Reloads for self defence

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by johnlives4christ, Nov 4, 2009.

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Do you use reloads for self defence?

Poll closed Nov 10, 2009.
  1. Yes

    14 vote(s)
    37.8%
  2. NO

    23 vote(s)
    62.2%
  1. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    so i keep hearing about how the lawyers will get you for using reloads in a self defence shooting. first off when i took my ccw class the instructer, whom i know (tom) said never ever carry reloads. said the lawyers would get us and so on. so i asked my gunsmith about it. he is about 50 or so, been around a long time, been involved with all things firearms for a long time. he said it's bullcrap. said he never heard of it every being an issue. as long as it was a legal shooting then it doesnt matter what type of ammo you used.

    i want to see actual proof. how about a link to a court case? or first hand accounts. i dont want to hear about how they COULD do this or that. all that big talk is worth doodly squat.

    ~john
  2. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    cant provide you with a link but i suggest getting the book " in the gravest extreme" it provides you with countless cases in which reloads, hollowpoints , and other "exotic ammo" became the focal point in a trail. the point will become the lawful gun owner was a blood thristy want to be killer that acted in a wreckless mannor. civil suits followed after the state or county had their say, and even in case won by the person using the gun the family of the shot bad guy sued and in a couple cases won... yes it's hard to believe and i didnt believe it until i read that book. it's a real eye opener and every gun owner should have a copy. i read of one case that was before a judge, the shooter shot a home invader, he used hollow points . the state in an effort to make their case pointed to the fact hollow points are "overkill" and not allowed to be used in war because of their destructiveness so why would a civilian be able to use them....
  3. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection The modern classic book that AMERICAN HANDGUNNER calls "must reading for anyone who owns a firearm for self defense". This best seller is widely acclaimed by cops, lawyers, and judges as the ultimate guide to the use of a gun's deadly force at the ultimate level of self protection. Numerous lawyers have said that they learned more about self defense law from this book than they did in law school. Often imitated but never equaled, In The Gravest Extreme tells it like it is, and prepares you to protect you and yours against criminal violence without being crucified for it in court. Anti-gunners call it "a guide on how to kill criminals and get away with it," but men like Lt. Frank McGee, former head of firearms training for New York City Police Department, say it's "must reading" for anyone who keeps a gun for self defense. Welcome to the reality of the street in a book that also makes a memorable gift to anyone who keeps a gun in their home.
  4. Maximilian II

    Maximilian II New Member

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    I have also heard the "don't use handloads" line and would like to see more info. How about shootings where they were used?
    I don't use them simply because I don't reload.
  5. 308 at my gate

    308 at my gate New Member

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    I have not read this book but I am familiar with Massod Ayoob and will check it out. This sounds like good reading. Thanks for the reference.
  6. graehaven

    graehaven Active Member

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    Seen too many threads where reloads or handloads either didn't function (as in didn't fire) or went kaboom - regardless of the firearm. This during normal target shooting, or even in competition matches.

    I wouldn't rely on them for protecting my or my loved ones' lives. I don't reload, and probably never will.

    Buy the SD ammo off the shelf. Ammo is cheap right now. Get as much as you can. It's a no brainer.
  7. Oldeyes

    Oldeyes Member

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    Unfortunately in our increasingly litigious society, it would appear that the more that you appear to deviate from the everyday socially accepted normative methods for self defense, home protection, etc., the more that you expose yourself to after the fact civil litigation even if you were in the right and proved innocent in a court of law. Almost every day you hear reports of folks who have not been indicted by a grand jury or who have gone through the system and have been proven innocent who then are then financially ruined in subsequent civil proceedings brought against them. It would therefore always appear to be in your very best interests to defend yourself and your family with generally socially accepted, commercially available and standardized self defense products. In that manner you can hopefully stay under the opposing counsel or prosecution offered "use of a custom tailored highly specialized killing product" accusation in a court of law. When you are being sued or prosecuted it is their duty to create a sense of your potential civil law responsibility or criminal law guilt for the jury or judge to sort out. Never, never, never give them any more to work with against you than you absolutely have to.
  8. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    well said oldeyes. and always remember to call 911 and ask for the para-medics first . it shows you are a concerned citizen that was forced into discharging your weapon in order to defend yourself, and not a blood thisty killer looking to " off the bad guy"
  9. KellyTTE

    KellyTTE New Member

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    From: http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2129976

    Cases Where Handloads Caused Problems in Court
    By Massad Ayoob

    As promised, here are the sources for records for any who feel a need to confirm the cases I have referenced previously where handloaded ammunition caused problems for people in the aftermath of shootings.

