Extremely Rare Calisher & Terry Bullet Mold
- Product Code: FPTA-1566-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is an extremely scarce bullet mold for use with the Calisher & Terry patent breech loading percussion carbine. The Terry’s Patent Carbine, as produced by the Birmingham firm of Calisher & Terry was one of the more unique and innovative breechloading percussion arms to be developed in the mid-19th Century. The guns have always had a strong Civil War association with the Confederacy, primarily because of two very famous carbines that are in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy. One of the guns belonged to famed Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, and the other to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Stuart’s gun was a 30-Bore Type II carbine, with the retailer name THOMAS BLISSET “ LIVERPOOL engraved on the top of the barrel. While documentable deliveries of additional Terry carbines have not yet been located, notes from the primary Confederate arms purchasing agent in England, Caleb Huse, read in part:
“5,000 Carbines Terry’s patent + the best description of gun that is made”
“500M Cartridges for the Carbines best quality” (the “M” means 1,000 in this case indicating 500,000 cartridges)
“5,000 Slings for the carbines”.
These notes appear again within the McRae papers in the form of a 3-page letter from General Colin McRae, dated December 3, 1863 to an unnamed recipient. McRae was writing from Paris, and it is not clear that this letter was ever sent. However, in addition to the Terry’s carbines and accessories, it also lists 20,000 Enfield rifle muskets, 10,00 Adams revolvers and accessories and ammunition for both. The letter asks the recipient to inquire into the acquisition of these arms through Mr. Quilter, who was a partner an accounting and auditing firm that was closely associated with S. Isaac, Campbell & Company, the primary supplier of Confederate arms and equipage in England. All of this suggests that the Confederate government certainly wanted to purchase Calisher & Terry carbines for their cavalry. There is also some strong circumstantial evidence that at least some of the coveted carbines saw use in the South, and as many as 200 may have been purchased by the US Government. In 1861, Henry Calisher traveled to New York with “200 Long Enfields”, which he offered for sale. It is not clear whether the guns were in fact Enfields, and in all probability they were Terry Patent carbines. Additionally, sources are split as to whether the guns were sold directly to the US government or the firm of Schuyler, Hartley & Graham of New York. As it is well known that a number of high profile arms were delivered to the Confederacy through purchases at the Schuyler, Hartley & Graham storefront in New York, it is quite possible that these carbines went south as well, via a “straw man” purchase by Southern sympathizers. Terry carbines may well have travelled to the Confederacy as speculative cargo in the holds of Blockade Runners as well. Speculative cargo were those items purchased by the owners and/or investors in the Blockade Runner, who were allowed to import items to the South for their own monetary gain. Recent discoveries in US Maritime Court Records have revealed that many items never thought to be purchased by the Confederacy were in fact purchased as speculative cargo for resale upon their arrival in the South. Among these speculative weapons imports were Austrian M-1851 cavalry carbines and M-1842 muskets. Terry’s Patent Carbines have long been considered a rarely encountered arm, imported in very limited quantities by the Confederacy, and have been identified as such since the days of Claude Fuller & Richard Steuart’s Firearms of the Confederacy (pages 231-232 & Plate XXVI, Figure 3) and William Albaugh & Edward Simmons’ Confederate Arms (Plate 99, Figure 3).
