Getting Sued re: reloads?


PDA






holdencm9
January 6, 2013, 03:36 PM
Hi all, just wondering a couple things. I am not looking for opinions really, what you do or believe, et cetera. I am just really interested in cutting through all that and getting some links or stories about actual civil suits as a result of the following:

1. Using reloads in self-defense ammo. I often hear people say not to do this because an overzealous prosecutor can make you out to be some bloodthirsty killer who made custom "dum-dum" bullets that are "extra deadly," even if it was a justifiable use of force, using reloads makes you seem somehow, sketchy. Again, not looking for opinions, but is this a real concern? I.e. has anyone ever been sued after the fact, for using reloads in a self-defense shooting?

2. Sharing/selling reloads. I know some people absolutely say no to everyone. Some people give away a box or two to relatives or close friends. And some are probably very relaxed about it. Have there been some big civil suits as a result of someone's gun blowing up or getting injured? I have looked a little, and all I can find is anecdotes of "this guy could have sued, but he just made the other guy pay for the repairs to the gun" etc. I am just wondering if there has been more than that, hence everyone's concern.

I am not really considering either of these things, as I am a new reloader. But I would like more information. Thanks in advance!

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting Sued re: reloads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
rcmodel
January 6, 2013, 03:53 PM
1. The only bona fide court case I am aware of was often cited by Massad Ayoob in his writings for Guns magazine. I forget all the details, but it had something to do with a guys wife ending up shot to death in bed.
He claimed suicide, they said murder with reloads.

The point was made that ballistics testing concerning the guns distance from the wifes wounds could not be run on his reloads, because there was no way of knowing if they were all the same reloads or not.
Massad's argument was if it had been factory loaded ammo, samples could have been obtained and properly tested.

I don't recall how it ended.

2. I don't know of any cases like that either.
But common sense in todays legal climate tells me if even a good friend blows himself up with one of my reloads, I might get sued in civil court for the damages.
And thats more hassel I don't need.

Then, if you reload and sell the ammo with the intent to make money?
You need a manufactures license from the ATF.
And pay local & state sales tax, and federal income tax.
Thats more hassel I don't need too.


rc

gamestalker
January 6, 2013, 04:36 PM
Selling reloads in such a manner that it is can be considered business enterprise, and, or, for profit, does require licensing, as RC stated.

As to using reloads for self defense carry, I would suggest you incite the advice of an expert as follows:
www.armedpersonaldefense.com
This man is an expert and can provide you with a realistic and legal perspective.

GS

jr_roosa
January 6, 2013, 05:22 PM
I won't speculate on the self defense issue.

As for other people shooting my reloads, I have a large personal liability coverage and I still keep commercial ammo around for when I shoot with friends. Sometimes it can't be avoided, and I worry the whole time somebody uses my reloads.

I worry about bad luck. Someday the gun might just blow up. Even though I trust my reloads, why take the risk? They could still sue me but I think I'd not have a leg to stand on if my reloads were involved.

Also it's a great way to turn that pesky WWB into empty brass.

J.

SlamFire1
January 6, 2013, 05:45 PM
. Sharing/selling reloads. I know some people absolutely say no to everyone. Some people give away a box or two to relatives or close friends. And some are probably very relaxed about it. Have there been some big civil suits as a result of someone's gun blowing up or getting injured? I have looked a little, and all I can find is anecdotes of "this guy could have sued, but he just made the other guy pay for the repairs to the gun" etc. I am just wondering if there has been more than that, hence everyone's concern.


A friend posted this on jouster:

Another reason to NEVER shoot someone else's reloads!

The following applies to every shooter, not just handloaders.

I went by a gun shop this afternoon and found the owner had a crate of mixed ammunition for sale. All of it was from an estate sale and was being disposed of. There was a single box of .45-70 rounds there. The box was the yellow and red Winchester design used from the late 60's through the 70's and said "umprimed cases". Inside, the cases were in just like new condition; the factory cannelure had not been ironed out by firing so they were all unfired. They were all primed and loaded with jacketed hollow point bullets. I shook the case and could hear powder shake. I presumed that the rounds were loaded with smokeless powder and thought I'd break them down as I had no idea what was inside and, from the sound, the powder took up about 90% of the case volume. I bought the box from the owner and as we discussed the ammo he cautioned me they were reloads. I assured him I was going to break them down.

This evening, I pulled the bullets and found inside . . . a bomb! Most of the powder was small, irregular granules very similar in appearance to FFFg black powder. I thought that was a bad sign as any BP round is supposed to be loaded to 100% density or else you stand the chance of ringing your bore. BP burns so fast that when it burns through an air space between the powder and bullet and then hits the base of the bullet, the bullet acts like an obstruction in the bore and can cause a ring or bulge in the bore or worse. Then, I noticed there was a small amount of extruded smokeless powder granules similar in appearance to IMR 3031 mixed in. The bases of the bullets were jet black with, I thought, graphite.

To see if the powder was indeed black powder, I took a small amount, about 8 gr., put it on a board and held a flame against it. It did not ignite instantly like BP; it took about 2 seconds to ignite but when it diid, it made a large fireball, bigger say, that 8 gr. of Bullseye or other fast burning smokeless powder. It burned quicker than black powder as well. It was some type of smokeless powder as it just did not smell like BP. I still have no idea what the powder is but two possibilities are: blank powder mixed with an IMR powder. Blank powder has a burning rate many times faster than Bullseye and was never intended to be used with bullets. If the contents of the case was 50 or so grains of blank powder, it would have detonated and destroyed any rifle. The other possibility was DuPont PB, an old shotgun powder. Pressure with PB would not have been as high as with blank powder but the result would probably been the same.

In either event, firing these rounds would have been a terrible mistake and just reinforces the adage to shoot only your own reloads.
http://www.jouster.com/forums/showthread.php?27120-Another-reason-to-NEVER-shoot-someone-else-s-reloads!

I believe that most people decide not to sue if their gun is blown up by reloads. Unlike deep pocket corporations, the amount you can recover from an individual is limited, and they probably decide that the cost of the lawsuit would be more than the cash they would get back.

Still, if someone you know blows their gun up with your reloads, you are likely to lose a friend.

targetshooter22
January 6, 2013, 06:14 PM
I have never, ever heard or seen a real case in any court where someone was sued for using reloads in self defense. I have never heard of or seen a case in court where there was a liability because someone gave someone their reloaded ammunition.

I routinely share my reloaded ammunition with friends and family. Never had any complaints (legal or otherwise).

Personally, I have bought reloaded ammo at gun shows and used that to out source my R&D department. At least one of those saved me a lot of time and trouble because it worked well. In all cases I asked the seller for the recipe, which he gladly provided. Personally, I would only shoot reloaded ammunition from someone I actually talked to about said ammunition. This serves two functions: first, I know what I am getting; second, I can "sanity check" the provider. Therefore I would avoid estate sale disposal, other than for bullet/case recovery.

Gratuitous fear mongering on the internet I have seen, with great abundance and frequency. The story in the link above is a great example. The "inspection" of powder, which can seldom be determined without chemical analysis was visual, based on a tested burn, and then the odor of the smoke. I just can't see that being worth much, other than to stir up a lot of fear.

hueyville
January 6, 2013, 06:33 PM
Half the folk I take shooting could not enjoy it if I did not provide them with ammo. If they had to pay $20 box per 50 rounds half a box later they would be ready to quit. Handing someone a couple pistols w 100 rounds of ammo let's them really enjoy the experience. Since all my range ammo is mild loaded cast bullets off of Dillion progressives with powder check and I have not had a failure in over 30 years of high volume loading I don't worry about sharing range ammo.

As to selling handloads, never have and never will. If someone wants me to tailor a specific load for some unique purpose that over the counter is not the best choice I have them buy their own bullets and bring their own once fired brass. I have them help with some basic chore so in the end, its their load not mine. Never an issue yet.

On defensive ammo I can't make anything that much better than I can buy without pushing the acceptable load data. Hard to beat a PMC Starfire, Remington Golden Sabre or a Black Talons by any significant margin. So in the event that I have to use lethal force or God forbid some sort of accident, my carry guns all have the best factory ammo for the job.

holdencm9
January 6, 2013, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the responses, guys.

RC, I read that Massad had originally been partly responsible for the sentiment of "no reloads for self-defense" but did not know the story behind it. The wife getting shot in bed seems like such a bizarre case to begin with, it shouldn't really concern someone carrying reloads for SD/concealed carry, IMO. It seems like something that has just been accepted by some for no reason. I would still be interested to learn if there are any legal cases of reloads used in justifiable use of lethal force getting someone in trouble, but it is sounding unlikely.

Regarding the sharing of reloads, I understand if it is "for profit" or "business enterprise" you need a license. That isn't really what I am worried about (that is a whole other debate of what constitutes business enterprise and livelihood).

I am more interested in case history or legal precedent regarding a KB with someone's reloads getting that other person in big legal trouble. (Beyond "pay to fix my gun" which I think would just be the right thing to do anyway). It must have happened by now, sharing reloads can't be that rare. If it hasn't I wonder if there isn't just an assumption of "at your own risk" or maybe these people that share reloads are just perfect, or else get their friends to sign waivers beforehand. :scrutiny:

I also know the typical response is to invite them over to your place and let them use your press, but if they get a KB with their reloads, under your supervision, it seems legally you'd still be somewhat liable. Or at least I would still feel guilty, regardless of legal liability.

oneounceload
January 6, 2013, 07:54 PM
Huey, you GIVING someone reloads to shoot is different than you SELLING them the reloads. the Feds get involved when selling is involved.

As to someone suing, your homeowner's will not cover something like this, and it will amaze you how fast a friend will become an enemy when an attorney plants visions of sugarplums in their heads

Sam1911
January 6, 2013, 08:03 PM
HERE (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=634817) is the full and complete story on Mas Ayoob's famous case (well, the case everyone remembers as associated with his no reloads doctrine). The issue was not, at all (never!), a matter of an overzealous prosecutor calling someone out for using reloads as being extra lethal Rambo stuff.

The issue Mr. Ayoob feels (or felt) COULD come to be important is that, he maintained, if you used reloads in a self-defense case the forensics lab could not use your home-loaded ammo to SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM via comparative gunshot residue evidence.

The reasons supporting that opinion were very contentious and the cases where a claim of self defense will hinge on GSR alone are rare, to the point of being perhaps only theoretical in nature.

But read the thread if you want to know what all the old fuss was about ... and why every one of these "they'll paint you as a gun-nut lunatic" claims have no basis -- certainly none forwarded by Mr. Ayoob in relation to that case.

However, while there is this ONE case where a suspected killer's reloaded ammo was relevant to the trial (though not in the way 99% of gun folks think) -- there don't seem to be ANY cases which are showcases of the other claim against reloads.

JLDickmon
January 6, 2013, 08:11 PM
I have never, ever heard or seen a real case in any court where someone was sued for using reloads in self defense. I have never heard of or seen a case in court where there was a liability because someone gave someone their reloaded ammunition.

I routinely share my reloaded ammunition with friends and family. Never had any complaints (legal or otherwise).

Personally, I have bought reloaded ammo at gun shows and used that to out source my R&D department. At least one of those saved me a lot of time and trouble because it worked well. In all cases I asked the seller for the recipe, which he gladly provided. Personally, I would only shoot reloaded ammunition from someone I actually talked to about said ammunition. This serves two functions: first, I know what I am getting; second, I can "sanity check" the provider. Therefore I would avoid estate sale disposal, other than for bullet/case recovery.

Gratuitous fear mongering on the internet I have seen, with great abundance and frequency. The story in the link above is a great example. The "inspection" of powder, which can seldom be determined without chemical analysis was visual, based on a tested burn, and then the odor of the smoke. I just can't see that being worth much, other than to stir up a lot of fear.
I have been on the wrong end of the "handloads in a defense situation" in a court of law.
I provided the source for the load (Lyman manual), samples of the powder, bullets & primer, and asked the judge how the prosecutor intended to prove the handload was "more deadly or destructive" than certain types of commercially available ammunition, like Black Talon, SXT, Gold Dot, Golden Sabre, CorBon, etc.
The handloads issue was summarily excluded.
My advice would be, keep it to a published load from a commercially viable source using common components adhering to SAAMI parameters.

Now as far as selling your own reloads?
If you are able to secure the same liability insurance as commercial manufacturers, have at it, and have a nice day.

hueyville
January 6, 2013, 08:46 PM
Oneounceload, I carry a personal 2 million dollar "umbrella" liability policy. It is supposed to cover me for any and all litigation that my business, vehicle or homeowners does not cover. Whether I am the pilot of a meteor falling from the sky or my dog learns to fly and chew the tires off a jetliner while it is landing. Does not cost much and also works in conjunction with my other policies to provide additional coverage to them.

As to the selling of handloads, trying to turn a hobby into a business is a great way to take the fun out of it. Tried it and learned work is to make money for hobbies that lose money.

joeschmoe
January 6, 2013, 08:50 PM
Selling reloads is just as dumb as buying reloads (from non FFL). You both deserve what you get.

I won't do either.

I have no issues with factory (FFL ) reloads. They have insurance and testing methods.

erikk8829
January 6, 2013, 08:55 PM
I carried my reloads my whole career (state police) because the issue weapon was a S&W model 10 38 spl & issued 158 gr RNL didn't cut it for me, but would NEVER share a reload with anyone. You never know the condition of the other persons firearm

oneounceload
January 6, 2013, 09:26 PM
Huey,two million will be nothing if someone gets killed or permanently disabled and needs constant care or the rest of their life. Besides, as I said, if you sell it, the Feds will want a word with you

Best way is to have your friends over and have a reloading party where they reload the ammo, even on your equipment

hueyville
January 6, 2013, 11:21 PM
Mentioned that earlier. The party thing works well. Just give the attendees simple tasks like sifting brass, cleaning primer pockets, size/lube bullets and making coffee. Even if both Dillion machines are mounted up at the time, I am the only one who runs them.

And the 2 million umbrella insurance policy just means the insurance company is in deep enough to send an extra lawyer to protect their interests. Better than having the lawyer bills roll in by the hour.

HankB
January 6, 2013, 11:39 PM
The issue Mr. Ayoob feels (or felt) COULD come to be important is that, he maintained, if you used reloads in a self-defense case the forensics lab could not use your home-loaded ammo to SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM via comparative gunshot residue evidence. This argument is a two-edged sword, since logically the flip side is that a forensics lab could not use your home-loaded ammo to REFUTE YOUR CLAIM either.

"You claim the intruder was within 3 or 4 feet, but the gunshot residue shows he was clearly beyond 4 feet - WHY DID YOU LIE?"

And if the prosecutor wants to make ammo type an issue, there are plenty of ways he can play to the jury.

* Use the same ammo local police use? You're a cop wannabe.
* Use FMJ ammo? That's a MILITARY TYPE WARFIGHTING LOAD!
* Use JHP? That's a DUM DUM, banned even for the military for fighting wars!

etc. etc.

IANAL, but unless you've dipped the bullets in poison or something I don't see the ammo type being an issue in an otherwise justified shooting in most places. (NYC or Chicago? Simple self-defense is a problem.)

As for shooting handloads otherwise . . . I don't shoot anyone else's handloads in my guns (no "gun show reloads" for me!) and I don't provide my own handloads to anyone unless they're shooting them exclusively in one of my guns with me present.

ArchAngelCD
January 6, 2013, 11:42 PM
Other than myself the only others who shoot my reloads are my sons, no one else.

Even when I teach a new reloader how to load they do the actual loading and they pull the handle, not me. This way they did the reloading and I'm not liable.

To answer the original question, no, I don't know of an actual case where someone was sewed over reloads but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I'm sure the media doesn't find a law suit over reloads interesting at all.

medalguy
January 7, 2013, 12:08 AM
I can only comment on what I have personally experienced regarding reloads. First, I don't let others shoot my reloads, and usually I don't shoot reloads from anyone else.

My experience is with a good friend who passed away a couple of years ago. I was asked to help sell off his gun stuff, which included a lot of reloading equipment and ammo. There were several .50 cal cans of .45 ACP SWC reloads in this stuff, and I really hated to throw them out, and was hesitant to sell them to anyone else, even for components. So, I took a couple of boxes of reloads and went to the range.

Box one-- two duds in the first 21 rounds. Primers dented fine, later discovered the powder was yellow looking, so I assume the primer worked OK but the powder was contaminated. The rest of the box fired OK.

Box two-- another two duds in the 50 rounds. One had absolutely no powder in it, and the last one was similar to the first two-- dented primer but yellowed powder.

Needless to say, I scrapped all the remaining ammo. No way I was going to sell any ammo with 4 duds in 100 rounds.

For this reason, and my own safety and satisfaction, I don't shoot any other person's reloads, and I don't allow anyone else to shoot my reloads. Never know when I could have made a mistake. You may think your technique is perfect, but al it takes is one double charged case or mischarged case to cause a very serious problem, and as someone already said, your very best friend can have a sudden change of heart when an ambulance-chasing lawyer whispers dollars in their ear. Just not worth it to me.

W.E.G.
January 7, 2013, 12:26 AM
I am a new reloader

That's all I need to know to answer your question as it pertains to only YOU.

Don't do it.

