What Caliber Would You Use to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin?

The folks at Big Horn Armory may have made a poor choice in trying to do the job of carving their Halloween pumpkin with a .500 S&W. That’s kinda like trying to swat a fly with a sledgehammer. But all’s well that ends well.

What caliber lever gun would you use?

big horn armory pumpkin carving

Courtesy Big Horn Armory


  1. avatar james g mcninch says:

    12 gauge

    1. avatar Hush says:

      That depends on whether you want to make pies with the innards or not….

    2. avatar Tim says:

      Funny, I did just that a number of years ago and took pictures!

      Pumpkins vs Buckshot: Comparison of #4 (.24″, 27 pellets) and 00 (.33″, 9 pellets) Buckshot on pumpkins. Mossberg 500 with 18.5″ barrel, cylinder choke at approximately 20 feet.


      1. avatar Ing says:

        Noice! I need to get myself a shotgun one of these days.

      2. avatar Elmer Fudd says:

        This is your brain.
        This is your brain on slugs.


        Any questions?

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Is there a lever gun that takes a bayonet?

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      They have m-lok rails for lever guns and bayonets that can attach to picatinny. So yes it can be done.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        SAFE act approved……… may need to do that for reasons.

    2. avatar RGP says:

      The Winchester 1895 as made for the Russian Army.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        If only the ammo was readily available.

        1. avatar John in AK says:

          7.62x54mmR isn’t exactly rare.

        2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          *Results may vary by location see stores for details

          Many of the stores around here are out of 7.62 54r but can have an ok stock of 7.62×39. Online ordering for NY is a bit tricky but able to be done but haven’t been able to find anything for my friends with Moisins where the rifle price seems to start around $350 now (often closer to 4). Most of the stores here have done around 2.5 years worth of business since March as a substantial portion of the state has rediscovered the concept of self protection. With all that said I have low expectations of those moving up from NYC with a few exceptions.

  3. avatar Nam62 says:

    Full power 45/70 HP bullets

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      .458 printed nylon cylinder at 250 grain equivalent length. It’s a pumpkin so may as well go for ludicrous speed.

      1. avatar Koop says:

        “They’ve gone plaid!”

  4. avatar Montana Actual says:

    Same caliberS I use every year. lol.

    In all seriousness, the animals around here get em after we make pumpkin pie.

  5. avatar Ing says:

    Would do it, and have done it, with a .22. The son and I used our Henry leverguns (mine’s the base-model H-001, his is the pretty Golden Boy).

    Works pretty darn well. A ton of fun, too. The exit holes usually look better than entry face, as it tends to get broken up by the impact.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Also, they had to have filled that pumpkin with water. Pumpkins are actually mostly hollow; they don’t blow up like that. If my .30-30 won’t asplode it, that .50 S&W won’t either.

      Fun video, though. if I could afford to expend the ammo, I’d be out there shooting some punmpkins right now.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        “Punmpkins?” I guess it makes sense if you’re shooting them with a gunm.

        Possum must be getting to me.

        1. avatar Montana Actual says:


        2. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

          I’d rather have rabies than a liberal mental disorder. Go ahead and lock me in the wood shed and ole yeller me if I get either.

          But .22 lever is the way to go if you’re not trying to demolish it.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Rabies? Does this mean we have to find possum and cut his head off and send it to the lab?

          Pretty please.

        4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “Does this mean we have to find possum and cut his head off and send it to the lab?”

          Find him? Just watch a dumpster behind a fast-food joint at closing time…

          (Marsupial abuse! 😉 )

        5. avatar The Rookie says:

          Not to worry: Possums are highly resistant to rabies. Something to do with their body temperature being inhospitable to the rabies virus.

          They’re also quite tasty, stewed with turnips.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      Yes, they must have filled that pumpkin with water. And when you watch the slow-motion video, you can see all the water going everywhere.

