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Old September 14, 2000, 08:33 AM   #1
Clark
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I have heard that some are afraid of liability over posting their own personal hot loads. Does anyone have sourses any liability paid over this?

This reminds me of another one: "don't carry hand loads" That came from a book by Ohsayimaboob that has no sourses.

Joe at real guns lists his loads with, "Most of these are maximum loads and none are starting points. These are not suggestions for others, only notes relating to my own handload results for this cartridge."

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Old September 14, 2000, 11:50 AM   #2
Robert the41MagFan
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The source called a "Zealous Prosecutor" that will do anything, say anything and twist the truth in order to convict you! And, commercial loaders have liability insurance! Why take the chance?

Robert

"Yes Mr. Prosecutor, I find commercial ammunition inadequate for killing bad guys, that is why I load my own."

A quick way to get your state to pickup living expenses for the next 25 years.
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Old September 14, 2000, 01:04 PM   #3
Mikul
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How would they even know that you were carrying handloads?
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Old September 14, 2000, 04:57 PM   #4
Clark
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Robert, sourse is short for sourse data which in this case means knowledge of actual dollars paid.

Mikul, interpreting the urban legend fear and ignorance is tricky, but the would probably find out from the coroner's report.
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Old September 14, 2000, 05:33 PM   #5
stuckatwork
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First let me say that I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I have some legal training and spent many hours with lawyers discussing these issues. I teach hangun skills every so often and like to know what I am talking about.

One reason that some people promote the use of factory ammo is the misconception that factory ammo will be more reliable. Richard Lee in his book Modern Reloading is one such person.

I have been taught also that it may look bad to a jury that you are using "special made bullets" designed to be "man killers". **cough, cough** excuse me...ALL BULLETS ARE MAN KILLERS! Bullets put holes in people and things, these holes make people leak, they leak enough they die.. What part of this does the ficticious idiot prosector not understand? (editorial comment, sorry)

I would also submit that if you got you butt in a sling over a shooting, the ammo will be only a part of the case the prosecutor will use against you. If the only thing the prosecutor has hang his case on is the ammo, it is pretty slim case to begin with.

If your shooting is justified it really won't matter what ammo you used. Unless you have some exceedingly questionable bullet like a Civil War era exploding bullet that explodes in the body cavity after a couple of minutes have past. If you are justified and are truly in mortal danger, the laws of most states support the concept of "by any means necessary" as required to stop the attack. This means all bets are off. You could shoot the BG with a harpoon ifthat is all you had. Hell, you would probably get in more trouble if you run the bad guy over with your car than shooting him.

I will again recommend factory ammo because it will eliminate one possible question that the investigators may have. Just remember that if you are involved in a shooting...KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT! Tell only one cop what happened then refuse to talk to anyone else until you see a lawyer. Do not assume the cops are on your side, no matter what they tell you. Give only the bare minimum, you name, address and so on. Do not volunteer any information. Put the next sentance into you memory, practice it until it becomes automatic, "In fear of my life, or.. the lives of my family I shot to STOP the..." you fill in the rest.

Joe

"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst"
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Old September 14, 2000, 08:08 PM   #6
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mikul:
How would they even know that you were carrying handloads?[/quote]

Well, unless you completely empty the gun into the BG, they can tell by the rounds left in the magazine. Obviously, if you're involved in a shooting, the first thing the cops will grab is your gun.

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Old September 15, 2000, 12:35 AM   #7
WalterGAII
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Prosecutors rarely get involved in justifiable shootings. When they do, they couldn't give a flip whether you used handloads or not; the circumstances of the shooting will govern whether action is taken.

Source is with a "c", not an "s".

I don't generally carry handloads, but simply from my perceived reliability possibility with my handloads. I occasionally carry my G21, with its 3.5# trigger, threaded, compensated barrel in either .400 Cor-Bon or .40 Super. Mostly, it's my G30 with some kind of factory hollow points. If I'm ever involved in a shooting, it won't be a case where there's any doubt but that I'm defending myself or somebody else. When asked by a cop if I have anything to say, I'd say, "I deeply regret not being able to kill the sorry s.o.b. but once."
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Old September 15, 2000, 01:26 AM   #8
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I don't want my gun to have to be in possession of the state after I get in a shootout. That will suck! I will have to carry my other guns till I get it back or buy another G 27.

Most likely you will not be in a criminal suit after a shooting, it will be a civil wrongful death suit by some dirtbag's greedy sleazy relatives. And you will have to answer why you used special killer bullets rather than factor ammo. Why even bother? Just use the factory stuff. Don't give the sleeze more ammo to use on you. When the stakes are this high in the personal defense game, you cannot afford to play around or be funny, it is serious business.

