I load 250gr Lead head cast Keith bullets in front 18.5gr 2400 for Marlin 1894. Have only shot one deer, which was a good sized buck at about 50yds. Passed clean through both shoulders, he ran about 75 yds and piled up. I personally think if you are making close to a half inch hole without expansion that its plenty big coming out. See no reason to not try the XTP's though, they are supposed to work well on deer. I have thought about it but still have a few hundred of the Keith bullets to use up.
Funny thing is I had plenty of pigs until I started carrying that rifle to the stand, which is a big part of the reason for my load. Haven't seen one since, which is almost like they know I got some big [censored] bullets with their name on them.
Concho "I know enough to post here in redneck pot smoking bunker......that's for sure."