The fight between Reloaded vs. American Loads

The fight between Reloaded vs. American Loads

This is a discussion on The fight between Reloaded vs. American Loads within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; There is the debate of do I use American loaded ammo, or do I use a Round that I reloaded. I want to see If ...

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Thread: The fight between Reloaded vs. American Loads

  1. #1
    Member Array DiggerNMt's Avatar
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    The fight between Reloaded vs. American Loads

    There is the debate of do I use American loaded ammo, or do I use a Round that I reloaded. I want to see If I'm not the only one who feels that no matter which I use, the both of them would perform just the same if not better.Tell me what you would prefer and why? A bullet is a bullet why should I use American made ammo, over ammo made by an American reloader.When it comes to self defense.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    Well from the information I have gathered from gun rags and other forum members, using reloading ammo for self defense in general is not a good idea. Why is it not a good idea you ask?

    Because of lawyers. They will try and convince a jury that the bullets you used were custom made to kill people. IMO it is best to use the same stuff that LEOs use or at least a quality JHP because that would be easier to defend in court because LEOs use the same type of ammo. There is a possibility that the jury is not acquainted with guns, and they'll buy into the "cop killer" bullet BS. That is if you go to trial.

    It doesn't make any sense to me what difference it makes because if you load your rounds to factory spec then it shouldn't matter, but not everyone knows that. One bullet is just as deadly as the next.
    USMC rule # 23 of gunfighting: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Say what?

    I suppose what you are trying to ask is why you should use factory ammunition over handloaded ammunition.

    Here are some reasons that come to mind:

    -Factory ammunition aimed at the self-defense market is designed specifically for that task. It often uses low flash powders, premium bullets (sometimes not available as components), specifically tailored velocities, etc.

    -Factory ammunition uses all new components, handloaded ammunition doesn't always, and remanufactured/reloaded ammunition is by definition made with used brass. Used brass can effect reliability.

    -There is at least a theory that using handloaded ammunition might open one up to some liability in either criminal or civil court. The more time I spend in law enforcement the less convincing I find the theory, but I will agree that it could come up in an investigation.

    I trust my handloads. I would feel comfortable carrying them if I had the option (I don't due to department policy). However, if I were to do so, I would only use new brass, and I would load bullets made by the same manufacturer as that of the brass. I'd have to test the loads using a chronograph for velocity and test other performance (flash, bullet expansion, etc.) Overall its easier to use factory ammunition as much of that testing has been done by experts at the factory. Defense ammunition is not a place to try and save money. I suppose one could say that one knows one's own handloads are assembled correctly. It all comes down to what one is most comfortable with.

    I'm comfortable carrying factory defense ammunition. Under the right circumstances I would be comfortable carrying my handloads. YMMV.
    -Landric

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I want to see If I'm not the only one who feels that no matter which I use, the both of them would perform just the same if not better.
    Well since they both can't perform better than each other, one has to perform the best.

    Depending on who you listen to, you will get the speach of not to use reloaded ammo for a vast number of reasons. Some stated above, some that folks just pull out of where ever they can find them.

    I will give you my best arguement for using factory ammo over reloaded. Keep in mind that I am not one of those that think I will doomed to jail if I ever did use some of my reloaded ammo for self defense, but this is the arguement I am going to make, since it is currently why I am not using reloaded ammo in my SD pistols.

    The factories that make self defense ammo have a great number of people that are very knowledgeable about ammunition, ballistics, burn rates, energy and everything else related to how a bullet leaves a barrel and what it does afterwords. They spend great amounts of time to work up what will be marketed as their next newest and greatest self defense load.

    I am going to use Speer for example, since that is what is in all of my 9mm currently. They have developed a bullet, the Gold Dot Hollow Point, that many find to be exellent for expansion, weight retention, penetration and all the other things that a bullet is expected to do once it hits it target. They have combined this with a primer and a powder that consistantly propells the bullet at the velocity that they have determined to be ideal. For instance, out of my 24/7 Pro, it consistantly chronographs at around 1210 fps with a deviation of probably less than 7 or 8 fps. That gives me around 403 ft lbs of energy. Not bad for a 9mm, especially when it constatantly goes boom when the trigger is pulled.

    Now comes me the reloader. I can, and have gone out and purchased some Speer GDHP lead, have saved the brass from my previously shot factory GDHP, and could load them back up even using CCI primers (assuming I can find some), and whatever powder I find that would give me the velocity I need to achieve 1210 fps without blowing up my gun or damaging it in any way. Well this is going to take some time. I am going to have to try several different powders, with many different loading of each powder to get to that desired place where I can consistantly replicate what Speer has paid its employees to do. Could I do it, probably. Have I taken the time to do it, no not yet, because I have had other things to do and currently it is much easier to just load up the magazines with factory Speer GDHP 124 gr +P ammo and know that when and if I ever need them, they will do what they are supposed to do.