William Terry’s patent for a bolt-action, “Terry’s Patent Carbine” was issued on April 7, 1856. The design, as slightly modified Henry Calisher, was submitted to the British Board of Ordnance breechloading carbine trials in 1857, and in December of 1858 the Terry Carbine was approved for limited issue, with all of the firearms ordered being issued to the 18th Hussars. These first contract Terry carbines were “Type I” carbines, which were 26-Bore (.568 caliber) and rifled with 3 grooves. The carbines were also equipped with a sling bar and ring on the side of the gunstock, opposite the lock. The guns were marked with the usual British War Department ordnance ownership marks, including a Crown / VR to the rear of the lock and British military proofs on the breech. The total number ordered for the 18th Hussars is not known, but the regiment numbered some 700 men at the time of issue, so it is estimated that this initial order was for between 700-1000 carbines. These carbines remained in use with the 18th Hussars through 1864, when the guns were refurbished at British repair & refitting arsenal at Pimlico, and were subsequently issued to the South African Cape Mounted Rifles, who used the guns through about 1870. A new pattern of Terry carbine was approved in November of 1860, and these Type II carbines were typified by a new 30-Bore (.539) caliber with 5-groove rifling with a rate of twist of 1:36”. The rear most barrel band was eliminated, and was replaced with a flat key to secure the barrel to the stock, along with an action screw in the bottom of the gun and a single upper barrel band. A new rear sight was also adopted, replacing the previously use multi-leaf rear sight with a new long base “Enfield” style sight similar to that adopted for the Pattern 1861 Artillery carbine. The new pattern guns were also somewhat slighter in overall construction with lighter, thinner stocks and an overall length that was 1” shorter. These guns were produced between 1860 and 1861 for the British government, with the majority of the arms going to New Zealand for the use of their militia, as well as Australian provincial police departments, including New South Wales and Queensland. In 1861 a final pattern of the Terry carbine was adopted, the Type III. The only difference between the Type II and Type III carbines was the change to a non-snagging Baddeley patent barrel band on the new Type III carbines, and the removal of the upper sling swivel. While Calisher & Terry were producing the carbines for their British military and provincial government contracts, they were also producing commercial rifles and carbines, in both “military” and sporting configurations. Total production of Calisher & Terry carbines is not known, but based upon known inventories and their relatively limited survival somewhere between 5,000 and an absolute maximum of about 10,000 total carbines and rifles were produced. The larger number would be reached only if that Confederate order for 5,000 carbines was actually produced. The guns may not have been serial numbered in consecutive order, and some gaps may exist. Calisher & Terry took advantage of the Birmingham gun trade to produce enough guns to fill their military contracts, and these guns are marked with the typical TOWER mark on the lock, with the date of manufacture. The custom of assigning serial number ranges was well established by other English gunmakers that licensed their patents. The best-known example being Robert Adams, who issued specific serial number ranges to makers like William Tranter, Joseph Brazier, the London Armory Company and others. This results in odd gaps in the serial number sequence and makes the dating of Adams revolvers solely by serial number problematic, as number 10,000 and 20,000 might was have been produced concurrently, but by different makers. It appears that none of the longer barreled rifles were never ordered by any government entity, but some surely was use in the hands of private citizens and militia members, primarily New Zealand. All of the New Zealand militia used arms (whether provided by the British Government or via private purchases of commercial arms) are marked with on their buttplates with an NZ and an inventory number. The Australian provincial police used Terry’s are also marked on their buttplates with similar ownership markings. This means that only those carbines, which bear no British military marks or other territorial or provincial marks, can be considered as potential Civil War imported carbines. These guns would have been commercially proved guns, manufactured for the export and commercial retail markets, and would not have had the sling bar and ring, as these were only included on British Government purchased carbines.
This bullet mold is clearly marked on the top of the left handle FOR TERRY’s PATENT. The left side of the mold block is additionally marked No / 30, indicating that it is 30-Bore. The mold cavity appears to cast a bullet of about .555” diameter and a length of approximately 1”. The mold is 8 3/8” in overall length, including the lip of the side pour spout and the block is approximately 1”x1 1/8”. The mold is brass (more likely bronze), and is of the scarce side-pour variety. There is not a standard top mounted sprue cutter, but rather a set of jaws are forged into the upper portion of the handles, above the hinge pin, allowing this area to cut off the small amount of sprue that would be present with a side cast bullet. The mold is in VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition overall. The handles and body have a deep bronze patina and are very attractive. All of the markings on the mold remain crisp and clear. There are some minor impact marks on the mold, but no abuse or damage is noted. The mold cavities remain bright and clean and would cast excellent bullets today. The iron hinge pin, base plug and base plug screw are all a medium gray patina with splotchy patches of brown surface oxidation over all of them. This could probably be lightly cleaned and removed. The iron parts shows some light pinpricking, peppering and minor pitting as well, but the portion of the base plug inside the mold remains bright and crisp with no erosion or damage. The mold is all original and does not appear to have been altered in any way.
Side Pour English bullet molds are hardly common, and seem to appear at a rate of between 1 or 2 for every standard nose pour mold encountered. This is the only Terry’s Patent mold that I have ever seen, and in fact is the only one that many noted English arms researchers have seen. Considering the Confederate proclivity to have a bullet mold delivered with every case of 20 long arms, it is easy to believe that this mold arrived on these shores in the cargo hold of a blockade runner. Assuming the Confederate order for the 5,000 carbines was filled, that would suggest that 250 molds were sent as well. The extreme rarity of the guns suggests that if the order was filled, the majority of the carbines are at the bottom of the ocean, dumped or lost while trying to evade the Union blockade. If you own a Terry carbine, this is an essential accessory that you might not see for sale again in a long time. If you are a collector of Civil War era molds, especially English ones, this is one will be a fantastic addition to your collection. This mold will be published in an upcoming book on Confederate imports from England, and will be a wonderful addition to your collection of Civil War arms and accessories.SOLD