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Old December 29, 2018, 10:51 PM   #1
2wheelwander
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Why not reloads for self defense?

Seems simple enough and I've heard all the raised voices of - "don't you dare shoot reloads for self defense, store bought only".

My question is why not? Its like getting hit by a louisville slugger vs. a bat turned on a lathe. Now I can see reloading 12 gauge shells with broken glass and roofing nails being frowned upon, but why not personal self defense loads? The projectiles available are attractive enough and a fraction of special made self defense ammo in the LGS, but please enlighten me.

Also, how many Coroners would even know the difference.

Any facts or past legal cases would be appreciated. I'm sure this is a rabbit hole, but its never been unpacked for me.
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Old December 29, 2018, 11:29 PM   #2
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I have been told that after a shooting the gun and ammo will be tested to see if the owner did any thing to make them deadly then they should be.
In court it could be said that store bought ammo is not deadly enough but this guy needed to make ammo more deadly in his own home even though that is not the reason you reload.

Also the gun will be tested to see if the safety have been changed or blocked .
I'm sure better information will be listed but so many times the armed intruder is made to look like the victim .

Years from now some one will pull out a rifle that has been in the closet unfired for years and use it to shoot a armed intruder and that rifle will still have a bump stock on it .
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Old December 30, 2018, 12:17 AM   #3
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https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=586732

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=452627
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Old December 30, 2018, 05:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheelwander
Also, how many Coroners would even know the difference.
The short answer is, "Probably all of them."

In addition to the links provided by JohnKSa, Frank Ettin (another moderator who is an attorney) has also written about this on this forum.
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Old December 30, 2018, 06:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
In addition to the links provided by JohnKSa, Frank Ettin (another moderator who is an attorney) has also written about this on this forum.
Hmmm . . . somebody . . . . somebody . . . . it seems like somebody else wrote an article on this topic. I wonder who in the Devil it could have been?


(JohnKSa already provided a link, but I just couldn't resist.)
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Old December 30, 2018, 09:34 AM   #6
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Reading comprehension is crucial.

Quote:
In addition to the links provided by JohnKSa, Frank Ettin (another moderator who is an attorney) has also written about this on this forum.
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Old December 30, 2018, 10:11 AM   #7
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Many thanks Spats McGee for taking the time to fill in some blanks here. You answered questions I didn't know I had and unpacked the process and reasoning in an understandable way.

I will stick to buying Hydro-shocks, but now won't feel its a waste of money doing so when I could (relatively) replicate them for a fraction of the cost. To me as a layperson, if someone is in my home at 3 am, they have waived the rights of what I choose to defend my home and family with barring death by flame thrower and torturous death.

However, I also grasp the eagerness of a Prosecutor to win a case, and have enough of an understanding of the process that just because you are right, does not mean you will win.

Years ago as police officer one of the first cases I lost ingrained in me the principle of 'its not what you know, its what you can prove'. Handloads remove a variable a defense attorney doesn't have to spend time (my money) unnecessarily defending me. All because the prosecutor can use it to get a conviction on an otherwise clean shooting defending my home and family.

Many thanks Spats.
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Old December 30, 2018, 10:43 AM   #8
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Then if what you are saying is true, then shooting someone with a home built gun is totally a bad thing.
With the invent of the ghost guns I wonder how many carry a gun they made at home?
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Old December 30, 2018, 12:36 PM   #9
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I look at it this way. You have to survive the fight for you to suffer legal action. That is Round III.

Reloading your defensive ammo is Round I. I have heard it before from people how they can reload better than any commercial ammo manufacturer, and there may be a few people than can actually do this consistently. However by and large from what I have seen from people who want to reload defensive ammo for a "fraction of the cost," they are just kidding themselves. I have met far too many perfect reloaders that have rounds that did not perform. That is a surprise you don't want in a life or death situation.

