I apologize for the typos in the last post. I will pick up where I left off.
Yes, Dentist to answer that question. And I am still outdoors as much as possible and still doing a lot of farm work and two years ago was personally seeing about 35 different deer stands for myself, my son in law and a few frinds. I have cut that down to about 20. I am still shooting all I can and I was a competative shotgun shooter but had to quit due to hearing loss, I was from before the days of electonic muffs. I have also shot archery competatively.
I could go on and on about anatomy and bullet performance and you see all sorts of responses that seem conflicting on here and it seems like you can not just get a straight answer. For every response of how well it worked another responds about how well it failed. The truth is there is no "magic bullet."
I am sorry but you can not use one bullet for all things unless you are extremely disciplined and an extremely good hunter and shot, so all of you disagreeing pat yourself on the back you must fit into that catagory
Just a couple of general rules to think about that might help simplify it.
1. Embrace the fact that you might need several loads if you use multiple calibers and hunt multiple species. That just lets you spend more time shooting to do load development.
2. Thin skinned game can be taken with a relatively thin skinned bullet.
Note the "relatively," that is one of the points people are going back and forth over.
2A Where are you wanting to shoot this animal? If you prefer the double lung shot, which is an excellent shot and will, if done correctly always be fatal, then you will benefit from a softer more expansive type bullet than someone like me who prefers, often due to terain, to take out a shoulder and plant the animal asap. This leads to a tiny bit more meat lost initially but with terrain and heavy coyote populations in my local area it saves more meat in the long run.
2B shot placement again, because not every animal comes out and poses like the pictures in your book or your posters you practiced on. My example here goes back to my friend taking his first deer and shooting it quartering away and aiming at the off front leg. The bullet fragmented just as it should but was deflected by the ribs and did not puncture the lungs. It ended up destroying the meat in the shoulder and making for a somewhat difficult follow up.
*So a point for me to remember is, I would have taken that same angle shot, therefor I do not carry varmint type or target type bullets to take game bigger than a coyote. OK someone just had a little anger well up. I am not say you can't, I am just saying I am not disciplined enough to not try that shot and If I cary a little bit tougher bullet it would make it on a deer. But what if it had been an elk. Well then I would beef it up even more, right? (just a side note, later I mention bullets I use, it was a ballistic tip in 130 gr, if I remember right from a 270 win therefor I use an Accubond and it does great for me in my 270)
3 Velocity. There have been so many good points already brought up here and this opens such a big can of worms, how can we simplify this a bit. We just have to know that bullets are designed to work at different "impact pressures", can we agree on that? Lets not think speed for a bit lets just imagine if we layed 10 different bullet designs down, tip up, on our work bench and dropped the same hammer straight down on the tip of each one from the same height. They would behave differently from each other. But if we lined new ones up again and did it but this time we held the hammer much higher but at the same height for all, we would see they performed differently, but also they perfomed differently from the first one of the same bullet. OK now throw into this mix, this is "Long Range Hunting." Is there anyone out there that if you are offered a shot at 200 yards you say, "Wait a second this is too close I need to back back out to 800 yards?" Well your bullet will perform differently at 200 and 800 yards. Yes that means that where it might have performed amazingly well on one distance it was sub par at the other but it could be reversed for a different bullet design all else being equal.
So it is not really the bullets fault if we use it for something it wasn't designed for or in the heat of the moment I forgot and used a target or varmint type thin skinned bullet and then went out and tried to penetrate the shoulder.
I have intentionally not named names up until this point other than the Barnes TTSX 180 gr in 308. They performed very well in Africa and in fact the guide with 20 plus years of experience as a head guide and my PH said they had never seen that many animal go down with no tracking from one hunter. They said they usually had to track one if not several per hunter. Well I have had that type of results from Nosler Accubonds too and Nosler Partitions. On mule deer, audad, moose, whitetail. I am currently probably carrying Hornady SST's in 140 grain 260 AI. The rifle shoots Amax, Berger VLD's, and probably the 142 SMK's the best but it is about 3/4 MOA with the SST's and for my style of shot placement that works very well. I use the 165 gr Accubonds in my 7 mm Rem Mag, and Accubonds in my 270 win, Vmax in all of my 22's but in varying sizes depending on the varmints and the conditions. I shoot 75 grainers from my 22-250 AI when the wind is up a little more. The list goes on but that brings up the next point.
4 BC and just plain out, what does your rifle like the best. There is a great video out of two friends shooting targets starting at 500 yards and firing three shots each and moving out 100 more yards and repeating until reaching 1700 yards. If you watch the video you will notice the number of hits by one of the shooter starts to go down the farther they are out. They were shooting, 6.5 mm 123 gr Scenar at 3020 fps, BC 0.547 and 6mm 115 gr DTAC 3025 fps BC 0.588. Can you guess which one started to miss more as the distance increased? But it really did't make a difference at closer range. See the reoccuring theme?
A lot of bullets would perform well under a lot of circumstances but if you start changing variables beyond the intended scope of design you will start to see performance decrease. "petals will break off" at too high of velocity. But given several hundred more yards of loss of velocity and all else being the same that bullet probably would have performed flawlessly. ( A side note there about some of the comments about the barnes choice of gr in caliber, the only bullet I recovered on the Namibia trip was caught in the offside skin of a large gemsbok bull and it retained its petals and 95% of its weight. If it had been onother configuration than the 180 gr perhaps it would not have been able to. I have had similar retention on Accubonds on slightly lighter animals and hope to say that I have with the SST's soon)
So here is the best part, we all just need to shoot more.
We need to practice more and try more loads and try different bullets. My personality actually leads me to wanting just one bullet to load for everything and not have to worry about it any more. So I have to encourage myself to try more and different ideas. I have dropped animals in there tracks with a double lung shot, with Nosler Accubonds. But when you look closer you see there were additional factors. Trauma to the spine as well or to the Aorta, and I misspoke when I said the ascending on my last post it can be the transverse as well or even the descending portion but with where I aim I am hoping to perforate the ascending as it exits the heart. With a heart shot, by the way I saw one study that said a whitetail could still run at least 150 yards. The double lung showed to let them make it less. Still dead either way, in my mind just cover and terrain making a tracking job easier or harder would let me see where one was more adventageous than the other.
So even if we have the "magic bullet" found I would still try new developments and considerations for different hunting scenerios becasue the worst that can happen is you find your load is still the best and have even greater confidence in your gear when you hit the field.