The 140gr HPBT is a poor choice for hunting as it rarely expands and tends to pencil through game.
[IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/Huntingpa_toucan/smilies/tango_face_surprise.png[/IMG] The first part of this sentence is correct, but the second part is way off base. Hollow point (HP) bullets should not be used for big game hunting, but for the exact opposite reason. They will easily break apart and offer very poor penetration. That bullet will explode like a mini hand grenade the minute it hits its mark. They are capable of killing deer with ideal shots (drop them stone cold dead in their tracks), but can lead to lost animals very easily if any bone is encountered.
Hollow points should be relegated to varmint/target shooting. At one time they were favored by some shooting long range at deer sized game, but there are much better bullets for that now days.
I must clarify I was referring specifically to the Hornady Match BTHP bullets. Due to their heavier jacket construction (along with the Sierra MatchKing) they tend to produce unpredictable results ranging from total fragmentation to pencil point wounding.
As for HP bullets their are two different styles, Varmint and Match. The Varmint style bullets are light weight with paper thin jackets designed to be shot at high velocity to transfer all of their energy to the target and disintegrate upon impact. The match ones are a different animal entirely as jacket thickness, and terminal performance, varies by bullet even among the same manufacturer. They are designed generally heavy for caliber specifically to fly through the air as consistently as possibly and the HP is simply a result of the manufacturing process rather than serving a specific purpose. This is why the closed HP Nosler RDF line exists and the reason competitors close the HPs to point the bullets and increase BC.
While they were not designed for it some Match bullets work well on game such as the Bergers and A-Max/ELD-M while others do not such as the Hornady BTHP Match and the Sierra MatchKing. If you look over at the Long Range hunting sites the Berger and other Tipped Match bullets are still the preffered bullet for the 500+ yard crowd.
The reason for it is rather straight forward, at extended ranges when velocity tapers off so does the hydrostatic shock produced by the bullet. With conventional bullets this results in less and less damage and a delayed killing the farther you go. In order to overcome the loss in hydrostatic shock you require fragmentation to increase the size of the permanent wound cavity. Additionally at longer ranges the bullets used are typically heavy for caliber which helps to maintain weight for penetration. For example in my .300 WM I shoot 212gr and 225gr bullets, even if you lose 40% of the bullet weight on impact you still have a 135gr projectile moving through the animal.
The issues arises when these match bullets are utilized on game at close range with a high muzzle velocity. At long range enough energy has bled off to allow a large chunk of the base to penetrate like a conventional bullet. However up close they can be pushed past their limit to the point of total failure as you stated above. That is the reason for the ELD-X, it has a thicker base and interlock ring to help retain weight to aid penetration on close range impacts while still allowing for the necessary fragmentation at longer ranges.
Well to make a long story short the main point is that certain match bullets can be used to great effect but just like any other bullet they have to be used within their limitations. The Hornady Match BTHP is not one of those bullets but the ELD-X and ELD-M are.