Cow Mangler 5000

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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 of the weapon 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 deal about 20% damage to buildings compared to the stock Rocket Launcher. 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. Projectiles fired from this weapon have the same speed as one from the stock Rocket Launcher at 1100 Hammer units per second (approximately 76 km/h or 47 mph). 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. The weapon does not incorporate the traditional ammo reserve used by other weapons and hence gives it unlimited ammunition, a feature shared with the Righteous Bison, Pomson 6000, and Manmelter.

When the Mangler bar is full, pressing the secondary fire button (default key: MOUSE2) causes the weapon to begin charging up. During this process, the entire Mangler bar is consumed, the user cannot switch to other weapons, 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 causes them to suffer six seconds of afterburn damage at the same rate as the Flame Thrower. This can affect the Soldier who fired it if that Soldier is close enough. The charged shot can destroy enemy stickybombs and also disables any enemy buildings hit for four seconds. However, damage dealt by secondary fire is reduced by any items that offer explosive or fire resistance.

Granted or earned critboosts to the Cow Mangler 5000, such as the Kritzkrieg's ÜberCharge or a Power Up Canteen, are converted into mini-crits instead, and it cannot deal random critical hits.

Enemies killed by the Cow Mangler 5000 suffer a distinctive death by vaporization: they turn black, hover in mid-air while surrounded by team-colored particles, and then disappear into ashes while a loud, distinct vaporization sound plays. Like backstabs and headshots, there is a 25% chance of opponents performing a specific disintegration animation if killed in this way. If killed by a charged shot, the victim is gibbed and the gibs vaporize individually whilst flying towards random directions.

Damage and function times

See also: Damage
Damage and function times
Shot type Projectile
Damage type Explosive
Ranged or Melee damage? Ranged
Maximum ramp-up 125% 112
Base damage 100%
Maximum fall-off 52.8% 48
Point blank 105-112
Medium range 50-90
Long range 24-48
Critical 270
Mini-crit 122-151
Afterburn 4 / tick
48 total
Afterburn (mini-crit) 5 / tick
60 total
Splash damage
Minimum splash 50% 2.77 m
Self-damage 27-89
Self damage (rocket jump) 27-46
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.

Item set

Main article: Item sets
Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack
Item icon Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack.png

No effect


Strange variant


Main article: Crafting


Reclaimed Metal Black Box Cow Mangler 5000
Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png + Item icon Black Box.png = Item icon Cow Mangler 5000.png
Class Token - Soldier Slot Token - Primary Scrap Metal Possible Results
Item icon Class Token - Soldier.png + Item icon Slot Token - Primary.png + Item icon Scrap Metal.png =
Item icon Direct Hit.png Item icon Black Box.png Item icon Rocket Jumper.png Item icon Liberty Launcher.png
Item icon Cow Mangler 5000.png Item icon Original.png Item icon Beggar's Bazooka.png Item icon Air Strike.png
Item icon Panic Attack.png

As a crafting ingredient

Refined Metal Victory Pack weapon Possible Results
Item icon Refined Metal.pngx4 + Item icon Cow Mangler 5000.pngItem icon Righteous Bison.png =
Item icon Lord Cockswain's Pith Helmet.png Item icon Lord Cockswain's Novelty Mutton Chops and Pipe.png

Related achievements

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

Backdraft Dodger
Backdraft Dodger
Kill a Pyro who has airblasted one of your rockets in the last 10 seconds.

Death from Above
Death from Above
Rocket jump and kill 2 enemies before you land.

Duty Bound
Duty Bound
While rocket jumping kill an enemy with the Equalizer before you land or just after landing.

For Whom the Shell Trolls
For Whom the Shell Trolls
Bounce an opponent into the air with a rocket and then kill them with the shotgun before they land.
Mutually Assured Destruction
Mutually Assured Destruction
Kill an enemy sniper with a rocket after he kills you.

Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Get the highest possible rocket jump using jump and crouch.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Pilot Light
Pilot Light
Ignite a rocket-jumping Soldier while he's in midair.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

Eagle Eye
Eagle Eye
While using The Classic, kill a rocket/grenade jumping enemy in midair with a full charge, no-scope, headshot.
Jumper Stumper
Jumper Stumper
Kill a rocket or grenade-jumping enemy in midair with your Sniper Rifle or the Huntsman.

Tf snakewater salesman.png Snakewater achievements

Mutually Air-Sured-Destruction
Mutually Air-Sured-Destruction
While rocket jumping, use a rocket to kill a rocket jumping enemy who also kills you with a rocket.

Update history

July 20, 2011 Patch #1 (Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack Update)
  • The Cow Mangler 5000 was added to the game.

July 20, 2011 Patch #2

  • Fixed being able to paint the Cow Mangler 5000.

July 22, 2011 Patch #1

  • 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.
  • Changed attributes:
    • 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.

November 12, 2013 Patch

July 3, 2015 Patch

  • Fixed dropped energy weapons not being able to fire after being picked up.

May 31, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed energy weapons not reloading when using cl_autoreload.

July 28, 2016 Patch

  • Adjusted the Cow Mangler 5000 reload animation to be slightly faster (now matches the default Rocket Launcher).

August 29, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed a bug with the Cow Mangler 5000 reload speed.

September 14, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed being able to damage enemies through gates with the Cow Mangler 5000.

October 20, 2017 Patch (Jungle Inferno Update)

  • Changed attribute:
    • Removed cannot be critboosted.
    • Granted/earned crits will be converted to mini-crits instead.

October 24, 2017 Patch

  • Fixed the afterburn duration for the Cow Mangler 5000.

March 28, 2018 Patch #1

  • Fixed the Cow Mangler 5000's charged shot so that afterburn lasts 6 seconds (instead of 10).

July 25, 2019 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The charged shot can now destroy enemy stickybombs.

December 21, 2021 Patch

  • Fixed movement bug related to the Cow Mangler 5000.

Unused content

  • In the VPK files there is an unused alternate sound for a charged shot resembling some of Quake sounds listed as cow_mangler_over_charge_shot. There is also an unused idle sound and some alternative explosions sounds.


  • The weapon fires a charged shot even if the charging process is interrupted by getting stunned or the Soldier's team losing.
A Soldier killed by the Mangler's afterburn after being damaged by an enemy.
  • Rarely, after a moment of not firing, the Soldier automatically reloads the weapon's clip, regardless of the player's auto-reload setting.
  • When minimizing the game with this weapon equipped, the ammo portion of the HUD may disappear. Looking at the scoreboard may fix this.
  • The weapon does not glow when mini-critboosted.
  • If the Soldier dies from their own Cow Mangler 5000, the vaporization effect uses the opposite team's color.
  • If the player dies while the Cow Mangler 5000 is active, the weapon's particle effects still appear when spectating teammates while the player waits to respawn.


  • 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 VTFs for team colors, the Cow Mangler 5000 uses the same method that is used to paint cosmetic items to give the weapon team colors.
    • A small number of Cow Manglers were painted due to a schema update that resulted in Cow Manglers being marked as paintable for a short period of time. As a result, there exist around 7 to 12 Cow Manglers with differently-colored models. Interestingly, the only paints which were able to be applied to the Cow Mangler were team-specific coloured ones (e.g. Team Spirit, Cream Spirit, Balaclavas are Forever, etc.).
      • Before the July 10, 2013 Patch, particles were affected by painting as well. This does not happen anymore since the particles were re-done and now only come in BLU and RED colors, instead of the white colors that the painted color had attributed to it. During this patch, the beam's texture and shape were both changed. Originally, the beam acted like a laser-beam with a continuous trail, unlike the current burst-type design.
  • The weapon's design seems to be inspired from the "Pearce 75 Atom Ray Gun", a model sold at Weta Workshop's online store.


See also