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Thread: Handloads for defensive carry?

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    I've read from the self defense gurus (Ayoob, et al), that one should never ever carry with hand-loaded ammo. Reason being, if one has to use them, since there's no factory lot to compare them to, some overzealous DA could claim that the loader cooked up some eeeebil superdeadly round with minority-seeking bullets and enough powder to drop an elephant with your .380 :quirky.

    My thoughts are, it doesn't really matter what you're carrying, if the DA has an agenda he's gonna go after you any way he can. And with the price of quality defensive hollowpoints, you could darn near buy a new gun for what you'd spend putting two or three hundred rounds thru the one you already have to verify feeding reliability, and practicing with your carry ammo is just plain impossible (if you can even find any).

    Thoughts?


    I ask cuz I just got a free box of .45 Hornady XTP's from buying one of their die sets.
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    Well It doesn't really matter, but for training purposes I don't shoot hollow points just ammo that is similar to my carry ammo. I could be wrong but I carry remington .230 grain golden sabers and train with remington .230 grain fmjs I really can't tell much difference.

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    AFAIK it was Ayoob who started the no handloads for defensive carry notion, for reasons much as you described. There have even been cases where prosecutors made an issue over factory hollowpoints and spare mags. Personally I carry factory ammo, but know others who carry handloads.

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    Regular Member Sparky508's Avatar
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    My understanding, for what its worth anyhow, is that this has never been an issue ina self defense trial.

    I understand the logic behind the statement, but I would think that this would be the least of your concerns if one were to find themselves infront of a judge/jury.



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    Regular Member Batousaii's Avatar
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    One of the main issues with hand loads is the potential to errantly recreate Gun Shot Residue, or not recreate it at all.Also, there have beencases where prosecutors tried to paint the hand loaded ammo as deadlier, or built with malice intent (i have to laugh at that - really), and caused an undue focus away from the fact that it was a self defense case. Now, chances are, using hand loads in a self defense arm wont cause much headache in court, however the potential is there, and one than has to weigh the cost and consequence of against the cost effective, and performance advantage over shelf brand ammo.

    Take a moment to remember the "Black Talon" and though it was not a hand load, it cause a great uproar.Point that affect towards how a hand load is perceived in court, and there we go.

    I will cite the Daniel Bias case - others can be googled.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...g=content;col1

    Hope this gives good foo for thought.

    Bat

    P.S. I think the final thought would be: If you have a good, motivated Lawyer, then you should be ok, unless you were using some way-crazy-out of this world hand load with phosphate and nails... If, like me, you cant afford a lawyer, then use off the shelf ammo.

    -consider- make sure your hand loaded ammo can be recreated,and keep a couple shells for that one dark moment where the courts might need a sample of the ammo for testing.


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    Batousaii wrote:
    If, like me, you cant afford a lawyer, then use off the shelf ammo.

    In a self-defense case, you can't afford NOT to have a lawyer.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    I typically carry the brand of ammunition that the local LE carries, so when I'm asked why I used BrandX of ammo, I can say that I figured that if it was good enough for the police to use it to defend me and my family then it was the right choice for me to use it for the same purpose. No prosecutor will second-guess their own PD's choice in ammunition/guns/etc. The same argument can be used for weapon choice, carrying a back-up gun, OC, spare mag(s), etc....

    Gold Dots, Ranger T-series, Federal Tactical and Remington Golden Sabers are all commonly used by LE around the Puget Sound area. I use the first two almost exclusively for carry.



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    The Bias case makes interesting indeed, but I'm not sure the relevance to handloads for defensive carry--even if worrying about handloads is one of Ayoob's ongoing issues.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    I carry Speer Gold Dots for most of my carry purposes. The ammunition box says "Personal Protection" on the side of it; I figure that's worth something in court.

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    If involved in a defensive shooting, the type of ammunition will be your least worry.

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    I've started carrying Grizzly SD ammo

    Amazingly, 380 ACP opens to 7/8"

    9mm to 1"

    .45 acp to 1 3/16th inch.

    The penetration is designed to be 7-10 inches in an average sized, clothed human to prevent over-penetration in the majority of scenarios. They have had these tested by State, local and Federal law enforcement and all comments have been 100% positive.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    AFAIK it was Ayoob who started the no handloads for defensive carry notion, for reasons much as you described. There have even been cases where prosecutors made an issue over factory hollowpoints and spare mags. Personally I carry factory ammo, but know others who carry handloads.

    Don't wish to challenge you directly but seriously, cases where prosecutors have made an issue???? Only in Ayoob's mind. There is only one case that he discusses endlessly (the Daniel Bias case) where even the issue of reloads was brought into question. It didn't involve reloads in self defense at all. It was a case where a husband woke up in bed with his dead wife next to him. He tried to make a case that she comitted suicide. The Prosecutor claimed that the evidence didn't support it and the defendant tried to explain that the reloads he had in "her" weapon were responsible for the gunshot residue patterns.

