I have been studying the debate of light/solid/fast vs heavy/bonded/slow for several years and have been experimenting in the field. Here in Texas, I cull whitetails and elk for ranches and donate the meat to the homeless. I have shot a lot of both and am always searching for quick kills and very little tracking. I guide hunts each year and have about a dozen hunters each year to observe. First of all, it does not take a lot to kill a whitetail deer. A .243 works great all the time. Shot placement is the key. I use a 30-06 for everything and have experimented with virtually all manufacturers and weights. Everything works, just some work better than others. I have found the 110 grain TTSX to be one of the best killers. At 3500 fps, it is a lightning bolt for deer. I would show you a picture, but no deer I have ever shot has captured one. I can tell you that the heavier 150 and 168 grain TTSX has been dismal on whitetails. It is my opinion that they are not going fast enough to reliably expand on this light, thin skinned game. One ranch I guide on does not allow Barnes bullets, period. My next favorite is the 150 grain Swift Scirocco driven at 3050 fps from my 24" Pacnor barrel. Devastating performance from all angles. For culling elk, I use the 130 grain TTSX at 3200 fps and the same Swift Scirocco with 150 grains. Great shock effect, destroyed vitals and DRT is what I like.
In Africa, I cull hunt only and the meat is used by villages or it is sold commercially. I also drill water wells there, but that is a different story. Again, I am looking for the most effective bullet I can find. Last year I shot 51 wildes and 10 oryx. I experimented with 180 grain Scirocco, 180 A-frame, 200 grain Partition, 200 grain Norma Oryx, 180 grain Sierra Pro Hunter, 180 grain Speer HotCor, 240 grain Woodeigh Weldcore, and 168 grain Barnes TTSX. 5 shots for each then switch. Best ones were used over again. The best performer was the 180 grain Scirocco. Next was the 180 a-frame, followed by the partition and oryx. The ProHunter and HotCor, killed great and I would use them any time on wildes. The Woodleigh was a novelty and killed every wilde I shot at, but it did nothing special. The TTSX was the worst performer of the group with the longest tracking jobs. All of the bullets worked fine with the exception of the Barnes.
I shot 25 zebras at one area and used A-frames and Remington Ultra Bonded Corelokt. The a-frames punched thru every zebra and killed effectively. The 180 grain Remington would expand magnificently and penetrate all the way to the opposite skin and sometimes exit. But the internal damage was massive and the zebras all died quicker and with less tracking than the A-frame.
I shot 50 impala with my .223 loaded with 55 grain soft points. Slip it in behind the shoulder, and it destroys the internals without messing up any meat.
Point of all this is that I am a fan of light, fast Barnes TTSX for plains game applications. I am not a fan of them at normal speeds against less than kudu/eland species. As a guide, I see way too many hunters using too much bullet for deer hunting. I am always nervous when the hunter shows up with his latest long range build and boxes of handloaded cannon fodder with tough, heavy bullets. Those are the ones I end up on long tracking jobs or lost deer. The guy that shows up with a green box of Corelokts or blue box Federal is going home with a deer and usually without a tracking job.
Great data indeed. Thank you. Does your good results with 130 gr TTSX and less satisfying results with 168 gr TTSX, both out of the 30-06 lead you to conclude that a 30-06 does not drive the 168 gr TTSX fast enough? Would you expect better results from the 168 gr TTSX out of a .300 mag, especially the faster ones (Wby, RUM, etc.)?