The Long Range Bolt Shooter

Some years ago a Patrol of Scouts built a giant catapult and fired a stave an incredible 99 yards (90.5m).
Fortunately they had allowed plenty of room.


  • 5 x 2.4m (8ft) spars
  • 1 x 1.8m (6ft) spars
  • 3 x 1m (3ft) spars
  • 5 pickets
  • 6 lashing lengths
  • 4 x 5m (15ft) ropes for guys
  • 1 single pulley
  • 1 double pulley
  • 1 x 15m (50ft) rope to suit pulleys
  • 3 – 4 old car inner tubes (depending on size)
  • Sisal


  • Construct an A frame using 2 x 2.4m (8ft) and 1 x 1.8m (6ft) spars.
  • Attach the guys (2 x 5m (15ft) ropes) to the top of each side of the A frame using round turns and two
    half hitches.
  • Join the inner tubes together into a chain by binding them using plenty of sisal. Hang the two ends of
    the tyre chain over the top of the A frame spars.
  • Stand the A frame up, heel in the butts and then drive in the pickets. The guys should be adjusted so
    that the A frame leans at approx 20 o to the vertical.
  • Set 2 x 1m (3ft) spars into the ground vertically approx 2.4m (8ft) from the A frame and parallel to it.
  • Lash the third 1m (3ft) spar across the previous two about 0.3m (1ft) down from the top.
  • Lay one of the 2.4m (8ft) spar in the crutch of the A frame and lash the other end (the butt) on top of
    the horizontal 1m (3ft) spar.
  • Lay the other two 2.4m (8ft) spars alongside the first with one end in the crutch of the A frame and
    the other resting on the horizontal bar. Join the three together at the lower end using a figure of
    eight lashing.
  • Drive in the remaining picket in line with the sloping spars and about 1.8m (6ft) away from the support
    for the butts of the 2.4m (8ft) spars.
  • Rig the pulleys and the 15m (50ft) rope into a handy billy. Attach one end the handy billy to the centre
    of the tyre chain using sisal and the other end to the fifth picket.

To fire the bolt shooter

  • Prime the firing mechanism by tensioning up the handy billy and then make off to the rear picket.
    Load a light spar or stave.
  • Check that the coast is clear and everyone is behind the line of fire.
  • Cut the sisal.
  • To download the complete plan and design document please Click Here

    Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
    Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls