Pistol / Hand GunsRevolverUsed£ 2,700
The Starr revolver was advanced and ahead of its time when introduced at the start of the US Civil War. The first revolvers issued to the US Federal Army were double action and employed a unique "lifting lever" to cock the hammer and revolve the cylinder. Eben T. Starr obtained his initial patent in 1856 and the patent date is stamped on both sides of the revolver. In his patent Starr claimed two unique features to his design: a lifter lever which looks exactly like a traditional revolver trigger and a real sear-releasing trigger which is the triangular-looking metal projection at the rear of the trigger guard. In short, pulling the trigger-looking "lifter lever" of a Starr double action revolver only rotates the cylinder and brings the hammer to full cock. In fact, you must use the "lifter lever." You cannot thumb cock the hammer of a double-action Starr. In reality there are many similarities in design to the British Adams "automatic" or self- cocking revolver.
At the point of raising the hammer, you have a choice to make. You can either continue pulling back the lifter lever until it contacts the small, projecting trigger at the rear of the trigger guard and fires the piece, or you can remove your finger from the lifter lever and place your finger behind the lifter lever and directly on the little, projecting trigger and fire the piece. You cannot simply pull back the hammer of a double action Starr revolver like a conventional single action revolver, the lifting lever has to be used in a deliberate manner.
Starr also mortised the top frame of the revolver and this gave the revolver incredible robustness and durability and was the predecessor of modern top break revolvers. The top breaking frame secured by one large knurled cross screw allowed rapid disassembly of the firearm for cleaning and maintenance and also for loading spare cylinders.
The elaborate cocking mechanism however frustrated Federal troops who were used to pulling back the hammers of single action Colt and Remington Army revolvers and the government asked Starr to manufacture his revolver in single action which I am sure he considered being a retrograde step but he did comply. More than 32,000 single action .44 Starr revolvers were then manufactured which together with the 23,000 double action revolvers such as this example, made Starr the third most popular revolver in the Civil war the most popular revolvers being Colt and Remington. Starr also manufactured a popular carbine.
I usually pass Starr revolvers by because they are often seen with badly pitted bores even if the exterior looks good. I could not pass this one by as it has a perfect bore, sharp and mirror bright and functions as it was originally made. Clearly it was cherished as a "shooting iron" and someone took the trouble to clean and maintain it after shooting. The revolver cocks and locks fine and is mechanically sound. If I wanted to shoot a Civil War revolver this would probably be the one. The overall condition of the revolver is excellent as can be seen from the photographs, there are no messed up screws or "later editions". The revolver has several matching serial numbers. There are several military acceptance marks and three crisp cartouches on the walnut grips. There is a considerable level of original finish making this one of the best I've handled.
The Starr was considered the workhorse revolver of the Federal Army and was well made, better I consider than Colt or Remington. This is a quintessential Civil War Sidearm that has much eye appeal and has clearly seen action but was subsequently looked after. A good piece....Read full description