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Carry your own reloads in your CCW?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by roque5, Aug 24, 2020.

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  1. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope. Having them “fall into the wrong hands” raises issues of intervening and superseding causation.
     
  2. Archie

    Archie Member

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    What seems to be seldom mentioned is the difference between a criminal case of murder, with the defense against the charge being 'self defense' and a wrongful death civil suit. Typically a penal code charge will deal with the circumstances, including the physical distances and eyewitness accounts of the act. Check and see if any state includes 'reloaded ammunition' as a enhancing condition. To convict, the jury must agree fully on the verdict.

    In a civil suit, where the verdict is based on 'preponderance of evidence', the plaintiff's attorney (the attorney representing the bereaved family) will pull every dirty trick and use every half truth and smear to get a settlement. Of which he gets a cut.

    And if the bereaved thinks they can get an award, there will be a civil case filed. Aside from being declared guilty or not guilty in the criminal matter.
     
  3. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    But that’s what happened in the Daniel Bias case.
     
  4. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Doesn't really matter what kind of ammo they carry... handloads, ball, or super-double extra HP's... it's their technique, not their ammos.

    Many, many years ago, I was at an indoor shooting range in Indianapolis. 2 female cops lined up 2 stalls down from me, they put their B-27's out at about 15'... and commenced to firing. If those targets were criminals, they would have had a pretty good chance to survive.
     
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  5. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    As far as I know, no state uses 'reloaded ammunition' as an enhancing condition, but that's irrelevant. The language contained in the statutes contains language like 'reasonable,' and the SD shooter must (often) be able to prove that his or her use of a firearm in SD was 'reasonable.' Distance plays into that.
     
  6. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    But what you said was:
    (Emphasis supplied.) I don't think that Bias proves that 'you shouldn't reload any ammo.' It does, however, demonstrate that the use of handloads in an SD situation can significantly complicate your defense. If memory serves, Daniel Bias was eventually exonerated, but only after he was broke, unemployed, and had spent 3 years in jail. Were there other factors involved? Sure. But the use of handloads led to the crime lab testing the wrong ammo and coming to the wrong conclusions and that certainly didn't help.

    As far as 'being afraid of carrying reloads,' I don't think of it as being afraid. I think we all understand that there are certain risks associated with, well, everything. We make certain risk-reward-mitigation assessments in our daily lives. Think about driving. Maybe I could shave 2 minutes off my commute to work by taking Street X, but it's narrow and people like to park on both sides.
    Risk: Street X is crowded and I could hit one of those cars, a door could get opened in front of me, or someone might step out from between those cars.
    Reward: 2 minutes shaved off of my commute
    Mitigation: Taking Street Y takes me 2 extra minutes, but it avoids all of the Risks.

    So we balance all of these things in deciding whether to take Street X or Street Y. Personally, I take Street Y. Firearms are dangerous. They have certain inherent risks associated with them. And yet everyone on TFL does something with them. We accept the risks, we mitigate them by practicing The Four Rules, and we enjoy the rewards.

    For me, carrying handloads gets an assessment that looks something like this:
    Risk Point #1: Using handloads could make an already complicated defense even more complicated and require the use of additional experts at civil and criminal trials. Thus, potentially $$$, maybe in the tens of thousands to pay those experts.
    Risk Point #2: It's not just about the nature of the risk; it's also about the probability of that risk materializing. For some people, the whole issue is moot because the probability of it occurring is pretty low. It all revolves around the use of GSR evidence to establish shooting distance. If that's not a factor in a particular shooting, it's not going to matter whether the shooter used handloads. Unfortunately, SD shooters don't get to choose the time and circumstances under which they'll have to shoot. And as we've seen in the past, even if the Bad Guy is killed, there may be unreliable eyewitnesses who are all too happy to give their unreliable statements.
    Reward #1: Performance -- I carry factory ammo from a reputable manufacturer and have tested it in my gun. While those tests are not a guarantee of future performance, my factory rounds have proven accurate and reliable so far. Thus, the reward from carrying handloads is minimal.
    Reward #2: Cost -- Handloads are (or at least can be) cheaper. But we're talking about a couple of boxes for testing and a couple of boxes for carry per year. Even if we take the cost of handloads to be $0 (which they're not), we're looking at maybe $100 per year? So Reward #2 might be $100 per year saved by carrying handloads. That's much less than the cost of expert witnesses.
    Mitigation -- Carry factory ammo. That's pretty easy mitigation.

    Taking that as a whole, I view carrying handloads as "low probability of occurrence, high stakes ($$$ that I don't have to experts), minimal reward, easy mitigation." I choose to mitigate that risk.
     
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  7. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I think I explain my reasoning moderately well in The Peculiar Problem article, so you might start there. It's linked above.
     
  8. cc-hangfire

    cc-hangfire Member

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    My advice: use factory ammo for defensive carry.

    Let me asked a few questions:

    1. Have you ever been deposed, or have you ever been involved in a trial? Doing that will change your perspective.
    2. Are you willing to use the best firearm and ammunition to defend yourself? Are you setting your self up with equipment to protect yourself to the best of your ability?
    3. If you are willing to take advantage of every bit of equipment to physically protect yourself, why aren’t you willing to take every strategic and legal advantage to protect yourself in court?

    When you are in the legal system, you are not in charge. You will be defended to the best of it the abilities of your attorney. That may not be good enough. Give your attorney every advantage possible in your defense. Use factory ammunition.
     
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  9. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Ditto.
     
  10. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    I understand the arguments against carrying handloads. Do we even know if Bias carried reloads? His situation was significantly complicated by the mere existence of his reloads.
     
