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Old October 12, 2011, 03:35 AM   #1
biggreddy
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.44 Starr Arms Navy Double-Action Revolver

Any Civil War specialists on TheFiringLine care to pass along any research into this .44 Starr Arms Navy Double-Action Revolver? Id be grateful for any info! thanks.







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Old October 12, 2011, 03:36 AM   #2
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cont.






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Old October 12, 2011, 03:37 AM   #3
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Old October 12, 2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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I don't know quite what info you want and I can't tell you much that is not available on the web or in Flayderman's. AFAIK, there is no book devoted to solely to the Starr revolvers, but they are included in several books on CW arms.

The action is interesting. It is often called a "trigger cocker" because with the selector down, pulling the trigger does not fire the gun, it only cocks the hammer. The trigger is then released, and the trigger finger inserted in the gap between the trigger and the rear of the trigger guard, where it can press the sear and fire the gun single action. The so-called "double action", with the selector up, allows the trigger to press the sear and simulate double action firing. The action is the same except the trigger activates the sear rather than the shooter.

The hammer cannot be pulled back for "single action", nor is it meant to be; the small spur is only to allow lowering the hammer without firing.

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Old October 12, 2011, 03:08 PM   #5
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i'd like to find out if the pistol really is a civil war relic, what do the different serials mean, and what might be the value of something like this; does it belong in a museum or is this piece not very rare? There is a small button release behind the trigger, ah i see it is the sear or activates the sear to fire to hammer. Also what do you make of the ink type faded marking on the grip/or handle?
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Old October 12, 2011, 08:33 PM   #6
James K
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First, in the Civil War era, the term "Navy" was applied to .36 caliber revolvers and "Army" to .44 caliber, even though an individual gun may have been sold on the commercial market. That is the Starr Double Action Army Model. Some were sold commercially prior to the Civil War, but the bulk of the .44 Army production went to the Union forces.

The grip markings (stamped in, not inked) are the Army inspector's markings, GKC for George K. Charter, a Springfield Armory sub-inspector assigned to the Starr factory, so the gun was in fact part of a military contract and is definitely a Civil War relic. Reportedly, the guns were not very well liked, in spite of what may now seem advantages.

The various letters are factory inspectors' marks.

They are fairly common, some 23,000 of that model being made, and generally bring around $1200 (retail) in that condition, though one like new would probably run over $3000.

The serial number is on the front of the top frame below the rammer. There are no "matching numbers" as on Colts.

They are definitely collectors' items, though yours is not of museum quality unless there is some connection with a prominent person.

I would see no obvious reason that Starr cannot be fired if you choose to do so. Loading instructions and charge would be the same as for a .44 Colt.

FWIW, repros have been made; they are nowhere near the quality of the originals, but they are made of modern steel, where the originals are wrought iron.

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Old October 15, 2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Great info and Thank you very much for that. great now i'm thinking of firing it. One more question, not sure that can be answered this model could have been used in shaping the very beginnings of the wild west? What other pistol cannons were preferred?
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Old October 18, 2011, 10:26 PM   #8
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Well, the Starr revolvers were probably not "the guns that won the West", but I am sure some were there, as just about every kind of firearm in use at that time "went West" with someone. They would probably have given good service, but would have been considered obsolete in the new metallic cartridge era, and I have never seen or heard of a cartridge conversion of one. Since the company went out of business in 1867, there would have been no spare parts available, another factor tending to discourage much use.

While we tend to think of the Colt SAA as THE western handgun, they were expensive (a month's pay for a cowboy) and there were probably a hundred cheap "suicide specials" in people's pockets for every SAA on a soldier's or lawman's hip. And hundreds of thousands of "in between" guns, reliable and with reasonable power, that never gained the near-worship accorded the big Colt.

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Old October 21, 2011, 01:36 AM   #9
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That's so true, I can imagine this model being an early powerful wild west "Persuader", if you will. haha+ They say Billy the Kid could do amazing things with a .44 maybe he honed some skill early on with this war model. Thanks again
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