Question of the Day: What’s the Best Gun for Shooting Down a Telephone Pole?

The DemolitionRanch dude is one crazy mo’ fo’. But this attempt to shoot through a telephone pole with an AR-style rifle spitting out 7.62 ammo isn’t up to his usual standard of nutso. In fact, it’s boring. Literally. If he hadn’t sped-up the video we’d be looking at a Nutn’ Fancy-length saga. Or not. Anyway, TTAG’s readers are au fait with the best in high-powered weaponry, including belt-fed and crew-served weapons. So, what would be your first choice for quickly and efficiently taking down a telephone pole. [Safety Nazi note: try not to shoot at targets near objects – like cinder blocks – prone to fragmentation.]


  1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Top Shot used a Gatling gun.

    Personally, I’d vote for chainsaw.

    1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

      Yep, right tool for the job.

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    M134 minigun. An mg42 would make an acceptable substitute.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:


    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I second the minigun.

    3. avatar Accur81 says:

      I bet a Mk19 with HEDP 40mm could get through even faster than a minigun. Otherwise a M2 or a semi-auto .50 cal. A 12 gauge semi auto with Breneke AP slugs would cut roughly .72 cal holes.

    4. avatar Jacob says:

      Ditto on the minigun.

    5. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Miniguns are by definition a “mini” version of something. That would be the Vulcan, same design only 20mm cannon. Methinks that would do the job best of all! Especially if you can get hold of a few hundred HE rounds!

      1. avatar Billy-bob says:

        Quad .50 FTW!

  3. avatar TommyG says:

    Usually I see people doing this type of thing on YouTube with a 45-70

  4. avatar IdahoPeter says:

    Ma Deuce .50BMG. Or an 8″ self-propelled howitzer (one shot).

    1. avatar SkyMan77 says:

      +1 on the M2….

    2. avatar Bruce says:

      My thoughts too – except that a bi or quad mount would be that much better. Apparently, they were used on a number of occasions during WWII to take down trees containing German snipers. Not playing fair, of course. But, effective.

      1. avatar IdahoPete says:

        They were apparently also very useful during the Korean War, to stop human-wave attacks by the ChiComs.

        4X 500 rounds (700 grains each) per minute = 2000 rpm out to about a mile.

  5. avatar Bobiojimbo says:

    The venerable M2, or other .50 caliber magazine fed, bolt action or semi-auto rifle.

  6. avatar CJ Minnesota says:

    M60 worked well for this kind of thing. Short bursts are your friend. Not to mention walking your rounds to the target.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      As proven here:

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        Don’t know why, but the video links aren’t showing up in my browser. 1) If this is a repeat of the two earlier videos, sorry, I couldn’t see yours. 2) The YouTube link originally listed this as an M60, but it’s obviously a Gatling gun.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Sorry. Thompson .45 and M60.

    2. avatar NineShooter says:

      Yeah, a good tripod-mounted M60 is a fairly efficient way to get this done. Lock it down with the T&E, use downward pressure to remove the slack, then just wiggle it side-to-side as you shoot; doesn’t take long at all.

      CJ, strangely enough, the last few times I did this (on trees) I was in Minnesota (that military range complex near Little Falls, I think it was called Camp Ripley?). They had a GREAT machinegun range there, and they generally left us Air Force folks alone when we came to quality our Air Base Ground Defense/Security troops.

  7. avatar Jolly Roger Out says:

    Mk 19. Or is that cheating?

    1. avatar JoshtheViking says:

      Don’t feel bad. I was going to say a Carl Gustav.

  8. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I don’t generally cut down telephone poles. The need just hasn’t come up.

  9. avatar pwrserge says:

    M79 or M203 should do it with one shot with HEDP.

  10. avatar knightofbob says:

    Anzio 20mm?

  11. avatar CRF says:

    Obviously a .45 acp. Those instantly vaporize anything the come within two feet of.

  12. My first choice would be a chainsaw.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Yep. Don’t use a gun to cut down poles and don’t use a chainsaw to hunt wild hogs. There’s a tool for every job.

      Lacking a chainsaw, I would opt for a D-10 Caterpillar bulldozer.

  13. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I’d use a fun little piece. The American-180.

    1. avatar daniel says:

      When you say little, you really mean little…
      I doubt the .22lr would even go through a telephone pole

      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        It doesn’t have to go all the way through; all it has to do is remove wood chips, same as an ax or hatchet.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    I’d use a Radom P64 to shoot down a Pole.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:


    2. avatar Andy says:

      Hi ohhhhh!

  15. avatar john thomas says:

    I saw this on full 30 a few days ago. I thought it would take at least 10 mags.

  16. avatar ShiningKnight says:

    What’s boring about it? Though not as ridiculous as some of his other vids, I still found it entertaining. I guess there’s always a troll out there who is unhappy with everything!

  17. avatar William says:

    20 pound Parrott Rifle.

