Civil War Starr 1863 Army .44 Cal Single-Action Percussion Revolver Antique
Sold For: $1,225.00
Make: Starr Arms Co., New York
Model: Starr Model 1863 Single Action Army Revolver
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1863-1865, Antique
Caliber: .44 Caliber
Action Type: Single-Action Percussion Revolver with a 6-Round Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “STARR.ARMS.Co.NEW.YORK.” under the cylinder. The right side of the frame is marked “STARR’S PATENT JAN.15.1856.” The cylinder is marked with the serial number “54990” and has the inspector’s mark “B”. The top of the grip, concealed by the frame, is marked “54499” and is not matching. The back and front-straps are serial matched to the cylinder, markings only visible when the grip is removed. The right side of the barrel is marked “B”. The front of the top-strap assembly is marked “54990” above a faded mark. The portion of the barrel, concealed by the loading lever, is serial matched. The portion of the frame where the hammer rests is serial matched.
Barrel Length: 8”
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. The grip has some light-moderate handling marks and nicks. Notably, there is some scattered light wear on the butt. Overall, the grip is in Very Good condition for an Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly-bright with sharp rifling. There is some light erosion concentrated in the grooves and scattered patches of light pitting.
Overall Condition: The revolver retains about 3% of its metal finish. The gun is mostly in the white and is now coated in light surface oxidation, thus it has taken a patina color. There are light handling marks, nicks and scuffs on the revolver’s metal surfaces. Notably, there is superficial wear along the leading edges and there are scattered patches of light pitting throughout. The screwheads have light tool-marks and are coated in oxidation but they remain serviceable. Overall, the revolver is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks with light play on each chamber. The barrel locks with light play on the frame. 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 1863 Army Single-Action 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 1863 Army Revolver, a single-action design. He initially supplied the government with his Model 1858, one of the first double-action handguns to be developed, the action on the revolver is a bit difficult to master and Union troops were definitely frustrated by this. Thus, Starr developed his Model 1863, this gun, which was a single-action revolver that proved more simple to use than the complicated 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 surviving inspector’s markings, indicating that the gun was likely a military issued firearm. The gun has wear consistent with a Civil War-era revolver and only the grip is not matching, yet it retains its unique aesthetic and remains mechanically sound. This Starr Model 1863 Army single-action revolver remains a fascinating relic from the Civil War era. Good luck on your bid!