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Old January 21, 2019, 07:54 AM   #51
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The only way someone can go after you for using a reloaded bullet is if you tell someone you were using reloads as a defensive bullet
No one is going to successfully "go after" anyone for "using" a "reloaded bullet".

The question is about whether the judge, as the gatekeeper of the evidence, will admit expert testimony about the ammunition.

He or she is bound by the rules of evidence. These vary by state, and in some states, even between civil and criminal courts. But, to summarize them very much without going into the details of the reasons, ammunition that has not been prepared by a third party using very strict and objectively verifiable methods regarding process, testing, and record keeping, will not meet the rules of evidence.

There is a rather arcane area of law that governs that kind of thing. It falls under a subject that was originally called "admissibility of forensic scientific trace evidence". The subject has been extensively tested in high court decisions and is well documented. None of that has had anything to do with ammunition, but that fact is completely irrelevant.

And no, that is by no means the only way that the fact that reloads were used can be established.

Whether the defense will have a need to introduce expert testimony and evidence about the ammunition used will depend upon the details of the case and upon the other evidence that is introduced by the prosecution of the plaintiff, and upon what other evidence can be introduced by the defense.

The reason that the defense may wish to introduce such evidence and testimony would have to do primarily with the subjects of the distance of the shots, of what other evidence may pertain to that, and of how it may impinge upon the credibility of the defendant or his or her witnesses,
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Old January 21, 2019, 08:06 AM   #52
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It occurs to me that in a case like Martin/Zimmerman,if I'm the SD shooter,GSR evidence may well support my claim that I was on the ground being pounded and could not risk going unconscious.

With respect for what MarkCo has offered,

My understanding is that a factory load may give different results than my handload.Its not just that error that may be the problem.My handload GSR results may be inadmissible.
If there are no other witnesses,I might really need that GSR evidence to support my SD claim.

That may not be a reason for me to tell you what to carry.Thats up to you.Its the reason I choose to use factory ammo for carry ammo.

IMO,its got nothing to do with "More or less lethal"

If I would carry handloads,they may well be 45 ACP cast 200 gr SWC target loads at 850 fps. They would work. "I just carry my target shooting loads.Probably "less lethal" than "hollow points" to the jury.

Another way of saying it,the issue is not about what you defended yourself with,its about admissible evidence you were justified to use deadly force.

Consider its likely inside 7 yds and there may be no witnesses.Or,there may be a "Hands up,don't shoot " witness with an agenda.

(OOPS! Old Marksman and I were writing at the same time. "What he said!")

Last edited by HiBC; January 21, 2019 at 08:16 AM.
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Old January 21, 2019, 11:02 AM   #53
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MarkCO, if I may, I have a couple of questions for you: If a potential client came to you with a shooting case involving handloads, how would you determine what kind of exemplar to use? Or, if the attorney presents you with the exemplar, whether it is sufficiently similar to the round used to provide a valid comparison?
The two cases I am working on right now, I have the remainder of the ammunition in the magazine as well as a partial plastic ammo box that was collected. One is an accidental shooting and the other was a catastrophic gun failure, so neither is an intentional shooting in self defense. In most cases, that is what I want, ammo from the gun or container from which the ammo used was taken. If that is not available, then I am left with the notes or testimony of the reloader from which I could load ammo to use as an exemplar. I have only done that once for a civil case. I would have to consider all of the variables and if I had a question, then I would decline to use or create the samples.
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Old January 21, 2019, 11:24 AM   #54
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Reload all you want
Shoot all of the reloads you want
Use factory ammo for SD/HD

