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Heavy .38 Special +P Pistol and Handgun Ammo

SKU: 20A/20
Qty: - +

Heavy .38 Special +P Ammo
158 gr. L.S.W.C.H.P. - G.C. - 
(1,000 fps/M.E. 351 ft.lbs.)
20 Round Box


The new Buffalo Bore Heavy 38 SPL+p ammo will maximize the effectiveness of your 38 SPL revolver. The powders are flash-suppressed so as not to hinder your vision should you be required to drop the hammer in low light.

Item 20A/20 is the terrific SOFT lead semi-wadcutter hollow cavity bullet; however, we've added a gas check to stop the leading that this load typically causes with other manufacturers' versions of this bullet.

Item 20B/20 uses the low velocity (LV) Jacketed Hollow Point bullet that is designed to expand at as little as 800 fps, so you will get the expansion out of very short barrels.

Whether you prefer the very soft semi-wadcutter lead bullet or a very soft JHC (jacketed hollow cavity), these HVY 38 SPL+p loads will turbo-charge your 38 SPL revolver.

The tactical reload:

Short (2 to 2.5-inch) barreled revolvers have short ejectors. Those short ejectors typically used on 2-inch to 2.5-inch barreled revolvers are not long enough to fully eject 357 Magnum brass. So if you are forced into a situation where you need to reload your weapon under fire, you will find yourself picking your fired/empty 357 brass out of the cylinder one at a time - this is very bad. On the other hand, 38SPL brass is shorter than 357 brass, and those short ejectors will often fully eject 38SPL brass. We have experimented a great deal with short-barreled revolvers and have found that 38SPL brass normally offers an advantage if you need to reload your "snub nose" revolver in a hurry.

Check out the velocities below that I fired from my personal revolvers. We believe that real-world, stock, "over-the-counter" guns give real-world results, so we don't advertise velocities that are fired from long test barrels.

These 38SPL+P loads are generating low-end 357 Magnum ballistics. If you have an older or more fragile 38SPL, or if you are recoil sensitive, consider using our HVY Standard Pressure 38SPL ammunition. It is safe to be fired in any 38SPL revolver, and it still packs much more punch than ordinary 38SPL ammo.

Item 20A: 158gr., very soft cast, semi-wad cutter, (Keith) hollow cavity, with a gas check. This bullet will mushroom violently on impact and will penetrate roughly 14 inches in human flesh. Again, this bullet is gas-checked and will not lead your barrel.

 1,040 fps (379 ft. lbs.) -- S&W mod. 60, 2-inch
>  1,059 fps (393 ft. lbs.) -- S&W mod. 66, 2.5-inch
 1,143 fps (458 ft. lbs.) -- Ruger SP101, 3-inch
 1,162 fps (474 ft. lbs.) -- S&W Mt. Gun, 4-inch

Item 20A - Exterior Ballistics Charts for several different Muzzle Velocities


Muzzle Velocity @ 1500 fps for Item 20A


Muzzle Velocity @ 1400 fps for Item 20A


Muzzle Velocity @ 1300 fps for Item 20A


Muzzle Velocity @ 1200 fps for Item 20A


Muzzle Velocity @ 1100 fps for Item 20A


Muzzle Velocity @ 1000 fps for Item 20A

Field Proven pistol and handgun ammo. Maximum firepower ammo. Best ammunition for pistols and handguns for sale. Buffalo Bore. Strictly big bore. Strictly Business.

You must be 18 or older to order ammunition. Ammunition must ship UPS ground. Due to Department of Transportation regulations, we cannot accept returns on Ammunition. Make sure to use the correct ammunition in your gun. Check local laws before ordering.

Greg T on 02/21/2024 07:33pm
These are my go-to defensive loads in my 4-inch .38/.357 Smiths and my new Colt Python 3-inch. The velocity in these guns is a low of 1,080 to a high of 1,165 fps. EXACTLY what I always thought a true .38 P should be. Skeeter would be proud. Great ammunition, Tim!
S&W User on 12/10/2023 01:31pm
I have depended on "The FBI Load" for decades - 1970's onward - both in LE & personal use. I relied on Remington's loading as their LSWCHP bullet was the softest between Federal & Winchester. But when I learned about Buffalo Bore's 20A loading I was ecstatic.

Using the new Garmin chrono my S&W Model 627 .357 Magnum 8 shot 2.6-inch barrel produced between 1095.7 & 1099.7 fps for 421.1 & 424.2 ft/lbs energy. Couple that with the terrific & SOFT LSWCHP with gas check, and you have a superb (and one of the very best SD load.

