Episode 99: Viewers’ Choice Special 2

Air Date: February 13, 2008

It is possible to cut down a tree with a machine gun.


The build team obtained large pine tree trunks and set them up in the Mojave Desert. The trees were shot at using a Thompson submachine gun and a M249 SAW, but they remained standing. The .45 bullets were too slow and inaccurate, and the 5.56mm NATO rounds didn’t cause enough damage to fell the tree. However, when Kari used a M134D minigun that fired 7.62mm NATO at 50 rounds per second, the pine trunk fell down within a minute. A much denser mesquite tree was also cut in short order.

The reason baseball players wear black markings under their eyes is to help reduce glare from the sun.


Adam and Jamie put black eye paint under their eyes and took an eye exam, then repeated it with lighter, peach colored eye paint. Their scores were the same each time. Adam then set up a light meter in a dummy’s eye and recorded the lux reading in the eye with and without the paint, but the results weren’t significantly different. Adam then put a baseball cap on the dummy and repeated the experiment, and noticed that with the black eye paint on, the lux reading significantly dropped.

It is possible to escape a ski lift by sliding down the cable using one’s pants to create a zip line.


The build team went to a circus training center and tried to slide down a wire similar to the ones used in ski lifts while hanging onto pants. Tori barely moved, and the pants began to rip apart. Later, the build team tried it on a real ski lift and the friction was still too great. Buster gained no momentum at all and the pants eventually ripped.

A black powder fire can follow a trail of powder from a leaking barrel and travel up into the barrel, much like a cartoon.


Adam and Jamie first confirmed that a black powder trail will burn fully if ignited at one end. Later, they set up a robot to carried a leaking barrel, but when the ignited trail reached the robot it did not continue up the falling powder and into the barrel. It was only when they increased the size of the hole and had the barrel shaking that the ignition followed into the barrel.

One can unlock a car door by having its remote unlocker frequency transmitted though a cell phone call.


All attempts to unlock the car door via a cell phone call failed. In addition, Grant explained that car unlockers and cell phones operate on completely different frequencies.


  1. matt hughes says:

    i know they confirmed the myth on cutting down a tree with a machine gun. but you can use a smaller machine gun to cut a tree down. Myself and a friend used and SKS and a mini 14. we shot at the tree for a while we realized that we had shot a line across the tree and the tree had not fallen. so we switched the firing angle (horizontally). a few rounds later the tree fell. so i think that the SAW will cut down a tree also. i think that more rounds are needed and 2 separate firing angles will do the trick.

    • Enrico Martinez says:

      Yes, it can cut down a tree or trees.
      I call it “Lawn-Mower Machine Gun” like Arnold Schwarzenegger used in “Predator” movie in a forest backdrop.

  2. K.V.C says:

    What was the result of the arrowhead/sharpened stick ?? They went went to commercial and never came back to it, or I missed it.

  3. Mike D. says:

    Also agree with last comment I cut a tree down with an AK47 and it took a while to figure out the right angle but it fell

  4. Matt Heffler says:

    Yeh! What did happen arrowhead/sharpend stick!

  5. chestercj says:

    The arrow head went further then the sharpend stick, even though they just tested it with the bulistic gel. When they tested it with a skin covering the gel they had the same results with depth but the arrow head left more damage to the skin.

  6. Richard says:

    Tree cutting with machineguns:
    That was a total waste of time and ammo to try to cut down anything bigger than a sapling with a M1928-A1 Thompson. Those are PISTOL bullets.
    Also, you people were holding it wrong. You do NOT grip the forward pistol grip. You rest it in the palm of your hand to allow the gun to drop back down to point of aim after recoil (the real reason for the buffer is to slow the rate of fire down so you can do this). This is also why the fancy pistol grip was replaced with a straight stock with later manufacture.
    The best way to shoot down trees (like I did) is with a M-2 Browning Heavy Barrel .50 caliber Machinegun.
    Now, THAT’S a Machinegun.

  7. Richard says:

    Why do everybody, including college degreed archeologists think that arrowheads, spearheads, axes and knives were made by striking the stones against each other?
    A rancher up in Beatty, Oregon showed me how the Klammath Indians did it with obsidian (and flint).
    You strap a deer antler down to some rocks, pick up the obisdian or flint with a piece of rawhide (to prevent cutting fingers) and press the stone against the antler to chip-shape it any way you want.
    It’s a lot faster, less waste of stone if struck wrong, can make finer shapes and there are lots of deer antlers around. You don’t even have to kill the deer as the shed them in winter anyway.

  8. Todd says:

    I just had a thought about trying to escape a ski lift by sliding down the wire. Would there not be a certain amount of ice on said wire? Not trying to say it would work, and as I did not watch this episode I do not truly know if that point was addressed.

  9. David says:

    Todd, there wouldn’t be ice on the cable as it is continuously running through or over pullies and guides, clearing any ice that may (doubtfully) form on the greased cable.

  10. VAlentyn says:

    Hey !!! I am Valentyn from Ukraine and I like youre show !!! I think it is great !!!

  11. Elvis says:

    You can unlock your car with remote even though they are difrent frequencies. I’ve done it . So your Busted is not acceptable.

  12. Ty says:

    To all the people cutting down trees with guns it is a complete waste of amo USE A CHAINESAW ps mythbusters rox

  13. Ty says:

    I know this has nothing yo do with these miths but how in the world do u subbmit a myth i have tried but i cant find out how to so i am just going to ask hear even though u probably wont read it ok i would like u to see if it is possible to drop from 8,000 feet with out your parisoot deploying and hit a cement path face first and still live i am arsking this because i heard it on the radio once the person had realy bad injeries but did not die.

  14. Luke Skywalker says:

    Hey guys, love the show, but on Braniac Test Tube Baby (Sky One), to my amazement, they successfully unlocked a car remotely using a mobile phone held next to the car lock. I have not seen this episode on MythBusters yet but maybe there was something interfering with the signal or something like that.


  15. Chris says:


    Did they think to test distance with the sticks versus arrowheads? I know they tested lethality and accuracy but what about over all distance, such as an arching shot? They tested the arrows using a compound bow and not a recurve. In my experience with shooting recurve, I’ve had to always aim a bit above my intended target at distance because of a little thing called gravity. Longer shots required a bit more arc. Any thoughts? Point/counter-points?

  16. Brette says:

    For the myth “It is possible to escape a ski lift by sliding down the cable using one’s pants to create a zip line.” What if you used cold wet jeans or ski pants for it. Because it is extreamly un likely that their pants would be a pair of jeans or that they would be dry, which with snow would almost be impossible.

  17. Morris says:

    You came close to figuring out the reason for the arrowhead but you missed it in your summary.

    The real purpose of the arrowhead is to make it hard for the arrow to come out. An animal hit in a large area of the chest might well have hit a vital organ and bleed to death with either arrow but the longer ir takes to die the more likely you might not capture or find it. A wounded deer(etc) might go some distance.

    By using an arrowhead it makes for a stronger hold but a straight arrow can pull out as the animal is running or if they reach around and grab it with their mouth and pull it out. If they try to pull out an arrowhead it will cut/chew up a lot of flesh on it’s way out causing more rapid blood loss and shorter distance from being hit.

    Blood loss is the key. Also you missed the cost of making the arrowhead when you compared the time of one to another. The arrowhead can be used over & over. This means the start up cost is higher but flattens out some over reuse. These were not like rim shot shells but more like reloadable casings so to speak.

    Retest and compare to see how much blood is lost.

  18. Anonymus says:

    Cell Phone. I’VE DONE IT SEVERAL TIMES. When family members want to use my car, I just press the unlock button through the car.

  19. CreepinJesus says:

    I also have to tell you that the car unlocking down the phone works. I’ve done it many times – you know, when you split up in the shopping mall and head back to car, but get back before whoever had the key… I call them up, *blip* down the phone, car open, music on :)

  20. Tee says:

    Yeah Brainiac did the car unlocking with the phone, and a friend and I tried it and we got it to work as well. On the show, they had people sending in messages with some saying it worked and some saying it didnt, plus a few people saying it worked once but never again. This is not a busted as I have tried it myself so I know it works.

  21. Glossolalia Black says:

    I’m still getting email about that car lock myth, upholding it as a real thing.

  22. starscream says:

    I would recommend the Mythbusters to test these myths.(Based on the 1994 blockbuster Speed)

    1.Payne(Dennis Hopper) shoot the elevator roof with a man on it.The man fell into the elevator but survived.Was this true?
    2.I noticed a scene in the movie where a bus with a bomb ram an airplane.The bus exploded.However,the airplane also exploded.It is also claimed that there were a few C4 below the bus.Could you investigate this myth
    3.The bus jump over a 50ft gap in the intersection and landed safely without losing speed.

