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Old January 3, 2010, 06:09 AM   #1
colospgsAVID
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Legality of using handloads defensively

Are there real legal repercussions to using a hand load in a defensive encounter. I make rounds legally. Defensive in type:. Can I use them in that role?
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:53 AM   #2
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I feel if the defensive shooting is justified, the defensive shooting is justified. No matter the particulars.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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Amen.
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Old January 3, 2010, 11:53 AM   #4
colospgsAVID
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That's kinda what I thought.

Nuff said I guess
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Old January 3, 2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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"Are there real legal repercussions to using a hand load in a defensive encounter. I make rounds legally. Defensive in type:."

No, there are no direct legal repercussions.


"Can I use them in that role? "

Certainly.


Some folks have seriously cautioned against it in fear that some liberal twit "District Attorney" might try to use it against us. And there is nothing to stop such idiots from doing so but the same mental midgets will attack us no matter what we may use in an effective defense from some "poor lonely, mistreated troll."

I'd rather take my chances alive before a jury of twelve rather than making my last public appearance being carried by six.
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Old January 3, 2010, 02:25 PM   #6
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A lawyer can claim, in the end does it matter who put the bullet in the case, an ammo company or Joe Reloader.
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Old January 3, 2010, 04:14 PM   #7
Don P
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Are there real legal repercussions to using a hand load in a defensive encounter
.

Yep it's possible, and I think no matter how careful we are as re loaders the factory has and does a better job at Quality Control than we could ever think of doing. The chance of a malfunction IN MY OPINION is far less with factory ammo than my own reloads. When it comes to MY life I'll trust it to factory ammo instead of my reloads.
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Old January 3, 2010, 06:41 PM   #8
Tex S
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I think no matter how careful we are as re loaders the factory has and does a better job at Quality Control than we could ever think of doing. The chance of a malfunction IN MY OPINION is far less with factory ammo than my own reloads. When it comes to MY life I'll trust it to factory ammo instead of my reloads.
Perhaps you should reevaluate your loading process if you genuinely feel this way.

I am extremely confident in my reloaded ammo since I can personally verify things like flashole presence, powder charge, amount of crimp, etc. I don't know how the factories verify these things, but I can tell you I don't trust their methods as well as verifying with my own eyes.

Oh well... to each his own.
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Old January 3, 2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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Amen TEX

I have said the same thing..... on deaf ears.
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Old January 3, 2010, 06:54 PM   #10
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1 + tex

I know my reloads are better than factory.
If you don't ...stop reloading.

If you use published data and don't alter the bullet to create a more lethal projectile and state you load for accuracy and cost, you should be o.k.
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Old January 3, 2010, 06:57 PM   #11
Don P
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Posts: 214 Bob, the defense moved to get the remaining rounds examined. The prosecution used the arguments that (a) the defendant literally manufactured the evidence, and the round in the chamber could have been made intentionally different from the others to throw the investigators off; (b) that since the test was destructive, the defense was requesting the court to destroy the evidence; and (c) the defendant had mixed slightly different variants of the light load in the same box, and it could not be determined which was in the chamber.

Hopefully, (c) would not be a problem for anyone here. I thought (b) was BS myself, since one key purpose of having evidence is to test it if necessary. The (a) argument was what stuck. "The defendant literally manufactured the evidence, your Honor! The court cannot accept it" is an argument that resonates in a courtroom, and will come back to haunt any of us who carries hand loads.

I appreciate Al Norris' dedicated research and the absolute honesty with which he has presented it here. He has noted that none of the hand load cases he found revolved around GSR testing to determine distance.