I wish we could hear about real life results with this load. I am sure they would be in keeping with those of "The FBI Load" from days gone by.
DDG on 06/22/2023 03:52pm
Recently, on vacation, I had found some of your 38 special
P 158 gr LSWHP and purchased a couple of boxes. Today was range day. I fired ammo at short range, 15 yards, and longer range, 50 yards. As background, the ordinary brand 158 grand LSW felt 'normal.' When I fired your P, my excellent S&W M 60%u20134 really woke up. It was more accurate than standard velocity, with albeit a bit more recoil, and put a big smile on my face %u2026. Well worth having reached out to find this ammo over the counter. You have a very satisfied customer in me.
Huck on 07/26/2021 04:14pm
Shooting a .38 LCR. I am not recoil sensitive (up to BB 340 gr. 1425 fps .44 round --- that and bigger is a smack and a half). So the difference between the standard pressure and p could only be seen in the accuracy. At slow fire, no difference, but at rapid fire, the p ammo definitely degraded accuracy. Not sure which I will carry but lean to standard pressure since the terminal performance of the two lead SWCs is pretty close.
Jordan on 07/24/2021 12:19am
Shot from airweight j frame follow up shots were possible hand was stinging with every shot but was manageable.
Leon Button on 05/29/2021 12:16pm
Great ammo. Works as advertised.
Jim Wilson on 08/30/2019 09:07pm
Works well in my new Taurus 82 a heavier variation than the S&W K frames. These loads clock 1,244fps average using my crony. 2" groups @ 25yds. A good coyote loadout to 100yds (2 last year) Don't be discouraged on the Taurus forums with the 82 not up to +P standards. These loads are what the pre +P Standard ammo was prior to the 1970s. Safe for any modern post war .38 Special in good working order including J frames.
Douglas L. Yarbrough on 06/08/2019 10:36pm
This ammo%u2019s velocity is what Buffalo Bore claims. It is not an exaggeration. I have clocked it through my chronograph as fast as 1180 ft per second in my 4 inch Colt Official Police. It works!
Chris Davis on 11/20/2018 01:39pm
I had purchased a S&W model 637LE with the %u201CLadySmith%u201D treatment for my wife. I would have rather she carried a 9mm pistol but she preferred the simplicity and size of the small/ lightweight revolver. During an expansive search and testing for appropriate self defense ammunition I came across BB%u2019s 158 grain P L.S.W.C.H.P. - G.C and WOW!! Comes to mind.these rounds excelled in every test in could think of, wet pack, dry pack, wood, water jugs etc! (Ok so I%u2019m a testing geek lol) these rounds chronoed at 1051fps avg. blew through over 7 inches of wet hard packed newspaper, 8 inches of pressure treated lumber and expanded to an incredible 0.784 avg. suffice to say, this ammo will get the job done.WELL!
Joe Randazzo on 05/18/2016 09:15pm
If there is a perfect gun and round for the entire family to use in a nightstand drawer, my vote goes to the S&W 4" 357 (I have the 686 plus) and this round. Buffalo Bore's chrono and mine are within 25 fps. My gun actually shoots them a bit faster. My wife can stay on target very easily and the recoil is totally controllable in the substantial 686. PERFECT. My penetration tests show that this round is as good as the 9mm Buffalo Bore 124 P . It may be even slightly better. It's accurate, hard-hitting, and dependable. I've never shot a better 38 special load.
Jim007 on 01/02/2016 10:03am
Been looking for HD ammo for my S&W 586 w/ 4" barrel
Went to the range today and my first experience was Excellent
Very accurate Ammo and the recoil was Very Managable
With 14" penetration and Violent Mushrooming, how can you go wrong
Thank you Buffalo Bore !
Kurt Lane on 12/26/2015 04:37pm
Super defense round for .357 mag revolver (in my case, an early model Colt Python 6" (hollow lug). Tame, within the confines of a mainly sheet rock room enclousures though-out.
Mark Dalton on 04/12/2015 12:59am
The 158 gr.lead swchp loadings produce so much power in my LCR.357 I would be wary to us them in a revolver rated for just P. Fired into wet phone books they expand greatly and penetrate fairly deep. Blew a wet five inch phone book into shreds and damaged the one behind it. That is why I carry them in my snubby .357.
Paul Brooks on 03/12/2015 08:49pm
Wow I just got mine in and went to range I had been shooting 125 grain plus ps. In another brand. Wow these things made my little38 lcr feel abit like a grenade lol.But controllable but not pleasant to fire. No doubt things are potent.
John Alberti on 01/19/2015 08:45pm
These are in the S&W Model 66 I keep my by bedside. I think that says about all I can say.
TomB on 10/27/2012 11:26am
I purchased these rounds to test in my Ruger LCR 357 to carry as my off-duty weapon. I have tested a lot of rounds for accuracy and power. Both 38 and 357's. I have been a police officer for 26 years and have been a homicide detective for a lot of those years. I have attended numerous autopsies involving shootings. Let's just say that with my experience I am a firm believer in a heavier bullet for the caliber, rather than a light fast bullet. Heavier bullets seem to be penetrate deeper, thus, do more damage. Now. These 158g p loads, are hot out of my Ruger lcr They are very accurate and very controllable with little muzzle flash. They offer a little more kick than pdx 357, which I also carry. I shot a hanging bowling pin with a lot of rounds and these BB's made the pin swing with greater force than all the other rounds. They shoot to point of aim. I tested their accuracy standing at 20 yards. I am very impressed with these rounds and have made them my carry round in my Ruger lcr. I carry BB's stoked in my gun and the PDX 357 in a speed loader or a stripper clip. I don't carry the BB's as extra rounds as I carry the reloaders in my pocket and am afraid the lead would get damaged. Thanks BB for these rounds. I trust my life and my families life with these rounds.
Jesse Gibson on 04/28/2012 07:15pm

