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Custom hand loads for a carry gun

Discussion in 'Legal' started by armorplate, Jun 6, 2004.

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  1. armorplate

    armorplate Member

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    Most people who carry use commercial ammo. I have reloaded for years, and trust them with my life. Thats not the issue. How does the prosecutor look at it? Is there anything on the books that would make the use of commercial ammo the better route to take?

    Armorplate
     
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    People have been bloviating about this since Moby Dick was a minnow. To the best of my knowledge, no self-defense shooter has ever lost a court case because he rolled his own, but of course, the conventional wisdom is "Don't even think about it!"

    America lives in far too much fear of lawyers.
     
  3. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    It will not be an issue in criminal court. If the shooting was justified, then it doesnt matter the ammo you use.

    The issue may come up in civil court however, when the person you shoot or his family sues you and tries to take all your money. In a civil court the plaintiff's attorney is going to do everything he can to make you look like a whacko out to kill people. Whether or not this has ever actually affected a jury settlement is unkown as far as anyone here knows, but juries don't have to tell why they judged the way they did, so who knows?

    The bottom line for me is that factory ammo is at least as good as most reloaders can do, so why take the chance?
     
  4. Herself

    Herself member

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    ...And the classic bloviation* on the topic runs, "If you assembled the rounds you shoot someone with, it indicates premeditation..." (followed by references to villians in detective novels hand-carving "dum-dum" lead for their "gats," etc. etc.).

    More to the point, Major Brand JHPs are normal, ordinary stuff of consistent and demonstrable performance available from most any gun shop. The stuff you did in the kitchen, you can't prove too much about in court without hiring an expert -- and even then, there's no assurance the rounds you expended weren't some special ++P++ exploding tracers (or whatever it takes to make the jury shudder). Why make the prosecuting attorney's work any easier? You were just an innocent average person, buyin' what the nice man behind the counter told you to buy.

    Reloading is a great way to save money and get better performance at the range. Maybe not for the street.

    --Herself

    ___________________________
    * A 19th-century word, popularized and perhaps coined by a U. S. President. See, they are good for something!
     
  5. pittspilot

    pittspilot Member

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    You want the answer to the Plaintiff's attorney to be,

    "Well, I called the Police, since they know best, and I use the stuff they use"
     
  6. Treylis

    Treylis Member

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    Like I said in answer to this in another thread, don't worry about it. If it's a righteous shoot, you'll be fine.

    And, no, there's nothing on the books.
     
  7. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    I carry handloads exclusively. Why?

    Quality control. Each and every one is carefully assembled from cases that are the same weight, trimmed to the same length, and have had the flasholes de-burred, and has been measured for every other dimension. Primers are all individually inspected. Each and every powder charge is measured to the EXACT 10th of a grain. EACH slug is checked for correct(and matching) dimensions and weight. Each slug is then seated to the same OAL with a competion die, then crimped in a separate operation. Then EACH round is chamber checked.

    No mass producers can do this for a decent price.
     
  8. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    But in case number three... :D

    Apologies to Mr. Ayoob.
     
  9. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    Here's the line of reasoning I've heard, for using factory ammo..

    If the forensic people get involved (and I'd think they would always do so), they need 'examplar' ammo in order to do powder residue tests that will determine with pretty good accuracy the distance the barrel of your firearms was from the 'target'. With factory ammo this is easy, in particular if they have the box your ammo came from they can get ammo from the same lot and test it.

    With your own ammo, well you may keep a few rounds from each loading session but is that as good as the factory's processes? Maybe better, but then you have to rely on your own word.

    If it ever came to an issue of distance or there was ever a question in that arena, I think using factory ammo will help your case.

    Granted, people have searched high and low for cases where non-factory ammo came up in court.. but perhaps they didn't search for cases where perhaps the forensic folks didn't do any testing because it wasn't factory ammo? If this was just missing from a case, how would anybody know?
     
  10. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    I load to the data set forth in Speer Manual #13. I carry 140gr JHP which it reccomends as a self defence load. This is my defence in court if I need it. I have gotten Squib loads and overcharged loads from factory ammo before. I have yet to handload one of these. I trust myself and know one else where my self defense ammo is concerned. Ammo manufactures should love me b/c if my rounds fail I can only blame myself and I won't be coming after them with a lawsuit about how their "superior" product failed me in a life or death situation.

    Who was the last serious big/deadly game hunter that you knew that trusted his life to factory ammo???
     
  11. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    Do you record the humidity and ambiant temperature each loading session? Are you 100% certain that your crimp is exactly the same on every load? Do you weigh and measure each bullet?