  11. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't even know if Bias carried, but given that the case is out of NJ, I doubt it. What we do know (and I'm going from memory, but I think my memory is pretty decent here) is that he had purchased the gun (a .38 revolver) for home defense and created some light loads because his wife was pretty recoil-sensitive. I think we also know that it (the .38 revolver that was used to end his wife's life) was loaded with handloads at the time.
     
  12. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Just for fun:
    Yep. Been on the stand. Never been deposed, but have taken many depositions. Have tried more cases than I can count at this point. (To be clear, that's because I've tried a bunch of cases, not just because I'm bad at counting. :p)
    Within my budget, yes. But like most people, I have a limited budget.
    This, to my mind, is the $64K question. When it comes to my legal defenses, I don't spot any points to the other side. I'm often puzzled at people that spend hours and hours researching guns and ammo and holsters (oh, my!), and being willing to spend an extra few hundred dollars because some military trial showed Brand X to go an extra hundred rounds in the Mean Time Between Failures tests compared to Brand Y, but they're unwilling to spend a little more on a few boxes of factory ammo per year. Reloading isn't free, but it does save money, so why not work up a load that mimics your favorite factory round and: (a) practice with your reloads; but (b) carry factory?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  13. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    maybe I’m naive and oversimplifying...
    I like being the quality control guy for the ammo I may have to trust and defend my life with.

    For me it isn’t “being cheap” to load my own.
    It’s the peace of mind in knowing they are EXACTLY what I believe them to be.
     
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  14. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    ^^^This is where I am at. I'm am confident with them, proficient with them and am comfortable using them. Odds of them making my good SD shoot bad and me going to jail because of them is zero, according to all statistics.
     
  15. unclenunzie
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    unclenunzie Contributing Member

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    For my part, even though I could afford the potential extra costs having to defend my choice of ammo, should it come to that, I'd rather not have to. There's just no significant benefit, for me, in using handloads or reloads, when compared to factory ammo for CCW.
     
  16. eyeshot

    eyeshot Member

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    Interesting read. Thanks to Spats, Archie and others for posting up opinions and questions.
     
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  17. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    Just for info, I know some expert witnesses in firearm cases - they charge between $1000 to $10k a day. The latter is usually for police trials where the money flows more easily.
     
  18. mmb617

    mmb617 Member

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    I don't buy any factory centerfire ammo anymore, so of course I have my reloads in my EDC. I don't obsess over what hypothetically could happen when I consider the odds to be overwhelmingly against it.
     
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  19. Suedenflames68

    Suedenflames68 Member

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    I'm torn on the subject. I've given it thought throughout the years. Currently carrying factory, but dont feel good about it really. I've fired many more of my 380 reloads without failures or issues than factory...my usual carry caliber. Also my stuff is more consistent and doesnt suffer bullet setback issues like the factory stuff I've used.

    The gunshot residue thing is the only hold up I see for criminal charges. Civil could be a much diferent story. Either way never know what a jury may get caught up on.

    Seems like any variances in factory rounds could affect the gsr results though. Wonder if it's just thrown out if they cant verify lot or age of ammo. Maybe manufacturer has changed powder or charges or bullet setback may change it. I dont know.

    I'm no CSI fella , but seems like if gsr is significantly different if reloads are involved I'd be scared if they relied on what the manufacturer says the rounds are "supposed to be".

    I've had my current carry ammo chrono at an average of about 900 fps. Also had one come out as a light load in the 500s. Wonder how that shot would have been interpreted by the experts ? Would it look like I was much farther away than I truly was?
     
  20. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    What are the odds that a CCW holder will ever be involved in a shooting? And the odds that they would hit and fatally wound their target? And if so, what are the odds that your ammo would be analyzed? And then to follow that, the odds that the origin of the ammo would play a part in the final outcome?

    I would not hold it against anybody for wanting to carry factory ammo. Yes, carrying factory ammo may make you feel more comfortable and it's easy to do. One less worry is always a good thing, even if that worry in the .001 % range.
     
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  21. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    A scenario that may or may not be a factor in real world, but has entered my mind:
    Typically I reload to get a) better accuracy and b) better performance.

    So if someone were shot with one of my handloads that would have been an incapacitating wound normally, but due to the projectile I used, it became fatal...I doubt that would be overlooked (no proof of course, but the very reason some PD's aren't allowed use of HP's)

    If the load I'm using over penetrates and injures or kills someone that wasn't an intended target where a factory load may not have, what then?
     
  22. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    As Kleanbore always points, the probability of getting into the event isn't relevant. What we discuss assumes you have been in a shooting, it is investigated, it is not seen as the 'good shoot' and you are going to trial.

    However, I've been reading this topic for many years. No handloader will ever be convinced that their load is less reliable, they are sure it is more accurate, they are sure has better 'stopping power'. They are sure their shoot will be seen immediately as a good shoot and they will praised by the arriving police. They are sure ammo factors will not be important to some naive juror.

    No offense but we've done this so many times.
     
  23. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    If we carried a muzzleloader, there wouldn't be a question about loading our own ammo, would there?
     
  24. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    If attorneys became involved there would be. :(
     
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  25. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I’m just on the sidelines, thanks for all the interesting reading! Me personally, I try to carry factory ammo in my EDC, but there are times , like coming back from a shoot where I’ll just have my competition gun and a loaded mag. God forbid something should happen at that time, but I’m not going to be thinking about the ammo in the gun at that point, it’ll be threat assessment and shot placement.
     
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