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Old March 15, 2011, 03:35 PM   #1
MSD Mike
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Reloads for self defense

I am just curious as to what everyone's thoughts are. I only carry factory ammo in my defensive guns for all the regular reasons. It seems that the general consensus is that you are at legal risk because the attorneys will state that you have loaded the most deadly ammo possible with the intent to do the most damage to or kill the person you are defending yourself against,
I am wondering if this holds water. It seems to me that the same claim would hold true for factory ammo. It could be said that you purchased the most deadly ammo available with the intent to kill or do the most damage possible. Advertising typically reads "Most powerful, Most Penetration, Most Expansion, Most Energy, Most Stopping power" etc etc.
Anyway, I am just wondering what everyone thinks about this. Especially if there is anyone with some real legal experience in this area.

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Old March 15, 2011, 03:42 PM   #2
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I've been told to carry what law enforcement does, then the claim that your, hollow points, +P or whatever was made extra deadly and the only reason for its existance is to kill innocent people gets thrown out the window.
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Old March 15, 2011, 03:56 PM   #3
Rifleman1776
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Yes, your reloads can become an issue in court.
Better to spend the money on factory stuff than try arguing.
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Old March 15, 2011, 05:29 PM   #4
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There is another thread/argument on this sites forums about this subject that Mr. Ayoob wrote in.

It mentions one case where a man claimed his wife committed suicide and they found him guilty of murder due to the reloads in his gun not being able to be tested against factory ammo, where powder residue would land etc... It seemed a little wierd but then again a lot of legal stuff is. There was no mention in that thread of a case of someone shooting a bad guy in defense and the reloads being a factor in court though.
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Old March 15, 2011, 05:34 PM   #5
BigJimP
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Most of the discussion is hypothetical ...since its a 1:a zillion chance most of us will ever pull a weapon let alone fire it in defense....but abiding by what Masaad Ayoob recommends - and he says use factory ammo - seems like a good plan to me.

I don't reload any defensive carry ammo...
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Old March 15, 2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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Here we go again!! There are dozens of threads on this subject. Lets close this one before it gets out of hand like all the rest.
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Old March 15, 2011, 05:57 PM   #7
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I've talked to several lawyers and I was told to carry factory ammo. So thats what I do.

Robb
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Old March 15, 2011, 06:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
It mentions one case where a man claimed his wife committed suicide and they found him guilty of murder due to the reloads in his gun not being able to be tested against factory ammo, where powder residue would land etc... It seemed a little wierd but then again a lot of legal stuff is. There was no mention in that thread of a case of someone shooting a bad guy in defense and the reloads being a factor in court though.
That one case was a real oddball. The guy apparently had some superlight loads and some more standard ones. The issue was whether she shot herself or he shot her from a longer range. The extremely small amount of powder residue and his inability to show which kind of load was in the gun was the source of the trouble. The jury deadlocked first go, and the prosecutor apparently was an anti gun sort intent on nailing the guy on something. I don't remember how it panned out.

If you use factory ammo, you won't have the issue. If you decide to reload, then keep exacting records, give a lot number to your own rounds, and know what you have in the gun. I'd even recommend keeping back a few as samples just in case they feel the need to do ballistics.

I'm not sold that reloads = you're going to jail, it's just an added complication. If the reloads send you to jail, it's because there were other things that were extremely difficult about the case.
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Old March 15, 2011, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Here we go again!! There are dozens of threads on this subject. Lets close this one before it gets out of hand like all the rest.
Let's not.

Conversation is civil and no one is chest thumping...
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Old March 15, 2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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Not worth the RISK & additional lawyer fees Arguing to the 12 about your Chucky Bronson Death Wish rounds.
Now, if the Zombies come calling, give em all you got!
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Old March 15, 2011, 08:10 PM   #11
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There are a world of variables involved when it comes to carrying defensive ammo. One major one is the state that you reside. Next is if you are involved in a self defense situation where your firearm is used, where it happened. I.E... In your home. (Home defense situation,) or outside of the home. (Example.. Attempted car jacking perpetrator had a deadly weapon).

In many cases involving home defense with forced entry. Ammo used is not going to be nearly that big of an issue.

Note I live in Texas. Ammo used is a moot point in a self defense situation. If a person uses deadly force to defend themselves they will be going before a grand jury. Facts of what happened will be presented. One of two rulings will be made. 1. Justifiable, in this ruling the person is now waived of criminal charges, and from any civil claims. (Poor misunderstood bad guy law suits). 2. Not justified. If not justified then that person is now facing criminal charges. Civil suits are the least of that persons worries.
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Old March 15, 2011, 08:18 PM   #12
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Not only do I use factory ammo. I make sure it's commonly concidered defensive ammo. I actually switched my 44 mag carry ammo from 210gr ww silvertips to Fed 240gr hydra shoks. Because the HSs are marked personal protection and the silvertips have hunting as their reccomended use. Even though the silvertip is known to be a milder load and well suited for SD
Now if I'm accosted while I'm wandering around the farm or actively practicing they're gonna get shot with whatever's in the gun.
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Old March 15, 2011, 08:23 PM   #13
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I agree, here we go again. SHANE, please close this thread. If it was about reloading, I'd say ok lets see, but it is not, it is a political posting and really has nothing to do with reloading. If a prosecutor will or won't use your ammo against you has nothing to do with better shooting or reloading.

Jim
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Old March 15, 2011, 08:31 PM   #14
Shane Tuttle
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Better yet, I'm moving it over to Law and Civil Rights...

I don't see politics in the OP's statement, either.
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Old March 15, 2011, 09:08 PM   #15
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This topic certainly is NOT political -- it's legal. To be sure, it is a topic that arises repeatedly, and the two positions are always the same:

A) It's complete nonsense, shoot whatever you like, better to be judged by twelve than carried by six, etc.

