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3 STARS FOR STARR
PART 2

 

THE STARR MODEL 1858 DOUBLE ACTION ARMY .44 Caliber PERCUSSION REVOLVER

 

     As stated in "Part 1 of 3", Ebanezer (Eban) Townsend Starr of Yonkers, New York patented and manufactured 3 types of percussion revolvers that were purchased by the United States Government starting in 1861 and ending in 1864. 6,352 Starr DA Navy and Army revolvers were purchased on the open market and 41,102, including the SA Army, were purchased under contract for a total of 47,454 guns. The Starr DA Army accounted for approximately 23,000 of the total. It is believed that both the DA and SA Starr Army revolvers shared the same serial number range with the numbering for the SA's starting off where the numbering for the DA Army stopped. The DA Navy had it's own serial number range. Starr revolvers were the third highest in number to be purchased by the Union government. All three of these models are pictured below:

 

Three Starr Revolvers

From Top To Bottom

Starr Model 1863 Single Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver (1863-1864
Starr Model 1858 Double Action .36 Caliber Percussion Navy Revolver (1859-1860)
Starr Model 1858 Double Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver (1862-1863)

 


 

     The Model 1858 Double Action .44 caliber Percussion Army Revolver was the second of the Starrs produced. The Starr Arms Company of New York City, Yonkers, Binghamton and Moorisania, New York delivered 16,100 Model 1858 Army revolvers to the government at a price of $25.00 each between January, 1862 and May, 1863. This figure may or may not have included 4,950 purchased on the open market. However, Starr's contract called for 20,000 revolvers and the open market purchases seem to be over and above that total. None were purchased by the Navy Department.

 

Right Side View of The Model 1858 Double Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver

Right Side View of The Model 1858 Double Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver

 


 

     As stated in the posting for Part 1 of 3, the double action Starr revolver has been described as a hybrid between a double and single action gun. It is actually a "self cocker" as the large front "trigger" only cocks the hammer and rotates the cylinder. There is an adjustable curved spring lug, screw-held to the rear of the cocking lever that engages the small "real" trigger at the inside rear of the guard that actually releases the hammer to strike the percussion cap to fire the gun. When properly adjusted a long smooth pull of the front trigger or cocking lever will push into and activate the small real trigger behind it. The rear trigger can be seen in the following photograph. It can also be activated separately after the revolver is cocked.

 

Right Side View of The Starr Army, Cocked with Frame Open - Hinge Screw and Cylinder Removed

Right Side View of The Starr Army, Cocked with Frame Open - Hinge Screw and Cylinder Removed

 

     The blued hinged barrel is 6 inches long and marked with a small "C" on the right side towards the rear of the barrel and a small "F" on the barrel's left rear side. It is rifled with 6 grooves. The mortised iron front sight base is ¼" from the muzzle. The "V" notch in the hammer lip serves as the rear sight. The loading lever is cased hardened and is secured by a spring actuated plunger. The rounded lever catch is 7/16" from the muzzle. The two-piece blued frame is held together by a round knurled thumb screw which enters from the right side behind the recoil shield and hammer. The frame is stamped on the outside beneath the cylinder with the address on the left frame and the patent date on the right frame. This is opposite of the stampings on the Navy Model. The Army frame is also stamped with a small "C" above and below the front frame hinge screw on the left side. Another small "C" is stamped to the rear of the front trigger guard screw.

 

"C" On Right Rear Barrel

"C" On Right Rear Barrel

 

"F" On Left Rear Barrel

"F" On Left Rear Barrel

 

Left Frame Marking " STARR. ARMS. Co. NEW.YORK."

Left Frame Marking
" STARR. ARMS. Co. NEW.YORK."

 

Right Frame Marking "STARR'S PATENT JAN. 15, 1856."

Right Frame Marking
"STARR'S PATENT JAN. 15, 1856."

 

"C" Stampings, Left Rear Frame

"C" Stampings, Left Rear Frame

 

"C" Stamp, Rear Of Front Trigger Screw

"C" Stamp, Rear Of Front Trigger Screw

 


 

     The heavily beveled large semi-circular loading groove above the hinge screw at the lower front of the rounded frame differs in shape from the Navy Model as does the right-angle contour of the frame itself. The shape of the recoil shield is also different having a larger capping cutout at the lower edge on the right side of the revolver. The separate, blued backstrap is held to the frame by the rearmost frame screw, while the front strap is integral with the large oval trigger guard. The very short hammer spur is case-hardened. The one-piece walnut grips are oil-finished. The grip is rounded at the bottom and is without a butt strap. The weapon measures 12-5/8" overall and weighs 2 pounds, 14 ounces. The partially exposed nipples are parallel to the axis of the chambers. 

 

Rear View Of Cylinder

 


 

     The 1-7/8" inch, six-shot, .44 caliber blued cylinder is marked with a serial number and two small "C"s. The oval stop slots are supplemented by intermediate safety slots of the same size.

 

Close Up of Cylinder Serial Number "13918" And Oval Cylinder Stop

Close Up of Cylinder Serial Number "13918" And Oval Cylinder Stop

"C" Stampings on Cylinder

"C" Stampings on Cylinder


 

     The serial number will also be seen at the front bottom of the frame, on the inside rear of the hammer shank, and on the hammer rest. Additionally, it is stamped on the bottom of the barrel at the forward most frame screw. The latter stamping is difficult to see and has not been photographed. Normally, only the first digit or two can be seen without taking the arm apart.

 

Serial Number "13918" at Front Bottom of Frame

Serial Number "13918" at Front Bottom of Frame

 

Serial Number "13918" Stamped on Hammer Rest

Serial Number "13918" Stamped on Hammer Rest
(There is also a side stamped "3" next to a
"W" stamped above the serial number)

 

Serial Number "13918" on Hammer Shank

 


 

     The Starr Army Model is seldom found without inspector markings. In addition to the numerous small inspector markings both grips have inspector's cartouches. The inspector's initials on both grips of this arm are "GKC". 

 

"GKC", On Left Grip

"GKC", On Left Grip

 

"GKC", On Right Grip

"GKC", On Right Grip

 


 

     The next posting, "3 STARS FOR STARR - PART 3 ", will feature the the Starr Model 1863 Single Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver.

 

     A substantial amount of reference material and wording for this posting came from Robert M. Reilly and his book "U.S. SMALL ARMS 1816 - 1865". William B. Edwards' book , "CIVIL WAR GUNS" was also utilized and Norm Flayderman's FLAYDERMAN'S GUIDE(S) TO ANTIQUE AMERICAN FIREARMS.... AND THEIR VALUES." Information was also reviewed from an American Rifleman reprint by the NRA - "CIVIL WAR SMALL ARMS". 

 

     Again, my son and webmaster, Reed Radcliffe, processed this data to my (our) web page. 

 

Dave Radcliffe