  23. jason says:

    to cut a tree down with a proper machine gun:


  24. Trent says:

    They pointed out that it’s possible that stone AND wooden arrowheads were used but that the wooden ones decayed and accordingly couldn’t be found by archeologists. Sounds plausible to me.

  25. eric says:

    will you do a star wars special

  26. Morlok8k says:

    i once cut down a tree using a 22 caliber rifle… it took about a half hour… and a lot of ammo…

  27. Paul Malley says:

    The stone acts as a barb and stops the arrow from pulling out.
    There was a Western where the dude got shot
    throught the upper arm by an Injun arrow.
    He broke it in two, to get the flight feathers off, set the shaft on fire to
    cauterise the wound and had the sexy dame
    who just happened to be there to push
    it through and out the other side.
    Don’t you know your own History??

    The last Holliwood film that was worth watching was called Stagecoach.

  28. walter bates says:

    I would also like to see a star wars episode, but more specifically I would like to know how plausable it would be that a light saber could really be made and would it be as compact and as effective as the ones in the movie

    • MSpears says:

      Let’s get one thing straight. A lightsaber is NOT made of light; it is not a laser.

      For one thing, you cannot even see a laser unless there is dust or some other particulate matter (e.g. smoke) to refract some of the light, or if the beam hit a solid object. Even then, the laser has to be in the light spectrum visible to humans. If it was in the infrared or ultraviolet spectrum, you wouldn’t be able to see it at all.

      For example, if you take one of those red laser pointers and aim it at your wall, you can see the red dot because the wall is scattering some of the light back to your eyes. If it were an infrared beam (like your TV remote control), you wouldn’t be able to see it without special glasses.

      Also, there is simply no way (that we know of) to make a laser arbitrarily stop at some point, without having something solid for the light to stop at. In an atmosphere, a laser does lose its focus over a great distance due to an effect called “atmospheric blooming”, but not THAT quickly… the blade would be thousands of feet long, if not longer.

      A high-energy plasma beam is far more plausible. You could make plasma form a beam-like shape, IF you had some way of generating a magnetic field to contain it, AND a power source powerful enough to generate the magnetic field.

      To make it simple: Is it possible to make a lightsaber from plasma? Yes, at least in theory. Is it PLAUSIBLE? Not with any technology we currently have.

  29. Jon says:

    Mythbusters is a great show, but they do get things wrong fairly often – see the comments here about the car unlocking. And I just watched a show where they did the speed camera test again, and claimed to have ‘busted’ it a second time, but UK show Top Gear has proved it can be done.

  30. Janey says:

    LMAO! a star wars special? and everyone has to realize that some of the things you see on tv shows are FAKE…. seriously

  31. Vic says:

    Arrowhead V. Pointy stick.
    Adam hinted a small bit about it. Wound channel. The arrowhead leaves a larger wound channel causing more blood loss. Do the math and see for yourself.

  32. Bob says:

    To CreepinJesus: That sounds impossible. A car remote transmits radio waves. If someone activates a car remote over the cellphone…no radio waves from the remote will get transmitted. The cellphone’s mic only picks up AUDIO signals. And while the cellphone sends and receive’s radio signals…it only does so with the nearest cell tower, and on very specific frequencies. So it cannot receive and then transmit some other radio signal, such as a car remote’s signal.

  33. shane ballance says:

    It is possible to escape a ski lift by sliding down the cable using one’s pants to create a zip line.

    You have to twist the pants like a rope to make
    it easyer to slide.

  34. Rick says:

    I cut a Railroad tie in half with one shot.
    Hollow point ammo + 284 (7mm) rifle rounds in a silhouette pistol.

  35. Rick says:

    Receivers and transmitter’s held close together will overdrive the receivers front end an cause it to be come a mixer and produce inter modulation. the cell phones receiver. Both the Transmitter and te reseiver are actve in a cellpone at the same time. Possibly due to bleed over between the cellphones receiver and transmitter there is quite probably a royal mess being transmitted at many frequencies. Most fm radios use a 10 mhz as an Intermediate frequency so if you are close enough to the transmission even the low power of the IF oscillator will also modulate the alarm system’s IF section as well.

