This is a discussion on 158g or 125g bullet for 1 7/8" barrel J Frame? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For short barrel snubs, I recommend the Speer Gold Dot 135gr 38+p made specifically for short barrels and has shown consistent and reliable expansion in ...
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Heavy for caliber may be harder on the hand, but likewise on the other end.
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For my +p snubs the 158 gr. LSWCHP +P.
For my older snubs the 158 gr. standard velocity LSWC.
Like seveal others here I am a heavy for caliber get in deep and break things believer.
The important thing is whatever load you pick shoot it enough to have confidence to be able to put shots on target.
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I also like the heavy for caliber route. Otherwise, choose a .380 or 9mm. There are a lot of high performance 158 gr. loads now for the .38/.357mag. Not higher velocity, but good expansion.
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I run 125+P Remington Golden Sabers. The recoil is stiff, but not unmanageable. Here is a video showing what this load does
.38 Special +P Remington Golden Saber Ammo Gel test - YouTube
But, I do have most of a box of Buffalo Bore 158gr Lead Semi Wadcutter Hollow Core Low Recoil Low Flash. Yes, that is one heck of a mouthful and it shoots well, but not quite as accurate out of my LCR as the Remington load. Here's another video from the same guy showing this loads performance
Buffalo Bore .38 Special 158 gr Semiwadcutter Ammo test - YouTube
Ironically, I had both of these boxes of ammo from a few years ago when I (stupidly) sold my SP101 and just ran across these videos lately. I will say that BB penetration does concern me a bit, but it is a good cold weather load.
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You'll grow to love that hump backed S&W 438.
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