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Thread: CCW ammo, factory vs handloads

  1. #21
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    I have been long told that handloaded SD ammo is risky.

    Whether this is true or not, I don't know. I carry stupid expensive factory SD ammo, just to be safe.

  2. #22
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    DerekP Houston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 308Jeff View Post
    I have been long told that handloaded SD ammo is risky.

    Whether this is true or not, I don't know. I carry stupid expensive factory SD ammo, just to be safe.
    I have some for my other guns just honestly hadn't thought of it for my 380. I ordered some gold dots and xtp from powdervalley. i'll load some up and give them a test to see how they function in my gun before I spring for buying that pricey factory ammo.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    The biggest advantage that factory ammo has over home-rolled rounds is the sealants applied at case mouth and primer annulus. These prevent moisture or petrochemical vapors from affecting primer and powder reliability. My old shop's carry ammo in 40 S&W and 45 ACP is the Winchester White Box hollow points, which are the old Black Talon bullets dehorned and absent the uber-lethal black finish, once known as SXT Ranger. FWIW. These work--VERY WELL. I carry them and trust them. I reload practice ammo that duplicates their ballistics using cast bullets, and cycle through the carry rounds twice a year. This has been my regimen for 40 years of CCW and cop work. Failures to fire of factory ammo are EXTREMELY rare, and most such events are firearm faults.

    I have attended many prosecutor "staffings" at which homicide or officer-involved shootings are presented for review prior to charges being filed. As far as the D.A. was concerned, the question of "Handload vs. Factory Load" never came up. At all. In California, too--not a place known for being a fanbase of the 2nd Amendment. It just didn't matter. Expressions of my professional and personal opinion of Massad Ayoob's ravings have gotten me removed/banned from a couple bulletin boards, so I have become a bit more circumspect in my heresies as I have matured. But my assessments remain unchanged and unrepentant.
    I thought you preferred the 9mm 147 gr gold dot load!

    On a serious note, I also carry the Winchester white box hollow point ammo when I choose to carry factory ammo.

    Most of my ccw guns are usually loaded with one of my cast loads though. They shoot straight and penetrate well. I really don't even consider expansion characteristics when choosing a load to carry.

    Holes kill stuff. Put enough holes in something and it'll die.

    I've seen people run off after being hit multiple times with much heavier stuff than anyone will ever carry for social purposes. That has definitely influenced what ammo I carry.


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  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love Life View Post
    I thought you preferred the 9mm 147 gr gold dot load!
    You aren't close enough to drive to now--SO I CAN'T BOUNCE A ROCK OFF YOUR HEAD. More's the pity.

    One must be careful while shooting those subsonic 9mm loads. They can raise such a welt.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master CASTER OF LEAD's Avatar
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    The easiest way around the SD ammo vs. Home rolled is this: I checked with the local sheriff and asked what they all carry in their duty firearms . I carry the same thing . No way any lawyer can spin that around to bite me in the ***! If the local LEO'S are using it, and I am as well ,then the Prosecution has no leg to stand on in the ammo arena. Just my .02 - CASTER
    In regards to shooting safety.Until you are ready to fire, keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master

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    My take on .380 is pretty straightforward: The round doesn't have enough juice to penetrate adequately if it expands, so I opt to carry with ammo that doesn't expand.

    For carry, I like Winchester's Q4206, which is a 95 grain flat nose FMJ, so you get at least some meplat crush in the deal.

    For practice, I've got the Ranch Dog NOE 100 grainer, which is essentially the same slug with no copper overcoat. Since it's basically a duplicate in terms of what it does on impact, yeah, I'd probably not have any qualms carrying it, but then, since it's basically a duplicate in terms of what it does on impact, why not avoid even the possibility of "EVIL HANDLOADS!" coming up?
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  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    Dang--that #Q4206 is an interesting little round. It has been a long time since I have paid much attention to the 380 ACP. Have you happened to clock any of this stuff to see how close the velocity is to paper claims of 955 FPS?
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    I've got no dog in this fight . . . but I am curious. You refer to our 380 and some needing double strikes . . . yet I didn't see you mention what pistol you are using. It may very well be your ammo, primers, unclean pockets, etc. . . . BUT . . what handgun are you suing? As an example, a Smith Bodyguard, and I've read this in many posts on a number of forms, can have issues with "light strikes" requiring a second pull of the trigger. At lesst on that particular handgun, you can easily pull the trigger the second time.

