It's never wise to carry reloads in a DEFENSIVE gun.....

Discussion in 'General Reloading' started by d_p_holland, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. ...whether it be a revolver, pistol, shotgun or rifle.

    I believe the great gun-writer Massad Ayoob in the late 1980's or early 1990's published a feature in a gun rag cautioning against this practice. It could get you into civil or criminal trouble in case you have to shoot a bad guy to stop him. Handloading/reloading might be perceived by juries as trying to make the gun more powerful and therefore more lethal on purpose. Even police officers can get into double dutch for using handloads on duty.

    Use only factory or issue ammunition for tactical or defensive purposes that is appropriate as manstopper. Yes, do target practice with reloads in your defensive/duty guns but don't load the gun with them for actual defensive or service carry. Be sure your guns also can safely, reasonably accurately and reliably handle and shoot the factory ammo for self-defense that you choose to carry regularly.

    Now, what if you are out deer hunting and you carry custom reloads in your rifle for both improved accuracy and humane shots to bring the animal down summarily? What if also while hunting you have to use that same rifle and reloads for self-defense because some bad person you encounter in the woods threatens your life? You could explain to the police and the jury that you carried the special loads to be an ethical hunter and the rifle and reloads were used on the spur of the moment because that was the only means at the time you had immediately available for your self protection. I would make it habit to carry a sidearm hunting like a .357 revolver with factory loads to both dispatch wounded big game if need be and/or use as a defense weapon against human aggressors if need be. A scoped rifle, or even an iron-sighted sporting rifle, might be too awkward to use in close-quarters combat anyway.

    Also, be sure if local game regs permit reloads for hunting.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  2. Junction15

    Junction15 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    You are WAY over-thinking it.
    I am very familiar with Ayoob's published thoughts on the matter. He has served as an expert witness in many trials of folks that were forced to defend themselves. The prosecutors in some of those trials had keyed in on reloaded ammo - that the defendant had deliberately made the ammunition more deadly than police issue factory ammunition. I don't know how you can make it more deadly but the prosecutors were playing to the juries. Frankly, just like the first rule of a gun fight is to have gun, the 2nd rule is to have ammunition in the gun. I tend to carry factory ammo because most of my reloads are lead semi-wadcutters for target shooting. The factory stuff has already been figured out by the maker. I use it because it IS more deadly than my typical reloads and that's why I bought it.

    As for being assaulted while hunting... I dunno but if you are hunting legally and have permission to be where you are, I can't see many people jumping up to threaten you.
    But on the premise that they did - first off, it's is very clearly obvious why you are carrying your rifle. That is to kill something. You have selected your ammo to be more deadly, both through accuracy and terminal performance. You did not expect to have to defend yourself, else you would not have been there in the first place. I highly doubt any prosecutor is going to question your choice of ammunition - reloaded or not.

    Further, I ain't even gonna discuss my ammunition with the police unless I am questioned about it. If, on the weird chance, you had to shoot someone while hunting, I tend to think they will want to know more about proof the kook was attacking you, that you didn't just take a shot at something and hit an innocent person. Your ammo is not even going to be a concern. And if you start babbling about how deadly your reloaded ammo is, you will probably have cooked your own goose right there.

    Quite frankly, I have been hunting and shooting for over 53 years now. I have never been in a situation where I was threatened to be shot and robbed while hunting or shooting. Not a smart idea to do since you already know your victim has a gun in his hands.

  3. blaster

    blaster G&G Evangelist

    all I shoot are my reloads. target practice, hunting or self defense. all my reloads. if in the very unlikely event I had to shoot someone and there was this mythical prosecutor that focuses on reloaded ammo, I can truthfully swear that my gun was loaded with my TARGET ammo. I have yet to read or hear about a court case that focused on the ammo being reloads. you worry too much about nothing.
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  4. No, it's not likely you will be assailed while hunting (except maybe by a PETA nut job) but in this world it's always a distinct possibility. The fact is, criminal threats can arise anywhere and everywhere at any time. It's true that a cougar, a wolf or a black bear may show up and threaten you. Do you use your deer rifle or draw your sidearm in that case? It's then wise to carry your scoped deer rifle at the lowest power setting (for broad field of view and faster target acquisition) just in case a predator should charge unless you'd rather draw your hip-holstered .357. It's your call.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  5. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan G&G Evangelist

    Front sight, center mass, legit threat, hurry hurry hurry with a purpose, squeeze, other threats and partners... all MY PEOPLE ok? Call the cops, secure the area, watch for armed COPS to show up, I'm gonna make my next birthday, the weather is awesome,..................................................................... Those reloads worked great!
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  6. Get Out

    Get Out G&G Evangelist

    IMOA what type of ammo you shoot someone with or who makes it is irrelevant. Will a handload hurt more or less than a factory load? What's the difference between a handload or a factory load? Is a handload or a factory load less or more lethal?
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  7. Gun Junkie

    Gun Junkie G&G Evangelist

    Self defense is self defense, by whatever means it takes.

