A deadly device by any measure, the Cow Mangler will quantum disentangle Cows, Sheep, Humans and even Demomen!
— Cow Mangler 5000 publicity blurb
The Cow Mangler 5000 is a primary weapon for the Soldier. It is a large, shoulder-fired, retro-futuristic ray gun. Several portions are team-colored, and arcs of electricity appear periodically on the frontal nodes.
This weapon can fire up to four blasts of team-colored energy that, compared to the default Rocket Launcher, deliver 80% less damage to buildings. The blasts fired function similarly to rocket projectiles; as such rocket jumping can be performed without hindrance, and the shots can be reflected by enemy Pyros. The Cow Mangler 5000 features a "Mangler" bar in the HUD which serves as an indication of its ammunition clip. After the bar is depleted, it can be recharged through a reloading process in which the lever on the side is cranked. It does not incorporate the traditional ammo reserve used by other weapons, a feature shared with Righteous Bison, Pomson 6000 and Manmelter.
When the Mangler bar is full, pressing the secondary fire button will cause the weapon to begin charging up. During this process, the entire Mangler bar is consumed and the Soldier's movement speed is reduced to a third (from his standard 80% of normal speed to roughly 27%). This charging period lasts for two seconds, after which a single charged shot is fired with both the speed and blast radius of a typical blast. This shot deals mini-crit damage to players and will cause them to suffer six seconds of afterburn damage at the same rate as the Flamethrower. This can affect the Soldier who fired it if he is near enough. The charged shot also disables any enemy buildings hit for four seconds.
Although this weapon is unable to be crit-boosted during an Übercharge of the Kritzkrieg or Humiliation, it is able to perform mini-crits from the Buff Banner, even though it does not glow while the banner is active.
Enemies killed by the Mangler suffer a distinctive death by vaporization: they turn black, hover in mid-air while performing a specific disintegration animation surrounded by team-colored particles, and then disappear into ashes. If killed by a charged shot the victim is gibbed and the gibs vaporize individually whilst flying towards random directions.
Damage and function times
| Damage and function times
| Shot type
| Maximum ramp-up
| Base damage
| Maximum fall-off
| Point blank
| Medium range
| Long range
|| 3 / tick|
| Afterburn (mini-crit)
|| 4 / tick|
| Splash damage
| Minimum splash
|| 9 ft
| Self damage (rocket jump)
| Function times
| Attack interval
|| 0.8 s
| Reload (first)
|| 0.92 s
| Reload (consecutive)
|| 0.8 s
| Afterburn duration
|| 6 s
| Values are approximate and determined by community testing.
As a crafting ingredient
July 20, 2011 Patch
(Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack
- The Cow Mangler 5000 was added to the game.
July 22, 2011 Patch
- Improved the impact sounds for the Cow Mangler 5000’s projectiles.
- Optimized many particle effects related to the Cow Mangler 5000.
- Updated the Cow Mangler 5000 to display the drawbacks in its attribute list.
- Updated the gamehaptics file
- Added recoil/draw/crit/reload forces for the Cow Mangler 5000
- Added charge shot force for the Cow Mangler 5000
July 22, 2011 Patch #2
- Fixed the charged shot sometimes doing more damage than intended.
- Fixed a bug that caused the projectiles to stay in the world after a team change.
- Slowed reload rate by 5%.
- Decreased damage dealt by 10%.
July 26, 2011 Patch
- Corrected the damage ramp for the Cow Mangler 5000
August 18, 2011 Patch
- [Undocumented] Updated the kill icon for Cow Mangler 5000.
September 15, 2011 Patch
- Updated the particle effects for the Cow Mangler 5000 and the Righteous Bison
October 14, 2011 [Item schema update]
- The Cow Mangler 5000 can no longer be painted.
October 27, 2011 Patch (Very Scary Halloween Special)
- Updated effects for The Cow Mangler 5000.
May 13, 2013 Patch
July 10, 2013 Patch
- Changed attributes:
- Reduced clip size (from 5 to 4)
- Removed -10% damage attribute
- Removed 5% slower reload attribute
- Added missing "sets players on fire" description text
- Updated particles and sound.
July 11, 2013 Patch
- Fixed missing Cow Mangler 5000 particles when running in DirectX8.
- In VPK files there is an unused alternate sound for charged shot resembling some of Quake sounds listed as cow_mangler_overcharged_shot
- The weapon will fire a charged shot even if the charging process is interrupted by getting stunned or the Soldier's team losing.
- Deactivating an enemy Sentry Gun during humiliation will cause them to reactivate afterward and shoot the winning team.
- If the player changes from the Cow Mangler 5000 to another Rocket Launcher using a Resupply locker while charging a shot, they will be stuck with the slower moving speed until they change classes or finish firing the charged shot.
- The laser can go through thin walls such as setup gates when fired at a correct angle.
- Rarely, after a moment of not firing, the Soldier will automatically reload the weapon's clip, regardless of the player's auto-reload setting.
- The fire damage self-inflicted on the Soldier by the weapon is treated as an environmental hazard. As such, the last enemy to injure the player will be credited in the kill feed should the Soldier die from the afterburn damage.
- It is still possible to taunt and quickly press alt-fire to charge a shot. The result is a laser fired from the Soldier's chest as he taunts.
- When killing a player going to destroy the cart in Hightower, the Soldier will be awarded with a Kamikaze kill.
- When minimizing the game with this weapon equipped, the ammo portion of the HUD may disappear. Looking at the scoreboard may fix this.
- Sometimes, the death animation is not played, and the disintegrating body floats to a single direction and then vaporizes.
- The name Cow Mangler is a reference to the association of alien contact coinciding with cattle mutilation. This originated from American science-fiction movies of the 1950s in which aliens would use laser and plasma weapons to cause mutilation to livestock.
- Unlike other weapons that have two separate VMTs for team colors, the Cow Mangler 5000 is using the same method that used to paint hats to give the weapon team colors. The projectile is colored using the same method as well.
- This weapon's design seems to be inspired from the "Pearce 75 Atom Ray Gun", a model which can be bought here at Weta's online store.
- Several Pyro achievements can be earned using the afterburn of the charged shot.
- Attempting to rocket jump with a charged shot will set the user on fire, awarding the Pilot Light achievement.
- A small number of Cow Manglers were painted due to a schema update that resulted in Cow Manglers being marked as paintable in team colours for a short period of time. Due to the way the model VMTs are set up this resulted in both the model and projectile being painted.