After you become a seasoned reloader, you will have obtained enough information to answer these questions for yourself.

hueyville
January 7, 2013, 05:32 AM
MedalGuy, I personally would have kept shooting them if they were cast bullets. Got hold of a box from friend back in 70's where every other round had no charge and the rest were.double charged with unique. After initial freak out and micrometer inspection of gun, I used them in training. Would slip one in an occasional box to see how adapt a good.student was becoming. I personally loaded one of the double charge rounds behind an uncharged round in a factory Colt series 70. Locked it in the rest, fired the no charge which stuck in the barrel. Hand cycles the action and dropped the trigger on a double charge round. No observable or measurable damage to the pistol. The good ol days when Volts were 300 bucks and nobody thought they were special.

My best friend when I bring in surplus is my bullet pulled. Pull down a couple random samples. If you don't like their looks, pull them all down and re-use all but the powder.

gamestalker
January 7, 2013, 09:46 AM
I have one certain area of concern that I virtually never step over, I do not ever shoot someone elses reloads. As for providing reloads to those I know well, hunt with or shoot with, I do it, but I always inspect the weapon they are going to loaded for before I ever proceed with the loading. Most don't completely understand why I insist on having the weapon during the reloading process. But for obvious reasons, this is my personal approach when reloading for any firearm.

And carrying my JHP's for SD is never a concern of mine. I laod them to do what I consider to be maximum effectiveness against a bad guy.

GS

jmorris
January 7, 2013, 09:58 AM
Massad's argument was if it had been factory loaded ammo, samples could have been obtained and properly tested.Thats a pretty weak argument. I would say anyone that reloads at all or has a bullet puller could void that argument.

hueyville
January 7, 2013, 10:16 AM
These "never shoot anyone else's reloads" are awful absolute. I would pay real money just to hold some of Phil Sharp's loads or Elder Keith's. I would really like to drop the hammer on some of Elder's .44 special loads that spawned the magnum version.

I am circumspect in who's loads I shoot. Anyone that casts their own bullets, has multiple benches, been loading for over 20 years and still has all their fingers I will drop the hammer after I see them run a few. Over the years I have seen more failures from factory ammo than my handloads. If someone bought their press last week and hands me their new "pet" .375 H&H load will take a pass.

Sam1911
January 7, 2013, 11:33 AM
Massad's argument was if it had been factory loaded ammo, samples could have been obtained and properly tested.
Thats a pretty weak argument. I would say anyone that reloads at all or has a bullet puller could void that argument.You'll have to read the whole debate to get the details, but it was a more complex argument than that.

It wasn't that the reloads couldn't be tested. It was a "chain of custody" problem using ammo made by the defendant to support his/her claims when that ammo's production details were not independently verifiable by a disinterested party, the manufacturer.

The argument had some major flaws, most notably the fact that the state forensics lab COULD and DID use the defendant's reloads in exactly the way that it was claimed they couldn't. GSR residue patterns are not a thing that is measured with incredible precision. They provide suggestions of a range of the distances a shot my or may not have been fired at, so ultimate precision in reproducing the load used is not a disqualifying factor.

But that's trying to distill a lot of debate into one paragraph.

holdencm9
January 7, 2013, 12:04 PM
Sam, thanks for the link and background. I haven't had time to go through that other thread completely; just skimmed it and it does seem complicated.

Aside from that, I am mostly coming to the conclusion that it is either (a) so incredibly rare that it is not a concern, or (b) it has never happened outside of the one instance, which wasn't even a case of self-defense, it seems it was a case of them determining murder vs suicide rather than homicide vs justifiable homicide. I think I would still carry factory ammo but try to reload clones to practice with, to save money.

Regarding the sharing of reloads and civil suits, I do think that if there was a million dollar lawsuit then the media would have reported it (since they would love to tell everyone about the dangers of guns) and it would be all over the various gun boards. Since no one has provided case history of this happening, I am left to wonder if it is even possible to sue someone, unless they warranty their work, or if it is just much more complicated than people make it seem.

Also I wonder how being present when they shoot your reloads makes a difference? If they get a KB with your reloads, what does it matter if you are 5 feet away or 5 miles? Again, I am not considering doing this, but some of the rationalities are just confusing me. I can understand making sure their gun is in working condition and not some piece of junk, but even factory ammunition says right on the box "only to be used in modern firearm of good working condition chambered for this cartridge" (or something along those lines). So I think any half-decent lawyer could get that tossed out. Is it a hassle? Of course, but I am just asking for documented cases of it ever happening.

After you become a seasoned reloader, you will have obtained enough information to answer these questions for yourself.

Hmmm, see, that is what this thread is supposed to be about is obtaining information but so far it is mostly just anecdotes and re-hashing what has been read online elsewhere. If you have more information I would be eager to learn.

blarby
January 7, 2013, 12:16 PM
Are we really having the reloads for SD discussion again ?

Just sayin.......

I know we've asked for this subject to be a sticky before...

OH WAIT

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=618021

There it is !

Personally, I think just referring everyone to said sticky everytime might make it easier....thats why its there, right ?

Sam1911
January 7, 2013, 12:20 PM
The issue Mr. Ayoob feels (or felt) COULD come to be important is that, he maintained, if you used reloads in a self-defense case the forensics lab could not use your home-loaded ammo to SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM via comparative gunshot residue evidence. This argument is a two-edged sword, since logically the flip side is that a forensics lab could not use your home-loaded ammo to REFUTE YOUR CLAIM either.

"You claim the intruder was within 3 or 4 feet, but the gunshot residue shows he was clearly beyond 4 feet - WHY DID YOU LIE?"
True...except that it DOESN'T work the way it was claimed to work.

The forensics labs absolutely CAN run any test they want and produce evidence that will be demonstrative enough to stand up in court.

And GSR, as you indicate, gives a verification that someone was or wasn't within some distance from their target when they shot. It is unclear, however, how good that proof really EVER is, and whether it should be admissible.

