Handloads for self-defense?


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wayneinFL
April 2, 2006, 11:12 AM
I'm sure this has been discussed before. And I'd agree that there is a valid argument that it should not be done. reasons would include the dirty lawyer trick, reliability of handloads, variety of effective factory loads on the market.

But what about the less available calibers? I have a 10mm that I prefer to carry when I can carry a full size gun. But I can't afford to buy a couple hundred rounds of the self defense ammo that's on the market to run through it for reliability testing, let alone practice. I can't buy 50 JHP's for $15 at walmart, like I can with 45's or 100 JHP for $20 like 9mm, so my Glock 20 spends most of its time in the safe or on the range.

Assuming my handloads are reliable, and they are, would a reasonable person see the expense of factory ammo would be the reason for carrying handloads as opposed to maliciousness or recklessness? Would a prosecutor or personal injury lawyer see it that way? Or would you still spend all your money educating a jury in court?

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dakotasin
April 2, 2006, 11:52 AM
...reliability of handloads...

i don't get this... is it a bad thing to carry ammo for defense that is more reliable (and accurate, and faster...etc)?

if i was forced into a self defense situation, i am pretty sure nobody, especially me, is gonna be concerned that i was carrying handloads. so, short answer, all my ammo is handloads. it is the only ammo that has proven reliable day-in, day-out in every gun...

NukemJim
April 2, 2006, 11:53 AM
I would suggest using the "search" function.

This subject has been covered numerous times and the arguements do not change because of the calibre.

NukemJim

Lennyjoe
April 2, 2006, 12:06 PM
I carry handloads for personal protection in every handgun I own.

I think its more reliable and more accurate than factory ammo.

I don't care about an overzealous lawyer, better to be alive than dead.

As for the 10MM, I am carrying 180gr Speer Gold Dots over 10.4gr of Blue Dot. This is a very accurate load out of my G20 thru a Storm Lake barrel.

Don Gwinn
April 2, 2006, 01:17 PM
Regarding [b]re[/i]liability, it's been my experience that most handloaders think their loads are more reliable than factory ammunition, and very few are correct about that.

Regarding liability, of the legal sort, my thinking is that there's no real sense giving some lawyer an edge without gaining a significant edge for myself. Factory self-defense loadings are very good.

Hey, it's your gun and your life. Load it with any legal and effective ammunition you want.

wayneinFL
April 2, 2006, 01:32 PM
I would suggest using the "search" function.

I did. The discussions are similar to what I've seen on other forums.

I don't want to get into a general handloading vs. reloading debate. The consensus among the well-informed seems to be that it's not worth it to carry handloads. Obviously it's safer to buy 9mm factory loads to carry rather than load your own.

Instead, I'd like opinions on how obscure, expensive calibers play into this.

This subject has been covered numerous times and the arguements do not change because of the calibre.

Maybe. Yours is an opinion. And if it were 9mm, 40, 45 or maybe even 41magnum, I wouldn't ask. How much 10mm ammo have you bought lately?

I may be better off to put my Glock 20 on the bottom of the pile in my safe and lay out the money for a 21, just so I can carry something more available. Or maybe order 1000 rounds from a commercial reloader, though I really don't trust them. But I'd like a second opinion.

Delmar
April 2, 2006, 01:53 PM
Why not pick your favorite factory load components-brass and bullet and assemble it yourself using a suitable powder?

Hawkmoon
April 2, 2006, 03:57 PM
Instead, I'd like opinions on how obscure, expensive calibers play into this.
Well, as someone already commented, the arguments don't change because of calibre. However, you apparently think the arguments DO change because of calibre, so let me offer the following:

If the argument against hand loads is that an over-zealous attorney might try to portray you as a psychopath for whom "normal" bullets aren't deadly enough, so you hand load your own extra-deadly ammunition ... what do you suppose that same attorney is going to do if the handgun of your choice is a 10mm? Let's see, ammunition is so rare/expensive that you have to make your own, yet you still carry it. More powerful than a speeding locomotive; heck, the FBI tried 'em and decided they were TOO POWERFUL TO BE CARRIED FOR DUTY. Yeah, I'd say if you buy into the concern about how an opposing lawyer will portray you at all, you should recognize that he's going to have a field day with hand-loaded 10mm.

I don't think a jury is going to be impressed (certainly not favorably) by the argument that you hand load because the ammo is too expensive to buy commercially. At best, the argument should be irrelevent. At worst, I can see how it would be used against you and there would be no good rebuttal. Why DO you carry a 10mm? Because it's more powerful than whatever's your second choice, right?

Deal with it.

Standing Wolf
April 2, 2006, 09:36 PM
...reliability of handloads...

I've never encountered a reliability problem with my ammunition.

ElTacoGrande
April 2, 2006, 10:24 PM
This is a pointless question that comes up again and again. There are arguments for and against, most of them being meaningless, trivial or of no importance, and most of them being backed up by no evidence one way or the other.

NukemJim
April 3, 2006, 12:03 AM
This is a pointless question that comes up again and again. There are arguments for and against, most of them being meaningless, trivial or of no importance, and most of them being backed up by no evidence one way or the other.

+1

That is why I suggested the search function

Well, as someone already commented, the arguments don't change because of calibre. However, you apparently think the arguments DO change because of calibre, so let me offer the following:


Seems like I am not the only one who thinks that way. Oh well everyone has an opinion.

How much 10mm ammo have you bought lately?


