I was faced with this same situation several years ago. I decided to live a little since I'm getting older and to actually USE some of the stuff I had been "saving".
One of those items was a S&W M19, P&R, 2.5" barrel, a sweetheart revolver if there ever was one. I wanted more than a +P but less than a full house 357. I set about developing a 38 Magnum or 357 Lite, your choice of terms. I knew that in the short 2.5" barrel I needed roughly 1100fps in order to properly utilize the 125 grain JHP I wanted to use. Load development with my Chrono and several powders led me to a load that gave me 1165fps and 3" groups at 25 yards. Water jug testing showed that I was getting full expansion and I was a happy camper.
With all of that said, I purposely developed the loads in 357 cases just to make sure they stayed out of 38's.