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Old December 28, 2011, 05:49 PM   #51
nate45
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I think the final answer is pretty clear. If you want to be worry free, at least in this aspect, use factory ammo in your defensive weapons. There was a time in the past, when there was a limited selection of consistent, reliable factory defense loads. Those days are long over, now there is a plethora of reliable, effective factory defense ammo available, at reasonable prices. Even if they cost a dollar a piece, its nothing compared to the cost of hiring even one defense expert witness.

It is an interesting topic to discuss though and brings rise to other questions. Such as the use of extra power factory defense ammunition, Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon, Double-Tap, etc. come to mind. The reason being, that if a prosecutor could claim a defendants handloads were extra deadly and paint one in a negative light. He/she could just as easily claim that standard ammunition wasn't good enough and you needed extra deadly factory ammo.

So the advice Massad Ayoob and others have given to use the same ammunition as your local law enforcement uses and even the very handguns they use for duty, or BUGs, for civilian CCW, makes a lot of sense. If a prosecutor tried to make the claim that you were a wanna be cop, or that something was wrong with your weapon/ammo selection, it could easily be refuted, by a police witness if necessary.
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Old December 28, 2011, 06:29 PM   #52
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Quote:
Posted by Panfisher: I am not nor have I every been a lawyer but if the prosecution opened up the issue of reloads vs. factory loads would not the defense have the right to pursue that line also.
Not to appear curt, but you would benefit from reading the thread, or at least posts 31, 35, 39, and 40.

The issue is one of whether the defense would need to introduce certain scientific forensic trace evidence; the rules of evidence would prevent them from doing so unless factory ammunition had been used.

Should that evidence not be important to the defense, there would not be a problem.

When might GSR test data be important to the defense?
  1. When the evidence and testimony about what happened in a shooting incident are sparse and/or contradictory;
  2. when the approximate distance of the shooting is in question, and proof of same is important to either imprtant facts of the case or to the credibility of the defendant;
  3. when the actual distance was such that evidence regarding gunshot residue would have been pertinent; and
  4. when GSR test results of the exemplar rounds would either counter a prosecution argument or support the credibility of the defendant.

One can make his or her own assessment of the likelihood that all of those things would occur, but it should be crystal clear to everyone that should they occur, the potential consequences of not being able to prevent the evidence to a jury would be very severe indeed.
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Old December 28, 2011, 06:45 PM   #53
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It’s interesting to note that the major bullet manufacturers definitely envision that their bullets will be used for self-defense purposes. (I’m using “bullet” here to mean the projectile that flies out of the end of the barrel, not the now common usage of “bullet” to mean “cartridge”.) For example, Speer’s Reloading Manual #14 provides reloading data for its “Gold Dot” bullets, stating that they’re “the most asked-for bullets among law enforcement professionals”. Among the many millions of bullets sold to reloaders, it’s safe to assume that more than a few have ended up in self-defense situations. So far, I’ve only seen one case referenced in which the use of handloads was an issue. This is the Bias case, and the question of the defendant’s introduction of evidence concerning the performance of his handloads was never appealed. Are there other cases out there? Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think the risk of losing an otherwise defensible case because handloads were used approaches zero. I agree with the premise that it’s best to carry factory ammunition, but I think the adverse legal implications of using handloads are a bit overblown.
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Old December 28, 2011, 06:52 PM   #54
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After all the posts I am going to introduce a twist that maybe of a challenge to you because no one has mentioned black powder guns.
Lets say I am out with my black powder rifle and pistol practicing or hunting and a guy for some reason, lets say mental disorder, attacks me with an ax.
I kill him with my black powder rifle before he can get me. How does that differ from using hand-loads in a modern firearm?
In BP each load even if you use the same powder, cap, and bullet could be unique as I may load a bit different then you.
So what do you think when you look at this case under the current train of thoughts on this thread.
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Old December 28, 2011, 06:55 PM   #55
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Quote:
I used the term "grave legal danger."

When discussing the possibility of being incarcerated for several years, possibly the rest of your life, grave legal danger is a good descriptor.

It seems my simultaneous use of the bold, italics, and underline function have upset you, John.
That's bunk, Willie. You changed the man's words around and said he was telling you something he wasn't.

Here's what you said.

Quote:
So, you are telling me that a person who down loads .44 magnum ammo to something like a +p .44 special would be in grave legal danger for using these rounds for home defense?
YOU said GRAVE LEGAL DANGER. I'd suggest that if you want to make such statements, then why not attribute YOUR statement to YOU.