Since January about 300 rounds, including 2 packs of Glaser Silver for testing on gelatin. I am currently trying a number of different loads. :evil:

Any other questions?

NukemJim

Lennyjoe
April 3, 2006, 12:05 AM
it's been my experience that most handloaders think their loads are more reliable than factory ammunition, and very few are correct about that.

So far so good on personal protection ammo. Every Gold Dot load has gone bang. ;)

Mark in California
April 3, 2006, 02:10 AM
The entire reason for not carrying hand-loads is liablitiy. If you shoot someone you will have to justify the entire load. Bullet, Powder, Grains of Powder, and Primer. It gives the lawyer something to sink their teeth into. A good lawyer can spend a day on the load, going over why you did or did not use another load in the book. It is a chance for the lawyer to paint you as a killer and keep you talking about why you loaded that round for "protection", instead of why you felt in fear for your life.

That is compared to: I asked for a box of ammo when I first got my handgun and this is what they gave me. It shot so well, I have never changed and I ask for the samething everytime I buy a new box of ammo.

At one time I loaded one of Cooper's defense loads. That is, a 38 cal 148 gr hollow base wad cutter, seated backwards, filled with "Crisco" and loaded to max vol. I was then educated on Liability. Very simply, you lose with anything like that. If its a reload, you will have to justify every decision made on that particular load. Once you are made to look bad to the jury you will never recover.

71Commander
April 3, 2006, 04:21 AM
At one time I loaded one of Cooper's defense loads. That is, a 38 cal 148 gr hollow base wad cutter, seated backwards, filled with "Crisco" and loaded to max vol. I was then educated on Liability. Very simply, you lose with anything like that. If its a reload, you will have to justify every decision made on that particular load. Once you are made to look bad to the jury you will never recover.

If you lose because of this load, you would have lost anyway.

Either it was a good shoot or it wasn't.

Don't Tread On Me
April 3, 2006, 05:17 AM
Here's my take.


Handloads CAN be superior to the best premium factory defensive loads. In my personal experience, I can crank out pistol ammo with greater consistency in all areas such as the powder charge and all dimentional measurements over premium factory defense ammo.


There's only 3 advantages to handloaded defense ammo, and 2 disadvantages depending on what you believe.


Advantages: Lower cost. This is questionable as you probably shouldn't be concerned with relatively low costs in comparison to your life. This comes into play when you want to clone factory defense ammo for practice on the cheap. The other is OAL. With handloading, you can tune the OAL of a particular round to give a a particular pistol the smoothest feeding possible. You might not find the perfect feeding round across the various factory brands. This comes into play for people with picky guns. You can feel it in the cycle as the slide strips a round off the magazine and chambers it. Third is quality control. With a handload, you know there's a powder charge in there. You know there's a flashhole too. You can measure every single aspect of the cartridge to the .001".


Disadvantages: The Massad Ayoob forensic liability issue (if this is real). Time and effort. If you want to do a good job, you must take careful measurments. In this area, handloads ARE more consistent round to round than factory defense ammo. Premium factory defense ammo will have more variation in dimention than a good handload. If I were loading carry ammo, it would be done in single-stage mode, with careful attention to everything. This is tedious and slow. It is border-line not worth it because of time spent. (now, making defensive practice ammo is a different story)


It all comes down to the handloader. If a handloader is sloppy or just plain oblivious to the fine details of handloading, it probably isn't a good idea. If the handloader is experienced, I see no reason why that load wouldn't be as good or better than a factory load.

mbt2001
April 3, 2006, 09:19 AM
I also think that the liability concerns far outweigh any other issues surrounding handloads for DEFENSIVE shooting.

Just don't use them. Federal is a big company with lots of lawyers, military contracts and police contracts. Let them defend their product.

ChiefPilot
April 3, 2006, 10:31 AM
I asked this same question about a month ago and ended up doing both.

I use my reloads for practice and then carry commercial ammo. You can get Gold Dot bullets and work up a load that matches one of their factory loads relatively easily, for example. Just be sure to keep them separate (I load my practice loads with brass cases and thus they are visibly different from the nickle-plated factory rounds).

Both my loads and factory loads shoot to the same POA/POI so I feel confident with the practice rounds. Functionally, the only noticeable difference is that my loads have a fair bit of muzzle flash which is absent in the factory loads.

wayneinFL
April 3, 2006, 07:50 PM
Yes, I did use the search function and read 8 pages that didn't address caliber. they talked about people reloading 38 to carry, and i think that's not very smart. I wondered if caliber changes things. Everybody here feels caliber is a moot point, thanks for the opinion.

NukemJim, Hawkmoon, I am honestly not trying to be a smartass. I apologize if I came across that way. I was looking for advice.

ChiefPilot, delmar, thanks for the advice. Believe it or not, I hadn't thought of that.

Why DO you carry a 10mm? Because it's more powerful than whatever's your second choice, right?

Actually, that would have addressed my next question; what a prosecutor or ambulance chaser would think about something like a 10mm used in a defensive situation. And that kind of fits in with a case I heard about in tampa, where a homeowner was sued over shooting an intruder with a powerful 357, when the bad guy had a little-bitty 22.

I was serious about considering hanging up the 10mm for carry. I don't have nukemjim's resources, and can't see me dumping $300 into ammunition, just to try different loads. On top of that,the fact a jury might be swayedthat 10mm is too "powerful", it may be too exotic a caliber for me. In price, availability, and power.

Thanks for the replies.

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