GEO. A. HENSLEY & Peerless Bullet Moulds
One and the same?
01.24.2007 (under construction – may be revised later)
The following people contributed invaluable information and assistance for this article:
If I’ve left anyone out, please email me.
This story actually began when
I received an email from Bill Aydt in October 2006 requesting background
information on a single cavity mould marked “GEO. A. HENSLEY”
And here is the close-up of the GEO. A. HENSLEY stamp on the handles:
My initial reaction was thinking a mismatch occurred between the single cavity mould and the handles. The handles appeared to be handles for a 6,8, or 10 cavity mould. I suspected at that time, and stated via email, that I thought the owner at some time had the single cavity mould, but no handles, and later acquired a set of 6, 8, or 10 cavity Geo. A. Hensley handles and paired the two together.
Later that year I received an email from Doug Elliott asking me if I knew of any collaboration between George Hensley and the Peerless Moulds. I later received a copy of the Stoeger catalog showing a brand of moulds called “Peerless” and it had photos of the odd looking single cavity mould with large cavity handles. The accompanying bullet catalog shown in the advertisement was clearly the GEO. A. HENSLEY catalog line, circa 1939-1941. The drawings of the bullets offered, and the mould numbering were identical to the GEO. A. HENSLEY catalogs offered during this time periods. Here is the PEERLESS catalog:
Link to really big photos of the above files: (These are large files)
And here is Doug Elliott’s email with the background information:
to evade some overdue yard work, I went out to the storage shed and - by
Jingies!! - there was a copy of the 1944 Stoeger No. 35; pages 259 - 286
providing a comprehensive selection of the then-current (but mostly suspended
for the duration) loading tools, components and bullet moulds (sort of a
pre-"Handloaders Digest"). And there, on pp. 270-271 was the
array of "Peerless Bullet Moulds", clearly the Hensley line, but with
no mention of his name anywhere. But there is a TON of information there,
including the (widely differing in size and shape) single- double, 4- and
6-cavity moulds and their handles and - of immediate interest - listings and
photos of SIX "Ness Safety .30
And here is an earlier email from George:
The two older Stoegers I do have are both 1939. One's a reprint and the other's an original in sad shape that has been in the family for eons. Looking in the index, I find the name Stoegers Peerless covering barrels, springs, and mostly stocks. After reviewing it I'm wondering if that Peerless name isn't meant to denote Stoeger's own product line made for them by some sub-contractors. In our case it would have been Hensley & Gibbs. Like the old defunct Herter's "Model Perfect". I can remember trying to order out of the Herter's catalog and I would get notes saying that the product wasn't available at that time. In a few years down the line that product disappeared from their catalog. It was like Herters wishful thinking they'd have a deal all finalized with a supplier and it just didn't work out and the deal all fell through. Much like Wal-Mart does today. If that's the case here, looking for ads in other publications wouldn't yield much of anything. It would indeed be interesting to see what was stamped on those moulds, if in fact there was such a product, not just from seeing it from an ad. Remember Tom said that Wayne Gibbs never mentioned it in his correspondence with him...Geo
Wayne Gibbs has not mentioned George A. Hensley, or Wayne’s father (James Gibbs) contracting out, but I recently emailed him specifically asking about that so I may have an update on this later.
So, after seeing the Stoeger catalog with the Peerless ad, it was obvious to me, that the Peerless brand was GEO. A. HENSLEY’s line of bullet moulds being marketed as “Peerless” Bullet moulds. I am confident that the Peerless brand was simply George Hensley’s moulds branded with another name. And after seeing the Peerless catalog, I realized that the single cavity mould I misidentified earlier as having the wrong handles was in fact made that way by George A. Hensley. I can only conclude that single cavity handles came out later, or that George used what he had at hand when he shipped moulds out. In other words, if he had 20 sets of large cavity handles, and wanted to ship 5 single cavity moulds, 5 4 cavity moulds, and 10 6 cavity moulds, they all received the same handle as that was what he had in stock.
As I receive more information on this topic, I will update this page with more recent information. Please email me if you have any articles on this subject that will help us preserve the Hensley & Gibbs historical data.