Civil War Starr 1858 Army .44 Cal Double Action Percussion Revolver Antique

Sold For: $1225.00

Make: Starr Arms Co., New York

Model: Starr 1858 Army Revolver

Serial#: 9005

Year of Manufacture: Circa 1861-1865, Antique

Caliber: .44 Caliber

Action Type: Single/Double-Action Percussion Revolver with a 6-Round Cylinder

 Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “STARR.ARMS.Co.NEW.YORK.” The right side of the frame is marked “STARR’S PATENT JAN.15.1856.” The cylinder is marked with the serial number “9005”. The top of the grip, concealed by the frame, is marked “9005”. The back-strap is serial matched to the cylinder. The front-strap is serial matched. The underside of the hammer is serial matched to the cylinder. The hammer slot on the frame is serial matched. The underside of the barrel is serial matched, concealed by the loading lever. The left and right sides of the grip have an inspector’s cartouche. The left side of the barrel, top-strap and frame are marked “H” (an inspector’s marking).

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. The grip has moderate handling marks, compressions and nicks. Notably, the butt of the grip is coated in moderate handling wear which includes compressions and nicks. Also, there is a patch of light wear behind the cartouche on the left side of the grip. 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.

Overall Condition: The revolver retains none of its metal finish. The gun is coated in light surface oxidation and has taken a dull patina color. There are light handling marks, nicks and scuffs on the revolver’s metal surfaces. Notably, there is light wear along the leading edges and the cylinder has a light turn-line. The nipples appear to be aftermarket replacements and have only light handling wear. The screwheads have only light tool-marks and they remain serviceable. Overall, the revolver is in Very Good condition.

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. Unfortunately, since this revolver’s return spring is weak and the “trigger” has to be manually reset after each depression. 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.

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 Army 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.

This particular specimen has government inspection marks and cartouches on the grip which indicate it was purchased by the Northern Government during the Civil War. The revolver’s finish has largely worn off, but otherwise it has all matching parts and remains mechanically sound. The gun remains aesthetically pleasing and is simply a beautifully preserved Antique revolver. This Starr M1858 remains a fascinating relic from the Civil War era that historical firearms collectors will certainly not want to let pass by.