    My point . . . is it your handgun or your ammo . . . in this case,, your reloads? Have you had issues with the same handgun and commercially loaded ammo? I have nothing against a 380 or any other caliber . . but if a Smith Bodyguard is sometimes known for light sticks, I've got to believe that other brands might have an issue once in a while.

  9. #29
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    DerekP Houston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    I've got no dog in this fight . . . but I am curious. You refer to our 380 and some needing double strikes . . . yet I didn't see you mention what pistol you are using. It may very well be your ammo, primers, unclean pockets, etc. . . . BUT . . what handgun are you suing? As an example, a Smith Bodyguard, and I've read this in many posts on a number of forms, can have issues with "light strikes" requiring a second pull of the trigger. At lesst on that particular handgun, you can easily pull the trigger the second time.


    My point . . . is it your handgun or your ammo . . . in this case,, your reloads? Have you had issues with the same handgun and commercially loaded ammo? I have nothing against a 380 or any other caliber . . but if a Smith Bodyguard is sometimes known for light sticks, I've got to believe that other brands might have an issue once in a while.
    Bersa 380 thunder, it has not needed double strikes in the past. I have not cleaned it in a few trips though and this time was all range/pistol fodder that was home brewed. I was loading on a lee turret press before and recently switched to a LnL AP. Yes I can crank out ammo faster but occasionally I get "high primers" and figured that was the cause. After I take another trip to the range I'll make a more conclusive test. This time I'll load another 20 just on the turret press and if they fire 20/20 I'll assume I've narrowed down the issue.

    It is a DA/SA pistol so I can just pull the trigger again and they fired, it was just one of those "ah ha!" moments where I realized perhaps my plinking ammo should not be in my carry gun. For the new HP jacketed bullets, I'll take the time to clean the primer pockets, seat them on a single stage and load carefully instead of just yanking on the handle and loading as many as I can.

    I haven't actually bought any factory ammo for either my 380's or my 45's....once I got the casting bug I just cast up fresh rounds and start the ladder test until I get good function. This case I use an NOE RN 100gr design and size to 356.

    I've been loading primarily 45 acp on the LNL for now, anytime I catch a round dragging on the station after seating the primer I take it out of rotation and firmly reseat the primer on a separate press. Never had an issue with light strikes on my 1911's.

    This thread was more just to see what more experienced loaders were doing. Thanks everyone for their input and advice.
    Last edited by DerekP Houston; 09-29-2017 at 09:19 PM.
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  10. #30
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I was talking to a couple of police officers from Peoria a few years(possibly a couple of decades, I can't remember for sure) about what ammunition they carried. They were allowed at that time to pretty much carry what they wanted.
    One of the officers said he carried 38 special wadcutters loaded up to max velocity(so it was probably 3 decades). He claimed they cut their way through tissue rather than bruising their way through. He claimed the blood trail was enormous.
    I have no other data about that particular load's effectiveness. He may have been feeding me B.S. and I would not be able to prove otherwise. It does sound at least possible.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    The biggest advantage that factory ammo has over home-rolled rounds is the sealants applied at case mouth and primer annulus. These prevent moisture or petrochemical vapors from affecting primer and powder reliability.
    Al,

    I remember (pre-Y2K, I'm old) reading the same thing somewhere. And it got me to wondering. I was loading up a mass of pistol ammo at the time so I dropped three of the rounds into a little Tuperware container of water.

    These were 9mm, 115 grain Remington JHPs. No sealing done by me.

    After 30 days I took one out and it fired fine.

    After 60 days (or so) took another, same thing.

    The third one fired fine after more than 90 days in the water. The press fit of the primer and bullet was tighter than I thought.

