Skip to comments.Vanity - Handloaded ammunition for self defense?
Posted on 07/27/2012 8:39:45 AM PDT by stuartcr
Is there really an issue with using handloaded ammunition for self defense?
I wouldn't pick up a bag of reloads at a gun show and use them in my personal defense weapon.
It is often said to be a potential liability issue during the subsequent trial.
Yes there is Stuart. It is best to buy anything commercially made by a manufacturer. You can load within the spec but it is best that you use factory ammo so that you cannot get charged or blamed for going over the top by creating ultra-hot loads which can cause collateral damage. It keeps you on the right side of the law and liability.
FWIW and not an indictment of self-reloading, some manufacturers specifically state that use of “remanufactured or reloaded ammunition” in the firearm voids the warranty. Glock is one.
Loose lips sink ships! In this case your freedom!
How is anyone to know unless you tell them? All that is left is the casing, which is the same whether new or reloaded.
I load my own. I’m trying to work up a good defensive load for my wife’s new Charter Arms On-duty.
I haven’t bought any in years. I’m looking for a good, light recoil defensive load for a .38 snubnose.
I can’t seem to find anything officially written about it.
That's my two cents worth and that's probably overpriced.
Yes, there is. As someone else pointed out it may affect the outcome of your inevitable day in court. You may be seen as eager to field test your home brewed sooper-dooper-hollow point-bad guy stopper. On the other hand if you load, liike I do, what the local police are using your ammo choice becomes a non-issue. My local police uses .40 caliber 165 grain Gold Dot JHPs. It is excellent ammo with a proven track record on the street and I have complete confidence in it’s functioning in my Glock G23.
I have reloaded before. My equipment was of the simple hand operated kind. Even being as careful as possible there was still variation between rounds. There were also the inevitable double charge and squib (no charge) loads. Factory ammo is also water proofed to a degree with a lacquer coating around the primer to casing joint. Ideally, if you’re loading self defense loads you are going to use unfired brass casings and state of the art JHP bullets. You can also apply the lacquer to the finished cartriedges yourself. Your ammo is still probably not as good as the best commmercial self defense ammo.
Reloading is a fun addition to your shooting hobby. It’s a great way to learn intimately what makes good ammo and what makes bad. It’s also a great way to get cheap practice and hunting ammo. Of course since you’re dealing with explosives and projectiles you have to be knowledgeable, careful, and precise when reloading.
Many manufacturers void the warranty on any gun used with reloads because quality control is unknown.
My advice is learn to reload if you want to but stick to factory ammo in your carry gun.
You going to lie under oath and tell them you were using Hornady or Federal or something? Then they come up with an expert that finds re-sizing marks on your brass or the bullet weight doesn’t match what you said.
You tell the truth that you were using handloads, then they imply that you were designing super-lethal rounds. Cop-killers they were. Regular ammo was not deadly enough for this johnny guy. Just stopping the threat would not be good enough for you.
At least this is the argument that I have heard.
Use cheap re-loads to practice at the range, use facotry shells to defend yourslef with.
Nope. No problemo so long as you load correctly and safely.
They can draw their own conclusions.
Is it a state thing?
I have heard this BS for years and have yet to come up with a case to prove it.
So your on the range practicing a bad guy shows up and you have to shoot him with one of your handloads. Or you don't shoot because you have a handload in year gun
If one can't not take the proper care to produce good handloads then one shouldn't handload.
Depends on whether you HIT WHAT YOU’RE SHOOTIN’ AT!
I think it’s a standard legal thing. The range that I use, won’t allow handloads with anything rented from them.
Have you ever looked at how many reloading websites there are?
Hornady Critical Defense .38 Spl. standard pressure with 110gr. bullet that has a polymer tip. The tip ensures that the HP won’t get clogged with debris and forces expansion when it encounters soft tissue. Its what I carry in my S&W Airweight and it is very controllable.
I have no idea what that meant.
Yes it seems to be. But I also think it is like a universal informal rule of thumb. Get a good Corbon round for your wife’s Charter Arms. It is high-powered enough and has excellent ballistic performance.
I’ve been reloading for about 30 yrs now, and have never had a squib or double-load.
I’m still trying to find something official, even court results about this issue.
“Even being as careful as possible there was still variation between rounds. There were also the inevitable double charge and squib (no charge) loads.”
Use the caliper on every component at every stage, follow the specs. to the letter, pay attention, be picky and stay away from the booze while reloading. :)
(Experience is the best teacher)
I’ll give it a try, thanks. I’ve never loaded anything with a bullet that light, I’m pretty much a 158grlswc shooter in my 4” Rossi.
Store bought is probably the best way to go, as I don’t let other people shoot my reloads.
If you buy reloads, there is a significant reliability issue. Reloads I’ve bought at gun shows jam my revolver about 1 time out of 50, although I now know to check all reloads for primers that stick out.
If you reload your own, then you should know how well it functions. A good home reloader can make ammo just as reliable as the manufacturer.
The only legal liability would be if you hotloaded something and the gun blew up and injured someone. For self defense, it is assumed that you are willing to kill someone when you shoot them. I don’t care if it is a 22 LR - if you shoot someone, you accept responsibility for killing them.
Does it show you are some wild eyed killer? Nope.
If I took up reloading, it would be so I could load 44 specials at 44 special +P type levels for shooting in my 44 magnum. I find a 240 grain bullet at 1400+ fps uncomfortable to shoot and excessive for anything I care about. The same bullet at 1000 fps is about right. Standard 44 special would put the same bullet at about 800 fps.