If you can afford to reload and shoot, you can afford a cpl boxes of factory defensive ammo. If you want to reload ammo that duplicates your chosen factory SD ammo...good, but use factory in the gun on the street
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Old January 21, 2019, 11:33 AM   #55
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The two cases I am working on right now, I have the remainder of the ammunition in the magazine as well as a partial plastic ammo box that was collected. One is an accidental shooting and the other was a catastrophic gun failure, so neither is an intentional shooting in self defense. In most cases, that is what I want, ammo from the gun or container from which the ammo used was taken. If that is not available, then I am left with the notes or testimony of the reloader from which I could load ammo to use as an exemplar. I have only done that once for a civil case. I would have to consider all of the variables and if I had a question, then I would decline to use or create the samples.
Very useful information. Thanks, MarkCO.
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Old January 21, 2019, 08:00 PM   #56
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In my post I mentioned " why would you admit to using reloaded ammo??? duh". I was saying that 'IF' I used reloads in a self defense situation and 'IF' asked about my ammo I would respond by saying I don't remember what I loaded in the weapon. You're not lying or perjuring yourself if you can't remember something you did several weeks ago.
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Old January 21, 2019, 11:11 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by unclejack37
In my post I mentioned " why would you admit to using reloaded ammo??? duh". I was saying that 'IF' I used reloads in a self defense situation and 'IF' asked about my ammo I would respond by saying I don't remember what I loaded in the weapon. You're not lying or perjuring yourself if you can't remember something you did several weeks ago.
Some really lousy ideas.
  1. If you fired a gun in what you will claim was self defense it's still likely the the gun and ammunition will be taken as evidence for the purposes of investigating the incident. The gun and ammunition will most likely be examined by a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner. There's pretty much no chance that he won't know that you used handloads.

  2. So you say that you don't remember what ammunition you loaded your gun with. Do you really think that anyone will believe you? Such an answer will strike most people as evasive and suggest that you have something you're trying to hide. It can significantly damage your credibility.

  3. In a self defense case especially you need to maintain your credibility.

    Several years ago a lawyer by the name of Lisa Steele wrote an excellent article for lawyers on defending a self defense case. The article was entitled "Defending a Self Defense Case" and published in the March, 2007, edition of the journal of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Champion. It was republished in four parts, with permission, on the website, Truth About Guns. The article as republished can be read here: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; and Part 4.

    As Ms. Steele explains the unique character of a self defense case in Part 1:
    Quote:
    ...Self-defense is all-or-nothing. In order to establish it, the client has to admit being at the crime scene, with a weapon, which he or she used to intentionally harm the aggressor. The client has to admit that he injured the aggressor. The client has to convince the jury that if a reasonable person had been standing in his shoes, the reasonable person would have done the same thing. In effect, the aggressor invited his fate by threatening or inflicting serious bodily harm, or by threatening to kill the client.

    In one fell swoop, the client has given up alibi and mistaken identity defenses. He or she has given up any claim that the wound was made by accident. Generally, the client must give up provocation (heat of passion or extreme emotional disturbance). Logically, provocation implies an unreasonable response to a situation, and mitigates murder to manslaughter. Self-defense implies a rational response to a very dangerous situation and, if successful, results in an acquittal. Similarly, the client must give up claims of mental illness or insanity and defenses based on intoxication or drug use....
    ...

    ... Often, the defendant will need to testify in order to establish his subjective belief about the threat and need to respond defensively. This can be done through circumstantial evidence, but it is difficult....
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Old January 22, 2019, 06:04 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Frank Ettin View Post
Some really lousy ideas.
  1. . . . .
  2. So you say that you don't remember what ammunition you loaded your gun with. Do you really think that anyone will believe you? Such an answer will strike most people as evasive and suggest that you have something you're trying to hide. It can significantly damage your credibility. . . .
As a corollary to Frank's advice on credibility, I'll point out the following: A significant loss of credibility could move the needle from "do not file" to "let a jury sort it out."
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Old January 22, 2019, 07:44 AM   #59
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For me, maybe not for you but there are 2 things you should never do.
1) Never volunteer for anything.
2) Never admit to doing anything.
It doesn't matter if anyone believes you or not. It doesn't matter what it may or may not suggest. It's about looking out for yourself first because nobody else is. There's nothing wrong with playing stupid. It seems to work pretty well for our law makers in Washington. Almost all of them never got to "Let a Jury sort it out" stage either.
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Old January 22, 2019, 08:22 AM   #60
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I do believe in looking out for myself.

That's why I use factory loads for carry.

I was thinking on another topic,a thought came to me that could be applied here.