      Last weekend I demonstrated the “power” of .44 Magnum to a couple who are new to firearms ownership. I shot PMC Bronze 180 grain hollowpoints out of a full-size revolver with a 6-inch barrel. (I previously chronographed that revolver and cartridge combination at 1,600 feet-per-second at the muzzle.) I shot, at a distance of about 15 feet, a gallon milk jug which I filled with water. Needless to say, the jug exploded and water went everywhere — some of the water even splashed me 15 feet away. It was quite a spectacular sight to behold.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Water jugs are always fun. That is a heck of a handgun round, to be sure.

        One of my favorite things is to set up 5 or 6 water jugs in varying positions between 25 and 50 yards and then take ’em out as fast as I can with the .30-30.

        No better feeling in the wide world of guns than riding the recoil while you work the lever and making one target after another explode. Inside 100 yards, me’n that .30-30 are automatic. I can shoot it as quickly, with accuracy at range, as I can my AR. (Which mostly means I could use a lot more practice on the AR, to be fair.)

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Thumbs-up on your lever-action rifle rapid fire!

          For such an arguably awkward rifle design, I sure love lever-action rifles. Apparently millions of other people do as well!

  6. avatar seatex says:

    .38 wadcutters. or 9mm subsonics.

  7. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Depends on the size of the pumpkin. Some pumpkins are pretty big.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      YuP,small pumpkin 22 lr ,giant one 12 ga. .

  8. avatar Frontier Jeb says:

    Only people who couldn’t figure out contraceptives have to carve pumpkins.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      We don’t need contraception anymore. Abortion will soon be made mandatory throughout the nation.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “Abortion will soon be made mandatory throughout the nation.”

        Does this mean you will demonstrate by a personal example of a retroactive abortion on yourself?

        Pretty please? And live-stream it? 😉

  9. avatar OggyMn says:

    As long as it sets of the tannerite, who cares 🙂

    1. avatar Darkman says:


    2. avatar Tsay Nguyen says:

      Yup. I go to the pumpkin patch the day after Halloween, for $20 they let me fill up the truck bed. Add a generous supply of tannerite, a scoped 22-250, grab some friends and head to my property up in the hills. Pumpkin guts hanging from a tree 30′ in the air is good, clean fun.

    3. avatar Ragnar says:

      We started an annual tradition a few years ago of making a ginger bread house for Christmas and blowing it up with tannerite on New Years Day.

      This year, we are going to start blowing up jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I used Robert’s Big Horn 500 on a jackal in Africa.
    Had hollow points in it.
    The entry wound was small. The exit?
    Well, the right side of the jackal was gone from shoulder to hip. I switched to solids after that.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Tom in Oregon,

      A 500 on a jackal? That is the very definition of overkill.

  11. avatar Andrew lias says:

    umm bayonet.

    ammo is too spendy to waste on lowly pumpkins.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      Any favorite bayonet brands? I have no idea who actually makes them.

      1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        *shrug* My M44 has one attached to it. I’m wiling to say Ivshek or Tula for that case. Ricasso for my CETME Bayo.

      2. avatar Ron says:

        There really isn’t bayonet brands. You can get surplus bayonets, that’s about it. I’ve seen a few cheap M9 bayonet replicas but I wouldn’t trust them. Good thing is you can still find actual surplus bayonets for most rifles pretty easily.

  12. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    In case any of you younger crowd are wondering, the laugh at the end of the video is Vincent Price. King of the horror movies.
    The laugh is the same one at the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” song.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I don’t think it is possible for anyone to have a creepier laugh than Vincent Price.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “I don’t think it is possible for anyone to have a creepier laugh than Vincent Price.”

        Yes, oh yes, there is.

        (*Warning* – Do not play this video with small children present!) :

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          I was *just* wrapping up things before going to bed, and you put the image of her face and the sound of her cackle in my head. Now I’m going to have nightmares.

          Thanks, Geoff. [/sarc]

        2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          If you say that witches name 3 times she appears.

          Seriously, I don’t understand why she has never been charged with a crime…hell, any crime at this point.

          If I had used non SIPR to send classified items I would have been charged, convicted, and prob live in Kansas. Heck, they convicted that Navy sub guy for taking pictures of a reactor whose design is decades old. Tech old enough that the Chinese prob stole the designs in the 1980s.

          Not her and not her pedo husband….

