There is a certain subset of the handgun hobby that is into the big boomers. For them, the .44 Special is a cute little pipsqueak, the .41 Magnum doesn't count, and handgun calibers don't start until you're talking about .45 Colt loads that would wreck your grandpa's Peacemaker.
Of course, once you and your shootin' pal each have your .475 Linebaugh or .500 S&W Magnum, the only way to make it better than your buddy's is to launch a heavier bullet. Guys who are into this stuff in a big way will line up a whole bunch of wet newsprint and see how far into it the bullet will shoot, pretending that the wet newspaper is a charging grizzly or a pissed off elephant.
And these bullets will go a long, long way into wet newsprint. The key factors for penetration in wet newsprint (or a critter) would be a very heavy bullet with a lot of inertia and a high sectional density and, most importantly, a neutral (or even forward) weight bias so that the bullet will resist yawing as it decelerates, because once that bullet turns sideways, it's going to slow down in a hurry.
Now, these factors are not the same as what makes something "armor piercing", and vice versa. The big, heavy lead cylinder that will shoot through a bison from end to end will flatten into a shiny lead disc the size of a silver dollar hitting ballistic weave or hardened steel plate, and the dinky little needle of an M-16 bullet that will punch through that armor plate will tumble and break apart inside the bison...
All this chatter about terminal ballistics is to bring up a phenomenon I ran into on the internet this morning. There is a poster on a forum I frequent who is one of the aforementioned "big boomer" enthusiasts. It's all he can talk about. He can rattle off the names of the famous gunsmiths and cartridge developers in the large-bore revolver industry in his sleep. He can tell you just how much wet newsprint any load in any caliber will traverse like a teenage boy can tell you Peyton Manning's passing stats. And someone suggested that a .308 rifle round would penetrate steel better.
He was aghast! Heresy!
I agreed with the other poster; the high velocity rifle round with the smaller frontal area would be more likely to go through hard targets than big, heavy lead cylinders would.
He countered with "I'm sorry but if you're going to convince me, you'll have to show me studies..."
And that's when I realized: I'm not here to convince him. It's okay for someone to be wrong on the internet. There's no point in me trying to Google up a page full of links with which to beat him over the head.
I feel so cleansed. :D