Model 1863 Starr Single Action Army Revolver.

Created on May 22nd 2016

American Civil War Starr Model 1863 Army Model Revolver

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These really are quite extraordinary revolvers for their time in that they benefit from quite advanced design ideas.  This example is in very honest condition.  Serial number “55686″ on the side of the cylinder.  This particular model, the 1863, was only made between 1863 and 1865 for the American Civil War.   One of the interesting things about this model was its relatively easy removable cylinder.  Unlike some of its contempoaries, all that was required to remove the cylinder, was the undoing of a simple screw, requiring no tools, which would allow the frame to “break” - pivoting by a cross pin at the lower front quarter of the frame.  This releases the cylinder and allows replacement by another.   The idea with this design was that changing the cylinder for another pre-loaded one was quicker than reloading from scratch – so second cylinders were sometimes carried.

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This model of Starr is in .44 percussion and has the longer 8″ round barrel and is in single action.  The numbers on this example do not quite match, but they are so close  that the differeance my be the result of a genuine mistake.  As mentioned earlier the cylinder is marked up as 55686 but on the underside section of the frame underneath the hammer the number is clearly 55689.  Also, part of the number is visible on the underside of the barrel but disappears under the loading lever assembly.   Beneath the cylinder on both sides are the manufacturers details, on the LHS is “STARR ARMS CO. NEW YORK” and on the RHS; “STARRS PATENT JAN 15. 1856″

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Finish is almost non-existent but the resulting patina is a pleasing grey /plum brown all over.  It is fairly flat and there is little or no pitting on the outside of the weapon.  In protected corners and areas there are some hints of the original blue and a hint of case colour hardening on the sides of the hammer.  The thumb spur of the hammer is cross hatched to provide better purchase as this has to be cocked every time the revolver is to be fired.  The sights are very simple, the front is a basic dove-tailed affair which looks to be braized or soldered into place.  The rear sights are merely a groove in the hammer.  The hammer face shows a minimal amount of denting by the percussion nipples.   The trigger guard is round, the trigger face is smooth.  The loading lever is almost as long as the barrel so a good amount of purchase could be applied when compressing the load.


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The cylinder is in good condition.  All the percussion nipples are clear and the chambers clean and not pitted.  Another idea, visible when the cylinder is removed, is a changeable rear drive arrangement which can be replaced simply by removal of one screw.  This part on many percussion pistols becomes seriously worn over time.  The single-piece grips are made from America’s favourite; black walnut.  They are smooth and plain.  All the screws on the revolver are free from the evils of badly fitting screwdrivers.

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Overall this is a survivor from a serious conflict which seems to have escaped the attentions of the well meaning restorer and remains just as it should for its age.  The bore has some pitting and misting but still shows strong rifling and would no doubt perform with reasonable accurracy despite its signs of use (to be used this revolver must first be black powder proofed then put on a section one firearms license).   Timing is good, lock up correct.

£ 1850.00

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