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ammo choice legalities

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Kamicosmos, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Well-Known Member

    There is alot of debate about properly choosing home defense ammo. In a nutshell, Factory vs Handloads, and how a prosecutor could turn a handloaded hollow point into a weapon of mass destruction, or how using Black Talons turns a home defender into a cop-killer wanna be rambo psycho that was looking for an excuse to kill.

    I was thinking about this some recently. I use Federal Premium Defense in my Beretta, but have been thinking about switching to Federal Gold Dot loads. Now...here's what struck me.

    Let's say I have those Gold Dots loaded up, and home invasion comes along, and I need to use lethal force. Fast forward a ways to the trial. Now, more than likely, all my guns, and probably my reloading gear was 'seized'. Isn't the prosecutor going to turn all of that against me? In fact, won't I look even 'worse' for playing dumb and picking Gold Dots cause that's what the FBI/my local police uses, or what the gun store recommended as the prosecutor points to Exhibt B and says could you explain the Loading Equipment?

    Sorry for the long post, and know it's not well thought out, but I think you catch my drift here...so....

    Opinions? If it comes down to it, would it actually matter if a 'Shooter' who reloads goes with a particular type of load, factory or not? Or are we screwed either way?
  2. No4Mk1*

    No4Mk1* Well-Known Member

    It does not matter. To my knowledge there has never been a case where the type of ammo was significant in trial.
  3. KarlG

    KarlG Well-Known Member

    My OPINIONS follow:

    Personally, I would not use handloads or reloads for self defense. I would not trust them. Test factory ammo and determine which loads shot best and most reliably in your gun. If you keep logs or document the process, it can be used in court to show that your choice was well thought out and based on reliabilty.

    If you use the same round as the local law enforcement, prosecutors would not dare use it against you in court. They would be putting law enforcement's judgement in question (the same law enforcement agency that arrested you and gathered evidence).

    The loading equipment could be used against you by allowing the prosecutor paint you as a "gun nut" or "paranoid". If a reload was involved in the shooting, prosecution might call the reliability of the load in question and make you out to be careless in front of the judge or jury.
  4. Monte Harrison

    Monte Harrison Well-Known Member

    But it has never been a significant issue in any court case that anyone knows of. This issue comes up many times in gun forums, and it is always debunked. I can understand someone saying they don't want to be the first victim, though.
  5. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    Personally, I trust my handloads FAR MORE than I trust factory loads. But then again, I'm not hung up on handloading speed.
  6. Mikul

    Mikul Well-Known Member

    It makes no difference. Double-ought buckshot is more powerful than any handgun you'll use to defend yourself and is perfectly legal to use for self-defense.

    Don't do bizarre things like putting feces in the hollowpoint to ensure an infection or filling a shotgun hull with a vial of sulfuric acid and you should be fine.

    I was cleaning my .44 in the livingroom yesterday and realized that if someone forced their way into my house, I'd pick up the .44 and load it with the only thing close by: 300gr flatpoints loaded to 1200fps. Sure it's meant for bear, but I would grab the closest weapon and use it, and felt perfectly sure that no one would make an issue of it.

    Can you imagine what that load could do to a pelvis? Ouch!!

    Moral of the story: don't break into my house when I'm cleaning guns... tonight I'm cleaning the .338
  7. TamThompson

    TamThompson Well-Known Member

    Just FYI, last I checked, Gold Dots are made by Speer, not Federal. (You probably meant to say that.)

  8. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Well-Known Member

    Ummmm. *sheepish look* Yeah. Speer. Most assuredly was thinking nothing but Speer... :)

    I do trust my handloads better than factory. What few hangfires or jams I've experienced (yes, I'm lucky in that respect) have been one each, a blazer didn't go off, and a S&B jammed. Only two problems I have ever had with my Beretta in oh....around 5 thousand rounds since new.

    It's good to know that this isn't as big a deal as I was making it out to be. I usually always read the gun rags with a grain of salt, but bought this one all the way. Surely advertising dollars didn't make the mags say use factory ammo for defense? <= that's sarcasm, btw! ;)
  9. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Couple things: just your OWNERSHIP of reloading tools won't matter. If a prosecutor is dumb enough to bring that up, the response is "yes, I reload because I shoot competition and/or practice enough that I need to cut my costs by recycling brass - it's no more weird than a photographer having his own darkroom".

    If you shoot somebody with handloads, again, as stated above the #1 issue will be "was the shoot OK?"

    There is one situation in which handloads can be tricky. In some cases, the distance between you and the assailant at the time you fired could be a critical factor in the justification. Some nut comes running at you with an axe and you drop him at 75 yards, you have a problem.

    Well, as long as the ammo you're using is of a known type, your "range to target at the time of firing" can be determined out to about 15 - 20 feet, so long as the lab has your gun and a sample of the same ammo known to hold the same charge, projectile and primer. The powder residue forms a "pattern" similar to a shotgun blast and like shotgun pellets, spreads as it heads downrange. By 21 feet it's pretty much gone, at one foot or less it leaves wounds of it's own.

    With handloads, it's harder to be certain the lab has got "the same thing". It might have been useful to be able to prove that the guy with the knife you shot was only five to ten feet away.

    My take: Georgia Arms, Black Hills and Proload sell Gold Dot-based rounds loaded up nice'n'hot at the factory. Proload has possibly the best rep for shot-to-shot repeatability and accuracy, GA is probably hottest by a bit, Black Hills is also known for superb Q&A (GA isn't bad in that department, probably runs third of these because they like to heat it up). If your caliber/barrel length is marginal, go with Georgia Arms, otherwise Proload or Black Hills.
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    I carry factory loads because developing the ideal load for any given gun typically involves eight to ten runs of ammunition. One of my Pythons, for example, prefers 2.7 grains of Bullseye, while another prefers 2.5. It takes awhile to figure out what a gun prefers for maximum accuracy—and when you factor in power and bullet penetration and expandability, you've just multiplied the possibilities. Factory ammunition may be imperfect, but it's considerably easier to develop.

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