    This whole issue of Reloads for Self Defense is brought up regularly on just about every forum that talks about guns. NOBODY has been able to present a single case where RELOADS were an issue in a SELF DEFENSE Case.

    Bottom line is, If you were justified in shooting in self defense it doesn't matter WHO made the ammo. It could have been made in a factory or behind the outhouse on some hillbilly's farm using home brew powder and bullets molded of molten car batteries.

    If you are not justified in shooting then you could have bullets given you directly from God and it won't make it legal.

    If one reloads and trusts his ammo, use it. If not, don't. The rest doesn't matter from a legal standpoint. Prosecutors are only interested if your shooting of someone falls within Self Defense or not. The rest is all Bull-$h!t and Massad Ayoob has made too much money spreading it.


    BTW, I doubt that the average handloader can even match the exotic factory ammo that is available, much less exceed the performance. Manufacturers have powder mixes available to them that we, the handloaders, do not.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    NOT

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    I never said that Ayoob brought up any cases, and it was the Bias case I was thinking of when I wrote that post over my breakfast. Brain may not have been fully in gear.

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    I don't see the issue. Some people trust their handloads more than factory ammo because they see for themselves exactly what is going into the casing, and it's as good as they can make em.
    Quote Originally Posted by SayWhat View Post

    Shooters before hooters.

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    That is OK Steve You still have your anchor in the water.

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    Regular Member Machoduck's Avatar
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    I know of no cases where the prosecutor went after hand-loads. I do know of a case where the prosecutor went after a defendant who used a "super powerful" round that would be "more deadly even that normal ammunition." (Harold Fish, AZ, 10mm) I would expect some other prosecutor, somewhere, to use a similar claim in regard to hand-loads.

    MD

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    Oh please. All bullets are potentially deadly. Anyone who tries making a fuss over a type of round being more deadly ought to be asked "well would you rather be shot with this other less deadly one instead?"
    Quote Originally Posted by SayWhat View Post

    Shooters before hooters.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Machoduck wrote:
    I know of no cases where the prosecutor went after hand-loads. I do know of a case where the prosecutor went after a defendant who used a "super powerful" round that would be "more deadly even that normal ammunition." (Harold Fish, AZ, 10mm) I would expect some other prosecutor, somewhere, to use a similar claim in regard to hand-loads.

    MD
    Every single gun owner is vulnerable if the Prosecutor wants to be an a-hole. How many out there carry "calibers that start with a 4" because they leave bigger holes? Prosecutor: :Why do you want to leave a bigger hole? What's the matter with a .38 or 9mm? Is it because you wanted to make sure the person you shot was killed instead of just disabled?

    How many out there seek out the nastiest ammo available. Corbon Power Ball? Extreme ammo "fang-faced" bullets? Hollow Points? Etc. Etc.

    My answer to all this is simply "I carry a gun for self defense. I hope I never have to use it. I select my ammo solely on the basis of reliability and suitability to the task----PERIOD!!! I don't chase the "fad" ammo that everyone touts as "the most stopping power ever". I make my own ammo using published loads provided by both the bullet maker and the powder manufacturer. I prefer to call the rounds "Handloads" as every round is assembled by hand using all new components. Doing so allows me to be able to afford practice using the ammo I carry.

    If I ever have to shoot in Self Defense, at that moment I won't be worrying about any "highly motivated prosecutor". FWIW, in Washington State we are protected some from those types. State law states that if one is successful in defending themselves in court in a Self Defense case their costs are assessed to the "Prosecution". Kind of makes prosecutors think twice before they file charges.

    As for the Daniel Fish case his choice of the 10mm was only mentioned in the prosecutions case. His shooting of theperson was what was the issue. The conviction was tossed on appeal.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    Batousaii wrote:
    One of the main issues with hand loads is the potential to errantly recreate Gun Shot Residue, or not recreate it at all.Also, there have beencases where prosecutors tried to paint the hand loaded ammo as deadlier, or built with malice intent (i have to laugh at that - really), and caused an undue focus away from the fact that it was a self defense case. Now, chances are, using hand loads in a self defense arm wont cause much headache in court, however the potential is there, and one than has to weigh the cost and consequence of against the cost effective, and performance advantage over shelf brand ammo.

    Take a moment to remember the "Black Talon" and though it was not a hand load, it cause a great uproar.Point that affect towards how a hand load is perceived in court, and there we go.

    I will cite the Daniel Bias case - others can be googled.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...g=content;col1

    Hope this gives good foo for thought.

