Email from Wayne Gibbs – January 2004


Questions I asked are prefixed with “Q”, Wayne’s answers are prefixed “A”.


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 "San Diego, CA" as early as the 1950's.


A.  George Hensley made his first bullet mold 3/1/1933.  He sold his first

bullet mold 3/27/1933.  (Don't know whether that was the same mold or

not.)  James Gibbs bought his first mold from George Hensley 3/18/1934.

They had met at a firing range, and became friends.  It was a San Diego

range in Mission Valley, which is no longer there.  (The firing range, not

Mission Valley.)


 1933 prices—


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, San Diego, CA, until James Gibbs

became a partner in 1941.  After than, molds were stamped Hensley & Gibbs, San Diego,

CA until we moved to Oregon in late 1964.  Then, it switched to Hensley & Gibbs, Murphy OR.

(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?


A.  No.


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 Oregon.


H & G moved to Oregon in late 1964, and in early 1966, we stopped selling

through dealers.  Jim partially retired in 1972, and sold H & G to Wayne.  At that time, Jim

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

the wait.


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.