The following is a comment posted by reader uncommon_sense:
Actually, the M16 platform (and the semi-automatic only AR15s) are not optimized to kill, they are optimized to wound. The U.S. military strategy for decades was that if you wound one enemy soldier, you actually take three off the battle field because two more enemy soldiers help their wounded comrade. On the other hand . . .
Common hunting rifles/calibers such as the wildly popular .30-30 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield are much more devastating to human targets. I would rather take a round from the rifle that the lunatic used in Newtown Connecticut over any hunting rifle or shotgun (with buckshot or slugs) any day.
In fact that brings up the law of unintended consequences. If a lunatic is going after a bunch of children, a single bullet coming out of a common .30-06 Springfield hunting rifle would have no trouble killing 3 to 5 small children. Thus it would only take about 5 shots (a common hunting rifle capacity) fired into a crowd of children to kill between 15 and 25. As awful as it sounds, spree killers would actually be more effective if they used alternatives to the type of rifle that the lunatic used in Connecticut.