Hey Romey I know and understand where you are coming from on this, but not every animal is the same and reacts the same when hit and certainally not every load or bullet reacts the same. I shoot all the time and right now I shoot 7MM RUM I truley love this weapon. I use to shoot a 7MM Mag in the Brownig A-bolt Meddallion. In 2004 I had a 360 inch bull at 398 yards and shot him quartering towards me, it hit him so hard it knocked him completely over backwards. There was a cloud of dust that came off that bull that looked like a bomb went off. I started heading over to the bull when I noticed the bull was laying there with his head up, all of a sudden the bull jumped up and ran off. It was right before dark, so had started looking for him the next day. Three days later I caught up with this bull and put him down for good. The reason I am telling you this story is that the bullet hit the bull right in front of the shoulder at the base of the neck, perfect shot at that angle, the bad thing is the bullet went down the side of the outside of the bulls ribs under the shoulder. It had enough energy to completely knock the bull off his feet, but the bullet did not go the direction it should have gone. I also seen a guy shoot a small spike buck at 90 yards with a 300 Wheatherby Mag with a 220 gr bullet and not even go completely through the little bucks spine. I have also seen a giant 387 bull that was estamated by the CDOW to be 1200 pounds on the hoof go straight down when shot with a 30-06 with a 150gr bullet drop right in his tracks at 326 yards being hit the same way I had shot that big 360 bull. No matter how much wind you keep blowing there are a lot of poeple out there that if they start flinching at the range they WILL flinch in the field. I personnally have put over 1350 rounds through my 7MM RUM since I bought it in 2006 and 1000's of rounds through my 22-250 and practice shots out past 850 yards. Most of your regular hunters go out shoot there gun 5 or 6 times to make sure there gun is on and go hunting. I have had the privilage of seeing a lot of animals taken over the years and I still believe shot placement over energy foot pounds
Im not saying anyone should shoot what I shoot or there wrong, not by any means, Im saying I likely see more variety in calibers per year then most do in ten and see results good bad and some, like your story that leaves one thinking , wow thats odd. I do believe some investigation and thought would show what happened as to why he went over, i suspect the energy had little to do with it and was alot of animal reaction.
I have come to believe some things for taking game, number ONE is shot placement then in no particular order is energy and terminal velocity at given range, Sectional density of the bullet and something which is more a theory on my part but if the moment of impact if the animal has his lung full of air or deflated and even if the shot hits between beats, things that would be hard to prove but ever been punched in chest between breaths, knocks wind out of you and can drop a person like a rock. I think sometimes thats what happens when a lung or heart shot takes thier legs out from under them at impact.
Anyway regardless of the theory, the other things are all required almost equally to have a clean ethical shot, if you miss one you truelly limit the equation and as such limit the ability to take game ethically.
So to conclude, at the end of your 3 day tracking of a perfect shot at that angle, were you wishing youd used more gun? Completely proves what I have been meaning. I have taken elk with 7mm mag, 30.06, 300 win mag, 300 wthrby and 338 mag, and seem scads of elk taken with calibers in between I have seen a 280 emptied EMPTIED into vitals of a big cow and my 300 put her down when the guy was empty. The reason i use what i use is i never felt under gunned and as of yet havent tracked more then 15 minutes for one cleaning shot with a 300 win mag. Not to say a 30.06 isnt as good at its terminal range or a multitude of other calibers but they again, are all within reason for the size and range of the animal, a 243 is not that cat nor IMHO is a 25.06