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Posted: 6/14/2009 5:05:12 PM EST
My eldest son, who works for the major state police group in my state (and before anyone asks, HE DOESN'T PISS OF EMT'S), was in need of some decent duty ammo. Hard to believe, but his organization doesn't issue any duty ammo that worthy of being carried by my son (they don't distinguish between duty ammo and training ammo, but that's a topic for another thread)

After doing my homework, I went to find him some Federal LE ammo using the Barnes TSX bullet. I called Federal and they turned me onto some guys in Texas. They had some of the ammo for $35.00/20 As you can imagine, I said piss on that and figured I would make him some duty ammo.

I've been loading for over 25 years and I can make better ammo than any factory. So I gathered my favorite 5.56 powders, found some of the Barnes 55gr. TSX bullets and got to work. I loaded the ammo in some virgin Remington Nickel cases, using the excellent Federal 205M primers and headed to the range with my ammo in hand.

After testing several powders, H335 became the leader in both velocity and accuracy. My chronograph showed that 25.6 grains of H335 gave 3,050 fps in velocity and accuracy like this:




Shot with his issue Colt 6721 off his elbows at 50 yds.


Anyway, here are some pics I took showing some of the components and the finished products.













And all you guys that are going to panic that he's carrying handloads for duty ammo, I load better ammo and have much better quality control than any mass-produced ammo. I obviously have complete confidence in my ammo or my own son wouldn't be carrying it.

Thoughts?

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:19:17 PM EST
I also have complete confidence in my handloads and would prefer to carry them over factory ammo. However, I don't want to take the chance of over-zealous prosecutor screaming "home-made explosive mankiller ammo!" to the jury. This is a CYA thing for me. If the SHTF all bets are off and my best "Zombie zappers" get loaded up.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:19:51 PM EST
Just off the top of my head, what if he shoots someone with it? Is it in their policies that he can supply his own ammo and is it OK that it be handloads?

I'm not trying to argue, just ask the obvious. I'd rather shoot my own handloads but my dept says "no."

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:22:02 PM EST
You guys would really be surprised (or not) at the rather lax attitude his agency has on ammo. I generally don't worry about "over zealous prosecutors" (went to law school with several of them) they don't scare me.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:26:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 5:28:53 PM EST by Scalce]
I'm not one to jump on the whole don't carry reloads for self defense but I would think it would be a bigger issue for law enforcement.

I have no doubts that your loads are better than shit factory FMJs but it may ber better to buy him some good SD ammo and try to replicate them with reloads for practice.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:38:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By blake-b:
Just off the top of my head, what if he shoots someone with it? Is it in their policies that he can supply his own ammo and is it OK that it be handloads?

I'm not trying to argue, just ask the obvious. I'd rather shoot my own handloads but my dept says "no."



My 1SG was a Reserve Denver Policeman while I was still employed by Mother Army, and he stated that they reloaded ammo. Take that for what it's worth.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:42:29 PM EST
A large number of departments use reloaded ammo for both their handguns and rifles.


Ga Arms is a huge supplier to LEO's in this state and I know for a fact many counties in the state use them for both training and duty.

I don't see an issue with it.


Also most lawyers and prosecutors don't know one bullet from another or care. What it comes down to is simply "Good shoot or no?" The ammo is immaterial to this.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:09:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By Skg_Mre_Lght:
Originally Posted By blake-b:
Just off the top of my head, what if he shoots someone with it? Is it in their policies that he can supply his own ammo and is it OK that it be handloads?

I'm not trying to argue, just ask the obvious. I'd rather shoot my own handloads but my dept says "no."



My 1SG was a Reserve Denver Policeman while I was still employed by Mother Army, and he stated that they reloaded ammo. Take that for what it's worth.


I should have clarified... I meant using an individual's reloads. Not a companys loads. In the Denver case, the dept reloaded their own? I think that is awesome. Too bad it isn't done around here.

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 7:14:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 7:19:02 PM EST by jjc155]
Good looking ammo.......HOWEVER, regardless of your well intentions, your son needs to follow his dept's policies with respects to what he carries/ I guarentee that his dept has very specific requirements for duty ammo.

I can carry only federal hydra shocks at my dept for handgun ammo and only federal 55gr softpoint ammo in my rifle. Are those the best for the weapons and for what I use them for? Doesnt matter, its what my dept says I HAVE to carry, lest I be shit canned, not covered by dept insurance is involved in a shooting etc. This is a requirement in our off duty guns too.

There is still a neighboring dept that carries FMJ 9mm rounds for their duty ammo, but that is what their policy says so they have to carry it.

J-
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 8:54:34 PM EST
It is a good thing when a handloader can help out with the resources of his hobby.

Not so good: I do not see the neck-to-bullet crimp. Also the primers appear to be flush, not recessed .008".
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 9:20:10 PM EST
Glad to hear that there is one reloader out there who never makes mistakes.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 9:21:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By CCW:
It is a good thing when a handloader can help out with the resources of his hobby.

Not so good: I do not see the neck-to-bullet crimp. Also the primers appear to be flush, not recessed .008".

I don't see any primer or neck sealant either. Hopefully the officer carrying that ammo only operates in clear weather and perfect conditions.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 2:12:45 AM EST
Mas Ayoob might have something to say about this matter. Is there a way to get his opinion on LEO's carrying reloads? I know he's got reasons why citizens shouldn't use it.

(Not trying to stir any pot, just curious if we can hear from Mas, that's all.)
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 2:36:41 AM EST
jcc155 - I gaurantee that they don't have a policy, and they should. I find it hard to believe. A brief survey of the officers in this area shows that they carry everything from WWB, Remington green box 55gr fmj, gunshow reloads to Federal LE stuff (in both handgun and carbine) They use the Remington green box stuff in training.

