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Top Shot Season 4 Episode 6: From Cannons to Atlatls - and Beyond

Bag Gun, Arrow Hurling Device, and Questionable Elimination Choices


March 20, 2012

The best thing about this week's Top Shot episode was the cannon - and the super-awesome slow-motion video of the very good-looking aluminum projectiles which it fires.

The worst thing? Probably that blue team won... but tied with that is Colby's continued forced drama in his voice-overs, and the poor sound editing that is usually evident when you hear someone's voice and they're off-camera.

Back to the cannon: I want one! It was a 3.2-inch bag gun from Rock Island arsenal, introduced in 1898. Chances are, that very gun was used in the Spanish-American war. Colby said "it is the same type of gun that followed Teddy Roosevelt as he charged up San Juan Hill." But TR's charge went up Kettle Hill, not San Juan.

Ah well, who really expects accuracy from the History Channel anyway? I used to, but this show (and its spinoff "Top Guns") has taught me otherwise.

This cannon fires aluminum bullets weighing 4.6 pounds. Need I re-mention the super duper awesome slow-mo of bullet? One scene was really great... showing a visible shock wave (appearing similar to a heat mirage) in front of the bullet just before it hit the target. Cool!

Because the bag gun is not a pathetically simple gun to fire, we were subjected to the usual whining about how complicated it is, mainly from Terry Vaughan. Sheesh, does that guy ever have anything good to say?

Speaking of whining, it's my turn. I'm sick and tired of all these players calling guns "weapons." They are not weapons unless and until they are used for combat. Until then, they are simply tools: guns, firearms, poppers, smokepoles, thundersticks, handguns, rifles, shotguns, revolvers, pistols, dragoons, muskets, and more - but not weapons.

Team Challenge

They only had one cannon with which to play, so each team fired one shot and then the next team fired, with each participating shooter aiming the gun one time. The team that hit closest to the bullseye of the target (300 yards distant) would win.

Blue team won by 1/8". Bummer.

After the loss Kyle (red team's leader) said "there was nothing our team could have done better." Well Kyle, I have to call BS. Your team could have made a better shot! Get real.

The Nomination Process

Back at the shack, we learn that Tim Trefren has a short fuse and even went as far as saying he would have kicked Chris's ass for analyzing members of the team. Really? In that case, you need to go home.

Chee volunteered, as did Chris and Tim. A coin flip put Chris vs. Chee at the end of the pre-nomination discussion. But Tim stubbornly wanted to go against Chris for some stupid reason.

Chee probably cost them last week's win and should have gone last week. He didn't, so he should have gone this week. Instead, because of Tim's silliness, things shifted at the nomination range and Tim was sent with Chris.


And that's when the players learned they'd be flinging sticks with an atlatl in the elimination challenge. Oooookay.

Tim had used one before, but Chris hadn't. In practice, they seemed pretty evenly matched, but early in the challenge Tim was looking good, as Chris missed his first two shots.

Targets were placed at various ranges (30, 45, and 60 feet). The farther the target, the more points awarded for hitting it. The shooters alternated; Tim, then Chris, then repeat.

Once Chris started hitting, there was no stopping him. He missed his first two, and no more. Tim hit his first two, but missed a total of four shots. When Chris amassed 30 points to Tim's 10 there was no way Chris could be caught, so Tim went away happy, Chris got a $2,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card, and a major source of tension was removed from red team.

Next week: trick shooting.

- Russ Chastain

Be sure to vote in this week's Top Shot poll!

Other Top Shot Season 4 Episode Reviews

- Season 4, Episode 1: Motorcycle Sidecar Shootout
- Season 4, Episode 2: Browning BAR and Grenade Launchers
- Season 4, Episode 3: Benelli Shotguns Galore; Season 2 Winner Chris Reed
- Season 4, Episode 4: Crossbows, Moving Targets, and Love
- Season 4, Episode 5: Flintlocks, Unpatched Balls, and Half-Cocks
- Season 4, Episode 7: Trick Shots and Cocky Teammates
- Season 4, Episode 8: Old British Guns
- Season 4, Episode 9: It's all About Rifles
- Season 4, Episode 10: SWAT Stuff
- Season 4, Episode 11: Machinegunning and Memory
- Season 4, Episode 12: Season Finale

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