The short version, is that I was asked to look into the feasibility of making a melee weapon, that one could swing at another object in the game, and have it interact physically. I completed the tutorial here http://www.mavrikgames.com/tutorials/melee-weapons, and proved that indeed it is.
The thing is, that only for a brief period in the swing is the sword capable of knocking things around. I've looked through the editor and code for awhile now, and I'm still not sure how to do this.
I was able to lengthen the amount of time it takes the animations run for, but not the length of time with which the sword can bash the barrel around.