    If someone attacks you with a knife, and you stop them with a baseball bat, would it not still be self defense even if the bat was corked.
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  8. quavodus

    quavodus G&G Evangelist

    I carry some handloads too.
  9. noelekal

    noelekal G&G Evangelist

    A contemptibly inane argument, the proviso to only carry with factory ammunition.

    Gonna carry handloads and no gun writers or forum posts are needed. Not gonna debate it. Not gonna change.

    Don't really require advising on how to conduct deer hunting either. The only thing I'd be willing to debate here is if somebody else's attempts at forum nannying should be appreciated or not.
  10. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    That was Ayoob's whole point in the article. It's not whether the reloads deliver more velocity and more terminal velocity or not, it's that an attorney can spin the fact reloads were used this way: The shooter was using custom reloads because he wasn't satisfied with the lethality of factory-made loads and he wanted to be SURE he could put a hole big enough to stick your fist in into the saintly person who had such a great future ahead of them, or blow their head clean off like Dirty Harry with his hand cannon.

    Ayoob himself said that the whole business of reloads packing more power than factory loads is silly. A reloader who knows what he is doing may be able to slightly boost the performance of a given cartridge, but not by any significant amount. It's all about the perception of the jury that boosting lethality is what the shooter was doing that matters. That is the real reason people should confine reloads to practice rounds, target-shooting rounds, and hunting rounds, never defensive rounds.
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  11. Have to agree with most that best practice is to stick with factory purchased ammo for defense from a legal standpoint. Most Anyone who has been to court or been lucky enough to be part of a trial from Jury Duty should be well aware that Right, Wrong and the Law are three entirely different things and that anything that can be twisted by an attorney to influence the Juror's and win the case is what will generally happen and the side with the best attorney often wins even when logic would seem otherwise. So yea, best not to give any extra avenues for a prosecuting attorney to pursue.

    I think I've posted this before in a different context, but pertaining to reloads the same point Paul Harrell makes about "Hyper Ammunition" in the linked video I believe applies here as well (it's point #7 at about 24 minutes 30 seconds into the video)

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  12. timv

    timv G&G Evangelist

    All I shoot is Factory, just so happens that I take the factory components and mix it together
  13. Junction15

    Junction15 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Actually, I don't always carry a handgun with me when deer hunting with my rifle. I don't really want to spook deer by using it. If I'm not going to use it, why carry it?
    My rifle is quick enough that I think I could defend myself against a tree-hugging PETA terrorist. But I won't need to shoot them - all I gotta do is lead them deep into the woods and then I "disappear".
    If I carry a handgun, it will likely be the SP101 in 327 Federal Magnum. Small, compact, and those little 98 gr wadcutters should be awesome on rabbits should one of those try to attack me like one did to Jimmy Carter.

    Just funning a bit. That is the one of the great things about the good ol' USA. We have the freedom to choose. For now.
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  14. Ron The Legend

    Ron The Legend G&G Evangelist

    Humans can take things way overboard. Light carbon barrels, light synthetic stocks, scopes rings that are ounces only, then put a 24 oz scope on it, bipod and carry a 2 to 3 pound handgun and 20 extra rounds of ammo for the rifle and handgun, spotting scopes, binos etc. and then complain about weight. I guess the older I get the more a minimalist I've become, like when I was a young man. If you get tired because of the "stuff", loose 10 pounds, exercise and get rid of the B.S. you don't need to go hunting. How the heck did our ancestors survive without all the "stuff"? Answer; they used their brains and resources of nature and what was on their back. Tee shirts and sock tops for EM toilet paper, tourniquets from a belt, Boot laces, Yarrow herb to stop bleeding, pull a bullet, dump the powder on tinder and use the primer and shoot with the muzzle pointed at the powder and tinder you can cut with a knife. IMHO musts are a compass, knife, 10 rifle shells and most of all water and clothes that will dry easily. Defense against bad guys? If a rifle won't do it give them an attitude look. For bears and lions, if your hunting, your rifle should not be on your shoulder but in both hands. And reloads? That's mostly all I've shot for 40 years and I will not stress about that. Lighten up but be aware. Sorry about the rant and America and our freedoms to choose are still some of the best blessings we have. Lets keep it that way and get out and vote!
  15. Gun Junkie

    Gun Junkie G&G Evangelist

    Are there any cases to cite where reloads actually made a difference in a case of self defense?

