View Full Version : Pietta Star double action

February 15, 2009, 04:30 PM
Had the chance to buy one today, used but never fired in new condition for $350, .44 with a 6 inch barrel. Just didn't feel right in my hand. Anybody have experience with these?

February 15, 2009, 09:16 PM
I own a Pietta Starr single action, but have never handled a double action. The single action is uncomfortable for me as the grip is small and set rather far back on the frame, leading to a tendency toward a heavy barrel that's difficult to hold up. It's well finished and the action is smooth and well timed.

For more information, get a copy of Mike Cumpston's book,
Percussion Pistols And Revolvers: History, Performance and Practical Use, available on amazon.com. He has an entire chapter devoted to the Starr revolvers.

February 15, 2009, 09:44 PM
Kittery, right? I was looking at that gun today, too. Kinda pricey. I want that 1861 .36 Colt (original)

February 16, 2009, 01:50 AM
Pohill for some reason that particular model Colt 1861 Navy in an Original vintage attracts me the most.
I have a faux ivory handle Pietta that is gorgeous. I knew I wouldn't sell that one the minute I pic'd it up. Came with the Wood Grip and Brass backstrap, an 7 1/2" Oct. Barrel, a 4" or 5" round Reb Barrel, Has a fluted cylinder , and, the Scrolled one... That one I call my convertable 60's Vette.
I jus' like um...


February 16, 2009, 06:57 AM
actually, I did write up the Starr in the second book but not in the one reffedby Mykeal ( who has read both):
You did really good walking away from that Starr Double action. I titled my chapter on it " Treason with a Hair Trigger" from a statement by an army officer to the effect that whoever had foisted this revolver on the military should be hanged for treason. The same could be said of the Pietta replicas.
"the function of the modern replicas frequently sends contemporary purchasers casting about for somebody to lynch. One owner summed it up with a commendable economy of words, 'Mine was a piece of junk.' "

" Early reviews identified a number of deficits in the replicas with the most frequent being that they would not fire. Some buyers found that caps would not fire without multiple hammer strikes - or would not fire with any number of hammer strikes. "

"Another major problem was the pervasive tendency of the action to fail to function. The action was either locked up upon arrival or would seize tight after a few shots."

Ours had a broken trigger return spring (as did an original we examined) This part was impossible to find in the United States and we cobbled up a replacemnt from another design. The barrel/cylidner gap was something like .030" which bled off considerable velocity and gave wild shot to shot spreads. The action locked up frequently. We had to shim the nipples to get any sort of ignition and then had to relieve the breach to be able to get caps on them. Except for all the Pietta Literature on the barrel, it was very prettily finishted.

"In the world of engineering disasters, the Starr double action is definitely one.
Clint Eastwood used a Starr-apparently a single action, in the movie, The Unforgiven."

February 16, 2009, 07:37 AM
Yup, at Kittery. I think I'm holding out on my next purchase until there's some repro. pocket models available there.

February 16, 2009, 09:09 AM
Yes, mec properly corrects me. Sorry, Mike, I'm afraid I'll never get this right.

The chapter on the Starr revolver is in the second book,
Percussion Revolvers: A Guide to Their History, Performance, and Use , not the first one that I referenced above. If you should attempt to purchase the second book please note the author's disclaimer due to problems in proofreading, which unfortunately include misspelling the name of this revolver throughout the chapter.

Both excellent texts and highly recommended, although the second one is flawed by the publisher's errors.

February 16, 2009, 09:11 AM
The Starr at Kittery was marked "Double Action only". Are the double action models only DA only or is that one defective?

February 16, 2009, 05:38 PM
"the second one is flawed by ..."

Both are actually, I just paid a lot to eliminate the typos from the second.

You get different takes on whether or not they are DA only. Actualy, you can cock the revolver and it will remain on full cock so it must have a deliberate single action capacity. Sometimes though, this is the thng that causes the actions to lock up which may account for some people saying its wrong to cock the revolver for sa shots. The revolvers are a lot like some early H*R or IJ target revovlers from the early century. The primary trigger can bring the hammer to full cock or trigger a double action shot by pulling through to the point that it tripps the hair trigger behind it. Some instructions say you can either thumb cock or trigger cock the gun and then use the secondary trigger in the rear to let off a precise shot. Shooting the thing double action with a continuous pull is fairly wierd as you have no effective rear sight except at the instant the hammer passes full cock.

February 16, 2009, 06:07 PM
I didn't handle the Starr yesterday. I've handled them in the past, but I forget - does thumb cocking the hammer advance the cylinder?
I have a Savage & North that has a cocking ring under the trigger that advances the cylinder and cocks the hammer, while thumb cocking the hammer alone will not advance the cylinder.

February 16, 2009, 08:32 PM
sure does- advance the cylinder. Your north sounds a lot like the double action Pettingel. It was another contraption that the company developing it finally replaced with the Rogers and Spencer- now that was a good one.

Im not familiar with the Savage but it sounds interesting.

February 16, 2009, 09:18 PM
The Savage & North is more lever action than DA. Pull back on the ring and the hammer cocks while the cylinder pulls back from the forcing cone and rotates. Release the ring and the cylinder is pushed up tight against the forcing cone. The trigger is right above the lever ring.

February 16, 2009, 10:44 PM
looks like a combo of the Pettingil and a Nagant gas seal.