Mythbusters: Cutting down a tree with a machine gun!


February 14, 2008, 01:44 AM
Anyone else catch Mythbusters tonight! Minigun, M249 SAW, Thompson and looks like loads of fun. Its always great to see people (especially Californian's) having so much fun with automatic weapons. I also think its funny that they mention that they have to leave CA to even test the myth.

BTW I just have to say, Kari taking down the tree with the minigun....just plain sexy:o

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February 14, 2008, 01:59 AM
Its on my DVR. I'll have to watch it tomorrow.
+1 for Kari with guns being really really hot.

February 14, 2008, 02:02 AM
Ok, some of us don't have tv. Did they succeed? What sorta' tree? What gun? How much ammo did they burn in the attempt?

And didn't they *just* do a show on shooting a circle out of the floor? This kinda' stunt can't be *that* different, can it?

February 14, 2008, 02:05 AM
This kinda' stunt can't be *that* different, can it?

Well, I've taken branches out of trees with a .22LR (and lots of shots). So I imagine a small to medium sized tree woudln't be a problem for a machine gun.

February 14, 2008, 02:21 AM
Hate to give away spoilers, but here you go....

The seemed to only fire one drum mag with the Thompson on a tree that was quite large, obviously it didn't do squat.

The M249 they put a lot more rounds on target and penetrated it but didn't cut it down.

The Minigun....In a probably 30 seconds or so (I know they said it was under a minute) it caught fire and was chopped in half.

I would say the trees were average mature tree size and I believe they were pines. Sorry I'm not good with the details I was too caught up eyeballing the guns and Kari so I wasn't really paying much attention to what they were saying or the narration.

Maybe a clip from the episode will appear on youtube or something at some point and someone can post it.

February 14, 2008, 02:25 AM
The guns (Thompson submachine gun, M243 SAW, .30 Dillon Gatling Minigun) were used against 3 pine trees that had been cut down and then the trunk of the tree reinserted into the ground in the Arizona desert. The Thompson fired by Grant did not do much damage. The M243 with its .223 Remington bullets fired by Tori fully penetrated the tree trunk, but did not cut it down. Tori fired 3 belts through the SAW. The .30 Dillon fired by Kari did cut down the tree in about 45 seconds. The .30 Dillon was then fired by Tori into a mesquite fir tree that was reported to be 4 times as dense as the pine. The fir tree was cut down in 1:08 mins.

February 14, 2008, 02:32 AM
I say try a similar test with a squad of three shooters with appropriate arms. Just for fun, a timed test to "test" the effective penetrative ability of a given caliber with firearm and sustained rate of fire.

Something like:

Pump/Semi-Auto 12 Gauge Shotgun w/slugs
Lever Action 30-30 or 444 Marlin/44 Magnum
M1/M1A Semi-Auto

I say the M1/M1A would win. Just for fun of course. :neener:

February 14, 2008, 03:15 AM
You need to look no further than your own Civil War to see the devastating effect of lead on wood.

February 14, 2008, 03:50 AM
didnt see this episode, so I dont know the detials of the myth they were testing, or thier findings, but I can say for a fact, that 2-4 people with aks,ar's, and sks's, can take down an average sized Washington State pine tree pretty easily and quickly.Be prepared to move quick though, they dont always fall with any warning, or where you expect them too.1 only missed me by about 2 feet.Still, a very, very fun way to get firewood.:D

February 14, 2008, 05:43 AM
A friend of mine was in the Army in 1984 and said they did that on the range one time with an M60. They weren't really trying it was just on their day there that tree finally gave up the ghost and fell over, so their DI had them shoot all the branches off then.

February 14, 2008, 05:49 AM
M243? No such animal.

February 14, 2008, 08:23 AM
That was pretty entertaining.

The mini-gun would be fun but the 3000 rounds a minute (the empty shells were POURING out of it) and that they shot it for about 2 minutes (a minute per tree) would get expensive REAL fast. But if I wasn't paying for it...mowing down a 2 foot diameter tree (and setting it on FIRE in the process) is what I would call a good time :-)

February 14, 2008, 08:24 AM
Its M249...

February 14, 2008, 08:42 AM
A similar thing has been the staple of black powder rendezvous around here for years. Posts , maybe 2x2, 2x5 or 4x4 set in the ground and teams of black powder shooters each go at their post until it hits the ground. Doesn't take as long as you might think.

February 14, 2008, 08:43 AM
On a similar note, a common (and fun) team event at a lot of competitive shoots is to shoot through a 4x4. Each team starts out with a clean 4x4, and first team through wins. Fun to see the .45's blowing large chunks out but reloading more, and the 9mm's gnawing away with larger mags.

Edited to add: Man, oldgold beat me by less than a minute!

chris in va
February 14, 2008, 08:47 AM
I *really* wanted to go to bed, but had to stick around for Kari buzzing the mesquite tree. :D

That was one expensive chainsaw. Someone care to figger out how much it cost at today's ammo prices? 3000 rounds of whatever that minigun uses...

