Headstamp Publishing Launches New Book on the History of British Bullpups!

    Thorneycroft to SA80 (Headstamp Publishing)

    Over the weekend Headstamp Publishing launched their second book – Thorneycroft to SA80: British Bullpup Firearms, 1901–2020, written by Jonathan Ferguson of the UK’s Royal Armouries. The new book launched its Kickstarter campaign on the 12th April, it follows Ian McCollum’s book on French military rifles which has recently begun to ship to backers.

    Thorneycroft & Godsal rifles (Headstamp Publishing)

    The book looks to be a must for bullpup lovers and anyone interested in British small arms history, spanning a century of development it looks at everything from the Thorneycroft and Godsal bolt-actions to the famous, but short-lived, EM-2 through to the SA80 currently in service. With the weapons each receiving a chapter that “describes the weapon’s conception, development, trial and testing, and intended role.”

    Headstamp describe the new book as “an engaging and comprehensive reference work, offering the most detailed insights into British bullpup rifle developments to date, paired with quality photographs and beautiful design. This is a book for enthusiasts, researchers, and collectors, and as much an authoritative historical work as it is a work of art.” They feel the book will appeal to collectors, enthusiasts and researchers alike as Jonathan’s book is both “a comprehensive reference work to support serious research and an aesthetically pleasing illustrated publication for the firearms enthusiast.”

    A Disassembled EM-2 (Headstamp Publishing)

    Ian’s Chassepot to FAMAS: French Military Rifles, 1866 – 2016 wracked up a staggering 6,076 backers with over $800,000 pledged during the Kickstarter campaign. It seems Jonathan’s book is also off to a good start. Not only it is already fully funded but the book’s Kickstarter campaign is smashing through its stretch goal targets and at the time of writing has raised an impressive $300,000 in 48 hours. The stretch goals reached include additional sections on the British .280 round used by the EM-2 and the 4.85mm round developed for the later Enfield Weapon System prototypes.

    (Headstamp Publishing)

    We spoke to Jonathan about the launch of his book and the reaction it’s gained so far. He said: “I’m pretty blown away by the response. Obviously ‘Chassepot to FA-MAS’ was going to be a tough act to follow, but it seems that there are enough people interested in the strange saga of Britain’s obsession with bullpups to fund this book. It’s taken years of research to get to this point and I couldn’t be happier with the level of interest at this early stage.”

    Rifles from the SA-80 family (Headstamp Publishing)

    Jonathan spoke about the reaction to the book in a short video posted on Ian’s Forgotten Weapons channel:

    With the launch of this work, Headstamp, which is run by Ian McCollum, N.R. Jenzen-Jones & James Rupley, are aiming to deliver what they describe as a “gold standard in firearms and military history reference.”

    I certainly welcome a new book pulling together the history of Britain’s love affair with the bullpup, it looks like it promises to cover some really interesting historic weapons. The book’s Kickstarter campaign is running for the next month and you can find out much more about it here.

    Matthew Moss


    TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
    OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]