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Hand loads verses factory loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dzimmerm, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. dzimmerm

    dzimmerm Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I hand load a little bit so my interest was caught when I noticed an article about Mas Ayoob and his opinion on hand loads being unwise for self defense.

    One of the criteria I heard about factory loads being better for self defense use was that they are standardized and so the effects of such loads could be analysed easier by forensics experts.

    Unfortionately I have read other articles in this forum that states that you should never reuse powder, primer, casing, bullet from a factory load as the factory can change their powder, casing, primer, and bullet anytime they want as long as the desired fps is the same.

    The question this brings to mind is if the factory can change their specification at anytime then how is factory ammo any easier for forensics experts to baseline than handloaded ammo?

  2. caz223

    caz223 Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    SW Michigan
    In order to defend yourself in court, you need to provide your unspent ammo to be used as control testing, they get the lot# from that.
    That's all that they need.
    The factory keeps control ammo from that lot, as well as all the stats and numbers the forensics types need.
  3. griz

    griz Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Eastern Virginia
    My understanding is the factory keeps a sample from EACH lot of ammo that they load. It probably helps them with liability issues as well.
    I always wonder how many people could trace their carry ammo back to a specific lot of factory ammo.
  4. jeepmor

    jeepmor Senior Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    Factory vs Handload

    Factories have certain rules and regulations to abide by. You, as a handloader, do not. Massad has been a professional witness in many cases and has seen the handloaded round become a point of contention in some cases, this is why he recommends factory loads. They are consistent and the factory can be called upon when needed.

    As for the handloader, you could have tons of documentation, or none depending on your methodology. Me, I record mine on the provided stickers, but nothing more. And, eventually, they end up slightly mixed as I shoot 10 or 20 of this and that and start consolidating partial 100 round boxes.

    I think from the Attornery perspective, handloads just give the DA another point to take to the ridiculous in my opinion. It's their job, and they work for the government, so ridiculous is an adequate term.

    However, if it comes to the point that you have to shoot someone in self defense. Which round you use is nothing near as important as WHY you used it. If you read that thread fully, you saw how the banter went back and forth for seemingly days. I liked a lot of the comments made by Cosmoline. There was another guy in there that was very critical in his thinking, can't recall his name though. Being cosomoline is an attorney, I take his literature on the topic with the most respect.

    But from a purely empirical point of view. A bullet coming out of your barrel at say 1000fps makes no difference in stopping power, killing power, or whatever term they use. The energy is determined by mass and velocity, nothing more. The only differences forensics will find is 1. the bullet you chose to put in the case, and 2. the powder you used to drive the bullet.

    I would not fear any more legal ramifications from handloads versus factory loads, personally. If I'm in a situation that I had to drop the hammer on someone, the situation that it occurred and how I handled it will far, far outweigh what rounds I chose to have in the clip. A good shooting dictates that you have done your best to avoid the situation as best as humanly possible and had no way out. It was them or you, nothing more. I do not feel that my time incarcerated will be changed significantly by my handload or factory load. But it will vary greatly if we do not take the needed steps to insure that we had no other choice than drop the hammer to protect our own lives and our loved ones.

  5. MarkV

    MarkV New Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    I'm pretty sure I even read in my Lee reloading manual that they recommend to use factory ammo as your carry ammo.

    The consensus among my circle of friends is that if you shoot someone with a reload you look more like a premeditated killer. As you made those bullets just for ripping people to shreds. I carry factory ammo.
  6. callgood

    callgood Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    So I'm worse off using one of my Gold Dots I load to 850 fps vs one of these- http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_34&products_id=101

    This makes no more sense than the DA saying, "Mr. Callgood, we notice you also own a .32 S&W. WHY DID YOU USE YOUR SIG 220 on poor Mr. Cutthroat?

    Good shoot- bad shoot. Either way you're out a ton of money. Either round and there is no argument you meant to do poor Mr. Cutthroat in. If he's dead, he's dead. How dead is for the philosophers to debate.

    This is about the hundredth and fifth thread like this I've read. To date, I've never seen anyone persuaded to accept the opposite side of the argument. Ranks right up there with religion and politics.:D
  7. Sam Adams

    Sam Adams Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    South Texas
    A friend of mine who attended Mas Ayoob's LFI classes (all 4 levels) has told me that he buys his carry ammo by the case, and always keeps a box or two separated until he's ready to use it at the range (every month or so he'll fire some rounds to verify reliability and to make sure the lead goes where he wants it to go). He does this specifically so that if he's involved in a shoot, he'll be able to give the investigating department samples of ammo from the same lot.

    I and several of my friends agree - even though we all know very well that this perception is a bunch of crap. Perception is what convinces some ambitious prosecutor to make his career off of your case - or not. Perception drives the jury's decision, both in criminal and civil cases. To me, it is far cheaper to use only factory ammo for my carry guns, rather than trying to save a few cents per round. That being said, nothing prevents me from loading, for example, Speer Gold Dots in practice ammo. That IS far cheaper than shooting factory ammo, and the target at the range has no idea whether it was hit with factory or hand-loaded bullets. In fact, by shooting cheaper practice ammo, you'll shoot more rounds (trust me, handloading saves money ONLY on a per round basis, not overall), which will make you a better shot.
  8. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Rent-a-cop perspective

    I have a friend who is an armed security guard. He must be pretty good--he trains with local SWAT teams and beats them.

    He tells stories of incidents on the job that would curl yr hair. (But no shootings, and he wants it to stay that way!)

    FWIW, his security company requires him to carry factory ammo on the job. He is free to practice with handloads, and use them in any legit way off the job.

    He agreed with me that it's stupid, but he doesn't want to get fired so he plays by the rules, even if the rules were made by non-shooting attorneys and/or insurance people.
  9. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
  10. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Lynden, WA
    I haven't bought factory ammunition for 25 years!!

    I'm not so worried about the courts and my 'personal hand loads' if I ever have to shoot someone. Again the reasons need to come to light in order to clear my name. It will only be in a life or death situation. Mine, someone else's, or his.

    I'm more worried about the DA finding out that I'm a trained and competitive shooter. Obviousely I would have been able to only woond the perp, not kill him.

    Then again, if I do take each of his knees out with my ultra accurate hand loads, he gets to sue me for all I'm worth. Or, since I shoot Pins and Bullseye, and Duello, (I don't do IPSC. I'd get too addicted to that). Since I aimed center mass at the target/perp, It must mean that I meant to kill him. At that point, I don't think it matters what ammunition is loaded in the gun.

    But if they want case lots of what I shoot. I'm sure they can bust the gun room door down and scavenge through the thousands of rounds for a few samples.


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