I remember when I was a young man, reading any hunting, reloading or shooting article or magazine, so as to know what bullet weight and construction was best for the cartridge I was going to use for a certain hunt and game to be taken during the hunt. I made a lot of mistakes, choosing the wrong bullet construction or weight bullet and sometimes both.
I remember one time as I was in the mountains in east Oklahoma, hunting whitetail deer and I found a place that looked great and only had about a 50yd shot to the trail the deer were using. I was there about an hour and here he came a fine eight point indeed. I lifted my rifle and in doing so with my gloves I had to much pressure on the trigger when I shouldered the rifle and the rifle discharged and the bullet hit the dirt right under his stomach and he leaped in the air and was gone. It is the only time I found myself weeping like a child for about ten minutes. Fortunately I even embarrassed myself and promised I would never cry like that again.
I have had a bunch of failures through the years but many more successes. I remember using a bullet that was not constructed properly for a shoulder shot and lost a big one in the delta area of Mississippi. I lost a fine buck on a gas line when I used to heavy of a bullet for the distance I needed that day and did not compensate correctly for the shot and the bullet hit under the deer. I did not cry over this one.
I think that the optimum bullet in weight and construction should be used with a cartridge for best results and less disappointments in the field. Now I know if you only have an 06 or 270 or just one rifle to use because of budget or that is how you prefer it, then the optimum bullet weight for the specific cartridge is not always possible. You might use a 165gr on whitetail deer and a 220gr on a brown bear and these will do the job but you would probably not want to use these two bullet weights in reverse. I understand that and thatís certainly reasonable to use different bullet weights for a given cartridge and it not be the optimum bullet that gives the best velocities, energy or momentum.
What I am getting at is that every cartridge has a bullet weight that is itís optimum weight. Like the 165gr in the 06 for velocity and energy or the 180gr for the 300Wby or the 225gr for the 358win and every cartridge has one bullet weight that performs the best for the cartridge. If a person has more than one rifle then he has the luxury to choose a rifle for the specific hunt he is going on and can use the optimum bullet weight for that cartridge and get the most out of his rifle on that certain hunt.
By choosing a specific cartridge for your hunt with the optimum bullet weight for that cartridge you minimize the failure in drop, bullet placement, energy, momentum and terminal results. If my 22-250 will not do the job due to bullet weight or any other factor for the game I am hunting, then it is time to step up to a more powerful cartridge instead of adding bullet weight and then minimizing your down range capability. Now if the 22-250 is all I have I would have to step up in bullet weight. I all so might need to forget the hunt considering the fact that the game might be just to big for my 22-250.
Everyone over the years develops a battery of rifles to do specific jobs. Mine is now limited to the 22-250, 30-06, 300Wby and 358Win. This satisfies me at the present and I could hunt anything in North America using these rifles to fit my game and hunting conditions. I could use each cartridgeís optimum weight bullet using the right construction and get the job done with less opportunity for failure.
If one would discipline their self to use a cartridge and itís optimum bullet weight and good bullet construction to meet the hunting situation, I believe the experience will be a positive one, many more times than it would be a negative experience. This is something I have over the years learned to do and my hunting success has been for the last 15yrs, about 98 percent success rate. This involved reloading, practice and good hunting techniques, but more than anything, when all these have been put together, the optimum bullet weight and construction has been the key to my success in taking game at various distances, conditions and game size. Yes, the optimum bullet weight and construction for a given cartridge and game hunted does increase the chance of success.