View Full Version : DA Revolvers...the first?

November 20, 2000, 03:45 AM
Just out of curiosity, when did Double Action revolvers first hit the market? I heard they were invented in Britain.

4V50 Gary
November 20, 2000, 05:29 AM
The Adams revolver of 1851 was DA and later improved Beaumont-Adams of 1855 introduced the DA/SA trigger (by addition of a single action sear and hammer spur). Without doing more research, the South did use some DA revolvers during the Wah-oh.

November 20, 2000, 09:58 AM
Don't forget, the old pepperboxes predated the revolver and they were DA.

Cap n ball
November 20, 2000, 10:54 AM
Adams was one of the first if not the first readily commercialy available double action. There were alot of gun makers experimenting with different designs involving sidehammers and ring pulls to advance the cylinder but most were overly complicated/fragile and expensive. The Starr revolvers and carbines were the first really popular makes during and after the WONA (war of northern aggression).

I shot a replica pepperbox once. You had to turn the cylinder/barrel by hand. The later models had a sort of ring/trigger combo cylinder advance similar to what they called a 'zig-zag' derringer. Remington made one of these I believe.
I thought it was cumbersome and heavy. I kept thinking it was going to chainfire. Better than nothing I suppose but I just didn't much care for it.

Hard Ball
November 21, 2000, 02:16 PM
The first widely used double action revolvers were introduced by Colt around 1878. Smith & Wesson followed with a line of DA revolvers in 1880.
I believe tht the 1851 Adams was what we would call a double action only revolver today.

November 21, 2000, 02:59 PM
Yes, the Starr revolvers were some of the first production double action pistols. Actually, American Shooter had a segment on the Starr revolvers this past weekend. They quoted a Union officer who had said that the person who signed the contract for Starr double action revolvers should be hanged for treason! I guess they weren't too popular with the troops.

Cap n ball
November 22, 2000, 09:51 AM
The inventor, Ebenezer Townsend Starr, was born August 16, 1816 into a family well known in the business environment of New York. His factories produced different guns but he devised three revolvers only : a double action .36 cal., a double action .44 cal and a single action .44 cal. The project of the first revolver, named STARR D.A. MODEL 1858 NAVY .36 cal., was patented in 1856. The two piece blued frame was held together by a knurled thumb screw which was located on the right side of the frame between the recoil shield and hammer. The cylinder rotated thanks to a conic segment of the same, lodged in the recoil shield, and to a strong pin located under the barrel, which kept in line the chambers and the barrel itself. Unfortunately, towards the middle of 1863, he was forced, due to the strong competition of Colt, Remington and Smith & Wesson, to turn his genial revolver from double action into single action, still in .44 cal. He could then produce an efficient and affordable weapon, the STARR S.A. MODEL 1863 ARMY .44 cal. Before the end of the war
the quantity produced was 47,500 pieces, however after 1865 Starr could not be competitive and, two years later, he ceased the production of guns.

F.lli. Pietta of Italy is putting out a pretty nice reproduction of this line. They may already be available. The Union fellow who thought the inventor of the Starr should be hung either had a vested intrest in one of those competing companies or couldn't deal with a handgun that was a bit more complex than a Colt or Remington. Hanging seems a bit extreme.

November 22, 2000, 02:04 PM
What were some of the first mass-produced models of DA revolvers? I don't know much about guns from the old west era...

Hard Ball
November 22, 2000, 05:56 PM
The first modern American double action would probably be the Colt 1889 .38 Goverenment (.38 Long Colt0 made for the US Navy. A slightly improved version was adopted by the US Army in 1892.