    Is someone that defended their self with a .357 more likely to be found guilty of a crime, because they weren't carrying with .38 Special?
  16. A handgun in a holster will spook a deer but the long gun in your hands won't? One could also hunt while carrying a concealed handgun in a fanny a pack. I don't mind open-carry of a holstered pistol while hunting since I already have an exposed gun in my hand anyway. A hip-holstered pistol can be drawn with one hand while my other hand holds my rifle.
  17. For carrying my .357 revolver in the city or having the gun home for security, the Colt King Cobra 3" of mine will most likely be loaded with .38 Special or +P ammo. Less recoil, less muzzle flash, less over-penetration. Hollow-points if I can find them. More controllability in stressful situation. In the woods I prefer .357 loads so I'm literally loaded for bear.

    My Colt snake gun is now on security duty with reman Freedom Munitions .38 Special FMJ FP 125 gr. because that's all I could find lately at an agreeable price. Both .38 Spc.+P and .357 ammo lately are either out of stock or prohibitively expensive per round. There's a motley assortment of different headstampings in one box of my Freedom Munitions reman ammo. The cases are still real brass.

    Again, a scoped rifle is going to be a handicap in a close-quarters situation. While deer hunting, a cougar or bear may jump out from behind a tree trunk 25 yards away. How long is it going to take you to acquire that close-range dangerous target which can move up to 30 MPH or faster on your fanny? Perhaps you have your scope power set on 2x if that's the lowest. You might only have a 3x or 4x fixed power scope and hardly anybody has see-thru scope mounts for iron sights anymore. Can you draw a holstered handgun on a close threatening target faster than you can get your rifle scope's crosshairs on it? I want a wieldy gun with fast sights in a close-quarters defensive situation. This is why an AR rifle or carbine with iron sights makes so much sense for combat.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  18. Junction15

    Junction15 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Not carrying the handgun avoids the temptation of the little itch I sometimes get to try that "Impossible Shot". Sitting on stand gets boring.
    "Still hunting" is much easier without any extra bulk or weight. Bulkiness makes it easier to snap branches - been there, done that, and watched an awesome 10 pointer bound away.

    But I still cannot understand - drawing a handgun, and shooting a bad guy, one-handed, is faster that just using the rifle that is already in your hands?

    Just a suggestion - you should check out USPSA matches where the PCC (pistol caliber carbine) is being used. From personal observation, I can tell you that a rifle in your hands is faster on target, and places more accurate hits on target, than handguns can do. A professional handgun shot is even faster with his/her PCC.

    I do not want to give the impression that I never carry a handgun with me while hunting with a shotgun or rifle - I sometimes do. There are lots of good reasons to carry one. No reason at all is needed if it's legal. However, I'm not in a highly populated area so BG's are not likely to be encountered in my "stomping grounds". YMMV.
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  19. There is the use of the SCOPE on the rifle, for the love of Christ. Scopes are not known for quick target acquisition especially in close range. I'll ask this: how fast can you get a scoped rifle, 22-24" barrel, aimed on a threat target that is 25 feet away? You are also handicapped by having a slow-cycling bolt-action rifle in case follow up shots are needed. One needs to get one or more defensive shots down range FAST and fairly accurately. It's about speed and aiming. A scoped bolt-action rifle is really slow in combat.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  20. noelekal

    noelekal G&G Evangelist

    Quick as a wink actually. 25 feet is 8 yards and a little. One one occasion took a deer by looking along side the scope, down the barrel at close range. Worked a treat.

    Bolt-action rifles aren't necessarily slow and may be manipulated at speed unless hampered by some great honkin' scope crowding the handle through poor mounting.

    For the first few years, I only had a 1903A3 for high power rifle completion. Rapid fire stages were 10 shots in one minute with a required reload. An effective rate of aimed fire can be maintained with a bolt-action rifle and that is taking time to aim at targets 200-300 yards distance. For close range emergency scenarios, the bolt-action may be hurried up no end and a properly regulated bolt-action rifle gives up very little in speed to the lever-action rifle.

    I will never need to pump rounds through a bolt-action hunting rifle like that.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
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