Pardon me for being so direct, but there's a little too much rearranging of peoples words as of late, and most statements don't need to be reinterpreted, rearranged, or re phrased. Sometimes we may need to readjust our filtering systems so we hear what others are actually saying.

No I'm not perfect, and yes, that includes me from time to time. Willie's post just struck a cord, you might say.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

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Old December 28, 2011, 07:24 PM   #56
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challenge to you because no one has mentioned black powder guns
The range of "tattooing" can be as much as 10 feet with heavy BP loads from a Muzzle loader. Further then that of smokeless powder where as the most sensitive devices it would be difficult to pick up the residue past 4 feet.

Any time you have residue you're talking about "short distances" well within the range where as one would consider necessary for a self defense defense.

Sure different loads, different powders, different age of powders, different guns, different temperatures etc etc etc, would very the distance a bit, regardless of whether its from reloads or factory.

The ideal that bullet X would leave residue and Y distance, and bullet Z wouldn't, tells me there are other problems besides whether factory or reloaded ammo was used.

Again, I'd recommend finding a few books on Firearms investigation and evidence and do some research on "range determination from powder marks".

Determining such, like much of firearms investigation is not an exact science. You can not say "every time" or "if you do X, "Y" will happen". It just don't work that way except on TV CSI shows.

That's like saying bullet "A" will drop a deer in its tracks "every time".

Another example is a case where the prosecutor's expert witness said no Post 1900 Remington Rifle was produced without out serial numbers, therefore the defendant had to possess a rifle with a "defaced or removed serial number".

I talked the DA in dropping that charge. (We were dealing with a Remington Model 721).
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Old December 28, 2011, 08:19 PM   #57
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OldMarksman your reply didn't seem "curt" but rather like someone tired of the argument directing a newbie (me) to oft recited information, so no offense taken on my part. I did actually read those posts and even went back to re-read them. Truthfully some of it is above my "I watched CSI on TV" mentality but I did try. As for the argument of a handload being heralded to be worse than a factory load simply doesn't make sense to me. However in todays world of bizarre court findings/rulings I don't discount a prosecutor/judge/jury being able to come up with a strange decision. If the only deciding factor was the apparent deadliness of the bullet used then everyone should use Ball ammo not what LE does. I do understand that the ballistics, powder tatooing, GSR etc., could be considered to be skewed as it was created by the defendant in the case of reloads, but if there are bullets left unfired, and another mag or two full I would think that the evidentiary rules would allowing testing of a few of them, leaving plenty for prosecution use. Just as testing a small container of drugs which would destroy some of it, with plenty left over to prosecute with. To me its more hype than concern. I guess if I ever end up in a courtroom (heaven forbid) explaining to a judge why I shot someone who was attacking me with a .45 ACP filled with reloaded ammo, I will look back and say, OOPS you guys were spot on. Would carrying a "tuned" .45 ACP be worse than carrying a GI syle, would a magazine holding more than 10 round make a defendent seem more "dangerous", how about night sights? All the things we do to our chosen firearms to make them more user friendly could be taken to be making them more of a "intent to cause death" platform. Maybe i am simply hoplessly naive as I am not a Peace Officer, and haven't been involved in even a speeding ticket, went to court twice, both times as a witness both dismissed, the closest I got to the courtroom drama was talking with the bailiff.

I would rather let the circumstances of the shooting and my testimony be the deciding factor than whether or not I chose to reload or not. Would it make a difference if shot someone who was breaking into my home with a .30-30 stoked with reloads, or a .12 ga. firing reloads I make to dove hunt? Honestly I can't see how it would. I guess there are extenuating circumstances that could apply in any situation but for the trememdous majority of cases I just don't see that it would make a difference. I could see a prosecutor working harder on making a case of me being a wannabe rambo or cop by simply having a firearm on me to start with that whether or not it was a reload or one of the best SD factory loads made. All in all I will continue to carry reloads and not worry too much about it, but that is my choice, as my reloads are much easier to shoot that the few Federal Hydrashoks I have in a box due to the lower recoil and somewhat lower noise level. OK I'll stop being the argumentive newbie for now, irrespective of whether or not I agree with you guys I do very much value the information and your experience so I say Thank You! (incidentally I did look in my stocks of ammo and found a full box of WWB ball ammo I had transferred to a plastic box and forgotten,?)
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Old December 28, 2011, 09:40 PM   #58
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Here's a brief explanation that I posted in another thread on this same topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats Mcgee
For purposes of this discussion, I'm going to stick with the Federal Rules of Evidence. I know that most of these cases come down on state law grounds, but I'd like to avoid veering off into discussions of one state's rules of evidence against another. Many states use the Federal Rules as a model, and they'll give us some common ground from which to work.

So, first off, relevance:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Federal Rule of Evidence 402
All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United States, by Act of Congress, by these rules, or by other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible.
Fed. R. Evid. 402
If it's relevant and not otherwise excluded, it gets in. If it's not relevant, it doesn't.

But (& this is a big but), GSR is specialized enough that it is considered "expert testimony." That means that Rule 702 governs it:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Federal Rule of Evidence 702
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702(emphasis supplied)

So, if scientific or specialized knowledge will help the jury, an expert's opinion is admissible if:
(1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data,
(2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and
(3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

You have to have all three to get the testimony of the shooter's expert in front of the jury. If the prosecutor files a Motion in Limine prior to trial, asking that it be excluded, he or she will simply argue that the opinion of the handloading defendant's expert is based on unreliable data. Specifically, what the prosecutor is saying is that because the data belongs to the defendant, it's inherently unreliable. I think there's a good chance that nobody was around when the cartridges were loaded, so there's no independent witness. If there is a witness, it's probably a good friend of the defendant. As a result, any data on which the opinion is based is suspect. The prosecutor may not argue with how the defendant's expert got from A to B, but what if A wasn't the right starting point? Then B becomes an unreliable conclusion. Anyway, if the motion in limine succeeds, there can be no mention of the defendant's expert at trial, and the jury will never hear about it.
The odds of this issue coming up are small. The risk to the defendant if they do is large.

One of the squirrelly things about this debate is that there isn't much appellate law on it. The quick primer on this aspect of the problem is as follows: Trial-level cases are not reported as binding decisions. That means that in order for us lawyer-types to find out about it without actually going down to the courthouse and digging through paper records, someone (almost always the defendant) has to appeal. And they have to be appealing on the issue of handloads, or it's not going to be discussed in the appellate opinion. Then the appellate court has to actually mull it over and write an opinion, rather than simply affirming or reversing, and then it has to publish the opinion. All in all, you have to have:
1) A shooting;
2) involving handloads;
3) where the shooter is charged;
4) handloads become an issue at trial;
5) the prosecution successfully keeps that evidence out at trial;
6) the defendant is convicted;
7) the defendant appeals on that specific issue;
8) the appellate court writes an opinion on that issue; and
9) the appellate court designates the opinion for publication.

I've spent some time on Westlaw, a very large legal research site, and generally on the internet, trying to find out more about this issue over several months. I searched far and wide, in many jurisdictions. I found as follows, when the issue is expert testimony based on handloads:

Admissible: 0
Inadmissible: 1

It's not about what a decent ballistics lab can do in reproducing handloads. It's about whether those lab techs will ever see the inside of the courtroom, using the handloader's records or recipe.
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Old December 28, 2011, 09:52 PM   #59
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Interesting information, and oddly enough fairly easy to understand (for me). But with you knowledge, background and interest in the subject do I correctly understand that you found one case where the reload vs. issue was inadmissable and none where it was? Or was that the expert testimony about reloads or is it basically the same thing.

Again I say thank you, the amount of information and knowledge some of you gentlemen (and maybe ladies too?) have is amazing.
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Old December 28, 2011, 09:54 PM   #60
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Quote:
Admissible: 0
Inadmissible: 1
How many times have reload vs.factory come up in shooting cases? That info is needed to come up with any sort of statistical data.

I'm not arguing for the use of reloads,

But:

Based on the studies by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime:The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun",

http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/kleck1.html

there were between 80K to 700K cases of SD with a firearm depending on which survey you want to choose, but even taking the low number, 80,000, or 1 out of 80,000 cases results in problems with reloads, assuming of course the case in contention is actually a self defense case.
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Old December 28, 2011, 09:55 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkDozier
After all the posts I am going to introduce a twist that maybe of a challenge to you because no one has mentioned black powder guns.
Lets say I am out with my black powder rifle and pistol practicing or hunting and a guy for some reason, lets say mental disorder, attacks me with an ax.
I kill him with my black powder rifle before he can get me. How does that differ from using hand-loads in a modern firearm?
In BP each load even if you use the same powder, cap, and bullet could be unique as I may load a bit different then you.
So what do you think when you look at this case under the current train of thoughts on this thread.
When I have a caveat, I start with it: I have never fired a black powder gun.