Therefore, we're down to one case where the use of the hand load sent the guy who loaded them in the family defense gun to prison, and zero cases where the hand loader's records or testimony as to the load was accepted. One to nothing is a score that gives us a fairly decisive preview of what we can expect if we're involved in a disputed, close-range shooting with hand loads.
I think I will follow this posts evaluation. Yes I have made mistakes reloading I had a round that the primer was missing and 1 that the primer was in upside down. Human nature to error no matter how carefully one is. If you reload IT WILL happen eventually. Saying never is like saying I'll never have a negligent discharge. The possibility is always present
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Old January 3, 2010, 07:00 PM   #12
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For posts #8, #9, and #10 you may want to read #11.
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Old January 3, 2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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How many times on this forum has someone said that they'd never use someone else's hand loaded ammo? How many time has a thread about a gun exploding been traced to improper hand loads? How many threads about squibs stuck in barrels?

There seems to be a lot of magical thinking going on with this subject.

"If I shoot someone it will be absolutely unambiguous and not only will the cops not investigate they'll pin a medal on my chest"

"My hand loaded ammo is perfect and without error. Commercial ammo is all poop".

A lot of people who think of themselves as steely eyed realists...are just romantics in a different delusion.
The world does not end after we pull the trigger and there is nothing that stops us from planning for that.
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Old January 3, 2010, 07:47 PM   #14
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Just to qualify here--obviously any home-made load would have to conform to existing ammo laws. No armor-piercing rounds, no explosive compounds, etcetera. Just wanted someone to say it.
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Old January 3, 2010, 09:21 PM   #15
bluetopper
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But.......as I stated in post #2, if the conditions and threats warrant a shooting is justified, it is justified.

Seems to me who put the bullet in the brass case is irrelivent.

I think a good lawyer can argue these statements against any reasoning.
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Old January 3, 2010, 09:32 PM   #16
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Seems to me who put the bullet in the brass case is irrelivent.
One situation where it could make a difference is if forensics tries to replicate the scenario to verify your story. Ideally they would use ammunition identical to what you were using in the incident. If they have to use a commercial substitute it may not provide results consistent with what your handloads did. That would make your story look like a fabrication.

I recall reading one incident where a man committed suicide using his handloads but his wife/GF was charged with murder because the powder stippling that should have been present based on the results of experimentation with commercial ammunition was absent. That made the story told by the wife/GF implausible as far as the forensics expert was concerned.

YES, if the case is clear cut in favor of self-defense, the use of handloads will never come up. It's in the situations where there is an element of uncertainty that handloads might tip the scales against you.
Quote:
I am extremely confident in my reloaded ammo since I can personally verify things like flashole presence, powder charge, amount of crimp, etc. I don't know how the factories verify these things, but I can tell you I don't trust their methods as well as verifying with my own eyes.
I think I can prevail upon Double Naught Spy to allow you to use your reloads in the IIISHOT1000 scheduled for this spring. It's really meant to test the reliability of semi-auto handguns, but I suppose it could test the reliability of the ammunition used in a semi-auto handgun just as well.

To date, no one shooting reloads has even come close to finishing the match with no malfunctions. Every single competitor that has finished malfunction free (or close to it--say less than 10 malfunctions out of 1000) has been using factory ammunition.

Interested?
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:00 PM   #17
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I've heard this topic discussed many times. I've heard the "horor storys" of using handloads in a self defense situarion. I have never had anyone give me the Case Sitation where one was convicted in a self defence situation because he/she used Reload.

I'm asked that question in my CCW classes. My answer at first was, use what you feel comfortable with, if you are afraid reloads will get you in trouble then by all means use factory ammo, if not, and you feel comfortable with your reloads use them.

With all the debate I decided to petition the Attn Gen, State of Wyoming. The response was any ammo not prohibited by federal law could be used. A self defense shooting is a self defense shooting, its ligit or it isnt. Regardless whether you loaded the ammo or the factory did.

As a side note: Under the Wyoming Castle doct. If the SD shooting is ruled self defence, you cannot be sued in civil court.

But I'll stick to my orginal comment, shoot what you feel comfortable with. Personally I like and trust my reloads.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:04 PM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Wow, we're sure starting off the New Year beating this topic to death.

[1] This subject is also being discussed at http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=388901

[2] The legal issues have been discussed at length. See the following threads.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=365747

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=261157

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=283823

[3] I'm a lawyer retired after over 30 years in practice. I therefore have some first hand understanding of how the legal system works. I'm an NRA cerified instructor in Basic Handgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home. My training included classes at Gunsite, with Louis Awerbuck, and with Massad Ayoob. And I will not use handloads for self defense.

