Shooting Down a Tree with a .50BMG

How many rounds do you think it took to drop this pine tree?

Everyone has thought at some point about how many rounds it would take to cut down a tree.  What shooting down a tree with a 50BMG?  Challenge accepted.

This came on the heels of my viral video “Shooting THROUGH Trees” that now has over 45 million views.  While many of the comments were from hateful foreigners who don’t understand basic forestry nor realize that trees are completely renewable – some comments were asking about shooting down a tree completely.  Well of course, we had to try it ourselves.

The Tree

After getting permission from a local tree farm to cull one of their pines we took 2 Barrett M99 50 BMG rifles and went to work.  After every 10 rounds we checked the tree for progress and then continued pulling the trigger.

Barret M99 Rifles

The first 10 bullets blew this hole in the opposite side of the pine.

The Ammo

For the first 30 rounds we used top notch match grade solid brass rounds from Triple R Munitions.  The solid 650 grain Lehigh defense bullets zipped right through the tree.  Quite different than our earlier experiment where surplus M33 ball ammo copper and lead jacket peels off the steel core like a banana.  Yet the solid brass bullets lost enough energy that we did find a few behind the tree laying on the ground later on.

Recovered bullets and pieces from the tree

Thinking the somewhat fragmenting M33 ball (ok, only “fragmenting” when compared to the solid Lehigh bullet) might cause a little more damage to the woodgrain we switched to the cheapest bulk reloadable surplus ammo I could find, made by American Marksman.

50BMG Ammo

The Shoot

Without spoiling the end of the video telling you how many rounds it took, I’ll just say it was an absolute success.  Anyone who has sawed down a tree knows that just a little bit of wood can hold up a lot of tree!  That’s why we shot slowly and accurately moving over bullets about an inch at a time.  So what’s next?  I think we should take on a tree with a 9mm Gatling gun!  Stay tuned!

Tree Stump after the Shoot. Notice the lines of damage left by the bullets.