CCW - Sharp eye, those primers are only .006" below flush.

YOPD - I've had that argument with Massad Ayoob, he failed to convince me that anyone (LE or Civilian) enhances his liability by carrying handloads. (My own research supports me)

Asknight - I have made mistakes, just not as many as the factories.

Thanks for the replies.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:09:39 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 3:12:39 AM EST by Henny]
I'm glad my department provides good ammo for carry - Federal 55 JHP TRU.

I'm not going to comment on carrying reloads for duty, each department is different. I'm not going to doubt your ability to produce good, no, fantastic reloads either. However, some things you want to keep in mind for duty ammo is this:

The bullet should have a good crimp. I see that yours aren't crimped, or at least crimped heavily in the cannelure. My department initially issued Federal 69 gr JHPs. These bullets didn't have a cannelure. What was discovered that after cycling the ammunition from the magazine to the chamber several times the bullet would set back in the case or get stuck in the bore. For a every day shooting ground hogs or paper, the shooter not having a cannelure on a bullet and having the bullet crimped isn't a big deal. For LE it is, because there is the potential to load and unload the rifle several times with out firing a shot. I had first hand experience with this. I was at a barricaded gunman on a very cold December evening, before making my way to the perimeter I chambered a round. After what seemed like hours, the gunman gave up. Before getting back into my car, I went to put my rifle in the "cruiser safe" mode (magazine inserted, weapon on safe, empty chamber). My SOP for doing this is to drop the magazine, place my palm under the magazine well and fingers over the ejection port so my round doesn't hit the ground. When I did this, I felt the case fall into my hand and something else. The something else was the powder from the cartridge! The bullet was still stuck in the bore. Luckily, I was able to get the bullet out with a few raps of the buttstock on the ground. Shortly there after, we switched to the Federal TRU.

Keep in mind, back then I rotated my ammo every 2 months.

When I got back to the station I took some ammo out of the box and ran a little test. Some would have set back as in little as 3 chamberings others it would take 15+.


Another thing you might want to keep in mind is sealed primers. I don't have any anecdotal accounts of primers being sealed, and I've never had problems with my hunting ammo that didn't have sealed primers. A cops rifle goes through a lot of temperature swings. In the summer it's from a cold car into the hot humid air and in the winter it's from a warm car out into the frigid air. I've observed a lot of condensation on my rifle throughout the year. I don't know if sealed primers are a answer in search of a problem, but when it's your life, or in your case, probably something you cherish more than your own life, your son's it doesn't hurt.

I commend you on your obvious reloading ability and your son's ability to shoot. The OSP is a class outfit that sent officers to one of our trooper's funerals this week. It's a long drive from OK to Pa to show your respects. Despite the whole paramedic thing, the OSP is a class outfit.


EDIT: removed a repeated word
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:51:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 4:53:19 AM EST by Nick710]
Thanks Henny for your insightful response and your personal anecdote. I thought about putting a crimp on this ammo, but decided against it for a couple reasons. First, this was virgin brass and the neck tension was very tight. Second, my son carries his carbine "cruiser ready". He doesn't chamber a round and unchamber one very often.

I too, had a situation happen as you describe. I was on a deployment and the ammo was military M855! The bullet was stuck in the rifling while the case and some of the powder came out, but most of the powder was inside my lower. As you know, military ammo has a very tight crimp and uses a sealant as well. Go figure.

In any event, thanks again.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:46:57 AM EST
I see where you are coming from with the crimping.

If your son is anything like me he always has a partner riding with him, and his name is Murphy. You know, the guy that is always making sure the most screwed up thing will happen and the most inopportune time. It has happened to you with crimped and sealed rounds, so the next time at the bench you might want to think about that f***in' Murphy dude! He's a real jerk, and shows up when you least expect it.

I think it's great that you take the time to do this for your son. Not to sound brutal and insensitive, but I imagine you'd have to feel pretty good if the ammo that you manufactured would save your son's bacon some day.

I am in no way condemning what you do. If his issued ammo is crap, well I think you are doing the right thing. Just give some thought about a crimp. Even if the crimp would degrade accuracy a bit, I think I'd rather have it than not.

You and your son stay safe!
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 9:51:39 AM EST
One question I have is I would wonder what the rifle manufacturers positions is if he has any problems with the rifle and then it comes out he was using reloads?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 11:12:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 11:15:05 AM EST by asknight]

Originally Posted By ECS:
One question I have is I would wonder what the rifle manufacturers positions is if he has any problems with the rifle and then it comes out he was using reloads?

The rifle manufacturer will quickly wash their hands of the deal and not honor any warranties/liabilities. Guess who will be at fault if a popped primer causes a jammed firing pin/full-auto incident, or a feeding jam that results in someone getting killed/hurt in an incident?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:47:03 PM EST
If deadly force is justified then the manner or weapon used is of no concern........that being said, if yer sons dept doesn't have a policy regarding the type of ammo they can use then I either say its a very small Dept. or BS!! Now if yer son does have to use yer home made ammo, he will still be justified if in fact it was a justified shooting, but he may not be covered by his departments "Unbrella of protection" when it comes to a civil suit, if he is operating outside of policy, and will have to pay his own legal fees...I guess yer son better hope yer "umbrella of protection" is enough to save his money, house and any other item he possesses....all to save a few bucks on factory loaded ammo.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:51:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By Nick710:
YOPD - I've had that argument with Massad Ayoob, he failed to convince me that anyone (LE or Civilian) enhances his liability by carrying handloads. (My own research supports me)


I haven't been convinced either, but I was hoping that someone could have brought him in for his opinion on dept policy and liability in this particular topic.
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