    Bat

    P.S. I think the final thought would be: If you have a good, motivated Lawyer, then you should be ok, unless you were using some way-crazy-out of this world hand load with phosphate and nails... If, like me, you cant afford a lawyer, then use off the shelf ammo.

    -consider- make sure your hand loaded ammo can be recreated,and keep a couple shells for that one dark moment where the courts might need a sample of the ammo for testing.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I've always taken this attitude one step further as I try to carry the same brand and type of ammo as my local leo's. I believe this would preclude any evil, overly destructive b.s. from a prosecutor trying to make a name for himself.

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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    I guess it boils down to what you are willing to stake your life on. I don't load (yet) so any handload I would carry would have to be supplied by someone else. For me, that's a non-starter so I only carry factory loads (currently Golden Sabers in .45, Hydra-Shoks in 9mm).

    There are prosecutors out there who will seize on anything to make the eeeeeevil gun owner look bad - - I'm not one of them but I know the type. I once heard a Multnomah Co. (Portland, OR) ADA state that the number of shots fired would be enough for her to discount a self-defense claim and charge the shooter. Clearly someone who doesn't understand that you shoot until the threat stops (and, to my mind, one who shouldn't be making charging decisions). Just my $.02, FWIW.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    amlevin wrote:
    sv_libertarian wrote:
    AFAIK it was Ayoob who started the no handloads for defensive carry notion, for reasons much as you described. There have even been cases where prosecutors made an issue over factory hollowpoints and spare mags. Personally I carry factory ammo, but know others who carry handloads.

    Don't wish to challenge you directly but seriously, cases where prosecutors have made an issue???? [snip]
    As another member mentioned, hand-loads weren't specifically the issue but the caliber and type of bullet selected were the pivotal issue for the jury in the Harold Fish case in AZ. Fish was actually convicted of murder and is just now getting a new trial after some retroactive law changes were made.

    In Fish's case the jury had a hard time accepting that his "10mm auto hollow-points" were "defensive" since they were "clearly designed to kill." Having a good attorney is the most important lesson we can get from the Fish case, but why leave any detail to chance? What harm can it do to carry factory "defense ammunition" as an added precaution?

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    shad0wfax wrote:
    As another member mentioned, hand-loads weren't specifically the issue but the caliber and type of bullet selected were the pivotal issue for the jury in the Harold Fish case in AZ. Fish was actually convicted of murder and is just now getting a new trial after some retroactive law changes were made.

    In Fish's case the jury had a hard time accepting that his "10mm auto hollow-points" were "defensive" since they were "clearly designed to kill." Having a good attorney is the most important lesson we can get from the Fish case, but why leave any detail to chance? What harm can it do to carry factory "defense ammunition" as an added precaution?
    Seems rather dumass to me for anyone to actually make a statement like that. Can anyone really believe that there are bullets one would buy and carry that are not deadly? Throw a piece of lead at 850-1300 fps and it definitely is deadly. Yes, the hollow point is an enhancement. That's why Police Departments carry HP ammo.

    The real issues with carrying a firearm and shooting it in self defense is not centered on the ammo but on the actual use of the gun itself. There are only two things that are in consideration. Were you justified, or were you not justified in your shooting. It doesn't matter at all what you shot after that. If you take apart the Daniel Fish case the only real issue was whether he was justified or not in shooting the dog owner. Based on the law in effect at the time, the jury found that he was not---period. The outcome would more likely than not have been the same if he was shooting a 38 special loaded with lead round nosed bullets.

    It really doesn't make any sense to decry the carry of handloads when we then have discussions on why one should carry .45's "because they make nice big holes" and don't think a thing of it. Same for all the arguments that state "always carry a caliber that starts with a 4".

    If you want to carry a handload then go for it. If you don't, then don't. All the inane remarks about Prosecutors etc, don't hold any water when it gets down to the facts.

    FWIW, I still wonder where all the cases are (citations please, not urban legends) where handloads were even mentioned.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    My father, a 30-year retired police captain who feeds me tons and tons of his reloaded rounds, has explicitly told me to not only use factory rounds, but to drop them one at a time in the barrel weekly to make sure they're 100%. He also has told me at least bimonthly to shoot the defensive rounds and cycle another batch in.

    So I do.

    But if I had to roll with hand loads, I would roll with his, because I trust them.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    killchain wrote:
    My father, a 30-year retired police captain who feeds me tons and tons of his reloaded rounds, has explicitly told me to not only use factory rounds, but to drop them one at a time in the barrel weekly to make sure they're 100%. He also has told me at least bimonthly to shoot the defensive rounds and cycle another batch in.

    So I do.

    But if I had to roll with hand loads, I would roll with his, because I trust them.


    Ok, now that sounds just a little extreme to me (the bit about testing each round weekly).
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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