    As I have noted in this thread earlier, and as the attorneys who have responded to this matter have confirmed, local trials and results are not usually available on-line. However, in each case, I have included the location where the physical records of the trials are archived.

    NH v. Kennedy

    James Kennedy, a sergeant on the Hampton, NH police force, pursued a drunk driver whose reckless operation of the vehicle had forced other motorists off the road. The suspect ended up in a ditch, stalled and trying to get underway again. Advised by radio that responding backup officers were still a distance away, and fearing that the man would get back on the road and kill himself and others, Kennedy approached the vehicle. At the driver’s door, the suspect grabbed Kennedy’s Colt .45 auto and pulled it towards himself. It discharged in his face, causing massive injury.

    The reload in the gun was a 200 grain Speer JHP, loaded to duplicate the 1000 fps from a 5” barrel then advertised by Speer for the same bullet in loaded cartridge configuration.

    This was the first case where I saw the argument, “Why wasn’t regular ammunition deadly enough for you,” used by opposing counsel. They charged Kennedy with aggravated assault. They made a large issue out of his use of handloads, suggesting that they were indicative of a reckless man obsessed with causing maximum damage.

    Defense counsel hired the expert I suggested, Jim Cirillo, who did a splendid job of demolishing that argument and other bogus arguments against Kennedy at trial, and Kennedy was acquitted.

    This case dates back to the late 1970s. The local courts tell me that the case documentation will be on file at Rockingham County Superior Court, PO Box 1258, Kingston, NH 03843. File search time is billed at $25 per hour for cases such as this that date back prior to 1988.

    NJ V. Bias

    This is the classic case of gunshot residue (GSR) evidence being complicated by the use of handloaded ammunition, resulting in a case being misinterpreted in a tragic and unjust way. On the night of 2/26/89, Danny Bias entered the master bedroom of his home to find his wife Lise holding the family home defense revolver, a 6” S&W 686, to her head. He told police that knowing that she had a history of suicidal ideation, he attempted to grab the gun, which discharged, killing her. The gun was loaded with four handloaded lead SWC cartridges headstamped Federal .38 Special +P.

    Autopsy showed no GSR. The medical examiner determined that Lise Bias had a reach of 30”, and the NJSP Crime Lab in Trenton determined that the gun in question would deposit GSR to a distance of 50” or more with either factory Federal 158 grain SWC +P .38 Special, or handloads taken from his home under warrant for testing after Danny told them about the reloads. However, the reloads that were taken and tested had Remington-Peters headstamps on the casings and were obviously not from the same batch.

    Danny had loaded 50 rounds into the Federal cases of 2.3, 2.6, and 2.9 grains of Bullseye, with Winchester primers, under an unusually light 115 grain SWC that he had cast himself, seeking a very light load that his recoil sensitive wife could handle. The gun had been loaded at random from that box of 50 and there was no way of knowing which of the three recipes was in the chamber from which the fatal bullet was launched.

    We duplicated that load, and determined that with all of them and particularly the 2.3 grain load, GSR distribution was so light that it could not be reliably gathered or recovered, from distances as short as 24”. Unfortunately, the remaining rounds in the gun could not be disassembled for testing as they were the property of the court, and there is no forensic artifact that can determine the exact powder charge that was fired from a given spent cartridge.

    According to an attorney who represented him later, police originally believed the death to be a suicide. However, the forensic evidence testing indicated that was not possible, and it was listed as suspicious death. Based largely on the GSR evidence, as they perceived it, the Warren County prosecutor’s office presented the case to the grand jury, which indicted Danny Bias for Murder in the First Degree in the death of his wife.

    Attorney John Lanza represented Danny very effectively at his first trial, which ended in a hung jury. Legal fees exceeded $100,000, bankrupting Danny; Attorney Lanza, who believed then and now in his client’s innocence, swallowed some $90,000 worth of legal work for which he was never paid.

    For his second trial, Bias was assigned attorney Elisabeth Smith by the Public Defender’s office. Challenging the quality of evidence collection, she was able to weaken the prosecution’s allegation that the GSR factor equaled murder, but because the GSR issue was so muddled by the handloaded ammo factor, she could not present concrete evidence that the circumstances were consistent with suicide, and the second trial ended with a hung jury in 1992. At this point, the prosecution having twice failed to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge threw out the murder charge.

    It was after this that I personally lost track of the case. However, I’ve learned this past week that the case of NJ v. Daniel Bias was tried a third time in the mid-1990s, resulting in his being acquitted of Aggravated Manslaughter but convicted of Reckless Manslaughter. The appellate division of the Public Defender’s office handled his post-conviction relief and won him a fourth trial. The fourth trial, more than a decade after the shooting, ended with Danny Bias again convicted of Reckless Manslaughter. By now, the state had changed its theory and was suggesting that Danny had pointed the gun at her head to frighten her, thinking one of the two empty chambers would come up under the firing pin, but instead discharging the gun. Danny Bias was sentenced to six years in the penitentiary, and served three before being paroled. He remains a convicted felon who cannot own a firearm.