"I was in fear of my life so I shot the stupid worthless SOB 9 times, reloaded, and proceeded to shoot him 8 more times, then I retrieved my M1 Carbine from my trunk and shot him 30 more times. Everytime I shot he kept jerking around, in what I thought was an attempt to kill me, so I shot him 28 more times until you told me to freeze. That is how it happened officer. Can I talk to my lawyer now?"
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Old September 15, 2000, 05:57 AM   #9
Nukem
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The stuff about handloads is bunk.
First, you would have to be charged with some sort of crime.
The only thing that is argued in a felony criminal case are points of law. If handloads aren't illegal then they can't enter into the picture.


Now OTOH if you were to be sued in civil court by the perps family, all bets are off.

BTW, INAL, but that is my understanding of the situation, FWIW, (probably nothing)
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Old September 15, 2000, 07:33 AM   #10
Cougar
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This topic seems to come up about every couple of months....

You can be cleared of any charges in a Criminal Court case, but still lose your a$$ in a civil suit. (dollar signs intentional! ) Just ask O.J. ! Remember one thing about Civil court, there is no requirement for an absolute guilty or innocent verdict. You can be found partially to blame! (How much of a factor was your handload in the grevious wounding/death of the bad guy?)

No, I will not use my own handloads in my 'defensive' guns just for the possibility that in a CIVIL court case, said wounded/dead bad guy's family will sue for reckless endangerment, wrongful death, excessive force or some such rubbish. Those mealy-mouthed bottom feeders* will definitely try to portray your use of 'especially lethal, home-made, witches-brewed' ammunition as a point of their arguement. Hot-rodded handloads that exceed SAAMI specs should never be used for defensive purposes!

With all of the advances in factory bullet technology in the past few years, why would you need to use handloads in your defense gun? A 20-round box of Cor-Bon or SXT or Hydra-Shok or Golden Sabre will not break any of us for 'nightstand drawer' use.

If you're worried about the accuracy of factory loads versus your pet handload, what accuracy requirement do you need for minute-of-bad-guy shot placement at distances that will appear to the court as life-fearing or life threatening?

The only exceptions I can think of for handloads is if you can prove beyond all shadow of a doubt that you use that same ammunition for your normal shooting, whether it be for plinking, target work or action match shooting, again keeping in mind SAAMI specs (i.e. no 9mm or .38 Super major power factor loads).

* - No offense meant toward honest lawyers!



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Old September 15, 2000, 08:04 AM   #11
Cougar
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Ooops!

I just went back and read the original post, (before the thread got off-topic). Clark was asking about HOT loads, not hot defensive loads.

I will not post a load that exceeds SAAMI pressure levels just because those limitations are there for a reason! The Max loads listed in the reloading manuals should be safe in all guns of that caliber, providing they are in good working condition.

This is not to say that I don't load a little hotter on occasion, it is just that what is 'safe' in my gun might not be safe in yours! Likewise, I will not give any of my 'excessive' loads to anyone else to use in their gun. Chamber dimensions, supported vs unsupported chamber, barrel 'tightness', breech tightness, etc., all have a bearing on how hot you can load. Face it, some guns are just stronger than others. You can't expect a S&W 19 to take the same 'over' pressure levels as a Dan Wesson or Freedom Arms .357 without something giving. The same goes for autoloaders!

If you feel that you need to exceed recommended pressure limits, remember that you are assuming the risks for that action. Don't try to hotrod a .38 Special into a .357 Magnum, or a .44 Mag into a Casull. That's just asking for trouble!
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Old September 15, 2000, 09:25 AM   #12
Clark
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"If you feel that you need to exceed recommended pressure limits, remember that you are assuming the risks for
that action."

OK, but why can't I read about what happens somewhere?

What I am trying to get at is the code of silence about way over SAAMI loads. I have been all over this internet with a search engine looking for data from extra SAAMI loads in new desing guns with 100 year old design cartridge. I have looked through tons of gun rags, and books [Ackley exception]. Then when I say I am going to shorten some 357 brass to put in 38 specials and see what it takes to dammage them, I get all these people who tell me I can use 38 scec brass for that, because they have done it.

Not everyone can be afraid of the liability boogie man. That voodoo only works on half the people [carry hand loads is an example].

So why the big info void?
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Old September 15, 2000, 11:59 AM   #13
Mikul
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I STILL don't see how a cop can look at a cartidge and tell that it's not factory. Sure, some people use old and dirty brass, and the lead bullets are usually a dead giveaway, but the jacketed bullets that I reload look factory and the brass is polished. How can you tell that I've got a Hornady bullet in Fiocci brass with a Winchester primer?

