Killing with Free Projectiles

The purpose of discharging a firearm from close quarters at an animal’s head is to kill the animal instantly. The free projectile, which may be a bullet or a charge of lead shot, achieves this by destroying the part of the brain which controls breathing and other vital functions: the medulla oblongata (the brain stem). In the split second prior to this, the projectile should also pass through the cerebral cortex (upper brain) and the cerebrum (mid-brain), causing extensive damage and destruction (Figure 1). This damage, in addition to the concussive effect of the impact of the projectile, will render the animal instantaneously insensible and the subsequent destruction of the brain stem will prevent any possibility of recovery. 


Figure 1: Lateral view of a mammalian brainKey: Upper brain/cerebral cortex (1), Mid-brain/cerebrum (2), Brainstem/medulla oblongata (3), Spinal cord (4)


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