I mean, really, what are you saving? Just how many meals are you going to be out to buy quality commercial defensive ammo, function test it in your gun and expend rounds in gun fights? Given what I have seen from reloaders, you are going to spend more money and time on load development and testing before you get it right then you are on buying a few boxes of quality commercial defensive ammo, function testing, and being ready to carry.

Let's say you are one of those unicorn reloaders who has the perfect reloads where your reloads never cause you a problem. You want to load defensive ammo. Cool. Just exactly how will your defensive ammo be superior to quality commercial defensive ammo? Let's say you eek out an extra hundred feet per second. Cool - more power. Then you have more recoil and more muzzle flash, but are you actually going to get a noticeably greater stopping power from your ammo? If so, how do you know? So you need to do some testing and evaluation. First the gel tests. Then the tests on simulant living animals such as hogs, deer, goats that you will do as part of hunting so that you can see how the bullet actually performs in real living tissue. After all, if you are a unicorn reloader, then you are going to be ultra anal retentive enough that you aren't going to field a round without knowing exactly how it will perform, right?

Once you get through all that and then some and your have your first gun battle (Round II) and survive, then you have the potential to deal with all of the other legal aspects noted above for your reloads, Round III. Is all that really worth it?

Maybe you are one of those "I only practice with what I carry" people. Cool, then spend all your reloading time and expertise to develop your cheaper alternative reload round that will reproduce the performance of the commercial ammo you intend to carry. After all, if you are good enough that you think you should be reloading your own defensive ammo, then you should be good enough to reload practice simulant ammo that will mirror the performance of the quality commercial defensive ammo.

Please take no offense to any of this. It has just been my experience over the last 20 years of meeting and shooting with countless reloaders in pistol matches, hunting, and gun classes that the reloaders all have a significantly higher amount of problems with their ammo than do the people who shoot quality commercial ammo and sometimes even worse than those shooting budget commercial ammo.
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Old December 30, 2018, 12:49 PM   #10
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I don't think a homemade gun would be in the same class as handloaded ammo. As I see it, the biggest problem in a court case with handloaded ammo is the issue of consistency, chain of custody and the belief of the courts.

Nothing is going to stop the prosecutor from making the most outrageous claims, remember that while the witnesses testifying are under oath, neither of the lawyers asking the questions and making the statements, are!

Handloads become a problem for the defense when the prosecutor makes a claim, and uses crime lab testimony (given under oath) to "prove" the claim. This is where the now famous "GSR" comes into play.


There was a case where the prosecution claimed the GSR proved the shot was fired from X distance, and the defense claimed differently. The lab reports of the distance were based on the GSR of factory ammo.

Factories keep samples of each lot of their ammo. They can provide it for testing if needed, and they will provide the information about it when requested. Being an "impartial third party" the court takes them at their word, automatically. IF they say the round was loaded with X.x gr of powder #1234, then the court accepts that in fact the round(s) used were loaded with that, and GSR will be consistent with that load.

When its ammo YOU loaded, there is no such independent standard. Your word, your records are not acceptable proof. They aren't 3rd party, independent, they are yours, and since you are on trial, everything yours is suspect.

A homemade firearm would be a different matter, because if you are on trial for having used one, the gun will be evidence, and available to the court for examination and testing. Any claim about it can be tested using the actual item used, not your claim of what it was.

Every case is different. What might not matter in 99% of the cases might be a huge matter in that remaining percent, but if its you (or I) in that minority case, its not a small matter.

Quote:
'its not what you know, its what you can prove'.
This is essentially true, however, I would add that, when it comes to presenting a case in court, its not "what you can prove", it is "what you can convince a jury you have proved". And that can be something different from reality, depending on the jury.
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Old December 30, 2018, 02:05 PM   #11
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This slightly off topic but there's a point. https://undark.org/article/psycholog...-ready-courts/

Look how much the experts charge for their evaluations and court appearance. That's a lot of money to spend that is unnecessary if you had to get someone to testify about your handloads.

