I have only been reloading for only a few years and hunting is why I do it. This is a Long Range Hunting site, so terminal performance on game is not my only consideration. Primary considerations are ACCURACY POTENTIAL/BC, TERMINAL PERFORMANCE RELIABILITY, EASE OF LOADING FOR ACCURACY, and COST. So far my preferences are, by order of preference:
Nosler Accubond: Pro's: Very reliable performance usually found under the skin on the far side with 65% weight retention. Usually one of the top bc's for their weight. Con's: A little more expensive.
* Primary choice in 25-06(110g), 270win(140g), 280rem(140g)
Berger Hunting VLD: Pro's: Clearly the top in BC, kills like no other, lower cost. Con's: Doesn't fit easily in non-custom guns, didn't expand reliably in my .25.
* By far top choice in my 7mm Mag in 168gr for both deer and elk
TXS: Pro's: Legal in Cal where I hunt pigs. Shoots sub MOA in every gun I have tried. Best penetration I've seen for tough game. Con's: Poor BC for weight and Very Expensive.
Nosler B-tips: Pro's: Inexpensive and shoot well with good bc. Con's: Don't always penetrate enough even on deer/pigs.
Nosler Partitions: Pro's: Reliable on all game. Con's: Expensive and moderate BC.
*primary choice in .243(95g) for youth hunters for deer/cow elk up to 300yd max.
You'll always find pros/cons with every choice because no one bullet satisfies every hunting scenario. Lets face it, you go out hunting with the intent to drop your game at 750 yards and you see the trophy you are looking for at 30 yards because you know how to keep quite and stalk too. You shoulder your rifle and shoot at 30 yards, right? Of course. You think that Btip or VLD is going to blow up? It could. Or it may blaze through and kill the game instantly. I've had it happen. And I've never witnessed a blow up, EVER, with any bullet on my game. Only out right blow up I've ever witnessed was the Hornady SST on a TX pronghorn.
I have tons of TSX and TTSX on my shelf. Why? because the bullets work for me, PERIOD. The same is true for ABs, Btips, and VLDs.
I think the AB is less necessary when most shots are long. If you want to stick with Nosler, then shoot the Btip. I've been enjoying the results with the VLD for the past few seasons now on eastern whitetails with no regrets to report there either. Finally, when I feel like it, I take out a rifle that shoots a barnes bullet just because.
I've got 4 rifles dedicated to the VLD line first. If for whatever reason, they become unsatisfying, the Btips and Barnes are ready.
I don't mean any disrespect but...I don't believe the perfect bullet has been made yet. I use the bullet that my rifle likes , for the situation . I gave up a long time ago searching for a , "do-it-all" bullet. Good Luck.
No disrespect taken, just looking for opinions to possibly open my mind to new experiences based on others experiences. I agree there is give and take. The TSX is a great example, because it shoots sub moa in all my guns and is not as hard to find the right load or find a way to fit it in the magazine, BUT they are damn expensive and have crappy BC's if you are trying to get the most out of your gun. If all I would ever shoot is 400 yards, I would shoot them more. The accubond seems to the the best all-around to me, but not necessarily the best.
Each one of my rifles likes a different brand bullet. My custom .220 Ackley Swift really likes Bergers. My Ruger M77 25-06 shoots the 100 gr BTS Sierra and the 117 ge Sierra the best. My 30-06 (a customized 03 Springfield) likes the 150 Sierras.
I am working on a new load for my custom commercial Mauser .300 WBY. Just rebarreled it and my old standby loads with 180 gr Nosler Partition don't shoot real well....about 2 min. groups, shot less than 1/2 min groups with old barrel when it was new. Trying the original Noslers with different load and some 180 gr BTS Sierras.
I use Sierra 117gr spitzer game kings in 25-06 and Hornady SST 117gr.I have found that the GameKings group better with H4831,where as the SST likes imr 4350 both have got me coyotes over 400yds. I have found that I need to match the power, to the bullet, to the gun, for best results.