[4]
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
...I recall reading one incident where a man committed suicide using his handloads but his wife/GF was charged with murder because the powder stippling that should have been present based on the results of experimentation with commercial ammunition was absent. That made the story told by the wife/GF implausible as far as the forensics expert was concerned....
That's the Bias case. It's discussed in more detail in the various threads to which I've provided links. The "take-home message" is that if gun shot residue (GSR) evidence, for example to corroberate your testimony regarding the distance at which you fired, would help you and you used handloads, you'll be out of luck because you will not be able to introduce test data into evidence .
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:15 PM   #19
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I'm not in the legal field but now days it seems most of the time a defendant has to prove his innocence instead of the prosecution having to prove his guilt.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:21 PM   #20
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A self defense shooting is a self defense shooting, its ligit or it isnt. Regardless whether you loaded the ammo or the factory did.
True fact, no question about it.

In some cases it will be plainly obvious that the shooting was justified; in others, it may not. At that point, it becomes a matter of putting on the scale the evidence of justifiability necessary to mount an affirmative defense, opposite the opposing evidence.

It is possible that the shooter may have to rely upon gunshot residue (GSR) evidence to show that the distance involved supports his claim of imminent danger. If that evidence is not admitted, he will not be able to use it, period. If the loads used were hand loaded, it is highly likely that the GSR evidence will not be admitted.

How likely will it be that GSR evidence will become a factor? That depends entirely upon the circumstances of the case at hand.

Could be that the likelihood is remote. For me, however, it's not the odds but the stakes that matter.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:28 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by parisite
I'm not in the legal field but now days it seems most of the time a defendant has to prove his innocence instead of the prosecution having to prove his guilt
That's not quite right, but it helps to understand how things work with self defense.

Pleading self defense is very different from the usual defense strategy in a criminal case. The usual criminal defense is basically "I wasn't there, I didn't do it, you can't prove that I did it." This essentially involves attacking the prosecution's evidence to create a reasonable doubt.

But the defense of self defense is basically "I did it, but I was legally justified." That involves affirmatively introducing evidence to support your claim.

If you have met your burden of producing evidence supporting, prima facie, your claim of justification, it is now the prosecutor's burden of proof. The prosecutor must now convince the jury that the defendant's homicide was not justified, i. e., that the defendant's act, which he has admitted, did not meet the legal standard for self defense with lethal force. The prosecution's burden of proof in rebuttal to the defendant's prima facie case will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions the prosecutor may have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. BUT in that may not be a great a burden as it sounds.

The defendant has admitted committing an act of extreme violence on another human being. This is something that most people, probably including most of the jurors, naturally find repugnant. The defendant stands before the jury bearing the mark of Cain. It may not necessarily be easy for the defendant to convince a jury that his act of violence was justified. It may well be easier for the prosecutor to convince the jury that it was not. So the more convincing the defendant can make his case of justification, the harder it will be for the prosecutor to meets its burden of proving, and convincing a jury, that the defendant did not act in self defense.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:42 PM   #22
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There is established precedent of hand loads not being admissible evidence. Shootings are not justified until the shooter is cleared, no matter how clean the shooter believes they are.

Any evidence which can corroborate my story but which would not be admissible is not something I would not want to depend on. The factory ammo does its job fine. I choose to load what I know the court can verify any of my pertinent statements against.

No reloads for defense for me unless the Russians parachute in or the zombies rise up.
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Old January 3, 2010, 11:07 PM   #23
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This is just a duplicate of an already ongoing thread.

That thread started in the handloading section and immediately turned into a legal discussion. The thread was dead for a few days. Many of us thought it might just go away. But... it got revived and Bud decided to move it and host it in the General Gun Discussion area.

That thread is here. Go there and discuss all you want (or until things get out of hand and its closed ).

Closed for being a duplicate.
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