The current newstand issue of Handguns magazine has a table at the end of the letters section showing penetration and expansion in bare and denim clad geletan.
The 158Gn +P LSWC-HP ammo I had been carrying, which I get free and shots to point of aim. Did great in bare geletan, and piss poor in clothed.
I avoid the 125Gn loads, becuase my fixed sighted SW442 is factury regulated for 158 Gn ammo. The 125Gn loads hit about 4" low at 15yards (becuase of their higher velocity and lower recoil).
One of the better performing loads in their test was the 130Gn Winchester SXT. I'm going to order a box and see how they shoot. Hopefully the slightly heavier bullet will shoot to closer to point of aim.
If I have to choose between a non expanding loads that hits where I aim, or an expanding load that hits 4" low, I'll stick with the non expanding load.
For what it's worth, Evan Marshall is very fond of the 158 gr LSWC HP +P loads, especially from snubbies. Now I don't agree with everything that he says, in fact I sometimes disagree with some of his thoughts and methods, but I do agree with him on one important point. That's gel isn't everything. In real world scenarios, the above mentioned load has proven pretty darn effective. The tests with fabric covering the gel usually involves 4 layers of denim. So that may not represent and simulate hits on all types of clothing. I like to carry my snubby for compactness during Summer, so light clothing such as a t-shirt is all that's likely to be encountered anyway. And in extreme cold weather even the best of modern HP's is likely not to expand after passing through heavy, layered clothing. There are all sorts of opinions these days about ammo testing and effectiveness. I used to be a gel junkie only so to speak. But these days I want to see actual street data to back up any gel tests. If you use gel in conjunction with actual results on the street, you are likely to have a better idea about the potential effectiveness of a given round than if you only look at one source. As Evan Marshall once said, even though the 230 gr .45 ACP Federal Hydra-Shok often shows less than spectacular expansion in gel, he has yet to see one dug out an actual person that failed to expand....from any barrel length. Now again, this isn't an endorsement of Evan Marshall or his Stopping Power series of books. I don't even own the books. But I think it's a good idea to check around and ask for opinions of others who have used a particular load in a defensive situation. I have checked around about the above .38 special load and it seems to get good responses as a pretty darn effective stopper. Plus, with the low velocities of a 2" barrel, the lead HP is going to be more likely to expand that a copper jacketed bullet. I think this load is a good choice for that weapon type. It's what I carry in my snubby.