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Starr Model 1863 Single Action Army Revolver

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by tmh10, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    The Starr Model 1863 Single Action Army was the third most widely issued handgun of the Civil War and was issued to Union forces from December 1863 until December 1864 with a total of 25,000 revolvers that cost the government $12.00 apiece. The Starr was a six-shot, .44 caliber handgun that was issued mainly to cavalry units. This particular Starr's serial number in the 29,300 range falls in the block of serial numbers of Starrs issued to the 7th Michigan Cavalry that was part of Custer's Michigan Wolverine Brigade.

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    http://www.rebelstatescurrency.com/sidearms.html
     

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  3. johan_steele

    johan_steele Lt. Colonel Retired Moderator

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    They were a good arm, I've seen and handled several including the earlier Double Action model and one that had been converted to metallic cartridge post war. It was a popular and well liked arm.
     
  4. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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  5. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    The previous post is a Starr self-cocking model that is often called a double action. It was not a true double action. It was followed by the single action model.
     
  6. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    Didn't Clint Eastwood's character in unforgiven carry a Starr Double action?
     
  7. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Looks a bit like a cross between the Colt Army 1860 and the Remington New Army 1858; has the general lines of the Colt but the top-strap of the Remington.
     
  8. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    I couldn't tell when I rewatched the movie the other night, but Morgan Freeman seemed to be very fond of his Spencer.
     
  9. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    Clint did carry a Starr self-cocker.
     
  10. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Corporal

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    Bob -

    Why do you say the Starr isn't a true double action?

    J.
     
  11. deleson1

    deleson1 Sergeant

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    If you look closely at the da it actually has two triggers, the large front one rotates the cylinder and cocks the hammer, the rear trigger actually fires the gun. thats why it is considered a hybrid da
     
  12. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    As stated above, this technically doesn't make it a true double action. Self cocker is the proper reference to the type of mechanism.
     
  13. 20thncarolina

    20thncarolina Corporal

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    I don't know why but I have always liked the Starr.Love to own one someday .
     
  14. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    Just sold three. Let me know and I can get one for you.:smile:
     
  15. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Corporal

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    I'm sorry, I still don't get your explanation because when I squeeze the trigger on my Starr it indexes the cylinder while the hammer comes back and releases to fire the chamber that has just indexed. All in one full squeeze of the trigger, exactly the same as on my 1917 S&W. That's a true DA to me.

    I'm not trying to be obstinate, please help me understand what you mean.

    Thanks!

    J.
     
  16. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    If you look at the back side of the trigger you will see a slide that when in one position it will press on the second trigger to release the hammer. If in the other position, it will only rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer.
     
  17. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    From all the accounts of the folks that have good knowledge of the gun it seems it was a weapon a bit ahead of it's time. For those who have had the expierience of shooting it, how accurate is it?
     
  18. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday Corporal

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    Bob -

    That is exactly my point! When the slide is in one specific position the Starr becomes a true Double Action Revolver, and that is how it was used in the ACW.

    Thank you for the added input and clarifications for all of those who may be following this thread. They can now understand that the fully loaded 6 shot cylinder of a Starr DA Revolver can be emptied with no other motions involved other than continued squeezing of the trigger, which is only a few seconds. The functionality is exactly the same as a modern DA S&W, Colt, etc.

    "tmh10" has asked how accurate is the Starr Revolver? This is a very good question because many of our readers do not have the luxury of a lifetime of experience shooting these old original Civil War arms that some of us do. I have found the accuracy to be acceptable, and much better with a different bullet than was originally provided for it by Starr. The original Starr bullet, as cast from an original mould, is much too difficult to start straight in the chamber when loading due to the narrow band at the base. The original Starr bullet looks like it came out of an 1860's suppository mould! The Colt and Remington bullets both have a rebate at the base of the bullet to start them square in the chamber.

    I much prefer the longer barreled Single Action Starr to the short barreled DA version. The improvement in accuracy is due to the longer sight radius, which cuts down the human error factor in shooting. Although, I really don't like the rear sight being a narrow, shallow, notch on top of the hammer which disappears when you squeeze off a shot! Of course, the same thing happens with the Colt Army and Navy Revolvers, too.

    Thanks again Bob, we were both really saying the same thing, just from a different perspective.

    J.
     
  19. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    It is merely a technical point on the mechanism as the Starr's main trigger has to trip the secondary trigger to accomplish the firing cycle. You cannot fire the Starr self cocker single action until you cock it with the main trigger and fire it manually with the secondary trigger. You cannot pull the hammer back with your thumb to fire it single action.
     
  20. tmh10

    tmh10 Major

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    My guess is that it will cost a little bit more than the $12.00 that they originally sold for.
     
  21. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    $950-$1500 would buy descent ones.
     

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