Rare Civil War Starr Model 1858 Navy .36 Cal 6″ Percussion Revolver Antique
Sold For: $1,126.01
Make: Starr Arms Co., New York
Model: Starr 1858 Navy Revolver
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1861-1865, Antique
Caliber: .36 Caliber
Action Type: Single/Double-Action Percussion Revolver with a 6-Round Cylinder
Markings: The right side of the frame is marked “STARR.ARMS.Co.NEW.YORK.” The left side of the frame is marked “STARR’S PATENT JAN.15.1856.” The cylinder is marked with an almost entirely faded serial number. The top of the grip is marked “15891”. The back-strap’s serialization has worn off. The front-strap is marked “1387”. The hammer-slot on the forend has no serialization. The underside of the hammer on the frame is marked “1387”. The front face of the stop-strap assembly, situated under the loading lever, is marked “1387”. The bottom of the barrel, concealed by the loading lever, is marked “1387”. The rear left portion of the barrel and adjacent part of the top-strap are marked “T”.
Barrel Length: 6”
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed by the muzzle. The rear sight is a “V”-notch integral to the hammer, visible when the hammer is cocked.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The grip is one-piece wood, it is not serial matched to the revolver. The grip has light-moderate handling marks, scuffs, compressions and nicks. Notably, the bottom forward portion of the grip has been patch repaired with wood filler and there are a few patch repairs with wood filler on the left side of the grip. Overall, the grip is in Good condition for an Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark with mostly faded rifling. There is scattered moderate-heavy erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: The revolver retains about 5% of its metal finish. There are a few scattered patches of bluing including a notable patch at the bottom of the barrel, but most of the revolver is now in the white. The majority of the gun is coated in light surface oxidation and it has taken a patina color. There are some light handling marks, nicks and scuffs on the revolver’s metal surfaces. Notably, there is light wear along the leading edges, the cylinder has a light turn-line and there is some light wear at the bottom of the front-strap. The screwheads have light-moderate tool-marks and are coated in oxidation, but they remain serviceable. Overall, the revolver is in Very Good condition for an Antique .
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks with only light play on each chamber. The gun’s cylinder can be removed by unscrewing a knob at the rear end of the frame and tipping the barrel assembly forward. This is one of the first double-action handguns ever developed and it is not simple to use. What appears to be the pistol’s “trigger” is actually a lever that controls the hammer with the sear situated at the back of the trigger guard. The double action involves pulling the “trigger” back until it strikes the sear. The rear end of the “trigger” has a notch that can be slid down, when this is done it will prevent the double-action from engaging when the “trigger” is engaged. Thus you can operate this handgun as a single action revolver as well by using the sear as a single action trigger after you have cocked the hammer. To return the revolver to its double action setting simply slide the notch up. Please be aware, the sear is sensitive and can be manually engaged easily thus extra caution should be taken to avoid an accidental discharge. We have not fired this revolver. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be required to meet your maintenance standards.
Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: This is a Civil War-era Starr Model 1858 Army Revolver which is the brainchild of Ebenezer Townsend Starr (1816-1899), a man who came from a family of arms makers. Starr joined the Navy when he was 17 and served from 1834-1837. Following his brief service in the Navy, Starr was injured in a railroad accident which he never fully recovered from. Eventually Starr began to develop weapons and established “Starr Arms Co” of New York in the late 1850s. In 1861, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Starr was offered a commision in the Navy but he was unable to accept the position due to lingering complications from his accident. Despite this, he would prove a great service to the Union, providing the Federal Government with tens of thousands of both single and double action revolvers. Starr’s company provided the Union with its third largest order of revolvers with over 47,000 manufactured, his company was only surpassed by Colt and Remington. This particular specimen is a Model 1858 Navy Revolver, an early double-action design. As one of the first double-action handguns to be developed, the action is a bit difficult to master and Union troops were definitely frustrated by this. Thus, Starr developed his Model 1863 which was a single-action revolver that proved more simple to use than the M1858. Starr’s company had come to rely on military contracts and the end of the Civil War did not bode well for his company. Unsurprisingly, Starr Arms Co. went under two years later in 1867. Although his company had failed, Starr remained an active inventor for most of his remaining years, he ultimately passed away in 1899 at the age of 83. The revolver does not have any surviving cartouches on the grip, but it does have inspector’s markings on the barrel assembly. The gun is a Navy, .36 caliber, variant of the Model 1858 which is per Flayderman “the most difficult Starr revolver to acquire.” Some of the parts have had their serialization wear off, but the gun’s action still engages normally. Considering the gun’s advanced age we recommend having it inspected by a qualified gunsmith to assess if it remains safe to use before attempting to fire the revolver. This is an impressive relic from the Civil War-era that fans of historical firearms will not want to miss out on. Good luck on your bid!