You sure had to pose such a difficult question Steve. That is like someone asking you which is more important. Your heart or your brain or your blood. All three are neccesary for your life the same as accuracy, terminal effects and BC are neccesary for LRH.
You are absolutely right. If shots are 600 yards and less, the BC is one of the least of my concerns unless the wind is howling super hard but then, I have no buisness shooting in super high wind anyway. I did it once and took me 3 times to connect. This was 507 yards on a sitka
blacktail in a 17 MPH wind. I thought it was less, decided it was more and let her rip. The 3rd bullet hit dead on. When the math was done in reverse, it worked out to 17-20 MPH. That is more wind than I should have responsibley been shooting in. The bullet I was using had a BC of over .6 and the wind still beat me. Had I been using a bullet with .5 for a BC, the difference would have still only been less than 5". For practical responsible wind conditions, BC is not much a deciding factor for me. I can get nearly ANY respectable bullet to arrive at 600 yards with 1800 FPS+ which most hunting bullets expand down to 1800 FPS and some will at lower velocities.
For a bullet at 2810 FPS at 600 yards with a full 10 MPH at 90 degrees, the drift is 28" using a BC of .49. If you step up to a .59 all else being equal, it is 23" for a 5" difference. This is certainly not enough of a difference (IMHO) to toss terminal performance out the window for that extra 5".
My number 1 priority is accuracy. My second is that it will open up on game at the range(s) I intend to shoot. The BC is the 3rd most importand factor. For example, my pet 308 load is the 168 AMAX. It is scary accurate and opens up on sheep and deer at ranges I have no buisness hunting at. The BC is decent and comes into play at some point because I do need enough velocity at the target for it to do its job. Is the BC important to me? Absolutely. Is it my #1 concern? Not at all. The wind drift at practical hunting ranges in practical winds between my 168 AMAX and the 190 VLD is very minimal.
If the senario is such that these ranges are exceded and really long shots are taken then the 308 is no longer my choice and I move to the 338 Edge and for 2 reasons. It delivers a HUGE bullet very accurately and very high BC's are simply a bi-product of the bigger 338 loads. With the combo of weight and BC, the remaining velocity and subsequent energy is devestating. This is critical when shooting in the 600-1000 yard+ zone. So in this case, even though the BC is still #3 on my priority list, it is FAR more important than when my 308 is on the loose.
So in short, I think BC is semi important for up to 600 yards and becomes very important and increasingly more important as the distance grows. That said, when it comes to my beyond 600 yard guns, if ANY of the 3 components I listed are missing, another bullet will be tested untill I find one that has all 3.
#1 is accuracy. #2 is BC. Hopefully I can find the most accurate load(s) with VERY high BC's. F-Class X-Rings around here are small (1/2 MOA) and want as much forgivness as possible where if I am shooting at a big game critter, the kill zone is bigger and I can live with a wee bit less forgivness in lieu of terminal performance.
Many will contend that BC is #1 as it helps deliver the bullet with more energy and subsequent terminal effects and that IS true. However true it is, it doesnt equate to terminal performance if the load is not accurate enough to connect. Some others may contend that high BC bullets make for more accuracy in windy conditions as they are more forgiving with a minor amount of error on the shooter's part. Again, I cannot argue that point. Still yet, you need an accurate baseline in the first place to take advantage of the forgivness. Accuracy, terminal, BC in that order. It should be noted that accuracy and terminal effects in my mind are so close on the priority list that they are dang near equal. BC is a close third albiet it is third.