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Geoff PR,

          Now that there, sir, is one of the funniest comments that I have ever seen on the Internet. You win the award for best comment of the decade.

          I tip my hat to you fine sir!

  13. avatar Coolbreeze says:

    I would use a .22 and a truck load of ammo. It’s like a scalpel vs a machete.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “I would use a .22 and a truck load of ammo.”

      Hell, a truck load of .22lr costs as much as a decent new truck these days…

      *sobbing uncontrollably* 🙁

  14. avatar enuf says:

    Fill the pumpkin with water first. The hydraulics will blast it to pieces. Dye the water red or orange for a more spectacular effect.

  15. avatar MLee says:

    Don’t waste ammo in these days carving a pumpkin. In 63 years, I think I carved a pumpkin once and I’ve shot a lot of things including my car, but never a pumpkin.
    It’s amazing how many people driving down the road and at red lights notice a bullet hole in your car!

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      You know, we have a pumpkin carving contest at the office. That gives me an idea…

    2. avatar Elmer Fudd says:

      She has a spectacular pair of pumpkins.

  16. avatar Ian says:

    .17HMR, small enough to make fine detail and fast enough to enter and exit without doing too much damage to the back of the pumpkin. I want an ice pick not a sledgehammer.

  17. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’ve done a few at 7 yards using 9mm 124 grain Federal FMJ that turned out pretty well. I’m not patient enough for 22 LR, and .40 – .45 tends to get too big and split the pumpkin. JHPs obviously split things up as well. My 460 XVR explodes them pretty well, and .45-70 LeverEvolution even more so.

    If I have the time I’ll try it again this year using my P365XL with a Holosun 507K on top.

  18. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Is there a lever gun round with enough velocity to initiate Tannerite?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Curtis in IL,

      Any firearm and cartridge combination which will result in a bullet impacting the container at 2,000 feet-per-second or greater will achieve the desired result.

      The venerable .30-30 Winchester cartridge (with 150 grain bullets) shot out of a 20+ inch barrel has a muzzle velocity around 2,400 feet-per-second. That is just barely enough to do it up to 100 yards as long as you did not have any headwind.

  19. avatar adverse6 says:

    Save the Pumpkins!

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      That pumpkin was just asking for it… 🙂

  20. avatar Darkman says:

    There’s really only one choice for a job like this and I can’t believe no one thought of it. Plasma Rifle in the 40 watt range.

    1. avatar Julio says:

      Just what ya see, Pal!

  21. avatar guy says:

    Deuce deuce all day! When I was a kid my dad and I used to fill up milk jugs with water and try to drain them by walking are shots down it before they fell apart. I would imagine this would work nicely on a pumpkin. Also if you fill pumpkins or melons with water before shooting them they blow apart cooler.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Take an empty glass pop bottle. Lay it on a post with its open bottle mouth towards you. Try to break the bottom of the bottle by shooting through the mouth without damaging the mouth.

      That’s a game we played when I was a kid.

      1. avatar guy says:

        That sounds like fun thank you.

  22. avatar Roger J says:

    I would use my Suomi SMG and the 71 round drum. And in 6 seconds I would be done!

  23. avatar Bigus Dickus says:

    I go with a K-Bar. Ammo is too precious right now to waste on executing pumpkins.

  24. avatar Bob h says:

    Henry makes a .32/327 caliber lever gun, that would be ideal for actual pumpkin carving, but completely useless otherwise. Why bother when they have a .38/357 option that gives everything you’d need With MUCH cheaper ammo?

  25. avatar Eirik says:

    Few years back I “carved a pumpkin” with 22 hornet hand loads using home cast 55 grain lee’s running a slowish 1500 FPS set pumpkin at 100 yards and almost had a complete smile face punched out until the pumpkin collapsed. It was good fun

  26. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    I’d use a .9 mm, for the fine detail.

  27. avatar Christopher A says:

    .950 JDJ

  28. avatar Dave G. says:

    My .44 magnum lever gun ought to get the job done. (It’s the only lever gun I have.) However, being a city dweller a long way from farm country, I don’t think I’ll get the chance to try it anytime soon.

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