If being armed makes a person more likely to walk toward a high risk situation,its not about courage. Courage cannot be bought or strapped on.
A coward can strap on a gun and feel big.
If being armed makes you more conscious,more polite,more likely to consider the best alternative...
Being armed CAN be a discipline in exercising WISDOM.

I do believe in Freedom. Even the Freedom to be Unwise.

That Freedom does not preclude making wise choices.

Those who argue in favor of making unwise choices...…..Put themselves on display.
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Old January 22, 2019, 08:42 AM   #61
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For the record, I use store bought ammo in my EDC. It seems to me a lot of poster on this forum tend to be very judgmental of what other people post. Just look at how everyone wants to condemn me because I suggested that being stupid is OK. If some someone wants to use reloads in their EDC it's OK for them to do that. If someone wants to carry a Glock it's OK, or a Revolver, or a belt-fed weapon, it's OK. Just because your way is the best for you; doesn't mean it's the best way for someone else. JEEZ
This time for sure.......Nuff Said
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Old January 22, 2019, 11:23 AM   #62
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My thought (and assumption) is that most people don't keep track of what ammo is in their firearm at any given time. Even if they did, they still have to confront the challenge to their assertion that the ammo came from THAT box or the other one or none of them.

That said, it's quite likely I'll get beaten up on this over several points but there is a thought that's been running through my head for as long as I've read this thread.

Presently, I know that I'm using Speer Gold Dot ammo in my carry pistol but it's strictly because I found a few boxes of it in one of my ammo cans and loaded it into my firearm on the recommendation of a local sheriff's deputy. That was about five years ago. I tested ten rounds and it functioned flawlessly in my pistol and I've never had any doubts about it since.

The potential legal questions that come to mind are:

- I have no idea how old this ammo is. My best guess is over ten years old, probably more.
- I no longer have the boxes it came in.
- Unless Speer has never ever changed their manufacturing process for Gold Dot ammo from inception to today, is there ever going to be a way to say that what is in my firearm is a good example of Gold Dot ammo?

Obviously, if evidence is collected at the scene of a shooting, it's going to be known soon enough that it's Gold Dot ammo but it won't be truly clear what the lot number is or the reloading recipe unless it is ALWAYS and FOREVER made the same way. And it may not matter. And that, of course, is the real question. Do I or should I keep better track?

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Old January 22, 2019, 12:10 PM   #63
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Wag,I really do not know the answers. I suspect if I was in the position of post SD shoot,I would be sitting in a cage with very little power to influence anything.
Others would control the investigation. I might get to talk to my lawyer,or those who are investigating...and those investigating may well become those prosecuting.I may never get called on to testify.

Should you know what ammo you carry and where the box is? That's up to you,I guess.

As a lay person with no legal expertise,I have no advice for you.


Quote:
Presently, I know that I'm using Speer Gold Dot ammo in my carry pistol but it's strictly because I found a few boxes of it in one of my ammo cans and loaded it into my firearm on the recommendation of a local sheriff's deputy.

If I was a juror and heard that,IMO,you would pass my "reasonable person test"

Last edited by HiBC; January 22, 2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old January 23, 2019, 11:14 AM   #64
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Interesting discussion. One thing that impacted me is that if I did need an expert, it is going to cost thousands. So why take that risk for a $26 box of quality SD ammo?

Psych experts run from $1000 to $10,000 a day to due human factors, perceptual and memory evaluations.

Economic impact experts cost about the same.
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Old January 23, 2019, 01:08 PM   #65
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Interesting discussion.
To be sure. And one we've had on several occasions. My take on the matter (and yes, I am a court-qualified firearms expert):

Back in the day, I carried handloaded ammunition, because there weren't any effective factory loads available. This is when Super-Vels were just coming out, and the standard defensive load was a .38 Spl 158-gr RN Lead bullet. I carried bevel-base wadcutters loaded backwards with a gas check to maximize the velocity out of my .38 Snubbie. These conditions no longer apply.

I'm unimpressed by the "super-duper killer-diller bullet" theory that many shooters are afraid the prosecution will throw at them. I'm not aware that this has ever been a consideration in a self-defense case.

