I can see your side of the coin and agree, if you gut shoot an elk with a barnes south of the diaphragm you will never see that elk again. I stand by my opinion though that the barnes and partition (at least in my experience) do the job on bones and anything north of the diaphragm without fail. I have never seen one deflect, I have heard the theory but never seen it happen. I imagine it would have something to do with the (light for caliber) offerings that they have. I tend to stick to the heavier bullets (example 200 opposed to 168 on .308 caliber) they market that because of the weight retention you can go lighter, but I still think you need the initial weight. Maybe I am wrong but so far its worked well for meNot calling you out Mike, but for the exact reasons you use Barnes I have changed over to softer bullets like the Berger and Matrix. We all have different expectations of a bullet so for us to all agree on one bullet just ain't happening!
I think the Barnes can be to hard for elk and opens to fast causing deflection instead of penetration, seen it proven several times on the front shoulder of elk. This year we tested the 165 Matrix on elk, hard quartering shots in the timber was more the norm this year and instead of just breaking the spine these bullets REMOVE a section of spine and blow it into vital organs, more than once we were lucky we were shooting fangable bullets, had a gut shot deer that tipped over like you shot him through the lungs due to the bullet going in and delivering enough energy to split the liver and disrupt other organs. A hard bullet would have likely caused a loss of an animal.
For me the Bergers have really shined in the less than ideal shot placement, when we were all shooting Barnes we were much more careful about shot placement due to loosing animal with less than ideal placement or bullets deflecting of bone.
I still shoot some Barnes bullets in situations where they work great, deer and antelope with high power rifles or coyotes. Looking at the Cutting Edge bullets they may be the ideal bullets with a little of both worlds!!