With that said, and based on my non-existent BP experience, I come to this conclusion: The risk posed by using handloads in self-defense becomes unavoidable if one uses BP to defend oneself. There are no exemplars to be had for comparison. Beyond that, I really need to let the BP problem percolate in my head for a while.

However, I will freely grant you that if you've got an axe-wielding maniac coming at you, you've got bigger fish to fry than worrying about the rules of evidence, and you need to use what you've got!
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:02 PM   #62
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kraigwy: Because of the whole "it's gotta become an appellate opinion before I can find it" issue, I don't know. But my read on the rules of evidence (both state and federal) tells me that the handloader has the uphill battle on getting any testing, or any expert testimony based on his own recipe, admitted into court. I'm not disputing whether the odds of it coming up in one particular case are high or low. They're low, or I would have found more cases dealing with this issue.

Panfisher: What I'm talking about is expert testimony, in which an expert could have testified as to the GSR residue which could be expected at a given distance. The one case on point here is the Daniel Bias case, and you can read up on it here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m.../ai_n26806104/
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:04 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
It’s interesting to note that the major bullet manufacturers definitely envision that their bullets will be used for self-defense purposes. (I’m using “bullet” here to mean the projectile that flies out of the end of the barrel, not the now common usage of “bullet” to mean “cartridge”.)...
You have no way of knowing what bullet manufacturers envision, except that they envision selling what they offer in the marketplace. The bullets are on the market because there's a demand for them and people buy them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
...This is the Bias case, and the question of the defendant’s introduction of evidence concerning the performance of his handloads was never appealed....
That's not really the way it was. See this post:
Quote:
...
[1] Bias went through four trials.

[2] He was initially indicted for murder in the first degree. At his first trial, he was represented by a private attorney. It ended with a hung jury.

[3] At his second trial, he was represented by a public defender; he was out of money. The public defender was able to hang the jury. At that point, the judge threw out the murder one charge.

[4] At his third trial, Bias was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter but convicted of negligent manslaughter.

[5] The public defenders office appealed the case and got the conviction overturned.

[6] At his fourth trial, Bias was convicted of reckless manslaughter.

It looks like Bias' lawyers were doing a pretty decent job with what they had to work with. It certainly didn't help that the testimony potentially most useful to Bias, his expert's GSR testing, was kept out by the judge. Nonetheless, Bias' lawyers --
  • Got hung jury in the first trial on the murder 1 indictment;
  • Got a hung jury on the second murder 1 trial and got the murder 1 charge tossed;
  • Got an acquittal on aggravated manslaughted and got the negligent manslaughter conviction overturned on appeal
....
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
...Are there other cases out there? Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think the risk of losing an otherwise defensible case because handloads were used approaches zero....
On the other hand, we know of at least one case in which a police officer was exonerated because he used factory ammunition, and expert opinion testimony was therefore admissible into evidence to corroborate his story and rebut the complaining witness' version. See post 31.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkDozier
After all the posts I am going to introduce a twist that maybe of a challenge to you because no one has mentioned black powder guns.... How does that differ from using hand-loads in a modern firearm?...
It really doesn't. What that means is that if you used a black powder gun (a muzzle loader or handloaded black powder cartridges), and expert opinion testimony based on GSR test results would be helpful to you, you'll be out of luck.
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:05 PM   #64
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Quote:
However, I will freely grant you that if you've got an axe-wielding maniac coming at you, you've got bigger fish to fry than worrying about the rules of evidence, and you need to use what you've got!
Okay, that might be my favorite quote of the day. Thanks for the chuckle.

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Old December 28, 2011, 10:15 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
How many times have reload vs.factory come up in shooting cases? That info is needed to come up with any sort of satasical data.
Beats me. Spats covered the question well from one perspective. I'll address it from another.

The threshold question is how often has handloaded ammunition been used in an incident in which self defense was claimed and which went to trial?

Historical research is helpful only if there's sufficient historical data. If the question is something like, "Is a private citizen who shoots someone and claims self defense more likely to be charged if he used handloads compared with factory ammunition?", or "Is a private citizen who shoots someone and claims self defense more likely to be convicted at trial if he used handloads compared with factory ammunition?", the availability of useful data depends on (1) a large enough sample of private citizens having shot someone in claimed self defense; and (2) a large enough subset of those private citizens having used handloads.

