Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Getting Sued re: reloads?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by holdencm9, Jan 6, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.

    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.
     
  2. blarby

    blarby Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,144
    Location:
    Calapooia Oregon
    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 ?
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,781
    Location:
    Central PA
    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.
     
  4. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,941
    Location:
    Illinois
    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. :)
     
  5. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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. ;)
     
  6. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    Maine
    Tagged to read later.
     
  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,555
    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".
     
  8. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,101
    Location:
    Arkansas
    On the issue of handloads and SD, I put together An Archive Regarding Reloads and Self-Defense 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.
     
  9. chrisgo

    chrisgo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    IL
    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!
     
  10. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    15,015
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    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.
     
  11. blarby

    blarby Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,144
    Location:
    Calapooia Oregon
    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.........


    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 ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  12. rdhood

    rdhood Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    943
    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.
     
  13. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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!"
     
  14. blarby

    blarby Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,144
    Location:
    Calapooia Oregon
    I think it will be a quick search, holden- for the reason you, and then I, stated.
     
  15. hueyville

    hueyville Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    535
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  16. fields

    fields Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    southeast texas
    Old saying "No good deed goes unpunished".
     
  17. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Alabama
    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.
     
  18. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,161
    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.
     
  19. hueyville

    hueyville Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    535
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    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.
     
  20. blarby

    blarby Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,144
    Location:
    Calapooia Oregon
    For some amusing train :

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  21. hueyville

    hueyville Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    535
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    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.
     
  22. HighExpert

    HighExpert Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    496
    Location:
    Daytona
    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.
     
  23. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,161
    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.
     
  24. Nappers

    Nappers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    Yreka, CA
    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.
     
  25. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,369
    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.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page