What do you look for in a big game bullet and why? For me the answer depends upon a lot of factors. When I was a broke college student out west, I had one rifle for deer and elk hunting, and didn't want to to change ammo and resight between seasons. Accordingly, I ultimately landed upon handloaded 180 partitions out of an 30-06 at 2875fps for everything. Part of the choice was out of necessity. I'm badly color blind and need exit wounds to trail an animal. In addition, I long ago concluded I prefer to do my hunting before I shoot so when rifle hunting, I purposely try to take out shoulders (the loss of few pounds of meat is worth trade off for me). To do this on deer and elk, I needed a stout heavier bullet. As additional firearms entered the mix, I found myself specializing rifle bullet combinations for particular species. For example, in 340wby, my bullet of choice was 210 partitions as I wanted something flat enough to take 500 yard shots, but that would bust shoulders while still exiting at timber distances on elk. For deer (this was still when I lived out west), I landed upon a 300wby that would shoot one hole groups with 165g spire points (hornady interlocs). This combination rarely exited even 400+ yards, but out of dozens of deer and antelope, I think only 1 ever took a step when well hit (3450fps does that). I tried premium bullets in this rifle, but could never get the stellar accuracy the factory 165 spire points provided. When I moved to NY in 2008, I quickly realized the Weatherbys were less than ideal for woods hunting. While the 210 partitions at 3250fps are very effective on deer and antelope at any hunting range, the ammo has become very difficult to find and my handloads could never quite match the combination of accuracy/velocity the factory ammo provided. I ended up using the move help me rationalize new purchases:35 Whelen, 308, and 6.8. For woods ranges, using standard (200 or 225g bullets) the Whelen. is a real thumper providing excellent expansion and penetration. For hunting over most of our plots, the 308 or 6.8 are ideal--again with standard bullets. Standard bullets at standard velocities are reliable and provide good killing power while providing a high likelihood of an exit with broadside shots. Our largest plot does reach out 350yds. For this, I've dusted off a 7STW shooting 160g accubonds. My choice of accubonds was a balancing of accuracy and performance considerations. I wouldn't want to use a non premium bullet at 3400fps if a deer walked out 30yds. Are premium bullets always the answer? No they are not. Do they always provide the best accuracy? Not in my experience. Are they justified on deer size game using medium weight bullets at standard velocities? Only if they provide a level of confidence you otherwise wouldn't have, or you frequently find yourself shooting the south end of a north bound deer. Do they kill quicker? Not necessarily. On broadside shots, particularly at magnum velocities, I believe standard bullets that are more explosive will clearly kill a second or two quicker and are more likely to have an animal drop at the shot.. At standard velocities, standard bullets still give nothing up to premium bullets on broadside shots in my experience. For me, what the choice come downs to is balancing a number of factors including likely range, accuracy in the particular rifle, size of the game, and the confidence it gives the shooter. YMMV. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts.