Not bad for 146 years old
Early this year a rare firearm dating from the New Zealand Wars was donated to the National Army Museum.
The Calisher and Terry 30 Bore Carbine was donated by Dean Stockwell of Wellington and apart from needing a little bit of a clean was in remarkably original condition.
The carbine was developed in 1860 and first used in New Zealand in 1863, when a total of 286 arrived from the United Kingdom for the Forest Rangers. These carbines were the latest thing in military technology because they were loaded from the breech end at a time when the conventional military rifles of the period were loaded from the muzzle – standing up.
The breech loading Calisher and Terry was originally intended for Cavalary troops as it could be loaded while riding a horse. The Forest Rangers recognised that this meant it could also be loaded while lying down, behind cover. It was an ideal weapon for the close country, close quarter type of actions being fought in the New Zealand bush, and by the end of 1869 there were 1736 Calisher and Terry carbines in service in New Zealand.
The carbine donated by Mr Stockwell is numbered NZ803 and it even has its matching serial numbered cleaning rod.