before rehashing it yet again.

"Handloads for defense," "Handloads for street carry," "Handlods in court," "Massad Ayoob," and other permutations.

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