Starr Arms Co. M1858 Double Action Army Revolver, .44 Percussion
Ebenezer (Eben) T. Starr manufactured firearms in the 1850's and '60's at his factories in Binghampton and Yonkers, New York, having secured several military contracts for rifles, carbines and side arms. He also held several patents, one being for an unusual "double action" mechanism which he applied to this military revolver. The mechanism should more correctly be called "self-cocking" as it cannot be cocked in the customary single-action manner by pulling back the hammer with the thumb of the shooting hand. The main trigger has to be pulled to cock the hammer, the trigger finger is then moved to the secondary trigger behind the first, and then depressed to release the hammer. An adjustable tab on the back of the primary trigger can be set so as to complete the action in one smooth movement, as in a conventional double-action mechanism. This idea is unique, and it takes some getting used to. The US Army ordered some 22,000 of these however the general reception in the field was "lukewarm" at best, and the Ordnance Department cancelled all further purchases until Starr came up with a more conventional single-action design. In 1863 Starr did just that, and the US Army took another 30,000 or so single-action M1858's before the end of the war. The Starr revolver was the most common US made side-arm after the Colt and Remington during the Civil War. This specimen dates from 1860, with inspectors' cartouches "L.A.B" (Lt. Cdr. Lester A. Beardslee, USN 1860) and "E.F." (E. Ferrar, 1860-1868). It has sub-inspection marks "B" on several components. The gun is in very fine to excellent condition, with 75% original blue on the frame, cylinder and barrel, which is highly unusual for a military issue side-arm of this age. The bore is excellent, shiny and clean, without any signs of pitting or surface residue, and razor-sharp rifling. All matching serial numbers on the frame, cylinder, barrel, trigger, hammer and grips. This is the best Starr I have ever seen. The action is accurate and tight, the nipples show no sign of disfigurement or corrosion. Excellent grips with sharp cartouches, minor scratches, no deep gouges and no cracks or missing chips. An unusual design, but very sturdy and well made. SN 21136, rated very fine to excellent overall. 


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