Oh and the way they were using the Thompson so far away made me laugh.

February 14, 2008, 08:51 AM
That reminds me of this picture; when Maxim was trying to sell his MG to China, he invited the Chinese ambassador to a demonstration where he cut down a tree in a London park with a machine gun, and the response he got was "there are cheaper ways of cutting down trees".

Frightener 88
February 14, 2008, 08:51 AM
For the tree that took 1:08...if ammo was 50 cents a round, which isnt uncommon, $1700

February 14, 2008, 08:52 AM
The tax payers probably paid for it. I figure the mini gun belongs to a gov contract security firm. They probably said burn as much ammo as you want, we have plenty.

February 14, 2008, 08:56 AM
You need to look no further than your own Civil War to see the devastating effect of lead on wood.
That stump was the first thing which came to mind when I started reading this thread. I've seen the stump in the Smithsonian.
Sounds like the boys & girls just wanted to play with machine guns again...since this one really wasn't even a myth. I'd say a 22" Oak stump in the Smithsonian was proof already that enough bullets will chop down a tree.
And who here hasn't lined up with a couple friends to see how many .22 rounds it takes to "chop down that little bush over there"?

February 14, 2008, 09:42 AM
The tax payers probably paid for it. I figure the mini gun belongs to a gov contract security firm. They probably said burn as much ammo as you want, we have plenty.

Nope, they were at Dillon aero in the last minigun test that SUV with the custom roof was in there, I figure Jamie being an industry guy knows the owner.

February 14, 2008, 09:57 AM
We cut down a small sappling with a Marlin 60 once, that was fun.

I wonder how much it costs Dillon to reload for the minigun? Considering they will have all the equipment and Dillon loves shooting the miniguns it probably doesn't cost "that" much (maybe 10 cents a shot which is still $300/min). Plus it is free publicity for the know they like having pretty women hanging over their guns too.

Joe Meyer
February 14, 2008, 10:27 AM
A friend and I cut down a 4" oak. It took three shots. He shot it first with a .50 muzzle loader, and then I shot it twice with a 45/70. Big slow bullets work better for cutting trees down than small fast ones, IMHO.

February 14, 2008, 11:05 AM
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see that episode, but I wanted to. The power was out:(

February 14, 2008, 11:41 AM
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see that episode, but I wanted to.
Since they run MythBusters marathons all the time, you'll have plenty of future chances to see that one.
Three of my favorite episodes are: 1) Shooting into water for penetration with all sorts of firearms from handguns up through a .50 BMG .... 2) shooting the rope through to save a hanging Buster .... and (3) the "Confederate rocket". Well, I must admit that blowing up the cement truck was a really good segment also! Oh yeah, and machine-gunning the car was fun to watch.
Aw hell, any episode which involves blowing something up or shooting guns is usually good. I think that would be just about EVERY episode :)

February 14, 2008, 11:52 AM
link to video

the episode is in different parts and the link above it to just one of the parts, but they are all on youtube.

February 14, 2008, 12:37 PM
Well if the mini gun is 3,000 rounds a minute, and it took them 47 seconds to shoot it down, then they used about 2,350 rounds for the pine tree, plus another 3,400 for the other tree (based upon a 1:08 time). So about six thousand rounds fired, plus what they spent on the Thompson and SAW.

Sounds like a tough job!

February 14, 2008, 12:41 PM
The second tree burst into flames before it went down.

(Note to my inner-survivorman -- use minigun to start campfire.)


Owen Sparks
February 14, 2008, 12:59 PM
The MythBusters crew has done a lot for the image of recreational shooting as firearms are presented as tools that are fun to use rather than evil racist killing machines that must be eliminated for "the children".

February 14, 2008, 01:17 PM
do they make a mini gun for squirrel hunting?

February 14, 2008, 01:30 PM
do they make a mini gun for squirrel hunting?
You can buy a "steel BB" miniguns that are CO2 powered to cut pop cans in half.
Or how about a .22LR version?
However, a basic shotgun will do the same damage to a squirrel for a lot less initial cash outlay.

February 14, 2008, 01:32 PM
Not a tree, but equally impressive.
30-40 Krag Gattling Gun shoot 5 miles from my home in 2002.

Piano & Maytag man!

About halfway through the ammo supply.

This is all that was left when we ran out of ammo.

February 14, 2008, 01:41 PM
The second tree burst into flames before it went down.

(Note to my inner-survivorman -- use minigun to start campfire.)

Just watched the vid. It appeared that some if not all of the 7.62NATO ammo was tracer. I'll have to watch it again to see if it was mixed belt or all tracer.

February 14, 2008, 01:42 PM
Look at the ammo stacked on that trunnion!

February 14, 2008, 01:57 PM
You should have seen what was in the caisson!

February 14, 2008, 02:39 PM
And from the pages of history.

Near "The Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania.

And a piece of the tree.