Trent
January 7, 2013, 12:47 PM
To say I've had more failures with factory ammo than handloads would be a lie - I've had PLENTY of failures while working up loads, ranging from underpowered rounds that wouldn't cycle the action, to bullets that weren't seated at a depth that would allow chambering, cartridges that won't fit in magazines, etc.

But once I FINISH working up a load, I find that they are 100 percent reliable.

With factory ammo, I've had failures ranging from squibs to shell casings blowing apart.

I've found that premium factory ammunition tends to be, well premium. Would I carry Winchester White box or Remington UMC in a defense gun? Probably not. Would I carry Golden Saber, Gold Dot, or Cor Bon? You betcha.

Would I carry my own reloads of a proven round for that gun? You betcha. Because I can tweak my ammo for my particular firearm, I often get better results than ammo which was produced to run "in everything."

There's good ammo.. and there's not so good ammo. One I'd trust with my life. The other I'd trust with plinking. :)

holdencm9
January 7, 2013, 02:06 PM
Blarby, thanks for your snarky although helpful post. I did not find anything specifically like what I was looking for in my search, and didn't think to look in the ST&T section for what I see as more obviously a hand-loading section thing. But no matter, via the link you provided I was able to find essentially what I was looking for. That it is essentially a nonexistent concern, but should there be a one in a billion chance of several different factors coalescing, the use of reloaded ammo could become a hurdle to overcome.

Of course Part 2 to my question related to sharing reloads and getting sued, which you didn't seem to touch on. I really enjoyed reading about the legal precedent and such involved with reloads for SD, and if there was a thread that touches on that as it relates to liability of the reloader, I would be interested to read it. I did the obligatory search of stickies and found nothing. It seems to be a common question so maybe Kleanbore can do another legal write-up and add it to the handloading sticky library. ;)

Centurian22
January 7, 2013, 02:54 PM
Tagged to read later.

jmorris
January 8, 2013, 11:51 AM
You'll have to read the whole debate to get the details, but it was a more complex argument than that.

I was simply saying with a bullet puller I can make a "factory" round anything I want it to be. Like taking a Federal Hydra shoc and putting 3.1 grains of N310 behind it and it's an entire different animal but the bullet is something reloaders "can't get".

Spats McGee
January 8, 2013, 12:37 PM
On the issue of handloads and SD, I put together An Archive Regarding Reloads and Self-Defense (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=452627) over on The Firing Line some time ago. If you're interested in the topic, the threads there, along with several here on THR, dissect the issues pretty well.

Once you get down to the nuts and bolts of the evidentiary issue, you'll see that: (a) it's a very particular set of circumstances under which it could arise, but: (b) if it does arise, can be both problematic and costly (in a variety of ways).

As regards loaning/giving/selling reloads to others, my first concern would be that my reloads would go kablooey in the next guy's gun & that person would sue me. Then again, I haven't really looked into that issue, to take my advice on that as being worth what you paid for it.

chrisgo
January 8, 2013, 01:53 PM
This is straight from an ATF agents mouth… if you receive brass from someone reload it for them and give it back, that requires a gunsmith license. If you reload your brass and sell it to them that requires a manufacturing license.
Either way there is a big risk. I have been an FFL holder for 30 years and have no desire to jump into that ring!

CraigC
January 8, 2013, 02:40 PM
IMHO, the whole handloads for self defense issue is manufactured and perpetuated by folks like Massad Ayoob. Sorry but I've read the cases presented and they're a stretch at the very least. The case where the woman committed suicide could be used as an argument against handloads for any purpose. There is just little or no supporting evidence to support the theory and that is exactly what it is, theory. BS.

blarby
January 8, 2013, 03:59 PM
This is the song that never ends.
It goes on and on my friends.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because.....
This is the song that never ends.
It goes on and on my friends.

I know a song that gets on your nerves,
gets on your nerves, gets on your nerves.
I know a song that gets on your nerves
and this is how it goes.
I know a song that will get on your nerves,
get on your nerves, get on your nerves.
I know a song that will get on your nerves,
and this is how it goes.
I know a song that's very annoying,
very annoying, very annoying.
I know a song that's very annoying,
and this is how it goes.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because.....
This is the song that never ends.
It goes on and on my friends.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because.....
This is the song that never ends.
It goes on and on my friends.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because.....
This is the song that never ends.

Well, there is a little variation in there... but its not new, and certainly doesn't do much to fix the noise/signal ratio.........

Back to the reloads and getting sued, shall we ?

IMHO...... Through various forms of direct and contributory liability- YES, reloading for someone could get you sued.

Getting sued in America however, is not difficult. Becoming a successful plaintiff and actually receiving funds/proceeds from civil litigation- with some notable and newsworthy exceptions, is not as easy as the first task. No lawyer in their right mind is going to take on a case of this magnitude over a commercially available firearm. You might get one to take it for significant personal injury- but you are going to be forking over a sizeable amount of cash for representation- and I highly doubt you'd want the caliber of folks willing to take this on pro-bono ( if one even existed ) arguing this case on its merits for you. It would be ( to me ) doubtful that one would perhaps even take this case on a recovery fee alone... Maybe one of our great legal minds out there can answer this : would you take this case for recovery alone ?

It will be ruinously expensive for both parties. Litigation usually is. Yes- the loser pays. At the end.

In the same vein, and without stirring- I would contend that if someone were to prefer to go that route, after accessing my handloads, that the burden of proof would still be upon them to prove that my reload did it. Even in a civil trial, thats not as easy a burden as you might imagine. The higher the stakes- the more specialization required- and increasingly it would seem the burden gets further and further into he-said-she-said territory.