  18. avatar Kendahl says:

    Det cord.

    1. avatar Owen says:

      ^ This! – is what they taught my buddy in Combat Engineer school.

    2. avatar Rick says:

      Agreed, 3-4 turns around the pole should do the job admirably. If that fails, a GAU 8A Avenger 30mm gatling gun from a Warthog.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “…a GAU 8A Avenger 30mm gatling gun from a Warthog.”

        We Have A WINNER!

        The Goodies start at 0:32 seconds…

        (Drops Microphone)

        1. avatar ACP_arms says:


          This video has better sound i think.

      2. avatar Timmy! says:

        I recall reading about this being the problem with testing the Warthog’s gun. The first range they tried to use supported the targets with telephone poles but a single round from the GAU8 would uproot and/or demolish them.

        So, to make a short story long, that was going to be my vote. Sort of thing.

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Phrased wrong. Correct would be *IN* a Warthog. Not near as fun by itself, they’re a team!

  19. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Preference leans towards skipping a firearm and moving in to something rdx based.

  20. avatar Gunr says:

    NAA mini revolver (22 mag) with 1000 bricks of ammo and several weeks, or so, of spare time!
    Lacking that, maybe several sticks of TNT.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Gunr, that would make a nice vacation…


  21. avatar DetroitMan says:

    Can’t go wrong with Ma Deuce.

  22. avatar ACP_arms says:

    Mossberg JM 930 with 00 buckshot

    1. avatar ACP_arms says:

      Or the SRM Arms 1216.

  23. avatar John Fritz, HMFIC says:

    Everyone knows that Matt is a doctor, right?

    His Vet Ranch vids are all sorts of awesome.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Oh, yeah…

      The ones of dogs with a face and mouth full of porcupine quills…


  24. avatar JT says:

    How about a Flak 37?

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Are they gonna have a couple of them 88’s at the Festival. I’ve got one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel, but I just might get up enough strength to make it there, if I could put a couple rounds in a surplussed tank.
      Dam! that would be fun, say good buy to Tannerite.

  25. avatar gary mcclenny says:

    The M203 with HE rounds always came through for me out to 400 yards, but the M2HB would do it as well way out to 4 times the range of the M203. However, when we Combat Engineers really wanted to breach a target, the CEV with its 165mm HE gun would breach much more than a telephone pole! But since we are on the one-upmanship ramp, and since I was in the ADM platoon (atomic demolition munitions), we did have both a 20 kiloton and a 55 kiloton device at our disposal—capable of taking out all the telephone poles over a several mile area all at the same time (could take out a complete dam on a reservoir). Ours were old school—atomic (fission) not nuclear (fusion), so you flyboys could obviously do it better and from a longer distance, but we had to do it up close and personal.

    1. avatar gary mcclenny says:

      Of course, the LAW with its 60 mm rocket could be fun as well. Do not forget about the MAW and the HAW (bigger brothers to the LAW) for a fun time.
      I did take out a 4-1/2″ pine tree once with a single shot from a .308 WIN—I was a bit surprised that it would do that, but about 2 seconds after the shot, the tree came toppling over.

  26. avatar samuraichatter says:

    I’m going to go a different route and say 40mm bangstick 🙂

  27. avatar Dox47 says:

    When I was at CST, we gunned down a small dead tree considerably thinner than a telephone pole during a range day, and it took at least an hour of 30-some gunsmiths banging away with an arsenal of ARs, AKs, .50 BMG rifles, black powder rifles and muskets, every type of pistol imaginable, you get the idea, to actually take it down. Really, the only firearm remotely practical, excluding anything firing shells instead of bullets, is one of the electric Gatlings, I’m not sure that even an M2 or other high caliber MG would do it in anything close to a timely manner. I personally put a few dozen rounds from an AR50 into the tree that day, and it hardly seemed to faze it.

  28. avatar Orvis says:

    Hmmm…If I was gonna do the telephone pole chop with something that is reasonably accessible to shooters, it would probably be with a Barrett .50 BMG rifle. If I could use anything I wanted, it would be an M40A1 106mm recoilless rifle with a HEPT round. When I was in Vietnam, the company commander used to take the occassional target practice shot with a 106 at trees about 800m away. The HEPT round would hit the tree and explode, and the tree trunk above that point would jump about five feet in the air and then fall down. Awesome!

  29. avatar PeterK says:

    GAU-8 Avenger is the only proper answer.

    Gotta get me one o’ those someday. 🙂

  30. avatar DaveC says:

    Well here in OK someone is selling a Cheiftain MK 6, main battle tank with 120mm gun on Armslist. I think that should do it.–fully-operational-main-battle-tank-with-120mm-live-cannon

  31. avatar John says:

    I can tell you that ramming one with the corner of a M113 at 30 or so MPH is not enough to knock it down. Busted it pretty well though (and rattled me fairly well also – luckily only suffered a split lip).

    I like all of the suggestions!

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