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British, Gunmakers

Calisher & Terry Carbines

We are based in New Zealand (NZ) and compiling a register of Calisher & Terry (C&T) Carbines (and rifles). This is now turning into a World Database because of the interest from Australia, the USA and UK.

We are seeking the Serial Number engraved on the trigger guard tang, marks on the butt tang and wooden butt, also the marks on the lock plate, plus any provenance. We would also appreciate images of lock plates and left and right sides of the complete carbine or rifle.

So far we haven’t been able to locate any C&T Factory production details / dates, hopefully this will come. We assume C&T made the Carbines from 1858 to 1869.

Calisher & Terry Carbines

Top: c1861 Terry Patent 30 bore breach loading carbine, makers No. 6575
engraved on rear tang of trigger guard. Marked on Butt Tang NZ 329.

Lower: Terry Patent 30 bore breach loading carbine, makers No. 6936
engraved on rear tang of trigger guard. Marked on Butt Tang NZ. No broad arrow marks.


When the NZ Colonial Government was faced with War in 1860 and later adopted a self reliant policy on the 1st Jan 1865 there were very few arms available to buy. It purchased a few from the NSW and Victorian Colonial Governments / Police and placed further orders with C&T and other(?) Birmingham gunmakers to supply Terry carbines which came to NZ in small quantities from 1861(?), the bulk of the NZ Terry carbines coming into NZ in 1863 / 66. The NZ Colonial Government encouraged the Military, Settlers, Militia etc from 1860 to buy their own arms and although I have no proof presently, probably 3-4,000 Terry carbines were in use in NZ by 1869. The NZ Government had 1736 on issue or in store in August 1869. This does not include Terry Carbines owned privately or owned by the Provincial Governments.

We are also researching in the US to locate Terry Carbines used by both sides(?) in the Civil War.

In the Terry register there are a group of very low serial numbers. We believe these were made by other Birmingham Gunmakers to help C&T fill the NZ orders. The lock plates are either not marked or have a crown or another makers name, but there is discussion going on in NZ about these – probably made in 1863 / 66 but no proof yet.

Terry Carbines were in use by the NZ Colonial Defence Force (NZ Forest Rangers) from July 1863 but there were two listed in the NZ Colonial Government returns as on issue or in store in August 1861, probably procured from NSW or from private Australian or New Zealand Arms Dealers.

Hopefully with everyone around the world providing information we will be able to put together a comprehensive register for everyone to benefit from.

Any information you are able to provide would be much appreciated. See: Calisher & Terry – A Brief Review.

If you can assist with this project, please contact:

John Osborne <jcosborne@xtra.co.nz>


2 thoughts on “Calisher & Terry Carbines

  1. I live in South Africa and have a Calisher & Terry carbine numbered 1383 on the trigger guard tang.

    Calisher & Terry carbines were on issue to the Natal Volunteers from about 1863 to 1875.

    If you will let me have an e-mail address I’ll send you the necessary photos next week.

    Terry Willson

    Posted by Terry Willson | February 12, 2011, 17:56
  2. Thanks for the feedback. The research team can be contacted at: John Osborne John Osborne – jcosborne@xtra.co.nz

    Posted by dbm | February 12, 2011, 18:16

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