    Of course then I bought a bunch of Roy's Primer Sealant and went nuts with it: sealing everything I could find.


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  12. #32
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    Bruce B did a similar thing, and included gun solvent immersion among his tests. He might have included Ed's Red among the test media. Not sure on that. One of the several cartridges immersed for quite a while did have a half-azzed ignition IIRC. I think he posted his results on here. I do know that he was pretty convinced that sealant wasn't required for most users, esp. those of us in dry desert climates. I think he even immersed primed cases in solvent, and some of those went off IIRC.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  13. #33
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    One thing I have always wondered at is the notion that you can shoot some one "a little bit."

    Granted this sort of thinking was more prevalent back in the seventies, when the folks whose grandchildren are in Black Lives matter movement groups were protesting hollow points. But it still has echoes in the writings and assumptions of some gun writers. It seems it should be obvious that ballistically poking a hole in someone is life threatening, regardless of how it's done. I guess some folks still think you can use silver bullets to shoot the guns out of outlaw's hands. Or perhaps they simply don't think.
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    I was talking to a couple of police officers from Peoria a few years(possibly a couple of decades, I can't remember for sure) about what ammunition they carried. They were allowed at that time to pretty much carry what they wanted.
    One of the officers said he carried 38 special wadcutters loaded up to max velocity(so it was probably 3 decades). He claimed they cut their way through tissue rather than bruising their way through. He claimed the blood trail was enormous.
    I have no other data about that particular load's effectiveness. He may have been feeding me B.S. and I would not be able to prove otherwise. It does sound at least possible.
    http://www.grantcunningham.com/2011/...rge-wadcutter/

    http://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/wa...f-defense/amp/

    I trust Ed Harris's opinion much more than I do Chris Baker's (from Lucky Gunner's site), but they come to the same conclusion about the DEWC.

    Lucky Gunner has some really good raw data on popular self defense loads and their performance in ballistic gelatin. But then come to the conclusion that 9mm is better than 357, so I take their recommendations with a grain of salt. http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self...llistic-tests/

    Side though/hi jacking.......you hardly ever see big ammo companies test WWB or Remington Value Pack hollow point loads against any of the hyper/expensive ammo. It's like they want to sell the more expensive stuff.

    BTW, if your pistol with shoot it the Lee 105gr .358 SWC shot great out of my TCP738 and G42. Loaded to Lyman's stats.

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  15. #35
    Boolit Master



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    These are great numbers for 380 ammo. https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...t_detail&p=127

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by CASTER OF LEAD View Post
    The easiest way around the SD ammo vs. Home rolled is this: I checked with the local sheriff and asked what they all carry in their duty firearms . I carry the same thing . No way any lawyer can spin that around to bite me in the ***! If the local LEO'S are using it, and I am as well ,then the Prosecution has no leg to stand on in the ammo arena. Just my .02 - CASTER
    I like that idea. Even if I were in a neighboring county, the rationale would work and the authorities there probably made the same decision.
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    Dang--that #Q4206 is an interesting little round. It has been a long time since I have paid much attention to the 380 ACP. Have you happened to clock any of this stuff to see how close the velocity is to paper claims of 955 FPS?
    I have yet to feel any inclination to, as my penetration concerns really only stem from expandables in this caliber. After I got 9 milk jugs of penetration out of a hardball-speed, hardball weight LBT-LFN .45 at 24 BHN (expanding duty loads almost universally stop in 3, sometimes 4), I pretty much quit worrying about minutiae when pouring the hard stuff. As I recall, I did a velocity workup with the .32 and .380 Ranch Dogs, and believe I also recorded jug results, but ****ed if I can find the thread. I seem to recall 6-7 jugs, but. . .too many projects to be sure.

    At any rate, if you look at the pictures in the link on the OP, there's a lot of .380 hollowpoints with failures to expand that are penetrating in the 20" range, where as almost ALL of the ones that ARE opening up just aren't getting it done for penetration depth.