The known-ballistics argument for factory ammo has merit, although it's application in a self-defense shooting would only occur if the shooter were being attacked with an edged or blunt-force weapon, in which distance to target would play a critical role in determining threat. Still, it is a valid consideration.

I can no longer load ammo that is more consistent, reliable, or effective than premium defensive ammo from Federal, Speer, Winchester, and several others. The cost of premium defensive ammo is negligible unless you choose to shoot it for range practice weekly. FWIW, I shoot 124-gr FMJs for practice, and carry Federal 124-gr HSTs for "serious social occasions." I shoot my carry ammo annually when I qualify under LEOSA, then replace it. One 50-rd box will last me two years -- not a major expense.

To sum up, I carry factory ammo primarily for reliability and effectiveness, with ballistic consistency and more positive "social" factors as less important considerations. YMMV.
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Old January 24, 2019, 03:42 PM   #66
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The known-ballistics argument for factory ammo has merit, although it's application in a self-defense shooting would only occur if the shooter were being attacked with an edged or blunt-force weapon, in which distance to target would play a critical role in determining threat.
Actually, in any case in which additional evidence would tend to corroborate or impeach the testimony of eyewitnesses and/ or the defendant, such evidence could prove invaluable.
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Old January 31, 2019, 02:24 PM   #67
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I asked my friend who is a retired oregon State Trooper about this and he said that every homicide he had been involved in, whether ruled self defense or deliberate murder, the facts about whether or not the shooter used reloads never came up at trial. He thought the idea was silly.
From that I have to take the fear mongering with a grain of salt, in spite of the implications of the Fish case I don't think it's a likely problem.
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Old January 31, 2019, 02:30 PM   #68
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It's not a likely problem, but the stakes are very high if they come up. Then again, getting into a gunfight is unlikely to begin with, but I still carry a gun. I do so because of the stakes, not the odds.
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Old February 2, 2019, 09:28 AM   #69
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I asked my friend who is a retired oregon State Trooper about this and he said that every homicide he had been involved in, whether ruled self defense or deliberate murder, the facts about whether or not the shooter used reloads never came up at trial.
The subject is most unlikely to "come up at trial", but if it does, state troopers would not be aware of it, nor would the jury, nor the public.

The question of the admissibility of evidence would be handled in the judge's chambers. Only those who had to be involved in the ruling would know about it.

If evidence is not admitted, no one else will know of its existence.

Quote:
He thought the idea was silly.
I would't put much stock in what he thinks.

Quote:
From that I have to take the fear mongering with a grain of salt, ....
We are not engaged in "fear mongering", but in a discussion of well established and tested legal principles.

Quote:
....in spite of the implications of the Fish case I don't think it's a likely problem.
I would agree. It is very unlikely indeed. It would only become a problem if the defense needed to introduce expert testimony regarding test results relative to the distance of a shooting, for example in cases in which eyewitness testimony is contradictory, and if the defendant had used ammunition that would not meet the requirements for admissibility under the rules of evidence.

Sure, that's unlikely. But it may be the only thing that could prevent a conviction.

The problem is easily avoided.
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Old February 2, 2019, 09:57 AM   #70
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From that I have to take the fear mongering with a grain of salt, in spite of the implications of the Fish case I don't think it's a likely problem.
If there's one thing that should be painfully obvious from this thread it is that it is not a likely problem.

Just in case it's not, I'll say it again.

It's not a likely problem.

It's unlikely that issues related to reloaded ammo will figure heavily in a criminal or civil case related to a shooting.

Everybody can rest assured that it is unlikely that this topic will ever affect them in any way.

It's also pretty unlikely that you'll have to use your gun in self-defense.

However, if either of those unlikely situations come to pass, there are some very simple things one can do in advance to dramatically increase the chances of things working out smoothly.

If you like the idea of doing something very simple to eliminate a risk--even a small one, then you might be interested in this topic.

But you can also decide that you're unconcerned about the small risk of complicating a trial defense by using handloaded ammo, and if that's the path you take, then all of this thread is meaningless to you. It's pointless to learn about ways to mitigate a risk you don't care about. Clearly some people choose that path.