    It is interesting to hear the advice of the attorneys who actually tried this case. John Lanza wrote, “When a hand load is used in an incident which becomes the subject of a civil or criminal trial, the duplication of that hand load poses a significant problem for both the plaintiff or the prosecutor and the defendant. Once used, there is no way, with certainty, to determine the amount of powder or propellant used for that load. This becomes significant when forensic testing is used in an effort to duplicate the shot and the resulting evidence on the victim or target.”

    He adds, “With the commercial load, one would be in a better position to argue the uniformity between the loads used for testing and the subject load. With a hand load, you have no such uniformity. Also, the prosecution may utilize either standard loads or a different hand load in its testing. The result would be distorted and could be prejudicial to the defendant. Whether or not the judge would allow such a scientific test to be used at trial, is another issue, which, if allowed, would be devastating for the defense. From a strictly forensic standpoint, I would not recommend the use of hand loads because of the inherent lack of uniformity and the risk of unreliable test results. Once the jury hears the proof of an otherwise unreliable test, it can be very difficult to ‘unring the bell.’”

    Ms. Smith had this to say, after defending Danny Bias through his last three trials. I asked her, “Is it safe to say that factory ammunition, with consistently replicable gunshot residue characteristics, (would) have proven that the gun was within reach of Lise’s head in her own hand, and kept the case from escalating as it did?”

    She replied, “You’re certainly right about that. Gunshot residue was absolutely the focus of the first trial. The prosecution kept going back to the statement, “It couldn’t have happened the way he said it did’.”

    The records on the Bias trials should be available through:
    The Superior Court of New Jersey
    Warren County
    313 Second Street
    PO Box 900
    Belvedere, NJ 07823

    Those who wish to follow the appellate track of this case will find it in the Atlantic Reporter.

    142 N.J. 572, 667 A.2d 190 (Table)

    Supreme Court of New Jersey
    State
    v.
    Daniel N. Bias
    NOS. C-188 SEPT.TERM 1995, 40,813
    Oct 03, 1995
    Disposition: Cross-pet. Denied.
    N.J. 1995.
    State v. Bias
    142 N>J> 572, 667 A.2d 190 (Table)


    TN v. Barnes

    The decedent attacked Robert Barnes and his young daughter with a large knife and was shot to death by the defendant with SJHP .38 Special reloads from a Smith & Wesson Model 36. The distance between the two at the time of the shooting became a key element in the trial, and a misunderstanding of that distance was a primary reason he was charged with Murder. The evidence was messed up in a number of ways in this case, and I do not believe the reloaded ammo (which the prosecution did not recognize to be such until during the trial) was the key problem, but it definitely was part of a problem in reconstructing the case. We were able to do that without GSR evidence, and Mr. Barnes won an acquittal. In this case, I believe the use of factory ammo, combined with proper handling and preserving of the evidence by the initial investigators, would have made the defense much easier and might well have prevented the case from ever being lodged against him.

    The records of TN v. Barnes are archived under case number 87297015 at:

    Criminal Justice Center
    201 Poplar
    Suite 401
    Memphis, TN 38103

    Iowa v. Cpl. Randy Willems

    A man attempted to disarm and murder Corporal Randy Willems of the Davenport, IA Police Department, screaming “Give me your (expletive deleted) gun, I’ll blow your (expletive deleted) brains out.” Willems shot him during the third disarming attempt, dropping him instantly with one hit to the abdomen from a department issue factory round, Fiocchi 9mm 115 grain JHP +P+. The subject survived and stated that the officer had shot him for nothing from a substantial distance away. GSR testing showed conclusively that the subject’s torso was approximately 18” from the muzzle of the issue Beretta 92 when it discharged. Randy was acquitted of criminal charges in the shooting at trial in 1990. Two years later, Randy and his department won the civil suit filed against them by the man who was shot.

    I use this case when discussing handloads because it is a classic example of how the replicability of factory ammunition, in the forensic evidence sense, can annihilate false allegations by the “bad guy” against the “good guy” who shot him. The records of State of Iowa v. Corporal Randy Willems are archived in the Iowa District Court in Scott County, Davenport, Iowa. Those from the civil suit, Karwoski v. Willems and the City of Davenport, should be at the Iowa Civil Court of Scott County, also located in Davenport, Iowa.