B) It makes sense. Why provide an opposing attorney (whether a prosecutor or a plaintiff in a civil suit) anything to use against you if you don't have to?

Personally, I'm in Camp 'B.' I reload, but I only load my practice and plinking ammo. For actual carry, I buy commercially loaded JHP. If the box happens to include the words "Personal" and 'Defense," so much the better.

I know someone, sooner or later, is going to demand "proof" in the form of citations of court cases in which someone has been nailed primarily on the basis of having used handloads for self defense. Not gonna happen. There's a retired attorney on this very forum, posting under the name "fiddletown," who is an NRA instructor as well as an attorney. He wisely points out that cases get recorded for precedent only when they reach an appeal level. There could be hundreds, if not thousands, of cases out there in which someone was well and truly hammered for having used handloads, and if he pled down to a reduced charge, or couldn't afford an appeal, or settled in a civil suit because he couldn't afford to fight it -- it won't be citable because it never reached an appeals court. This is one of those situations where "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

I've never read Lao Tzu but I suspect buried somewhere in hiw writing we could find something akin to "Never hand your enemy the club with which to strike you over the head." Massad Ayoob has been in court a lot more than I have. If he says carrying reloads is a bad idea, and I can't find anything about handloads that's so much better than commercial ammo as to offset the risk ... why take the risk?
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Old March 15, 2011, 09:14 PM   #16
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The major issue I see is the evidentiary one. It will be more difficult to get consensus on GSR tests and more difficult to get some of the evidence introduced if you are using handloads. That could mean significantly more expense post-shooting to establish the facts in your favor.

To give an example, one of the factors that complicated the Mark Abshire shooting was that the second shot hit his assailant in the back and the GSR tests suggested the distance was greater than he claimed. He eventually overcame that after two years of trial; but it cost him a lot. With factory ammo, you have an impartial third party who can provide exemplar ammo for GSR testing. With your own ammo, you will be asking the jury to trust in the records of the same guy being charged with homicide - and if you've got more than one type of handloads, you've got a whole new fight over what was loaded in the gun. I think handloads would have made his case even less certain and definitely more expensive (hire your own forensic expert, more lawyer time to get evidence admitted, etc.)

Like most of these discussions, it isn't a insurmountable problem; but it is a potential complication that can be eliminated.
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Old March 15, 2011, 09:47 PM   #17
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I am an attorney and have been the attorney of record on firearms cases. One of the main reasons cited is the need for expert witnesses and the ability to duplicate the ammunition in question. If you keep careful records there is no reason the exact same expert analysis would not apply. With only a couple exceptions, out of thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of shootings, did the case turn on reloaded ammunition. A good shoot is a good shoot. People are wrongfully convicted evidence or not. I shoot what I load. You should be more concerned about the civil lawsuit and I would love to have all the research/advertising as to how destructive and deadly any given factory ammunition is to show a jury.
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Old March 15, 2011, 11:40 PM   #18
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I wouldn't exactly call the thought of legal problems for using your own loadings an "internet myth", but it is not a widespread occurrence. However, I just remember what my old personal lawyer preached in the business setting. He maintained that going into any courtroom, either as defendant or plaintiff, was a roll of the dice. His advice was to try to shave the dice to your advantage, no matter how slight, if you could do so legally and without great sacrifice in doing so.

That advice has always made sense to me - so factory ammunition it is!
(Your dice - your roll! )
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Old March 16, 2011, 12:33 AM   #19
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I think that if you use common bullets,cases,powder, and primers there shouldnt be an issue. I honestly dont understand why you wouldnt use you handloads as long as they are loaded according to a manual and they dont exceed what the manual says.
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Old March 16, 2011, 12:54 AM   #20
Edward429451
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I would not hesitate to use my handloads for defense. I think there is more prudence in being able to control ones shots, than worrying about what ifs like described. First things first.
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:18 AM   #21
MSD Mike
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Thanks for the comments guys, sorry to those that I ticked off. Im not arguing for or against reloads for carry, its just an interesting subject to me. I reliaze I should have posted out of the reloading section.

Thanks
Mike
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:23 AM   #22
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I don't think this belongs in reloading. I think L&CR is fine. There are a number of threads around here on the topic. In particular, I remember a couple up in Tactics and Training.

For reasons that have been stated by others, I would stick with factory loads for self-defense.
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:44 AM   #23
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmortimer
If you keep careful records there is no reason the exact same expert analysis would not apply.
What do you define as "careful records?" I am neither a reloader nor someone who practices criminal law, so this is out of my league; but just looking at it, it looks like reloads would raise at least the following issues in getting an exemplar load admitted for evidence:

1. Can we trust the records of the person on trial with regards to evidence that supports his version of events? Was there an opportunity to tamper with those records after the police investigation started?

2. How do we know that the handload loaded in the firearm was the same handload used for testing?

I don't mean that question to sound confrontational; but as a lawyer and a gun guy, I get asked this question a lot, so I would be interested in learning about good mitigation techniques for those who do want to continue using their handloads.

What would you recommend to a client that wanted to use reloads with regards to best recordkeeping practices?
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:45 AM   #24
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Using factory loads makes sense for reasons already mentioned. However, most of my guns rarely see factory ammo and I won't swap out ammo for a trip into town. I wouldn't hesitate to use whatever is in the gun.
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:57 AM   #25
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I carry factory ammo but would not hesitate to use my reloads if necessity dictated that I do so. I'd rather be alive and in court than dead.

On the other hand, the two squibs I have experienced in well over 10K rounds of shooting (approx 75% my reloads) were both factory ammo, and I cracked open a box of Remington .380 ACP the other day only to find one with a primer forced in sideways.
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