Picture from

February 14, 2008, 02:45 PM
At an Appleseed shoot last October (Osage Beach, MO), we managed to bring down a 5" diameter conifer tree of some sort. I suspect the tree wasn't in very good condition prior to our shooting at it, it was nearly barren of needles. Wasn't intentional, it just happened to be behind the target stand. Just after lunch on Sunday, it gave up the fight and slowly fell over. It was pretty darned funny at the time :)

February 14, 2008, 03:21 PM
I cut down a decent size pine in the Osceola Forest with an SKS and wolf HPs. Only took about 25 shots.

February 14, 2008, 03:29 PM
A good friend of mine took his .30-06 and took the top out of a LARGE ice covered pine tree that was threatning to fall on his house one winter(It was starting to bow over his house). 2 well placed shots and the top snapped out of the tree and it popped right back upright!

Sergeant Sabre
February 14, 2008, 03:36 PM
The rifle range at MCB Camp Lejeune, NC, is situated in a pine forest. There is no impact berm and rounds simply stop amongst the trees. All of the trees for several hundred yards beyond the target line have been cut off by the decades of continuous small-arms fire, essentially giving the forest a "flat top" look.

February 14, 2008, 04:02 PM
An old bee-keeper friend of mine used to shoot off tree limbs containing swarms of honey bees with a full choke Model 12 Winchester & trap loads.
Usually One shot = One kill!

My dad had pictures from WWII when he was in the Philippines islands right after the invasion. There was not one tree left standing anywhere on the island he landed on.
Nothing left but stumps as far as you could see in any of the pictures.

February 14, 2008, 09:47 PM
We took down an old stump on my Grandfather's farm with .22LR fire when I was a kid. Not exactly trying to, it just happened to be what we always shot at. It went from about 6 ft high and 2 feet in diameter to pretty much a foot or so high. Best thing we had for a reactive target.:D It was blown away in chunks over time and untold thousands of rounds. Fun times.

February 14, 2008, 11:14 PM
They should have tested an M2 though.

Sheldon J
February 14, 2008, 11:26 PM
Yeah that was cool the Dillon mini set the tree on fire... but the dummy did not know how to shoot a Thompson, you have to lean in to them to keep it accurate.

February 15, 2008, 09:55 AM
did not see the mythbusters, but...

on weaponology there was a crew from england that used a wwII machine gun in 7.62 to cut down a tree with about 3 hundred rounds, and the tree was about 2 foot or larger round.

the tree was leaning so it would fall, and they marked a white line so they had an aiming point. the gunner was a trained machine gun shooter from the service.

if they knew what they were doing. they could have done that in a lot less time and with a lot less rounds.

sorry if this had been mentioned. I did not read the entire post.

February 15, 2008, 10:12 AM
Caught that one too and it was cool.
Mythbusters does a lot with guns though.
Just off the top of my head, there was the episode where they used the cannon to fire improvised loads at a pig, the one with the civil war reenactors shooting muskets, the one where they used the 12 gauge slug to punch a hole in a truck tire to see if it would kill a bystander on a motorcycle, and the one where they tried to shoot through floor with a subgun.

I like it for more than just the shooting but it's still cool to see a show where guns aren't an off limits item.

Dumpster Baby
February 15, 2008, 10:32 AM
One time I shot down a small tree with a .38 snubbie. Took a while. :D

February 15, 2008, 10:39 AM
Me and a buddy once cut down a 5" diamater tree with a 1/2 brick of .22 LR in about an hour.

February 15, 2008, 12:09 PM
You can cut down a pretty good sized tree with 3" magnum slugs PDQ.
shot placement is key. you want the weight of the tree to assist in pulling it over.

What I'd really like to see is the effect of a direct hit from a small cannon on a good sized tree trunk. heh, heh, heh.

I had the chance to fire a flamethrower at a tree once (in another country). But then I looked up and noticed that there were nests up there.. and I figured I could light something else up just as good that wasn't somebody's home. It would have been quite a sight, thought, I"m sure... the tree was already full of old sap and more than a little dry. Tall, too at about 50ft.

February 15, 2008, 04:55 PM
I shot down a 4" birch with an M60 with blanks from 1' away in about 50-60 rounds. :evil:

February 15, 2008, 11:44 PM
We split a 5" diameter white pine tree with 400+ rounds of assorted pistol ammo. We had hung a plywood target board on it and we were shooting from 100' We finished shooting and cleaned up the brass. We popped some cold ones and went to clean up the target area when the tree slowly leaned over. We were able to snap off the remaining strands of wood fibre by hand. It became our new target stump.

February 16, 2008, 05:42 AM
one time me and 2 buddies took down an 18in juniper with 2 m1 garands and an sks took about 3-5 mins, sure was fun, but expensive, and not very challenging target

February 20, 2008, 01:02 AM
My friends and I took out a tree once, I think it might have been 8 inches or so.

We used an old turk 8mm mauser, a stevens 520 shotgun, and a 1911 in .38 super.

The trick seemed to be to shoot it from two different angles (90 degrees appart)

I learned that Rifle bullets go right through trees

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