I suggest that the vast majority of people who keep guns for self defense aren't enthusiasts and use commercial ammunition. Indeed, even many of the members here, who are enthusiasts, use commercial ammunition for self defense.

Just because there is insufficient historical data doesn't mean that professionals can't draw reasoned conclusions about how likely a particular result might be under certain circumstance. Indeed, it often happens in the practice of law that a particular issue of interest has not previously been addressed by an appellate court, and one must make a reasoned judgment without the guidance of on point precedent.

As Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out repeatedly in his books Fooled by Randomness, the Hidden Role of Chance (Random House, 2004) and The Black Swan, the Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, 2007), "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Taleb, a securities trader and professor at the University of Massachusetts, provides some interesting and useful insights into strategies for dealing with rare events.
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:31 PM   #66
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Spats, what I was trying to allude to, without saying, (by having people study Firearms Investigation Studies and Text), is that though analyzing powder residue in determining distance (short range) is possible, it would be found of no great use since most smokeless powders give almost identical residue.

Plus there are too many other variables that come into play.

Again I stress that if someone is truly interested, since there are virtually no court cases, to study the subject. There are several text on the subject that could be found in any good library.
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:42 PM   #67
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kraigwy, I am going to see if I can get hold of some of those texts, to learn more about the science side of it. You say that "most smokeless powders give almost identical residue." But do they leave identical powders at different distances? Will the residue on a human from a distance of 2 feet be the same as the residue from the same shot at 15 feet? 20 feet? If not, then distance can become an issue. If the BG survives, he will undoubtedly tell the police that he was just wandering home from choir practice, minding his own business, when he was shot for no apparent reason . . .
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Old December 28, 2011, 10:56 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
... distance can become an issue. If the BG survives, he will undoubtedly tell the police that he was just wandering home from choir practice, minding his own business, when he was shot for no apparent reason . . .
And that was pretty much Randy Willems problem.
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Old December 28, 2011, 11:03 PM   #69
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Quote:
Will the residue on a human from a distance of 2 feet be the same as the residue from the same shot at 15 feet? 20 feet
Different text will give different distances, take your pick, read several. How ever I've never seen anyone say it can be detected at 15-20 feet.

But as mentioned above, all smokeless powder (within reason) would be pretty much the same. From what I understand, is if you don't have residue from a factory round then you wont have residue from a reload (everything else being the same). So without reading the judges' mind, that could be the reason the testing of the reloads weren't necessary or allowed.

One has to study the subject to understand what powders do and how far the do them. It is an interesting subject.
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Old December 28, 2011, 11:35 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown
I suggest that the vast majority of people who keep guns for self defense aren't enthusiasts and use commercial ammunition.
You have no way of knowing how many people use handloads for self defense, because it's never been tracked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown
On the other hand, we know of at least one case in which a police officer was exonerated because he used factory ammunition, and expert opinion testimony was therefore admissible into evidence to corroborate his story and rebut the complaining witness' version.
But, he might also have been exonerated if he had used handloads. The judge in the officer's case might have held differently than the judge in the Bias case. There's no basis to state he was exonerated because he used factory ammunition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown
Just because there is insufficient historical data doesn't mean that professionals can't draw reasoned conclusions about how likely a particular result might be under certain circumstance.
That's what lawyers do. But on this issue, other than a rather muddled lower court trial record, there doesn't seem to be any legal support for the overreaching conclusion that gun shot residue from a handload will never be admissible as evidence.
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Old December 29, 2011, 12:07 AM   #71
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Quote:
Posted by JayCee: The judge in the officer's case might have held differently than the judge in the Bias case.
He or she did, in that the results of GSR testing of the exemplar ammunition was admitted, and the reason has to do with the subject of this thread--the fact that factory loads had been used.

Quote:
There's no basis to state he was exonerated because he used factory ammunition.
There is a basis to state that the exonerating evidence was ruled admissible because he used factory ammunition.

Quote:
...there doesn't seem to be any legal support for the overreaching conclusion that gun shot residue from a handload will never be admissible as evidence.
Never is a long time, but under current rulings, any judge who might admit such evidence would do so in error.

The judges' rulings are governed by the rules of evidence for the admissibility for scientific forensic trace evidence in the jurisdictions at hand. In some states, those rules are based on the SCOTUS ruling in Frye vs. United States; others, the rules stem from the SCOTUS rulings in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals; some states use their own rules. Notwithstanding the rather minor differences among the rulesets, it is most unlikely that any judge would admit evidence based on testing of ammunition other than factory loads; it is almost certain that no judge would ever admit evidence based on testing of ammunition loaded by the defendant; and under the rules in effect at this time, there no reason to assume that a judge would have any basis for not admitting evidence based on testing factory ammunition.