If you are suing me personally for a million bucks- you can bet my liability protection company is going to mount a defense of such caliber and veracity, and containing enough paid for expert testimony, that you are going to be wondering if it really was a "reloaded round" that destroyed your arm and weapon. I speak this last paragraph only as an insurance professional, who has been party ( observable and called for testimony- not participating as plaintiff or defendant) to multi-million dollar torts on both sides of the coin. Insurance teaches you a perspective few might not consider in such cases without informed and paid education.

IANAL- but I'm sure one could chime in here any moment if he chose to do so.........


This is straight from an ATF agents mouth… if you receive brass from someone reload it for them and give it back, that requires a gunsmith license. Please clarify this statement. Per my discussions with them- such activity requires a license if these activities are performed for profit - which is a completely separate discussion. You can give away whatever you choose. If you receive consideration- of certain types or values, or even consistently ( I.E I trade you X brass for X work on a revolving basis )- that is a separate matter.

If it is as spoken, then I think that would be a lesson in the ATF agents not being the law- and that interpretation is always up to the individual... in this case the prosecuting attorney.

As a side note- and not one of snark and jest... We face a current conundrum in our rights as citizens which is not likely to be placated, nor disappear overnight. It might very seriously behoove you to be able to reload rounds of sufficiently known quality that a neighbor or friend might desire them... It also might not be a bad time to involve yourself with a circle of friends and neighbors who wouldn't sue you for trying to help them if something goes wrong- regardless of the circumstances. I prefer friends that will stand in the rain with me, not run inside to grab an umbrella when its cloudy- get my drift ?

rdhood
January 8, 2013, 04:59 PM
Half the folk I take shooting could not enjoy it if I did not provide them with ammo. If they had to pay $20 box per 50 rounds half a box later they would be ready to quit. Handing someone a couple pistols w 100 rounds of ammo let's them really enjoy the experience. Since all my range ammo is mild loaded cast bullets off of Dillion progressives with powder check and I have not had a failure in over 30 years of high volume loading I don't worry about sharing range ammo.

Finally, some sense. Thus far, I (also) have never constructed a "bad" reload out of thousands and thousands. I have taken many non-shooting friends to the range with no incidents.

When I reload, though, I carefully guard the process such that once a charge of powder goes in, the bullet goes on IMMEDIATELY. I will not pause between these two steps, so that there can be no case where a round gets no charges or two charges. When I pull the handle to deliver a charge, a bullet is already in the other hand to cap the brass and seat the bullet with the next pull. Further, I use only well-established medium power loads. I don't load hot, and I don't load light. My own safety and life are of paramount importance to me. I have been loading 7 years, and the only problem with ammo that I have had is 1) light strikes with some guns and 2) oal a little long when initially working up some new loads.

holdencm9
January 8, 2013, 05:18 PM
spats, thanks for the link to that TFL thread I will take a look.

Blarby, I agree with almost everything your said regarding getting sued. Essentially by asking for real-life cases of this happening, I wanted to cut through the simple "ain't worth the risk!" posts and see if, first of all, we even can determine a risk. It seems it is pretty low, although maybe not quite non-existent. But unless the person you give the reloads to is desperate and has nothing to lose, it seems that no one would ever do such a thing, much less to a good friend or family member. I hear all the time people say things like "you'd be surprised how fast your best friend turns into your worst enemy" but I just can't fathom what kind of friends they must have. But again, I am trying to avoid this getting too emotionally charged and try to stick to the facts: has it ever happened?

chrisgo, I would like some clarification too. I always thought that "for profit or business enterprise" requires license. I understand that those terms are subjective too, but again, is there any record of anyone getting charged or fined for giving a box of reloads to a buddy? I'm asking for more than "it's a gray area, so don't risk it!"

blarby
January 8, 2013, 05:52 PM
I think it will be a quick search, holden- for the reason you, and then I, stated.

hueyville
January 8, 2013, 06:15 PM
Blarby, Thanx for the rational response. Being the plantif in a case currently where someone's negligence caused me harm. (Ran a stop sign and struck me in a pedestrian cross walk with multiple witnesses & accident report from State Patrol saying driver was at.fault) Three years later I have paid my medical bills myself and not seen one dimes compensation for expenses or missed time at work. The legal system works in a way that of your neighbor sues you he better have deep pockets for an attorney, court fees and years of patience. Proving that a handload hurt someone that purposely chose to participate in a dangerous activity would be almost impossible. Thus my carrying an umbrella liability policy that covers me even if I purposely whack someone in the head with a hammer. My insurance company has enough vested interest to pay their lawyers to keep them from a significant settlement.

Then there is also the stated idea if you hang out with people of such low moral standards as to sue you then you may need to find new friends. Last person I took shooting and supplied handloads was a very renown surgeon. I can only imagine the litigation involved if I blew his hand off with a triple charge of Bullseye. First off I do not plan on screwing up that bad. My friends are also actually sane and trustworthy. Don't give me this wife or third cousin crap either. If a person is living in such a paranoid world as to be terrified of your friends I suggest to find new friends or stop reloading. If you blow yourself up your wife may sue you for not being able to provide the standard of living she is used to. God forbid you blow your balls off and she sues you for lack of conjugal visitation. Go ahead and fuel up the flame throwers.

fields
January 8, 2013, 06:29 PM
Old saying "No good deed goes unpunished".

BobTheTomato
January 8, 2013, 06:42 PM
For the charges for using handloads I think about it this way. If you use FMJ they could say that you are using the same bullets the military uses. Use hollow points well then you wanted to inflict max damage. Handloads you wanted to really blow their brains out.

Just live in a state that has castle doctrine....it should make your life easier.

readyeddy
January 8, 2013, 07:00 PM
If the gun blows up, it's probably a double charge. Shouldn't be too difficult finding a firearms expert who would testify to that effect. That should be enough to take the case to the jury. And if the hand loader had a million dollar liability policy, then there's more than enough money to get a plaintiff's lawyer to take the case on contingency. They often do take personal injury cases where the auto policy is only $500,000.