I also agree that if I see an ammo based malfunction in a gun, it is usually more likely to be a handload by a wide margin.
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Old December 30, 2018, 02:09 PM   #12
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Then if what you are saying is true, then shooting someone with a home built gun is totally a bad thing.
With the invent of the ghost guns I wonder how many carry a gun they made at home?
I wouldn't think it would be a great thing, given the public's likely perception about homemade guns. That said, it wouldn't necessarily present all of the same issues that reloaded ammo does. For one thing, the gun would be seized and tested--something that isn't as simple with reloaded ammunition since it's hard to know for sure what matches the reloaded ammo that was in the gun, or even if all the reloaded ammo in the gun matched.
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Old December 30, 2018, 03:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
Reading comprehension is crucial.



It's apparently also complicated.
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Old December 31, 2018, 01:29 AM   #14
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This entire question must be complicated, because of how often it keeps popping up.
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Old December 31, 2018, 02:24 AM   #15
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If reloads are bad for self-defense, then every bullet maker, every powder maker, every primer maker, every case maker and every reloading manual authority would be dragged into court as an accessory for making “deadlier ammo” (whatever that is) compared to that store bought ammo.

As for having to test my reloaded ammo, I haven’t bought rifle or handgun ammo to be used in hunting for close to 28 years now. I take pride in using what I reloaded when I’m successful in taking game.

As for the factory testifying if you use their ammo. Maybe, just maybe....if you kept the box with the lot number. How many people do that. Want to know about my reloads? It’s on page x of this manual; case, powder, primer, bullet and COL. You can also check my notebook where I keep every recipe for every cartridge I reload. What more do you need to know?

The only difference between the two is that you are paying someone to make ammo (factory) compared to making it yourself.

What if I use my black powder revolver? There are no “factory” loads for this. What if I grab my clay bird shotgun......with shells that have been reloaded? Or, I make knives as a hobby and use one in self-defense. I don’t think there is any factory standard for knives.
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Old December 31, 2018, 05:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 7.62 man View Post
Then if what you are saying is true, then shooting someone with a home built gun is totally a bad thing.
With the invent of the ghost guns I wonder how many carry a gun they made at home?
Homemade guns don't suffer the same (potential) evidentiary problems as handloads, absent some catastrophic failure, or a shooter who destroys the gun after the shooting. (I suspect that most of us can imagine how that would look to a jury.)
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Old December 31, 2018, 06:11 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
If reloads are bad for self-defense, then every bullet maker, every powder maker, every primer maker, every case maker and every reloading manual authority would be dragged into court as an accessory for making “deadlier ammo” (whatever that is) compared to that store bought ammo.
No, they wouldn't. If "deadlier ammo" is all you take away from these discussions, you need to read the threads more closely. It's actually a pretty small part of the equation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
As for having to test my reloaded ammo, I haven’t bought rifle or handgun ammo to be used in hunting for close to 28 years now. I take pride in using what I reloaded when I’m successful in taking game.
What you use for hunting is irrelevant to SD. Deer are not known to be particularly litigious.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
As for the factory testifying if you use their ammo. Maybe, just maybe....if you kept the box with the lot number. How many people do that. Want to know about my reloads? It’s on page x of this manual; case, powder, primer, bullet and COL. You can also check my notebook where I keep every recipe for every cartridge I reload. What more do you need to know?
If you kill a human, even in self-defense, you could potentially be charged with murder. Exactly what makes you think that a court must accept evidence literally created by a murder defendant as true?
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Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
The only difference between the two is that you are paying someone to make ammo (factory) compared to making it yourself.
The difference is that I could be asking the court to accept the records of a neutral third part that really doesn't care if I live or die (the manufacturer) as true, as opposed to accepting my own (reloading) records, when nobody in this world cares more if I live or die than I do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
What if I use my black powder revolver? There are no “factory” loads for this. What if I grab my clay bird shotgun......with shells that have been reloaded? Or, I make knives as a hobby and use one in self-defense. I don’t think there is any factory standard for knives.
1. BP -- This would have its own set of problems. You're welcome to start a separate thread for that.
2. Shotgun -- You just said that the shells had been reloaded . . . .
3. Knives -- Do you anticipate the knife being destroyed in the fight?
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Old December 31, 2018, 12:48 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
This entire question must be complicated, because of how often it keeps popping up.
Lawyers make it complicated. In reality, it is simple. As a ballistics and firearms expert (local state and Fed courts), I have continually stated that it is irrelevant and will continue to say so. Everyone knows OJ did it, but the system was not capable of finding him guilty. At the same time, there are innocent people in jail. The law, and how lawyers argue it, does not always follow common sense. So the use of handloads, in some really small number of cases "might" have an impact. What that impact is can be many things. Even those who argue it is a "bad" idea have to admit that the few cases are really rare and even those, it can be argued that the handloads were really inconsequential anyway.

