During the 1890’s to the 1930’s, the period when these rifle shot cartridges were the most popular, I think there are a couple of reasons not mentioned so far in this thread. Many people only owned one gun for hunting deer and, of course, it was a rifle. So, the shot cartridges allowed this one gun to serve both as a large game gun and, if a rabbit was seen, a shot round could be used without ruining a lot of meat if a soft point had been used. This would be especially true in “deer or hunting camps”. It was common during those years for as many as 15-20 guys to go out together for up to a month and much of the food was provided “off the land” as it was available. Venison is great, but a nice rabbit stew occasionally would be welcomed. Yes, many people also, owned a shotgun, but most people, if the primary hunt was for large game, would not have carried both a rifle and a shotgun. Afterall, this was not an African Safari with Porters and Gun Carriers. As for cost of the shot rounds, they were, for the most part, the same as for soft points.