    The reason I don't use my reloads isn't because of the hype of law suits or some rogue prosecutor. I don't use them because I haven't taken the time yet to develop a round that I am confident will do exactly what I know the box of factory ammo will do when I need it to.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    For me I keep the following points crystal clear.

    I reload b/c it saves me money and it's fun. My reloads are great range fodder and there is pride in working up a good load. I shoot a lot of them and so that couple of cents/round that I save adds up.

    For SD ammo, I choose a quality factory load. I don't shoot high quantity (just enough to make sure it functions reliably in my gun) and so the vastly higher cost is NO ISSUE for me. I think the civil liability issue is valid. I ask those who carry at my church to also carry only a factory SD (preferably what LEO's use). Why take a chance with BG's momma suing me for working up my own ultra-death-inducing load when I can just gop factory for EDC?
    God is love (1 John 4:8)

  6. #6
    Member Array DiggerNMt's Avatar
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    ammo reloaded or Factory

    Quote Originally Posted by Landric View Post
    Say what?

    I suppose what you are trying to ask is why you should use factory ammunition over handloaded ammunition.

    Here are some reasons that come to mind:

    -Factory ammunition aimed at the self-defense market is designed specifically for that task. It often uses low flash powders, premium bullets (sometimes not available as components), specifically tailored velocities, etc.

    -Factory ammunition uses all new components, handloaded ammunition doesn't always, and remanufactured/reloaded ammunition is by definition made with used brass. Used brass can effect reliability.

    -There is at least a theory that using handloaded ammunition might open one up to some liability in either criminal or civil court. The more time I spend in law enforcement the less convincing I find the theory, but I will agree that it could come up in an investigation.

    I trust my handloads. I would feel comfortable carrying them if I had the option (I don't due to department policy). However, if I were to do so, I would only use new brass, and I would load bullets made by the same manufacturer as that of the brass. I'd have to test the loads using a chronograph for velocity and test other performance (flash, bullet expansion, etc.) Overall its easier to use factory ammunition as much of that testing has been done by experts at the factory. Defense ammunition is not a place to try and save money. I suppose one could say that one knows one's own handloads are assembled correctly. It all comes down to what one is most comfortable with.

    I'm comfortable carrying factory defense ammunition. Under the right circumstances I would be comfortable carrying my handloads. YMMV.
    I DO USE Factory ammo, I use a Saber round the military use in my self defense handgun. It is a 147gr. HP it's expansion rate is 2.5x it's normal size. I know that the problem with reloaded ammo could cause legal recourse. If you had no other ammo but reloaded would it be justified in self defense? For the magazine in my gun has factory loaded, my back up mag. has reloaded. Not that I'm a bad shot or something if it come to using my reloaded in the matter of life and death would you take the chance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiggerNMt View Post
    There is the debate of do I use American loaded ammo, or do I use a Round that I reloaded. I want to see If I'm not the only one who feels that no matter which I use, the both of them would perform just the same if not better.Tell me what you would prefer and why? A bullet is a bullet why should I use American made ammo, over ammo made by an American reloader.When it comes to self defense.
    For practice load em up, but for SD use the factory stuff.

    Reasons:

    1. As mentioned above ...lawyers. If you do have to use your gun in a SD situation using the same ammo your local police use will help with the jury.

    2. Ammo makers use better sealant processes to keep ammo "fresher" longer.

    3. Ammo makers have techniques, bullets and powders that are just not available to the handloader. All of the top shelf SD ammo is "special" and most of the best bullets (HST/hydrashocks/gold saber) are not on the market for us to handload ourselves. They also have special powder compacting/layering/dropping techniques that we are not privy too. Thus in some cases they can create higher velocity ammo without increased pressue. (example: Hornady light magnum ammo)
    I havenít heard any of the journalists who volunteered to be waterboarded asking to have their fingernails wrenched out with pliers, or electrodes attached to their genitals.

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    Member Array glock45's Avatar
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    I only use factory ammo for SD. I just shoot enough of them at the range to make sure they work in my gun....
    Spend some $$ on two boxes of SD ammo and then spend your time tinkering with plinking loads. JMHO
    G21SF, G30, G36, Ruger SP101 DAO, S&W 642

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    Reasons:

    1. As mentioned above ...lawyers. If you do have to use your gun in a SD situation using the same ammo your local police use will help with the jury.
    Ok, I gotta ask, since I see come up pretty often. Where is there any documentation that using ammo that the local police department uses help with the jury, or is this one of those gun blog myths that has developed a life of its own.

