Merlin Unwin Books

"Merlin Unwin Books are lively, innovative countryside book publishers.

Their well-produced range of rural, wildlife, fieldsports and fishing books never fail to inform and entertain."

Philip Dunne MP
co-founder of Ottakar’s bookshops

The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets

This book explores in practical detail many of the ways, old and new, in which man can shoot missiles by means of his own force, without the aid of explosives.

David slew Goliath with a stone from a sling, but it was a large stone and Man has long been shooting small stones and carefully rounded bullets of clay, glass - and latterly steel and lead - from a variety of weapons without recourse to gunpowder. The bow and arrow has been Man's choice for the last 10,000 years, when modern firearms have been unavailable or unsuitable.

There is currently an explosion of interest in making primitive archery equipment. The author has been building bows and shooting flint-tipped arrows since adolescence. But the addiction has led to stronger stuff: to experiments with making and shooting pump-up airguns, stonebows and home-made lead musketballs.

Middleton's narrative is lively, humorous and full of exciting information and experimentation.

In this quirky and clever book, he invites you to share the thrills of his garden shed experiments with him.

Author: Richard Middleton
Illustrator: Richard Middleton
ISBN: 978 1 873674 82 6
Published: September 2005
No. of pages: 224
1 black & white photographs
94 black & white illustrations
Price: £12.99

The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets by Richard Middleton



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Press reviews

Reviewed by Richard Shelton of Sporting Shooter Magazine in May 2006

'What makes the book so valuable to serious students of man-powered weaponry is that Middleton is a master of the physical principles of all the devices he describes. But he wears his learning lightly and so amusing is his prose that you learn without realising it. If only my physics master has been like him. Enjoy the fun, the simply-explained physics and the author’s infectious enthusiasm.'


Reviewed by Eifion Rees of Shooting Times in November 2005

'A dangerous man to live next-door to..…interspersed with amusing anecdotes and fascinating facts and potted histories.'


Reviewed in Shooting Gazette in November 2005

'For those with an interest in propelling missiles and for those who marvel at the obsessions that drive some through life this will be a fascinating read.'


Reviewed in Gunmart in October 2005

'If, like me, you have always had an interest in catapults, crossbows, blowpipes, airguns and the like, then you’ll probably love this book. Despite the authors’ prestigious connections, he still retains a schoolboy-like enthusiasm for experimentation and the simple joys of making something and seeing it work.'


Reviewed by BH of BASC Magazine in December 2005

'This is one of the most entertaining and well-written books on the science of launching missiles by either stored energy or compressed air that I have ever read.'


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