So what would the prosecutor argue? That a 240 grain bullet doing 950-1000 fps makes me a wacko, while factory ammo at 1400-1500 would not?
In addition, I’ve seen challenges issued to see if anyone can cite a case ever where handloading was used to attack the defendant in a self-defense case. I’ve yet to see anyone come up with a case.
If you shoot someone in self-defense, you accept the idea that killing them was justified. So it is up to the prosecution to show killing them was NOT self defense, and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
OTOH, if you fire because ‘you just wanted to wound them’, then you are in a HEAP of powerful doo-doo!
Make sure your search terms include "Massad Ayoob" - he has written on the subject multiple times. IIRC, he and other gun rag writers opining on the subject have said if you want a solid point for your defense is to find out what a local police force uses/approves and make your selection from that.
That load will be a pussycat in your Rossi. They also make a +P load.
The Critical Defense loads were engineered to penetrate a variety of barriers (glass, sheetrock, clothing, etc.), then penetrate at least 12” in ballistic gelatin, and fully expand. It is the most technically advanced ammo available.
I haven’t seen anything other than web postings on this either.
Sorry. If I had read all the posts before hitting reply, my answer would be more specific for your background.
Hate it when that happens...no offense.
I’m thinking that a police load would be too much for my wife. That could affect her choice about carrying it.
I’m looking for something for my wife. I just got her a Charter Arms On-duty. Only weighs 13-15oz unloaded.
I have never been able to find any case where it was an issue. One gun writer wanna-be-lawyer Massad Ayoob, started the whole mess. He was pretty widely read at the time and the rumor spread like wildfire. And I believe he said MIGHT could be used against someone.
Here in Texas,anyway, ALL killings go before a grand jury. whether police or civilian. if no indictment is returned, that is the end of it. there won’t be any civil suit either.
The way I figure it, if the DA has to argue your handloads made the gun too deadly, then he OBVIOUSLY has no case whatsoever!
Unless, of course, he is a TV DA and his accusation (unanswered by YOUR attorney) leads you to break down on the stand and confess you had been planning to murder the victim for years...
Guess I’ve seen too many Perry Masons & Matlocks!
No matter what you load, if it ever goes to trail, the perp’s barrister is going to say “factory ammo is just not deadly enough so he had to load up super deadly blah blah”
Ask your local police what they use and do likewise. That negates any ammo related vulnerability because they surely must know the proper ammo to use...
Step 1. Shut up.
Step 2. Call him.
I can't imagine him putting me on the stand under any circumstances. ;)
What I am looking for is “home machine loader” device, that will take a cartridge with a primer, put an exact amount of powder in it, insert the bullet and give it a quality crimp.
Not really for the serious reloader, but for the home amateur reloader. Maybe battery powered as well, so it could be used in the field.
Commercial cartridges are good, but you never know when getting them might be a problem.
Go for it. My ammo is at least as good (better I think) than off the shelf. Aside from that the advantages are many. You get to pick components. You get to pick the loading. You get to practice w/ what you carry...practice like you fight, fight like you practice. You get to cycle many many rds thru your weapons before you need them in an emergency. As for malfunctions any ammo can cause those AND you should be practicing malfunction drills as a common exercise anyway. The price is right so you get to practice much more.
The argument that somehow youll get tagged for your ‘killer’ ammo is not well founded. Who will know if you keep your mouth shut? At any rate if you make the ammo as you should itll have the appearance of factory. I strongly doubt the cops or da will be able to tell yours from factory. I strongly doubt whether theyll even know to look.
If, as people are predicting, things go bad then having the capably to make your own ammo will pay off big...youll be doing business as usual.
Its going to take plenty of time, study and experimentation on your part. Its doable though and the knowledge gained is invaluable.
Here ya go from a man who knows a bit about defensive handgun use:
Your gun range example is just stupid. Of course if you have a gun and need it you’re going to use the ammo you have.
You apparently have never reloaded. After you get the equipment set up it’s basically a boring repetitive task. Multi-station turret reloaders help but you still have to load the turret and pull the operating handle. You’ll do this hundreds of times a session and thousands of times a year if you do any amount of shooting. Being careful will minimize mistakes but not eliminate them. Even factory ammo produces defective rounds but the number is very low. Everyone who handloads makes mistakes, it’s just a fact of the hobby.
1. I know of no case where handhoads were either used or determined to be an issue for the shooter. If there is one, somebody post a link or cite.
2. If you’ve reloaded for a long time and are good at it, you can meet or exceed factory ammo. Most common factory bullets are available for reloading.
3. If you’re new to reloading, or lack the gauges and tools for proper quality control, leave it to the professionals at Federal, Speer, Olin, et al.
I’ve reloaded for 25 years and still only carry factory ammo, but mostly because all my pistol handloads are target/bulk rounds of FMJ, plated, etc. I have, however, run my choice of carry ammo through my pistol for fit and function before ever carrying them on the street.
Sounds like a regular press, mine is hand-operated.
“Ive been reloading for about 30 yrs now, and have never had a squib or double-load.”
Everyone I ever met face to face has fessed up to having both occasionally. Not saying you’re lying just saying in my experience you’re an exception.
It wouldn’t be killer ammunition anyway, as it would be a lighter load for my wife. I’ve never been to court, but I have to think the weapon would be confiscated and the topic of ammunition would come up some time during the trial. We have lots of shootings in the Tidewater VA area.