    So, a few observations:

    1. A lot of these .380 hollowpoints don't even have the steam to expand in bare gelatin.

    2. Those that DO reliably expand don't penetrate enough.

    3. Murphy would suggest that even those that aren't likely to expand WOULD expand and stop shallow when you need them to dive deep.

    4. An FMJ or harder cast bullet will give you better predictability than an HP that might, or might not do its thing at the lower energy levels being discussed.

    5. Cheap FMJ is a lot more likely to save your bacon in the .25/.32/.380 auto performance envelope than expensive HP, and it's a lot more likely to be lawyer-proof than a home-cast solid that will perform exactly the same way.
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  18. #38
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    On the topic of ammo for self defense and what a prosecutor will or won't do I will offer the following:

    I am currently a prosecutor and have been since 1989. I have dealt with two situations where citizens shot BG's and as the office "gun guy" was nominated to speak with both of the citizens. In each case I told the citizen that our office had no intention of taking any action against them for their use of force. In both cases the BG lived. To my knowledge no civil action was taken against the citizen.

    Some facts to consider:

    The officeholder, called State's Attorney here but also called District Attorney or other things in other jurisdictions is an elected official. They answer to the voters and try to reflect the values of their voters. Despite what you may have heard about Northern Illinois, much of Illinois is rural, middle of the road or conservative, and pretty pro gun. The office holder wants to keep his or her job and doesn't want to go out of their way to anger their constitute base.

    Additionally prosecutors have an ethical duty to seek justice. What does the evidence show and will it support a case.

    The two shootings I have personal knowledge of were absolutely justified and there was not even the remotest thought given to charging the citizen. As to the firearms and ammo one was a WWII bring back CZ .32 and the other was a IIRC Jennings .22 LR. I know the Jennings used Stingers. I have no idea what the .32 was loaded with. To be honest me, my boss, and the investigating officers did not care what the ammo choice was. There was simply no issue about the shootings.

    I cannot speak about more urban areas of Illinois or what might have been the result of civil cases would have been ( I can make an educated guess based on the make up of juris on cases I tried in the jurisdiction where the shootings took place).

    I personally carry factory ammo based on its effectiveness based on studies I read on the few occasions I carry a firearm but if I am knocking around the farm I carry my loads in whatever pistol "fits my hand best" that day.

    I can not speak to results or "what if" about what might happened in a specific jurisdiction with a different political or cultural environment.
    Last edited by Thumbcocker; 09-30-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    Bruce B did a similar thing, and included gun solvent immersion among his tests. He might have included Ed's Red among the test media. Not sure on that. One of the several cartridges immersed for quite a while did have a half-azzed ignition IIRC. I think he posted his results on here. I do know that he was pretty convinced that sealant wasn't required for most users, esp. those of us in dry desert climates. I think he even immersed primed cases in solvent, and some of those went off IIRC.
    I cannot speak to solvents, but I can speak to Winchester SXT's and extreme humidity. We had a sergeant in a plainclothes assignment who was carrying something smaller day-to-day, while leaving his big duty gun and belt in the trunk of a city car that had a faulty seal. During our annual SoCal "monsoons", 3-4 inches of water flooded the spare tire well. This went unnoticed for several weeks, creating a mini-Vietnam inside the trunk. The Glock came through it with flying colors; the blued 870 in the rack did not; every single one of the 46 rounds of SXT went off as if fresh out of the box.

    That said, one needs to regard one's carry rounds as perishable once you remove them from the proverbial "cool, dry place". The top two rounds especially get beat up a lot downloading and rechambering. The nice thing about these little .380's is that the ideal carry ammo is also range practice ammo, so cycling out for new is as easy as going out to train.
    WWJMBD?

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  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    The best argument I have heard on the negatives of handloads for self defence is that factory loads are a known thing. It is easier to determine how far the perp was from the shooter (powder burns) when shot by a factory load than by an unknown hand load. That being said, I carry Glaser Safety Slugs in warm weather and Federal Hydra Shocks in cool weather in the firearm. Spare magazines and speed loaders for carry are all HydraShocks because Glaser is PROUD of their ammo. All of my hunting, practice and SHTF ammo are handloads.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check