    A final word: I did not research the above and place it here to placate lightweight net ninjas. I did it because three recent Internet threads led me to believe that a number of decent people had honest questions about the real-world concerns about using handloads for self-defense, and were possibly putting themselves in jeopardy by doing so. For well over a decade, certain people have been creating an urban myth that says, “No one has ever gotten in trouble in court because they used handloads.”

    This is now absolutely, and I hope finally, refuted.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Massad Ayoob
  10. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    Not to be the devils advocate but in 3 of the 4 ended in an acquittal and the 4th the guy was an idiot for having a gun for his wife that had suicidal tendencies. I didn't see handloads as a issue in any of them but I can be a little pig headed sometimes.
  11. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    I agree that handloads in the end didn't wind up causing them jail time; it do however give the lawyers a crutch to try to use. All in all, i think it's worth the $50-75 a year to buy SD ammo, it is proven (imo) to lessen the amount of hassles if something does occur.
    I have shot 2 boxes of Speer GD and 3 bx of Fed HS's this year for proficiency; i don't shoot it everytime at the range, but at least once every 3 months, I will shoot a mag or cylinder of SD ammo. Good for me to have that reminder that they don't all react like my plinking loads.
  12. KellyTTE

    KellyTTE New Member

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    Exactly, better to be smart and not penny wise and pound foolish.

    No matter how much practicing with quality self-defense ammo costs, I bet it'll still be a LOT cheaper than a few hours with an attorney.
  13. graehaven

    graehaven Active Member

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    Exactly! :D
  14. zant

    zant Member

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    I use factory loads for my carry 1911's...that way I get to buy a box of ammo every year...I practice with GoldDots driven by BlueDot that are within 25fps of my factory loads.
  15. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    okay. so it has been used in court. but i do not see how it could have any bad affect on me. i carry a gun every second of the day. now if a lawyer wanted to get me for shooting a bad guy he would point out that i carried all the time, indicating that i was looking for the right situation to use my gun. reloaded ammo might come into play, but i think the case's outcome wouldnt be affected either way by the ammo factor. he could say that because i carried gold dots in my gun, but my spare magazine had fmj's that i was looking to cause someone more pain. if i was put on the stand i would not lie. if he asked why i carried gold dots i would say for maximum affectiveness against human targets. if he asked why my reload was only fmj, i would say in case i had to shoot at a BG that was hiding behind some sort of cover. i dont see how it could make much differance honestly. i dont beat around the bush, and i dont really care what others think. if someone asks why i carried a gun every day i might say "in case i need to shoot someone" thats the truth, i dont carry because it looks cool, i dont carry because it is convienant i dont carry because others do, because the answer to all of those questions would be to leave my gun at home. if i ever shoot a bad guy, i will get to explain why i emptied a whole magazine into him instead of just t 2 or 3 rounds. the answer, i didnt want to wound him, i wanted to kill him because he tried to kill me. i dont carry a gun to scare other people, i dont carry a gun to wound other people.

    the reason i carry a gun is to kill other people if i have to in order to survive. plain and simple.

    ~john
  16. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    The reason I carry a gun is to stop an aggressor from harming me or others. Ideally, this will be done without firing a shot. I have absolutely no desire ever to kill someone, even if they are trying to kill me. I will live with myself just fine if it comes to that, but killing will never be my intention.
  17. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    in the end you may find yourself vindicated for your use of deadly force, but in the mean time it's cost you extra money to defend your position because some moron anti-gun type wants to make a name for his-self and has labelled you a blood thristy wanna be killer because your choie of ammo isn't to the standards or likeing of someone with an axe to grind.
  18. 308 at my gate

    308 at my gate New Member

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    John I hear what your saying but, I will bet that Jesus told the truth and they still crucified him. In our society today it is not about truth and justice, because we see situations all the time where an injustice has occured and no one does anything about it. I am not saying you should not tell the truth, but I believe that in our present anti-gun climate and with the court system being what it is, let's tell the truth about something that is in our favor that cannot be turned into spin. I believe some of the replies have had very valid points and I for one will in the future carry factory ammo in my guns that are used for protection so no spin can be used against me. Just remember the law not only looks at the facts but, it looks at intent also.

    Roger Reborn by Jesus Christ our Saviour.
  19. KellyTTE

    KellyTTE New Member

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    How's that go? Oh yeah; 'and he who has ears to hear, let him hear.'

    There are three phases to a gun fight.

    The gun battle.

    The legal battle.

    The emotional battle.

    I don't know how prepared you are for one and three. But taking a cavalier attitude towards two is foolish.
  20. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    I reloaded for years, but don't currently have either the time or space I need to do it right. However, if I was reloading, that would be what I carried.
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