The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 91: Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Premier Date: November 21, 2007

A person can easily shoot a fish in a barrel.


Because they didn’t want to use a live fish to test this myth, the MythBusters obtained a dead fish and inserted a motor inside of it to simulate swimming. They then placed the fish in a wooden barrel filled with water and fired at the fish with a 9 mm pistol. However, their first attempt failed, so Adam painted the interior of the barrel white and added transparent windows to improve visibility. With these improvements, both Adam and Jamie were easily able to hit the fish. They then decided to use a multitude of smaller fish and upgraded their weapon to a shotgun. The buckshot managed to hit some of the fish, but only three out of the total of thirty fish. To put the myth to bed, the MythBusters obtained a M134 minigun that could fire 50 bullets a second. They then set up a water filled barrel and placed a dead 3-foot (0.91 m) sea bass in it. They then fired the minigun at the barrel, tearing it to pieces along with the fish. Because of the vagueness of the conditions of the myth, the MythBusters declared that shooting fish in a barrel is easy.

The pressure shock wave from a bullet being fired into a barrel is enough to kill a fish.


The MythBusters calculated that the lethal amount of force required to kill a fish is 8.15 pounds per square inch. However, the instrument that measured PSI was not fast enough to register the impact of the bullet, so the MythBusters instead opted to use special stickers that measure G force. After firing a single 9 mm bullet into the barrel, the MythBusters found that the shock wave from the bullet was enough to trip even their highest pressure sensor. This means that the shooter does not necessarily have to hit the fish in order to kill it.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by milk.


The milk was used as a control, because it is already proven to reduce discomfort due to the fats it contains. Grant and Tory used the milk as a measuring stick for the rest of the supposed cures.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by water.


The water did not perform as well as the milk; the discomfort immediately returned once the water left the mouth.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by beer.


The beer helped slightly but was not effective enough to be called a cure.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by tequila.


The tequila initially intensified the discomfort, then the numbness induced by it slightly lessened the pain. However, it was not effective enough to be called a cure.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by toothpaste.


The toothpaste had no effect at all.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by petroleum jelly.


The petroleum failed to work, and also disgusted the MythBusters who had to put it in their mouths.

Pain from eating hot peppers can be cured by wasabi.


Grant reacted violently to the wasabi, stating that it only made his discomfort worse, but Tory stated that he actually felt some relief. Regardless, it wasn’t effective as milk.

Elephants are scared of mice.


The MythBusters traveled to a wildlife preserve in Africa to find wild elephants for their tests. They hid a mouse under a ball of elephant dung, planning to flip the dung over and reveal the mouse when the elephants approach it. When they flipped the dung and revealed the mouse, the approaching elephant was startled and quickly moved away from the mouse. The MythBusters then flipped dung without the mouse under it, and the elephants did not react at all. They then repeated their first experiment to confirm their results, and the elephant noticed the mouse and actively avoided it. Even though the elephants didn’t panic at the sight of the mouse, the fact that they acted cautiously around it was enough to label this myth plausible.