Pumpkin pistol: As BoingBoing links to a Texas barbecue shaped like a pistol, I'm reminded of a story about pumpkin guns in the latest issue of The Rake:
The 2004 crop of shooters includes trebuchets, slingshots, spring engines, ballistae, torsion catapults, and colossal compressed air-powered behemoths such as the “Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator,” whose name was inspired by the raygun belonging to Marvin the Martian, one of Bugs Bunny’s more memorable rivals. The Q36 is from Morton, Illinois, the home of Libby’s, who incidentally make quite a lot of canned pumpkin filling. The gun travels to pumpkin-shooting events on large flatbed trailers and is assembled on-site using a construction crane. The machine is basically a giant air gun fabricated from ten-inch-diameter aluminum piping, pneumatic valves and regulators, and other assorted industrial doohickeys. The gun is powered by huge tanks of compressed air and mounted on a steel launch pad the size of your average garage slab. Its barrel spans nearly eight stories and the whole thing is encased in a welded steel superstructure tensioned with guy wires.

When the trigger is tripped, a deafening release of compressed air imparts great gobs of kinetic energy to the projectile in the breech. If it’s a good, tough-shelled pumpkin, it soars about 4,800 feet before splatting into seedy goo upon impact. That’s getting very close to a mile, and brother, that’s a long way to shoot a pumpkin. If the pumpkin can’t handle it, it disintegrates in the barrel and somewhere down-range, it’s raining pumpkin pie.

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