The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 85: Red Rag to a Bull

Premier Date: August 22, 2007

The color red can infuriate a bull and make them charge.


To test this myth without putting themselves in danger, the Build Team constructed three fake matadors that would carry differently colored flags. First, they placed stationary flags of different colors near a bull. The bull charged the red, white, and blue flags with equal ferocity, even when all three flags were out at once. Using a remote controlled clothes line, the Build Team managed to prove that the bulls were angered by movement rather than color. They then placed the matador dummies in the ring, each one dressed in a different color. The bull charged the white dummy first, the blue dummy second, and the red dummy last. Finally, Tory went into the ring dressed in a red jumpsuit and had to stay still while two professional cowboys moved around the the ring to try and draw the bull’s attention. The bull chased the cowboys for a short time, but ignored Tory, which proved the theory that bulls concentrated on movement more than color. Also, there is no scientific proof that bulls are angered by the color red.

A bull will completely destroy shelves full of china.


The Build Team placed shelves full of china inside a bull pen and released bulls inside it. Surprisingly, the bulls actively avoided the shelves, even when there were multiple bulls inside the pen at the same time. A single shelf was knocked over by accident by the first bull released in the pen, and a few dishes were knocked to the ground when as many as four bulls were running around, but overall the bulls proved surprisingly nimble.

An oven door can stop bullets.


The oven door failed to stop .38 caliber rounds, .357 magnum rounds, and shotgun shells. The only exception was that the .22 caliber pistol rounds were unable to pierce the steel part of the oven door.

Bullets can explode with lethal force if they are stored inside a hot oven.


The MythBusters placed a .22 caliber, .44 caliber, and .50 caliber bullet inside an oven. All of the bullets exploded once the oven was hot enough, but none of them were able to penetrate the oven. Without a gun barrel to contain and direct the propellant gases, the bullets did not develop enough speed to pierce the glass or steel portions of the oven. The shell casings actually caused more damage than the bullets.

A gun can fire a bullet with lethal force if stored inside a hot oven.


The MythBusters placed a loaded .38 caliber revolver inside a hot oven pointing towards the oven door. Once the temperature was high enough, the gun automatically discharged and sent the bullet out of the oven, which could potentially kill anybody who happened to be standing in front of the oven.

Bullets thrown into an open fire can explode with lethal force.


The MythBusters dropped a box of bullets with varying calibers directly into an open fire. While many of the bullets immediately discharged, it appeared that none of the bullets could be lethal. Like the oven test, most of the damage was being dealt by the shell casings, which could not travel fast enough to be lethal.

Aerosol cans placed in an open fire can explode with lethal force.


While the aerosol cans exploded rather violently, the worst damage they could do was cause some minor burns.

A beer keg can explode with lethal force if placed in an open fire.


While the beer keg exploded violently, there was no shrapnel from the explosion. However, the MythBusters pointed out that any shrapnel thrown from such a powerful blast could kill a person.