My daughter and I are trying to work up a hunting load for her savage axis 243 youth model. She is a beginning shooter so I started her off with some reduced loads with H4895 and 95 grain Hornady interlocks. Those shot fine and didn't kick enough to cause flinching. Then we shot some 58 grain V-max's with a normal load of Varget. Those made a slightly louder bang and slightly more kick and they shot just fine at 100 yards. Then I started with 'real' hunting loads. 40.0 grains Hybrid 100v and 95 grain Nosler ballistic tip 'hunting' bullets. (they are marked as hunting bullets on the box) Strange things happened at this point. The first shot when 3" left and 1/2" under the center of the target. Not bad at all for novice shooter and a new firearm. The second shot did not hit the target. The third shot concerned me enough that we stopped shooting. The purple ballistic tip hit the target about 3" right of center and it lodged in the foam poster board we used as a backing to the targets. The rest of the bullet was no where to be found. I checked the barrel and it is not lodged there. It did not hit anywhere that we could find on the 3' by 4' piece of plywood the targets were attached to. I inspected the cases for pressure signs but did not notice any. I wonder if bullets destabilized due to the shorter barrel (20") combined with a long/heavy-for-caliber-bullet.?. How might I know if that were the case? Any thoughts/ideas you guys have on the subject would be appreciated. P.S. In retrospect, I realize I should have checked the barrel after the first missed shot.