The Pennsylvania Game Commission has produced a recent study on the question of whether rifles or shotguns are safer to use for hunting deer in populated areas. It's common wisdom that shotguns, because of their limited range, are safer than rifles and many states, especially in the east and midwest, have such restrictions.
It is important to note that the study IS NOT an experimental one. It is the result of a mathematical modeling exercise, in which certain assumptions were made about rifle bullets and shotgun slugs; and it is predictive of what would happen IF certain conditions were met. In this type of study, if the assumptions are changed, so are the results.
While the method of analysis is acceptable, and widely used in the sciences, it is not and not even its authors hold that it is a "test" or direct comparison, and it may well be the case that the simplifications and assumptions necessary to work with such a model don't reflect the real world. Read the study yourself, and come to your own conclusions.
Download the PDF file here.
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