    Please turn off you cellphone during take off and landing…..

  36. James L. says:

    My Response:

    I worked at a ski resort and one night after closing a lift operator was stuck after a power outage. He used his jacket which slides quite well. Not sure of the material though. He jumped about ten feet down into the powder and landed at an angle and landed it snowboarding down. It was a cool thing to see. So, there are flaws in the show in the methods used and results. Stronger, less friction from material resulted in success. Albeit slow. They ought to bring in experts or at least people in the field of the myth being tested as some myths are tested based on their own techniques where they are often not experienced in the field of the myth being tested.


    I just had a thought about trying to escape a ski lift by sliding down the wire. Would there not be a certain amount of ice on said wire? Not trying to say it would work, and as I did not watch this episode I do not truly know if that point was addressed.

  37. James L. says:

    And with all the lifts moving about no ice is on those cables at the end of the day, if ever really. It just has to much use to ever stick.

  38. Alexander says:

    Arrows with stone tip were made to break ribs, because there is more chance for penetration than ordinary arrow, for better access and damage to vital organs like heart and lungs.

  39. Bo says:

    Slash pine ~12″diam, ~40’h died in “no firearm zone”, within 12′ of power lines one side & house other side.
    Pellet pump air rifle .177 cal, lawn chair & plenty of pellets to “top” this tree, so later could employ a chain saw to bottom portion. ~2 hours to top.

  40. Larry says:

    ….as far as the stone arrowhead versus the sharpened stick, Mr.know-it-all Jami should just ask any bow hunter. What kills an animal is not the depth of penitration of the shaft, it’s the loss of blood that kills. when a stick enters the flesh the hide will close around it and seal it thus keeping the flow of blood to a minimal. The hole made by the arrowhead is larger than the shaft thus allowing the blood to flow out quicker and the animal dies quicker.

  41. JAG says:

    I also had the impression that if the flint arrow head separates and the animal runs or walks away, the arrowhead will grind and slice into the muscles and impede the animals escape.

    Immediate lethality I don’t think was the point. I doubt on site kills were the probable. It’s about wounding an animal sufficiently and finishing them off later.

  42. Frank says:

    Jeans down the ski lift….if the jeans were twisted and the legs NOT straddle the cable but instead looped over so the individual would have to hold the cuffs and the other holding the waist… I would think this myth should be reconsidered…and if lubricant is required then it should be considered that skiers will take water or some other beverage on the slopes in a flask and if not then urine???

  43. tomislav says:

    i want the mythbusters to do superhero special 3 because a lot things could be plausible

  44. Mike says:

    Hey, So Tim and I went shooting yesterday and successfully shot down two full grown trees with a Semi Auto 308 rifle. Not a machine gun. We were firing at about 80 yards, and it took roughly 100 rounds of ammo per tree. Honestly it could of been done with less if we were more accurate.

  45. Thrand says:

    We have a done a conclusion to MythBusters Ancient Arrows Busted By Thrand and Eldgrimr on youtube called MythBusters Anchient Arrows Busted N Reloaded By Thrand and Eldgrimr .Please check it out :D

  46. Stephen says:

    How sharp is a stone?
    Is it sharper than a piece of wood?

    The mains purpose of hunting is to make your prey bleed to death.
    Critical shots does not kill your prey (unless its the head or spine), it dies because it bleeds to death.
    I shot a Kudu through the heart with a .303 rifle and it still went jumping for 3 minutes before collapsing.

    Same with arrows, you have to make your prey bleed to death.
    Stone arrows help a lot, causes bigger wounds to bleed from.
    My friend who does bow hunting will tell you that broad arrow heads do more bleeding than a just simple pointed arrow.

    It is all about the hunt!
    following the blood trail of your prey!

    It is called the Stone Age for a reason… because they used STONE.

    BTW. I saw a traditional bushman in Namibia make a stone arrow in 7 minutes, without any tools but stone.
    Even if it took longer… let us say 3 hours for ancient caveman to make one stone arrow head… did he afterwards switch on his TV or go on the net surfing?
    Nope, caveman carried on making stone arrow heads for survival!

  47. Rob says:

    Don’t know if this has been addressed, but wouldn’t a live, full grown tree have a better chance of being cut down by sustained fire from an MG since the weight of the branches and leaves would put more force to one side or the other? They used bare stumps. Just a thought

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