The bottom line is that you need to be careful when reloading.

hueyville
January 8, 2013, 07:23 PM
Ready Eddie, yes to most. One of the reasons when I started making enough money to pay the bills and realized Bullseye was only optimum in tiny cases where even a double charge of it was visible I mostly stopped using it. Plus I find a powder that mostly fills a case usually makes a more accurate load. With good bench habits a double charge is near impossible.

I believe that it is going to be a tough case just due to the nature of the activity. Auto cases are cookie cutter with tons of precident. Handloads probably have very little past case law for reference and cheap ambulance chases want the easy money. Send client to chiropractor, run up medical bills, settle for medical bills, lost time and double medical bills for pain and suffering. Insurance company offers fair settlement, lawyer takes half and goes to next case. Victim gets just enough to buy a new television and a six pack after medical bills paid and lawyers cut.

blarby
January 8, 2013, 09:24 PM
For some amusing train :

If the gun blows up, it's probably a double charge.

Ok.

1. Prove it was my load in your gun. I could go on and on - on this one - all day..... In short, unless I admitted it under oath, or we have a recording of me handing you the shells, you loading them, and the event itself.......... barring a sophisticated and disinterested party at the scene ( unlikely) thats going to be the largest hurdle right off the get go. If it gets to the point where you are suing me, and I don't feel like handing you the keys to my liability policy out of mercy- I'm not admitting Jack. Even if I did, my insurance company is not as likely to let that admission- unrecorded and uncertified- anywhere near admissible testimony.

2. "probably" isn't "certainly".

3. Unless you are a professional gunsmith- or take your gun to one every time you fire it for maintenance, "I" could make a reasonable case that you damaged your firearm though routine "maintenance" or any other litany of causes. A firearms expert could reasonably construe it better than I could. All I'd have to do is reference a few cases of improper assembly leading to catastrophe or unintended function......... Why not, the ATF does it all the time- and its legally binding.


At this point- without some actual " I. AM. A. L." advice, I think we're pretty much wizzing in the dark. There are enough variables here and possible to make anyone cringe, and make speculation all kinds of rambly........ Enough from me.

hueyville
January 8, 2013, 09:52 PM
Blarby, when I take newbies to the range I set a partial box of factory ammo in front of them and two 100 round boxes of my home brew. If something did happen. By time investigators get there all reload will be on my bench and factory ammo in busted gun. Yeah, now my plan is known to the entire world. Not really as don't don't feel like a tampering with evidence charge. But somebody may can use the idea some day. In the trade its called sanitizing the scene. I just am not worried. How do I blow up a well made, proven pistol even with a.double charge of a mild load with cast bullets. I have purposely stuck a bullet in a barrel then squeezed the trigger on a good load. Crazy recoil and.dislodged the magazine. Not giving them over spec pet loads for my Colt Trooper to put in a top break Webly. When I took the surgeon shooting, he had so much fun that within 3 weeks he purchased 2 Ruger's, 1 Khar, 3 Sig Saur's and a Remington shotgun.

HighExpert
January 9, 2013, 10:17 PM
I held an FFL for ammunition manufacture for several years. I sold a fairly large amount of handgun ammo without issue. My rules were all loads at 90% power, no hot loads and no components that I had no familiarity with. I stuck with my tested components and refused customer requests for "hot loads". I did carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance as well. Never needed it. I still reload. No license. No sale. Give away gets the Feds off your back unless quantities get large but not the liability issue. Shoot your own. If you must help others, let them use your press, with guidance, and learn to load their own. If they like it, they will soon join the ranks. I also used Bullseye almost exclusively. Good consistent powder that doesn't alter its power characteristics due to age.

readyeddy
January 9, 2013, 11:01 PM
I hear what you guys are saying. It's not a slam dunk case. It's easy proving a case on the internets, but get into a courtroom and things are different. Also, I do make hand loads for relatives and friends, so it's not like I'm against the practice.

Nappers
January 10, 2013, 09:23 AM
A scary subject:uhoh:

I reload a ton for myself and don't give away or for sure, sell.

I happen to use XTP hollow points for my .45ACP but they were cheaper than round nose at the time. I plink and have fun.

My rifle reloads are the same, for me and me only. loaded for max reach out and touch a furry creature and/or target shooting (only loaded a few HP 30.06 bullets).

Be careful!

I echo others. I check my bullets and take my time, hence a single stage press and plenty of time as my days off are not the same as my GF's days off, we share some days off but the others are me time to reload or shoot or leather work, or muzzleloading stuff.

holdencm9
January 10, 2013, 11:00 AM
Thanks for the good conversation guys. Regarding the giving reloads to friends, I definitely see both sides, hence asking for cases or real-life instances of it happening. But it seems like that won't happen so we only have speculation.

I see the side of "why risk it?" but I also see the other side of what kind of friends would really sue you, and if you are careful you should never have problems. I also wonder if people's opinions are shaped by the cartridge they reload. I load .45 auto which is a pretty low pressure round, I have heard of double charges blowing out the magazine but not seriously maiming anyone, and if you are careful, a double charge shouldn't happen anyway. I still would be VERY hesitant to ever let someone pull the trigger on my reloads, but I also just can't blindly accept the philosophy of "why risk it?" without any sound evidence that there IS a risk.

Trent
January 10, 2013, 11:57 AM
I don't give reloads to friends.

But I've taught many of them to reload for themselves. :)

Given the two choices, I'd rather field an occasional "tech support" call and go with the philosophy of "teach a man to fish"...

buck460XVR
January 10, 2013, 03:18 PM
You'll have to read the whole debate to get the details, but it was a more complex argument than that.

It wasn't that the reloads couldn't be tested. It was a "chain of custody" problem using ammo made by the defendant to support his/her claims when that ammo's production details were not independently verifiable by a disinterested party, the manufacturer.