Even if they look in my magazine, they'll find TWO kinds of ammo. Which one did I fire?
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Old September 15, 2000, 06:36 PM   #14
Johnny Guest
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WAY LONG reply - -
Mikul wrote:

I STILL don't see how a cop can look at a cartidge and tell that it's not factory. Sure, some people use old and dirty brass, and the lead bullets are usually a dead giveaway, but the jacketed bullets that I reload look factory and the brass is polished. How can you tell that I've got a Hornady bullet in Fiocci brass with a Winchester primer?
Even if they look in my magazine, they'll find TWO kinds of ammo. Which one did I fire?


Couple of points--
Aside from such obvious stuff as loading Hornady XTP bullets into R-P brass, there are still ways. A really good Forensics Firearms & Toolmarks examiner can do wonderful things with a binocular microscope. Some of these guys have nothing better to do when throughly working up a case than to examine a hundred examples of factory loads for crimp characteristics, and then compare them to YOUR spent cases, and, probably the loaded rounds as well. And, even given hours of polishing, do you really think you will be able to remove all traces of the resizing?

And, with the most expertly hand loaded ammo, when they tear down the live ammo in your cylinder or magazine, it will be pretty obvious that the round was loaded with retail-sold powder, rather than cannister lot commercial powder. I also know of a couple of labs where they chronograph the loads.


There's also stuff like the marks left on the bullet nose by the seating stem.

I sure wouldn't want MY defense of a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution to rest on the absolute finest of my handloads passing for factory. Yep, I know little "tricks of the trade" for getting around some of the points I mention. But I also know I can't cover ALL the bases.

I have carried handloads for defense. I can't remember when I purchased factory .45 Colt ammo. I don't think there is a decent defense load marketed in this caliber. I prefer full weight lead SWC bullets (250+ gr) to the light JHPs and the RNFP "Cowboy" loads. If I'm packing my 625-6 returning from hunting, then that's what I'll have. But there's a good explanation for it and the circumstances and dress and gear will support my story. If I had to shoot a BG with this ammo, I'd sure tell my attorney about it, and let him disclose it, just to show that we're not trying to hide anything about this GOOD shooting.

My choice is not to carry handloads in most cases. Use of factory ammo avoids raising certain questions. There is also a reliability factor. But the main factor is that I don't want to see some overzealous politician to take my use of handloads against a bad guy as an excuse to try to regulate or to ban hobby hand loading.

Clark--Good topic, here. While I generally agree, as above, with the premise of not carrying handloads, I too believe that Ayoob goes a little overboard with his ALWAYS admonitions in his writings. BUT---say what you will about this "Expert in Police Firearms Matters" never having been a full-time paid cop in his life. And, that he tends to change his opinion about some subjects thrice in two years, the fact remains he DOES have some standing as an expert witness in court. He gets paid good money as a consultant to figure what CAN go wrong in court.

In answer, no, I have ZERO court case cites concerning any civil damages being paid as a result of hand load use in a "good" shooting. Further, I've never heard of any criminal verdicts being rendered by judge or jury for this reason. But I won't say there's never been court testimony in this regard, and who's to say what influences a jury, even if it didn't get into the news reports?

El Rojo--I don't want MY pistol locked up in a lab vault for months or years, either. But it is a fact of life, and I can only hope the examiners will keep it clean and lightly oiled while they have it! This is one reason I won't carry my D-engraved Government Model with the fancy stocks except for weddings and funerals. I know you were making a serious point with your scenario, but you had me laughing out loud!

Cougar--Good points and excellent cautions, sir. I was about to speak to several of the same items but went back and read your replies and you've already covered them.

Best regards to all--
Johnny

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[This message has been edited by Johnny Guest (edited September 15, 2000).]
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Old September 15, 2000, 07:18 PM   #15
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by El Rojo:
I don't want my gun to have to be in possession of the state after I get in a shootout. That will suck! I will have to carry my other guns till I get it back or buy another G 27.[/quote]

I can assure you that if you are involved in a shooting of any kind, you will be doing without the gun involved for some time. As long as no criminal charges are filed, you will most likely get it back, but that could be months later.

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Old September 15, 2000, 07:20 PM   #16
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mikul:
I STILL don't see how a cop can look at a cartidge and tell that it's not factory. [/quote]

Perhaps the typical street cop, I really don't know. However, it's not going to be the typical street cop doing the looking as a rule...


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Old September 15, 2000, 08:53 PM   #17
trlmech
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I find this question puzzling, but maybe its just where I live,rural Virginia.If some desperate for business trial lawyer brought a civil suit in a self-defense case the Commonwealths Attorney (local prosecuter) found justified, any jury I can imagine would't care if you had used a low yield nuclear weapon against the puke.
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Old September 15, 2000, 08:58 PM   #18
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Just to be safe, I won't post how many grains of plutonium should be used.
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Old September 16, 2000, 01:21 AM   #19
ARshooter
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If you are ever involved in a shooting to defend yourself, there are several things that you MUST REMEMBER.

