I've finally realized that lower velocity means better penetration. When I started hunting with muzzleloaders, I bought into the magnum craze. Since then, I've come to believe that less is more. With a rangefinder, and a bullet drop compensator scope, trajectory doesn't matter much, so magnum loads aren't needed. I'm guessing 95% of muzzleloading is for deer, so most bullets are designed for deer. When I used the Barnes bullets, I believe I was still using a 150 gr. 777 load. I shot a cow at 150 yards, and it did drop the elk, but I needed followup shots to kill it. I started using Barnes bullets for high power because my butcher would put all of the spent bullets she removed from game in a tray on the counter The Barnes all looked like the adds. Perfect. But I was using 160 gr in 7mm, and the SD was .283. They were perfect. I shot an elk with a 140 gr. Barnes 7mm, and didn't get pass through, but it worked.
I started with pure lead Precision Rifle bullets, 400 gr. QT's (they made them custom for me, but won't any more) They expanded to over 1", and I never got full penetration. My buddy got a pass through on his second shot at 200 yards once. I've shot at 3 elk that ran away without any sign of a hit. I'll never know for sure if I missed, or if they died a miserable death hours or days later. The beauty of a pass through shot is that there is a blood trail. Another buddy uses the 300 gr. Barnes Expander bullets (which I haven't tried) and is very happy with them. That huge hollow point should act like a large meplat on a hardcast bullet and leave a hole on entry. The pointed bullets slip through the skin like a knife.
One of the most compelling cases for the Remington 405 gr. bullets was the price. They were costing me around $0.60 each, including shipping. I'm cheap enough that I know I'll shoot more if the bullets are priced right. I was shooting some Barnes TSX 450 gr. bulelts, with good accuracy at 200 meters, but at $1.35 each, it made me rethink. I guess the experimentation is part of the fun. I'm looking at swaged paper patched bullets next. I believe the paper can enhance the accuracy over a sabot. We'll see.