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Even when I carried a .357 Mag, I mostly fed it .38+P. My favorite handgun is my 82 38 special. (4") Most of the .38 ammo today is designed to burn fast for short barreled snubbies, and the old 125gr SJHP Winchester White box is getting harder to find.

I am currently loading my 82 with the same 125gr Hornady XTP American Gunner "standard presure" rounds that my wife keeps in her 85UL. And I am confident by all means with those standard presure rounds. Enought that I really don't feel compelled to spend $25-$30 for a box of "+P". However, ...... Seeing that I do reload...... I was thinking of loading some XTP 125 gr. to +P presure. This will not be any time soon as I am fully stocked with 148 WC and don't need bullets any time soon.

What do you carry in your .38 / .357?
What is your barrel length?
 

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EDC = Ruger SP101 2.25"
Load = Hornady 38 special 158 gr XTP

I know it is not +p like many recommend, but it is the ammunition that I have found to shoot best to aim. My particular snub likes the 158 gr bullets and I find myself able to put lead on target faster and more accurately with this load. Point is, I don't think there is any "one load fits all" out there. You should always put a few boxes of defense ammo through your gun before settling on which to go with. Make sure they cycle correctly (especially important for semi autos) and make sure they go where you want them... because if they don't what is the point of carrying them.
 

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In my M85UL there are 5 rounds of handloaded 158gn Hornady XTP's pushed by 4.0 gns of Titegroup. Tested on wet phone books and I'm sure this round will work as good or better than any 9 sillymeter....
 

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In my
Taurus 85NV I carry 110gr Hornady stanadard pressure,
Ruger LCRX. 2in barrel 129gr 38 +P Federal hydra-shok
S&W 639 Wyatt Deep Cover 129gr 38+P Fed hydra-shok
S&W 36 3inch Barrel 148gr LWC
Charter 357mag 2.2 inch barrel I carry 38spl 125gr +P Remington HP
Rossi 971 4in barrel 357mag I carry 38Spl +P Remington 158gr LSWCHP
Ruger Security Six 4in Barrel 357Mag I Carry 357mag 158gr Gold Dots
 

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My M856 38spl is loaded with Buffalo Bore std press 158 gr soft cast semi wadcutter hollow point.

I also have Remington Golden Saber +P 125 gr brass jacketed hollow point.
 

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Don't carry .38 any more but my preferred standard pressure .38 Special load was the old Federal 120gr "Chief's" Nyclad. This round was designed specifically for use in the little 2" belly guns. Soft lead bullets dipped in nylon as a 'coating' to keep them from leading. The coating of nylon doesn't really resist the bullet expanding, but it does prevent it from leading up the barrel. A surprise benefit is that the nylon coating has less friction in the barrel than a conventional copper jacket, so also gives you a slight bump in velocity. They are soft shooting in even the little J frames and quite accurate in all the guns I've shot them through.

Daddy has a Charter Arms Police Undercover that he uses as a house gun. I picked him up a couple 50 rounds boxes of it back in the '90's that he's still rotating through the gun.
 
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Since I don't believe in magic bullets, but do believe all the current premium brands of JHP's exhibit the same street performance, I have no favorite.

I tend to buy whatever's on sale at the best price be it Academy Sports, Gander Mt. Wally-World et al.

Presently our carry .38 Airweight's & Titanium models are stoked with 110 gr. Federal Hydra Shok "Low Recoil" JHP's.
 

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Unless the gun has a dislike for it a 158 gn +P LSWCHP, is my standard choice. I even have my own mold for casting them.
 
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In my 2" M85UL I like Hornady 158 Gr XTP and in my Rossi 3" .357 I like Winchester PDX1 125 GR .357 Mag.
 
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Hornady .38 special FTX or Lapua .38 special +p
 

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I prefer the heavier bullets in a service revolver. In fixed sight guns they usually shoot close to point of aim whereas the lighter bullets tend to shoot load. The old FBI load (+P 158gr LSWCHP) is pretty much a proven performer. At least it has a long history. The rest of this fancy ammo only has only theoretically higher performance in ballistic gelatin. Until it's carried and used by thousands of LEO's you really can't know.

In a 2" barrel I do go for a lighter bullet though.
 

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I run Remington .38 spc +P 158gr LSWCHP in nickel cases when I can find em. They're basically as close to the old FBI load as you can get in factory ammo. Nearly an identical product number to the old duty grade stuff. When I can't find those I run the Buffalo Bore +P 158 gr LSWCHP with the gas checked bullets. I'd almost like this load more than the Remington ammo, but they only come in brass cases which tarnish and get all jenky after carying them in my pocket for a bit.
 
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