1) You used your firearm as a last resort. The BG gave you no choice. It was either shoot him or be killed or suffer serious bodily injury. You must have thought out all the other possibilities available to you to get out of the situation that the BG put you into before going to the gun.

2) You shot to STOP the BG from completing what he was doing (robbery, ADW, Att murder, etc), not to kill him. You must remove the word "murder" & "kill" from your statement when it relates to what you wanted to do to the BG. You just wanted to STOP his criminal act.

3) If you shoot a person for committing a PROPERTY CRIME you can expect problems. Theft of property does not warrant shooting someone in the eyes of the court.

4) You were either legal to shoot or you were not. Caliber will not matter. Type of bullet used? Don't know how some idiot prosecutors would rule on that.

SUGGESTION: Use the rounds used by a major police dept. Then the court would have to find the dept in violation too if they used them.
(FYI...LAPD uses Win SXT in 9mm and .45)

FWIW
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Old September 16, 2000, 01:49 AM   #20
G35
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3) If you shoot a person for committing a PROPERTY CRIME you can expect problems. Theft of property does not warrant shooting someone in the eyes of the court.

NOT TRUE IN TEXAS !!! Texas allows using deadly force to prevent theft. Heck, one can use deadly force to prevent vandalism during nigth time. Don't Mess With Texas.
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Old September 16, 2000, 09:27 AM   #21
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If I were involved in a shooting, regardless of anything else, what I'd say to the cops would be, "I don't feel too well, I think I may be having a heart attack. I'd like to speak to my lawyer before I say anything more." Period.


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Old September 16, 2000, 12:25 PM   #22
El Rojo
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Man, to be with out the Glock 27 for any period of time is just torture. I think I might have to think even harder before involving myself in a shootout. Or, I should just buy another Glock 27!. Or maybe a 23 this time? Hmmmm.
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Old September 18, 2000, 02:16 AM   #23
Chris McDermott
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Clark

On posting personal HOT loads - I don't think it's a good idea. I'm willing to post my low-end target/plinking loads; but not my high end loads. What is hot in one gun may blowup another. I don't know of any liablilty cases, but let's use some common sense and proper loading procedures. New reloaders may not be following proper procedure for developing a hot load - see current topic "Who to believe???!!!" (and yes, hot loads have to be re-developed starting low and working up for EVERY gun it's fired in). Since you really do have to start lower and work up for a hot load, you have to decide where to stop. You probably won't get the same velocity/pressure in your gun as the person you are copying is getting in their gun - you have to watch for the pressure signs and decide for yourself at each step if it's worth going any farther - and it's rarely worth going past the point where the loading manuals stop. For some cartridges in some guns I think it is; I load 32 Mag to real magnum pressures - loading manuals stop at around 20,000 PSI. But everyone has to really decide for themselves if it's worth it and have some knowledge of what they are doing; and not be blindly following a recipe.
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Old September 18, 2000, 09:56 AM   #24
Clark
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I can see the 32 mag's potential, but it is hard to find anything about to read about that potential. Are we all suposed to act indiviually and secretly?
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Old September 18, 2000, 06:28 PM   #25
Chris McDermott
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Individually - yes, secretly, not really. I'll tell you what pressure signs I use - I mike the case heads of unfired brass to .0001" and see how much they expand. Look in your loading manuals and the magazines for photographs of flattened and pierced primers. There are lots of discussions here and in your loading books on the characteristics of different powders - use magnum primers and don't do reduced loads using H110/W296 because of hang fires and erratic pressures with this hard to ignite powder; how IMR's 700X and 800X pressure changes become extreme at high pressures (demostration example only - 1 grain at 25000 PSI raises the pressure to 26000, but 1 grain at 35000 PSI raises the pressure to 40000 PSI); how & why Ruger's models are stronger than the matching Smith & Wesson or Colt models (offset bolt cuts in the cylinder, larger cylinder made of better steel).
It's a matter of your learning how to do it yourself, and not just following my recipe that is for my gun, not yours.

Someday I hope to put together an Oehler Model 43 with a TC Encore (very strong action, easy caliber changes and I won't mind glueing the pressure sensor to the barrel) and be able to get pressure information as well as velocity and ballistic coefficents for all of the calibers I use, but that's in the future (hopefully near future but I am still adding to my collection of S&W revolvers so it keeps getting put off when I finally find yet another model I've wanted).
I probably still won't post loads hotter than the loading manuals, but I will be able to give the pressures I find in my setup when someone does.

[This message has been edited by Chris McDermott (edited September 18, 2000).]
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