    There are more factors governing load performance that simply X grains... Y bullet.
     
  12. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    I agree that there are more factors than the X & Y that you specify, however, major ammo manufactures do not record this data either. I load to make every cartridge I produce as exact to one another as possible. I can do no more than this.

    But for your information my loading room is kept at a constant 40 % humidity by 3 dehumidifiers and the ambient temperature varies from 60 to 70 degrees year round and any bullet not within one grain of an average weight derived from a test sampling of 500 is discarded to be loaded for plinking purposes only.
     
  13. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Amen! Once I've finished working them up, my hand loads are <I>invariably</I> more accurate than factory fodder.
     
  14. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    True, manufacturers don't record the information either.. except that they keep ammo from each lot that's recorded and available for forensic use.

    I think this whole issue boils down to what risks each person is willing to accept. If you feel your handloads are going to outperform factory loads (and why wouldn't you, custom handloads always do) and you are willing to accept whatever risk there may be (or otherwise don't think there is any risk).. then 'fire away'.

    I just recently heard the 'exemplar' argument, and thought I'd toss it into the mix. Personally I use factory ammo, except in .357.
     
  15. armorplate

    armorplate Member

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    Custom loads for carry gun.

    Thanks for all the feed back. I'm going this morning to the local gunshop and purchase some quality factory ammo. My reloads will be used at the range.
    ---Armorplate
     
  16. HankB

    HankB Member

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    If it's not so easy to get known and reliable powder residue patterns with handloaded ammo . . . well, if they can't use it to clear you, then they can't use it to hang you either, can they?

    The "we need repeatable forensic tests" line of argument seems . . . weak.
     
  17. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    Here's an example of how it can hang you.

    Say you are forced to shoot a knife weilding person at 20'. Perhaps the evidence at hand makes it appear that you may have shot that person at 25' (for example, some pistols I know of eject pretty eratically... so cases may be 5' - 10' from where they were fired).

    Now, it could come down to court and your word verses an 'expert' that says the distance could have been as far as 25'. If you had used factory ammo, the distance could likely be ascertained with much greater accuracy and very good authority.

    Gun shot residue testing is a standard procedure, and may clear you in the example described above.
     
  18. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

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    No offense, but I'm getting really sick of these threads. If you're willing to stake your life on what some hypothetical prosecuter might or might not think, then maybe carrying concealed weapons is not for you.

    If it comes to that, use your thinker and claim that you use them because they're more accurate.
     
  19. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    Something else to consider. If a prosecutor wants to make something of it, he can.. and it may leave you to the whims of a 'jury of your peers'.. which will likely contain very few gun owners and even less likely any reloaders.
     
  20. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Here's an example of how it can't:

    Say you are forced to shoot a knife weilding person at 25'. Perhaps the evidence at hand makes it appear that you may have shot that person as close as 10'.

    Now, it could come down to court and an 'expert' that says the distance could have been as close as 10'. If you had used factory ammo, the distance could likely be ascertained with much greater accuracy at 25' with very good authority.

    Gun shot residue testing is a standard procedure, and may hang you in the example described above.

    * * *

    Forget the actual numbers here - I suspect gunshot residue would be more of a factor up close, and a knife-weilding perp who's rushing me is still a threat at 25' . . . but it still seems to me that absence of reliable residue could help you as well as hurt you.
     
  21. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    I can't imagine 25' being a good shoot, so I'm not sure how you would be forced to shoot someone with a contact weapon at that distance.
     
  22. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Member

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    braindead0-

    Do a Tooler (sp) drill from 25'. A knife wielding attacker can easily cover this distance before you can clear leather and get one shot off. Even at low ready I doubt you could get two into CoM.

    If there is a determined attacker at 25' with a knife he is getting a hot lead injection ASAP.

    I've talked with some LEOs about this situation and they agree that this is the SOP in their departments, even if it an unwritten one.
     
  23. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    I can clear leather and fire 2 shots before contact is made with a knife weilding subject at 21' if I have the room to maneuver. The Tueller drill is something you need to do to know your limits.

    The Tueller drill sets the 'yardstick' for reasonable presumption at 21' not 25'. Perhaps if you are backed into a corner, the situation could be different. But I know for myself 21' is generally enough time to draw and fire 2 shots (while moving out of the line of attack). Unless we're talking about an 8' basketball player who could clear that distance in two strides ;-)
     
  24. Treylis

    Treylis Member

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    Sentiment seconded.
     
  25. artherd

    artherd member

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    Third.
     
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