This old Confederate Sniper bullet mold has lived a very rough life but quite fascinating when you take a good look at it. This is in a smaller caliber and not an ordinary .577 Caliber Enfield mold. The cavity is pretty well beat making it hard to get a consistent measurement using a micrometer. It measures anywhere from .45 to .48 caliber. The shape of the cavity is fairly consistent with a 400 grain Whitworth bullet but looks to be slightly bigger. It cavity shaped doesn't look like it went to a .45 Kerr rifle. The other possibility we ran across was this mold made bullets for a Macon Arsenal Sharpshooter's rifle made by Walter C. Hodgkins. Although nobody has ever found an example, he originally suggested building sniper and scouting rifles with .48 Caliber bores and extending rifling twist to 48 inches instead of the Confederacy's request for a .577 caliber with one turn per 30 inches. Its not known whether any were built in this caliber but this mold seems to fit along the lines of his original suggestions. See photos. However, probably the most interesting aspect of this tool is a faint but legible "CSA" marking on the handle. Aside from the CSA markings on Fayetteville rifles, we normally don't get too excited with all the items people have stamped over the years with spurious CSA markings. However, that all changed for me when we stumbled across a photo in a book recently. The photo shows a standard .577 caliber mold with the exact CSA marking in William C. Davis' "Fighting Men of the Civil War" on page 55.
This particular mold is an English import made of brass and in better days, it originally had an iron sprue cutter and iron base for forming the cavity at the base of the bullet. As you can see, its pretty banged up in semi-relic condition. It was probably dug up many years ago as most of the iron components are long gone....only the iron hinge pin is intact although somewhat eroded. The brass is almost all there with the exception of a small chip at the end of one handle. The cope and drag sections of the mold were also slightly altered at some point long ago to mold shot pellets. A friend let us borrow his English .577 Caliber Honey Hill Mold for comparison. As you can see, his has all of the iron intact...which is mostly missing from ours. BTW, his mold is not for sale or included with our mold...it is strictly there as a visual aid. A good friend of mine found this at a show a while back in Oklahoma. The man that had it mentioned it came from Texas...other than that, there is no story or provenance. This is probably an item I will regret selling some day. Some good research and perhaps some restoration of the missing components if done honestly, could really make this a landmark find in the field of Confederate sharp-shooting weaponry some day.