48 pages / A4 / Black & White

review by Colin Greenwood (Editor)

Guns Review


'...Frank Spittle is something of a giant in the world of air rifle, small bore and match crossbow shooting. We do not believe that anyone could calculate just how much effort he has put into these sports. He is one of those enormously energietic and hard working organisers who manages to get things going where no-one else did, and does it without ruffling to many feathers.
His interest in the sport is wide ranging and in this small book he has delved deep into the the sport of bell target airgun shooting which developed in the Black Country as a working man's pub sport.....

....This is a fascinating story which Frank Spittle takes forward from these early days, through the formation of the National Air Rifle Association with postal leagues, and the later affiliation of airgunners to the NSRA. Bell target shooting still persists in the Black Country - and long may it do so.'

'....This is an extremely important story which is very well told. It is fascinating information for any airgunner, but it is a great deal more than that. It is a lesson for every shooting man and we urge everyone to buy it so that they learn some of its lessons and be spurred on by the spirit of those Black Country airgunners of a century ago...'

review by

National Rifle Association

Historic Arms Resource Centre

'This 48-page soft-cover book is clearly the work of an enthusiast, and it chronicles in a most interesting manner one aspect of the development of target-shooting which is often overlooked.
The "BELL-TARGET" movement - still going strong - was an important part of the sport, especially for those with limited means. The middle-class and the artisans formed the backbone of the Volunteer Movement but the cost of being a Volunteer was high, both in time and money, and even the cost of shooting a Miniature Rifle was too much for many of the working men of the Black Country. Bell target shooting could be done cheaply and in the main was practised at the local pub - the domain of the working man after long hours at the bench, where he could escape from the family (leaving his wife at home to continue her drudgery) and sometimes drinking away all of the meagre funds.
Although the movement spread somewhat (it took a hold in the Channel Islands in particular), it was centred around the industrial centre of England The matches between the Clubs were keenly fought amid the fumes of shag tobacco and ale, often for charity, but the movement as a whole was studiously ignored by the SMRC (Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs) and the movement is now but a shadow of its former self.'

'...Frank's book is an important historical document, well written in an approachable manner and its modest price belies its value.
I thoroughly recommend it.'

£5.00 inc. UK p&p.

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Frank Spittle

Frank Spittle