A Rube Goldberg machine is intentionally designed to perform a simple task as a result of an overly complicated set of chain reactions. It was named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg who was popular from 1914 until his death in 1970. Goldberg drew cartoons depicting gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect and convoluted ways.

Stoked by 1980s cult classics like Peewee's Big Adventure and The Goonies, the public's interest in making these devices more tangible exploded. In 1987, Purdue University in Indiana started an annual National Rube Goldberg machine contest. More recently, you can find dozens of videos on the internet of incredibly complex machines.

But I've never seen one that started and ended with the blast of a 12-gauge shotgun. And, seeing as this is Guns.com, I decided to change that.


The world's biggest Texas star target powered by a garden tiller. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

For my machine, I incorporated two devices I constructed earlier this summer. The first was a giant Texas Star target. It stands 17-feet high and has five long arms measuring 6-feet. My brother shot a water bottle attached to one of the arm with my trusty Mossberg 500 SPX Tactical shotgun. The change in weight caused the star to start turning, tipping over a water bucket, and starting the chain reaction.

Giant catapult to launch pop cans for shotgun practice. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

The second device I used at the end of my machine was a giant catapult. I built it with my father to launch pop cans into the air for shotgun practice. It's foot-operated, and launches cans roughly 100-feet into the air. The Rube Goldberg machine ended with a brick triggering the arm to launch a pop can. My brother blew it out of the air the Mossy. Good times.

On a personal note, it took two days to film this video. Getting the machine to work properly from start to finish, along with wind and lighting conditions, made this one of the most challenging videos I've ever made. I sure hope you all enjoy it.

If you're looking for a new or used shotgun for your own Rube Goldberg machine, or whatever you decide, you can find plenty of them on our site. If you have a gun that's collecting dust, let us make you an offer on it! 

Also, make sure to check out my videos about my Texas star target and catapult below.



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