Email from Wayne Gibbs – January 2004
Questions I asked
are prefixed with “Q”,
To: Tom Dugas
A. Thank you for your interest in Hensley & Gibbs. I will try to answer your
questions, probably in random order. As far as further questions go,
this email will probably tell you pretty much everything we are willing or
able to tell you.
Casting for the local sheriff's department: We used to sell lots of 8- and
10-cavity molds to sheriffs' departments--they quite often had trusties and
others cast their bullets for them. When the auto cast machines became
available, probably early 1980's, then our orders for the larger molds dropped
off, and mainly were ordered by individuals.
Q. When was the company first engaged in the business of bullet making?
My records show
bullet molds marked "
Hensley made his first bullet mold
not.) James Gibbs bought his first mold
from George Hensley
They had met at a
firing range, and became friends. It was a
2-cavity, $6.00 plus shipping
4-cavity, $12.00 plus shipping.
At that time, orders were mainly walk in and pick them up, rather than shipping.
In 1934, 6-cavity molds became available for $18.00 plus shipping.
The 8- or 10-cavity mold was added in 1941, for $30.00 plus shipping.
The 8- or 10-cavity molds were cut in the same size block. Amount of cavities
depended on caliber.
First molds were
stamped Geo. A. Hensley,
became a partner in 1941. After than, molds
were stamped Hensley & Gibbs,
CA until we moved
(Southern part of state, near I-5 freeway.)
Q. Why are some of the early gang molds "pot bellied"? (they have a large area of metal in the
center giving them a characteristic "pot belly" look).
A. George made 6-cavity molds pot bellied to make them weigh less. We used
a metal shaper to remove material fore and aft on the blocks. Quit making them
this way probably late 1940's 'cuz it was too much work and it was difficult
to repair interior surfaces.
Q. Can you estimate the total production of all bullet molds in rifle and pistol or other styles?
Q. When did you stop offering the hammer mold and why?
A. We didn't make the lead hammer molds ourselves. Our first manufacturer
became too busy to supply us with them. It was our design, though. After
that, the quality from another manufacturer was spasmodic, so we decided to
discontinue them. They were available for a relative short time.
Q. Did H&G make hollow point bullet molds?
A. We made hollow point molds, but only in 2-cavity size or 1-cavity size.
Q. Can you please give a brief synopsis of the life of the H&G company, its principals, its annual
production, and the date the doors were closed?
A. George was in his mid-sixties when he made his first bullet mold. As above,
he and James Gibbs became partners in 1941. In the forties, he partially
retired, and worked on an irregular basis thereafter. In 1957, H & G quit
producing 2-cavity molds, including the hollow points, and rifle molds. We resumed making
2-cavity molds in 1969, but not rifle or hollow point molds.
Wayne Gibbs started working with his dad and George in 1948, when he
was twelve years old. The name, Hensley & Gibbs was well-known, so we never
changed it after George Hensley died. George's brother, Fred, worked with
them periodically, and Jim's brother, Jack, also worked on a more regular
basis prior to H & G moving to
H & G moved
through dealers. Jim partially retired in
1972, and sold H & G to
was more into gardening--he grew really great tomatoes, etc.
H & G was always more interested in quality than quantity. We kept our
company very small in order to preserve that quality. Every mold that went
through our doors was first tested, and, bullet diameters measured and recorded.
For about the last 25 years, our designs were cut to order, rather than having
a lot of stock sitting on our shelves. At times, there was a waiting period of
eight months. But we feel the quality was always there, and the molds worth
We started producing 2-cavity molds for auto cast machines in 1988. We sold
them mainly to Ballisti-Cast, some to Magma Engineering, and some to individuals.
In 1994, we stopped producing 8- and 10-cavity molds, because we were no
longer able to readily handle them.
When we closed in November, 1999, we did not try to sell our business.
It was very important to us that the name Hensley & Gibbs continue with
the great reputation it always had. We did sell some of our equipment
and tooling to Ballisti-Cast.
Hope this helps.