Just ran some tests on BB Ammo. First try with this ProChrono. . .

The .38 is a K-38 14-4 from 1979 - 6" Barrel - My favorite small revolver
Buffalo Bore Heavy 38 SPL +P 158 grain LSWHC-GC

  • H: 1213
  • L: 1180
  • AV: 1200fps
  • ES: 33
  • SD: 13
  • Conditions:
  • T: 82F
  • B: 29.9 inHg
  • Humidity: 45%


LTC JFC on 12/22/2011 02:22pm
I built my 3" gun just for this load, a round butt Mod 10 with a standard weight barrel. It has and exposed backstrap, but is an all steel K-Frame so recoil is lively, but not punishing. What is punishing is the 1103 FPS muzzle velocity of the 158gr bullet. Finally, my beloved .38 revolvers deliver power without excuses. Over 400 foot pounds of energy on tap significantly boosts my confidence. The 2" grouping to POI at 25 yards made great ammunition outstanding. Thank You Buffalo Bore for making my .38s into modern and capable fighting handguns without having to upscale to .357 magnum frames and recoil.
Bullwinkle229 on 05/09/2011 09:31am
Just received my shipment of these rounds for my Ruger LCR. The revolver weighs just 13.5 oz. unloaded and these round are "stout" but manageable. As usual, the 38 p Buffalo's in my new snubby feel like 357's, the BB .357's in my Ruger GP-100 feel like 44 mags and the BB 45 heavy's and 454 Casull in my raging bull Taurus make my range buddys cringe when I shoot em'. For personal defense I never carry
anything but Buffalo Bore! And they make a great 9mm for my HK-P30.
aki on 03/11/2011 01:14am
very powerful out of my j frame it feels like a mild 357 so its a stiff and sharp punch but nothing to extreme but if you want to be able to trust a 38 snub then this and the 125 grain is the best choice
Leon Kenshalo on 06/22/2010 11:57pm
As an Alaskan, the only rounds I will carry in my light hiking .38, are Buffalo Bore Hard Cast Wadcutters. If I need to reach big game vitals to defend my family, I want a round that can penetrate deeply. BB are the deepest. Thanks Tim.
Dan Sanor on 04/26/2010 08:56am
I fired this ammo out of .357 magnum revolver with a "4 barrel. It is extremely comfortable to shoot for the ammount of stopping power it delivers. No problem at all with follow-up shots. If you are looking for quality personal defense ammo, in .38 p, give this a try.
Reno on 02/03/2010 06:25pm
I am a Police Officer as well as a firearms instructor in CT. I load these in my Ruger LCR. I shot these as well as Hornady Critical Defense, and Federal Hydroshock. I found the BB to shoot as well, as fast, but with about 30 more grains of weight. I like the extra power for my family's safety sake.
Joe Quintiliani on 01/22/2010 06:40pm
This is the only load I carry in my Smith J-Frame. I have full confidence that this load will perform as advertised every time. I can't rely on lower velocity JHP's that might not expand in a snubbie.
Peter Grant on 03/25/2009 01:20pm
This is an outstanding load! Peter Grant
George Moore on 03/18/2009 09:43pm
I bought this load for my then new Scandium J frame. Full power 357 ammo was impossible to control and the muzzel flash was horrendous. The BB 158 LHP proved to be stiff but , very controllable, accurate and terminal performance was astonishing for a 2" belly gun. I carry it in all my 2" and 4" mid bores. It's the BEST defensive load going for the 38 and beats most 357. Great stuff!

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