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It’s not about what the recovered bullet looks like; it’s about the damage the bullet created.
For a long time now the sporting press has been idolizing recovered bullets. I’ll admit I have been guilty of this too. However, a recovered bullet really tells us very little. The problem has been that the sporting press will not show images of the damage a bullet creates inside an animal and many cannot comprehend that damage. So, we all started looking at recovered bullets and basing our analysis on their effectiveness with regard to how much they looked like a mushroom and on how much weight they retained.
If you have killed lots of big game and conducted meaningful autopsies of those animals you know you simply cannot look at a recovered bullet and determine how deadly it might have been. Of course bullet manufacturers and most gun writers will argue the point because photos of pretty bullets are cool to look at.
Big game season is on us once again and I urge hunters to stop bragging about the size of exit holes or how pretty their recovered bullets look. Base your lethality evaluations on the damage inside the animal and its reaction after the shot. You don’t need a recovered bullet to do those things.