While the subject does require specific knowledge of both the pertinent areas of the law and of scientific methodology, the reasons are spelled out rather well in layman's terms in some of the above posts, Post 39 in particular.

This is really not the kind of thing on which a conclusion can drawn from how many trial court judges may have ruled one way or the other. It is a matter of established legal precedent based on things that extend far beyond the realm of ammunition.

Last edited by OldMarksman; December 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM.
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Old December 29, 2011, 12:13 AM   #72
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddletown
I suggest that the vast majority of people who keep guns for self defense aren't enthusiasts and use commercial ammunition.
You have no way of knowing how many people use handloads for self defense, because it's never been tracked.
Actually we do have some highly suggestive data, thanks to Al Norris of this board.

According to his research, during a 37 year period (1970 to 2007) in Idaho, only 12 self defense shootings involved handloads. Six weren't prosecuted; apparently they were clearly justified. Six were prosecuted, resulting in six convictions -- four on pleas and two on jury verdicts. See this post and this post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
...But, he [Randy Willems] might also have been exonerated if he had used handloads. The judge in the officer's case might have held differently than the judge in the Bias case. There's no basis to state he was exonerated because he used factory ammunition...
There is every reason to believe that the judge in Randy Willems' case would not have allowed into evidence the expert opinion based on GSR testing had handloads been used. That is basic evidence law as outlined by me here, and by Spats McGee here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
...That's what lawyers do....
Yes, it is. And Spats McGee and I are lawyers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCee
...there doesn't seem to be any legal support for the overreaching conclusion that gun shot residue from a handload will never be admissible as evidence....
But there is legal support for that conclusion, as Spats McGee and I have discussed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
...From what I understand, is if you don't have residue from a factory round then you wont have residue from a reload (everything else being the same). So without reading the judges' mind, that could be the reason the testing of the reloads weren't necessary or allowed...
No. The reasons the judge would not allow GSR test results of handloads was discussed by me here and by Spats McGee here and here.
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Old December 29, 2011, 12:38 AM   #73
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Fiddletown go back and read my post. What I was saying was it wouldn't matter, if you have residue with one, you'll have it with the other in cases of suicide or close enough to wrestle with a firearm

Again, I recommend one study your library's text on the subject.

As I said, I'm not suggesting anyone carry reloads, I'm just recommending studying the subject to see what each will and will not do. I personally think its an interesting subject but it does not determine what ammo I carry.

I have other beliefs on the subject which aren't part of this topic but are referenced in Glenn's article mentioned in post #7.
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Old December 29, 2011, 12:51 AM   #74
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by kraigwy
...What I was saying was it wouldn't matter, if you have residue with one, you'll have it with the other in cases of suicide or close enough to wrestle with a firearm...
That's fine, but that's not the point. The point is not the behavior of GSR in a vacuum. The issue is the admissibility of certain information as evidence in court.

You understand the underlying science. But the job that Spats, Bart or I would have is getting that science in front of a jury so that the information can be used to establish or refute certain claims. You know about the science, but Spats, Bart and I know about getting it into evidence. Unless the information can be put before the jury, it doesn't necessarily do anyone any good.
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Old December 29, 2011, 01:19 AM   #75
JayCee
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Fiddletown...

Admissibility of evidence is one of the main reasons trial court decisions are appealed. You cannot say definitively that every court in which evidence of this type is tendered will find it inadmissible. Reloading isn't a particularly arcane pursuit; load recipes are published in many reloading manuals, and virtually all reloaders stick to those recipes. Reloaders don't dream up their own loads like some sort of black magic; that's a recipe for disaster. Cartridges can be easily disassembled, and the weight of the powder charge, the brand and type of powder used, the bullet weight and manufacturer, and even the primer brand can be determined, just the same as with a factory load. Since the defendant didn't manufacture any of the components of the cartridge, but merely assembled them, it's quite easy to check for consistency. In the Bias case, evidently the defendant used three different powder charges in his handloads, so there was no means of determining exactly what powder charge fired the fatal bullet. That had to be a major reason that the GSR evidence was inadmissible. I see no reason why the rules of evidence would preclude the introduction of the foregoing types of evidence, since none of it is speculative in nature.
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