Common sense says that shooting someone with a gun is use of "lethal force". If your intent is to stop the threat using such force, it can be argued in the same way that using a 10mm is more meant to kill "deader" than using a 9mm.
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Old December 31, 2018, 06:48 PM   #19
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Common sense says that shooting someone with a gun is use of "lethal force". If your intent is to stop the threat using such force, it can be argued in the same way that using a 10mm is more meant to kill "deader" than using a 9mm.
As mentioned in the post above yours, the lethality aspect is "actually a pretty small part of the equation."
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Old January 1, 2019, 01:18 PM   #20
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I think the biggest potential issue is if they decide to test fire your ammo to determine distance from target. Reloads with different brand cases and primers might pattern the powder residue differently, which could potentially lead the prosecutor to claim you lied about the distance you were from the person you shot. I doubt "making deadlier ammo" would be an angle but you never know with a prosecutor trying to make their bones in an anti area.
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Old January 1, 2019, 03:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkCO
Lawyers make it complicated.....
One of the factors that actually complicates things is the nature of a trial. The final decision of a jury is [almost] never the product of any one issue. It's about everything together. There's no way to know which particular issue will have the greatest potential to push the jury over the "reasonable doubt" threshold into conviction territory. So as far as I'm concerned, if I can conveniently take an issue off the table, e. g., handloads, I'l do it.

Maybe in your case handloads would not be a problem. But if you didn't use handloads, they wouldn't be a problem in any case.
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Old January 1, 2019, 05:14 PM   #22
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In the Mark Abshire shooting, one of the factual disputes was Abshire claimed he fired the second shot as his attacker was on top of him, beating him. His attacker and the friends with the attacker claimed Abshire fired the second time as he was crawling away. In a situation like that where the entry wound was on the back, I can see where the distance the round was fired would be an issue.

I don’t have a transcript of the Abshire trial, so I’m not sure how much testimony was devoted to that issue. In any event, reloads weren’t an issue in that shooting; but it does show how that testimony might become an important detail.
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Old January 8, 2019, 06:29 PM   #23
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The only difference between the two is that you are paying someone to make ammo (factory) compared to making it yourself.
Its your choice, as long as you make an informed one no issue

My take is that nothing I load is going to be better than factory and going with factory avoids a possible issue so its an easy one.

What the backup supply is if things really get rasty is another matter.
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Old January 12, 2019, 08:12 PM   #24
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Is it illegal?
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Old January 12, 2019, 09:53 PM   #25
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IF you reload your own self defense ammo and
IF you shoot someone with it the prosecutor lawyer will have a field day with you.
He will claim that your actions showed INTENT and that by reloading your own ammo you intended to make it more deadly than factory loads.
And that will extrapolate to you LOOKING for someone to shoot.
It is not worth the headache to save $10 for what you chamber in your weapon.
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