The Practical Guide to Man-powered Bullets

by Richard Middleton

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Experiments with Catapults, Musketballs, Stonebows, Blowpipes, Big Airguns and Bullet Bows

This book explores in practical detail many of the ways, old and new, in which people can shoot bullets by their 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.

Richard 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.


50 Black & white illustrations


Sep 05, 2005


About the Author:

Born in the colonies, educated in England, Richard Middleton is a member of the Society of Archer Antiquaries and now lives in the Colonies again.

His wife, who edited out all the vainglorious bits of this biography (which is why it is now so short), has declined (refused point-blank) to have The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets dedicated to her, and only wishes it recorded that she is a saint for putting up with all Richard's experimental weapon-making activities.

Though Richard's interest always returns to the simple catapult, over the last 30 years he has made countless bows, crossbows, and even airguns to study the velocity and trajectory patterns of their missiles. He likes to test things for himself rather than to believe handed-down orthodoxies - an attitude not without its costs, some might add.

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