And, along the same lines, a person could decide that they are unconcerned about the small risk of needing a gun for self-defense and not bother with it. In which case, it would be equally pointless to learn about laws relating to firearms carry and self-defense. I know people who have made this choice.

Choosing to ignore the issue of handloads for self-defense due to potential legal complications is a choice you can make and, really, you can feel good about your choice either way because the odds are good it won't ever be an issue. There's really no need to feel like you have to argue against the existence of the risk because you feel like it's a risk that is small enough to ignore.

The only reason this topic is controversial is because some people who choose to dismiss the risk can't just dismiss it and walk away. They feel like they must PROVE that the risk doesn't exist at all.

The odds of getting hit by a meteorite are very small, but it has happened. It's one thing to say that you're unconcerned about getting hit by a meteorite--it isn't something I worry about at all. The risk is very small. It's another thing to claim that meteorites never hit people and claim it's fear mongering to accurately describe the possible problem while accurately pointing out that the odds of it coming to pass are small.

The difference is that preparing an effective way to survive a meteor strike would be horrendously difficult and astronomically (see what I did there? )expensive. Not using handloaded ammunition for self-defense is childishly simple and costs a few bucks.

Anyway, an objective assessment of the overall situation will show that there's a much more important reason (having nothing to do with legality) not to use handloads for self-defense. And one that's much more likely to be an issue.
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Old February 2, 2019, 01:07 PM   #71
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If there's one thing that should be painfully obvious from this thread it is that it is not a likely problem.

Just in case it's not, I'll say it again.

It's not a likely problem.

It's unlikely that issues related to reloaded ammo will figure heavily in a criminal or civil case related to a shooting.
Yep.

They is all about basic risk management.

The first step in risk management is to identify the risk.

In this case, the risk is one of an actor needing to have introduced in court expert witness testimony and evidence regarding ammunition testing.

The second step is to analyze the risks--to assess the likelihood and the potential consequences.

The likelihood here is far less than remote.

But the potential consequence--criminal conviction or large civil liability--is extremely severe.

The third step is to identify and evaluate potential mitigation strategies.

There is one strategy that comes to mind--don't use reloaded ammunition for defensive carry.

The last step is to decide whether to mitigate the risk or to accept it unmitigated.

If either the likelihood or the potential consequences are severe, that decsion will depend upon what it would take to mitigate the risk.


Quote:
However, if either of those unlikely situations come to pass, there are some very simple things one can do in advance to dramatically increase the chances of things working out smoothly.

...preparing an effective way to survive a meteor strike would be horrendously difficult and astronomically (see what I did there? )expensive. Not using handloaded ammunition for self-defense is childishly simple and costs a few bucks.
Very simple, really.
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Old February 2, 2019, 09:48 PM   #72
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As a different look, saw someone's reloads totally take down a AR style 9mm carbine. Rounds seem to go off out of battery and blew the casing in half. Ouch. Could be the gun or the rounds, investigations continue.

If I see a round go back, it more likely to be a reload. Of course, YOU won't do that.
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Old February 9, 2019, 10:18 PM   #73
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How many thousands of cases have shooters lost over hand loaded ammo? 20,000?

10,000?

5,000?

10?

What are the odds?

I'm not afraid of meteors.
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Old February 9, 2019, 10:25 PM   #74
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By the way, one weekend in Yuma I bought two boxes of centerfire ammunition by major ammunition makers. The box I bought on a Saturday had one round with no primer hole,
the primer blew out and no harm. That was Saturday. The next day I bought another famous brand, probably #1 in the nation. Loading the gun I found a round with the side of the case pushed down to the base of the bullet.
What are the odds of that? Two bad loadings by major ammo makers in two days. Probably less than of being hit by a meteor, and neither of those things have gotten by me when I'm loading.
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Old February 10, 2019, 06:43 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by HisSoldier View Post
How many thousands of cases have shooters lost over hand loaded ammo? 20,000?

10,000?

5,000?

10?

What are the odds?

I'm not afraid of meteors.
I'm not concerned about the odds. I'm concerned about the stakes. If you want to carry handloads, feel free to do so. That won't change the legal realities, though.
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