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Using a 642 and Std 148 gr WC bullets I can hold a 5 shot group into 1 1/4" at 3 yds and 1.75 at 10 yds. when I make the jump to +P ammo my group sizes almost double or my times double!
With a small gun and limited ammo, it comes down to if I can deliver on target! I'll take the velocity penalty. DR
 

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Thread's ancient history, but the opening post contains something I take issue with from the Charter Arms statement.

Shooting +P out of short two-inch barrels has never failed to also yield higher velocities for me in chronograph tests same as comparative velocities recorded for longer barrel lengths. The powder charge is not being "wasted." +P always shows a velocity increase over standard pressure loadings, no matter the barrel length. This holds true for both factory +P ammunition I've tested and for any handloaded equivalents, as well as any performance factory loads or handloads in other handgun calibers. Short barrels aren't even a personal favorite, but they aren't so crippled as they are sometimes represented.

Of course as dangerranger points out, attendant recoil, muzzle blast and sometimes powder flash accompanies the more "enthusiastic" loadings, not to mention potential wear and tear on the gun so the individual choosing his ammunition will have to determine for himself what is the best for optimum performance, control, and handgun service life.

I'm very familiar with the performance of the +P 158 grain .38 Special load giving from 875 fps in 2-inch barrel to 935 fps from a 4-inch barrel so for personal defensive use here it's +P 158 grain loads for all .38 Special revolvers, all the time.
 
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