The reason the tests would not be admitted was because the defendant claimed he had mixed powder charges in the box the wife took the ammo from and it could not be determined which powder charge was in the round that killed her. It was not a SD/HD charge the defendant was facing but a murder charge. Not being able to determine the range the bullet was fired from helped his cause.....The prosecution claimed the gun was fired from short range by the husband, the defense said the wife put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger. This is why, IMHO, it's foolish to relate this case to SD/HD.

That said, my family and friends use my reloads in my guns. I do not give reloads to anybody, nor do I take reloads from others. I trust my reloading practices enough that I figure the odds of something bad happening and my losing my lifestyle over it are less than getting hit with a meteorite. I do tho always have a few boxes of factory ammo in my range bags for those times when others(such as the friends of my sons or work associates ) are along at the range.

DM~
January 10, 2013, 08:46 PM
Durning the years i had my ammo mfg license, i was told by an ATF agent that it was against the law to sell, to give away or even let someone fire reloaded ammo UNLESS the reloader of the ammo had an ammo MFG license. Anyone, included family members, neighbors, friends or anyone else...

I was told that the loop hole, was to let the person that the reloaded ammo was going to, reload his own ammo on your equipment.

I was also told, IF the person getting the ammo happen to get injured by the gun while shooting your reloads, (even if it was their own fault) you were liable, and would have to defend yourself in court.

I never give away/sell reloads, i will let someone load their own ammo on my equipment though, as long as i'm with them to see that they are doing it right.

DM

918v
January 10, 2013, 09:08 PM
That's the problem when law enforcement gives legal advice.

holdencm9
January 10, 2013, 11:48 PM
Yeah, 918v, considering cops don't always know the laws of their local jurisdiction, I doubt a typical ATF agent knows the ins and outs of every single law either. And of course if they are unsure, they will always err on the side of "don't do anything even remotely gray area!"

I would still be really eager to hear of any cases that have been tried or an actual lawyer to chime in here.

Spats McGee
January 11, 2013, 04:43 PM
. . . .I would still be really eager to hear of any cases that have been tried or an actual lawyer to chime in here.
I am an actual lawyer.

holdencm9
January 11, 2013, 05:29 PM
yeah but you just punted on the latter issue of the OP and I am guessing your hourly fee is too much to satisfy my curiosity of the matter

DM~
January 14, 2013, 05:37 PM
That's the problem when law enforcement gives legal advice.

Could be, but i was at an BATF seminar ABOUT the laws, for gun dealers holding gun sales and ammo mfg. licenses...

I'd think they held those seminars KNOWING what they are talking about, as they are the ones that come to the shops to enforce the laws...

DM

Spats McGee
January 14, 2013, 06:40 PM
yeah but you just punted on the latter issue of the OP and I am guessing your hourly fee is too much to satisfy my curiosity of the matter
If I sounded snarky, please accept my apologies. That wasn't my intent. On punting the issue of legal liability if someone else shoots the reloads, yeah, I did punt. I don't know enough about that area of the law to be of much help there, and I'm probably not licensed in your jurisdiction.

holdencm9
January 14, 2013, 11:20 PM
If I sounded snarky, please accept my apologies. That wasn't my intent. On punting the issue of legal liability if someone else shoots the reloads, yeah, I did punt. I don't know enough about that area of the law to be of much help there, and I'm probably not licensed in your jurisdiction.

I didn't think so, I was just trying to make a lawyer joke (ya'll are expensive hahaha) I couldn't afford to commission you to look into it for me. I think for now even though there hasn't been any case history shown, I will just have to err on the side of safety with the gray area.

I'd think they held those seminars KNOWING what they are talking about, as they are the ones that come to the shops to enforce the laws...

DM, I get what you are saying, it just confuses me how they go from saying it is illegal

if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit.

to


[it is] against the law to sell, to give away or even let someone fire reloaded ammo UNLESS the reloader of the ammo had an ammo MFG license. Anyone, included family members, neighbors, friends or anyone else...

Seems like a jump.

blarby
January 15, 2013, 12:38 AM
DM, I get what you are saying, it just confuses me how they go from saying it is illegal

Quote:
if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit.
to

Quote:
[it is] against the law to sell, to give away or even let someone fire reloaded ammo UNLESS the reloader of the ammo had an ammo MFG license. Anyone, included family members, neighbors, friends or anyone else...
Seems like a jump.

And therein lies the rub.

1SOW
January 15, 2013, 03:01 AM
I have yet to see any significant examples of reloaded SD ammo being cause for a civil suit related to said ammo being used for SD.

There sure is plenty of talk about it, but no facts.

holdencm9
January 15, 2013, 12:01 PM
And therein lies the rub.

Regarding the legality,

The term “manufacturer” is defined by 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(10) as any person engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms or ammunition for purposes of sale or distribution. As applied to a manufacturer of firearms, the term “engaged in the business” is defined by 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(21)(A) and 27 CFR 478.11, as a “person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured.”

So there definitely seems to be a disparity with what the BATF agent said, and what the law says. Unless you use some weird logic, I don't see how selling a box or two of reloads to a buddy for the cost of the components is illegal. Actually it seems you even could make a small profit off of it, just as long as it is not the principal objective of your reloading operation. Also, in this same vain, it should be legal to "build" an AR and sell it to a buddy, shouldn't it? As long as you aren't paying your mortgage that way. I hear of people doing that all the time. Or is it just about intent? So if you reload a box, and never intend to sell it, but a buddy and you are at the range and he runs out of ammo and asks if he can't buy a box, you sell it to him, is that illegal.

Why can't laws ever be simple? :banghead:

blarby
January 16, 2013, 07:21 AM
Why can't laws ever be simple?

Because its easier to snag the ignorant that way.

918v
January 16, 2013, 12:07 PM
Why can't laws ever be simple?

The "What if's"

If you enjoyed reading about "Getting Sued re: reloads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!