    Could not the prosecutor just as easily paint you as a cop wanna be buy carrying the stuff the local PD carries along with your gun and CHL license? They could say, he this guy is a vigilante citizen as easily as they could paint you as a nut job by loading your own super duper home made load?
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  10. #10
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    I use both and don't worry about hand loaded self defense ammunition.

    I actually prefer using the hand loads.

  11. #11
    Member Array Shaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    Ok, I gotta ask, since I see come up pretty often. Where is there any documentation that using ammo that the local police department uses help with the jury, or is this one of those gun blog myths that has developed a life of its own.

    Could not the prosecutor just as easily paint you as a cop wanna be buy carrying the stuff the local PD carries along with your gun and CHL license? They could say, he this guy is a vigilante citizen as easily as they could paint you as a nut job by loading your own super duper home made load?
    The potential concern with reloads is not so much their use in a legitimate self defense situation, which one can agree will usually not see light in a criminal court, where rules of evidence are quite stringent, but in Civil court, where rules of evidence are quite different, innuendo and circumstantial evidence and opinions are allowed and how this may play to a jury of your peers is the great unknown.

    Expert witnesses can be used to address most questions/claims one may encounter, but the less potentially controversial evidence or something that can be made to look like it by the opposing counsel, the better off you are.

    If in doubt consult both criminal and civil liability lawyers and see what their opinion is, you might find it worth a small outlay of funds.

    Personally, I only use reloads for hunting and practice and factory loads for carry and that because of employer policy more than anything.
    Last edited by Shaughn; June 30th, 2009 at 09:35 PM. Reason: spelling and error in last sentence

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaughn View Post
    The potential concern with reloads is not so much their use in a legitimate self defense situation, which one can agree will usually not see light in a criminal court, where rules of evidence are quite stringent, but in Civil court, where rules of evidence are quite different, innuendo and circumstantial evidence and opinions are allowed and how this may play to a jury of your peers is the great unknown.

    Expert witnesses can be used to address most questions/claims one may encounter, but the less potentially controversial evidence or something that can be made to look like it by the opposing counsel, the better off you are.

    If in doubt consult both criminal and civil liability lawyers and see what their opinion is, you might find it worth a small outlay of funds.

    Personally, I only use reloads for hunting and practice and factory loads for carry and that because of employer policy more than anything.
    Ok, so make the arguement for someone who lives in a state where you are immune from civil liability if your found to have acted in a justified manner according to your state law.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  13. #13
    Member Array Shaughn's Avatar
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    If in a state or jurisdiction, where one is not subject to civil liability in the event of a legitimate use of force, then I would say that personal choice of the end user and the trust in their personally manufactured ammunition would be the deciding factor.

    Things to consider would be:

    Failure to feed how many rounds per hundred
    Failure to eject
    Muzzle flash in low light
    Dud rounds per hundred
    Mean and practical accuracy
    shelf/service life

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    There is no secret to powder charging. The manufacturers use the same method as handloaders. Dump a volume of powder down a funnel and into a case. Nothing super about it.

    The bullets, except Federal's HS series, are all available to handloaders. This includes the XTP, Golden Sabre, Gold Dot, Barnes, etc.

    The low flash powder isn't really secret. There are canister powders that do this and give the same performance. The use of non-commercial powders, although exists, is not as prevalent as some make it out to be. For example, all Winchester brand ammunition uses Winchester brass, bullets, powder, and primers. The exact same components they use they sell to handloaders. This is nothing new or privileged.

    One can take a Gold Dot bullet and load it to exactly the same velocity as factory ammunition.

    In my opinion as an ammunition manufacturer, new brass is overrated and is unproven.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    Aside from the legal issues if I had to load one round into my pistol and my life depended on that round working, I would choose one that I personally loaded and not one that came off of an assembly line. I have seen a few screwed up rounds in boxes of new ammo (granted not that many) and if my butt was on the line I would be leaving nothing to chance.

    I used a nice clean brass case with a good flash hole.

    I used a nice new primer that I visually inspected (anvil present and looks aligned.)

    I seated the primer by hand and felt it slip into place then checked it visually.

    I used a powder charge that was chosen to give me the performance that I wanted and knew it was the proper weight.

    I seated the right bullet to the right depth and made sure it was held in place by the proper method.

    The rest would be up to the Good Lord and either my firing pin or striker.
    bosco

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