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THE STARR MODEL 1863 Single Action Army
.44 Caliber Percussion Revolver


     As reviewed in Part 1 and 2, Ebanezer (Eban) Townsend Starr of Yonkers, New York patented and manufactured 3 types of percussion revolvers that were purchased by the United States Government starting in 1861 and ending in 1864. 6,352 Starr DA Navy and Army revolvers were purchased on the open market and 41,102, including the SA Army, were purchased under contract for a total of 47,454 guns. The Starr DA Army accounted for approximately 23,000 of the total. It is believed that both the DA and SA Starr Army revolvers shared the same serial number range with the numbering for the SA's starting off where the numbering for the DA Army stopped. The DA Navy had it's own serial number range. Starr revolvers were the third highest in number to be purchased by the Union government. All three of these models are pictured below.



From Top To Bottom

Starr Model 1863 Single Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver (1863-1864
Starr Model 1858 Double Action .36 Caliber Percussion Navy Revolver (1859-1860)
Starr Model 1858 Double Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver (1862-1863)



     The Model 1863 Single Action .44 caliber Percussion Army Revolver was the third of the Starr revolvers produced for the military. Between September, 1863 and December 22, 1864, the Starr Arms Company delivered 25,002 Model 1863 Army revolvers to the Ordnance Department. The government's cost for this simplified, more conventional arm was $12.00 each - less than half that of the DA Army Model which were sold at $25.00 each. These arms and components were produced in Starr's plants in Yonkers, Binghamton and Moorisania. Their office and sales outlets were in New York City. All in all, about 31,000 Model 1863's were manufactured.


Right Side View of The Model 1863 Single Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver

Right Side View of The Model 1863 Single Action .44 Caliber Percussion Army Revolver



     This revolver, with it's simple single action mechanism, operated the same way as the Colts, Remingtons and Whitneys of the day and was competitive in pricing with them. The complex and expensive Starr double action revolver was replaced by the need for economy and market driven pricing.


Right Side View of The Starr SA Army, Cocked with Frame Open - Hinge Screw and Cylinder Removed


     The blued hinged barrel is 7-5/16 inches long and marked with a small "C" on the right side towards the rear of the barrel and the remains of another small letter at the barrel's left rear side. It is rifled with 6 grooves. The mortised iron front sight base is 3/16" from the muzzle with the "V" notch in the hammer lip serving as the rear sight. The loading lever is cased hardened and is secured by a spring actuated plunger. The rounded lever catch is 13/16" from the muzzle. The two-piece blued frame is held together by a round knurled thumb screw which enters from the right side between the recoil shield and hammer. The frame is stamped on the outside beneath the cylinder with the address on the left frame and the patent date on the right frame. This is opposite of the stampings on the Navy Model. The SA Army frame is also stamped with a small "C" above and below the front frame hinge screw on the left side. A small "V" is stamped at the bottom front of the frame where it turns up towards the front frame serial number.


"C" Stampings - Right Rear Frame

"C" Stampings - Right Rear Frame


"V" Stamp Bottom Front of Frame

"V" Stamp Bottom Front of Frame


Left Frame Marking

Left Frame Marking


Right Frame Marking
"STARR'S PATENT JAN. 15, 1856."


"C" Stamp, Right Rear Barrel

"C" Stamp, Right Rear Barrel



     The loading groove above the hinge screw at the lower front of the rounded frame has a heavier bevel than the SA Army model (see Part Two). The recoil shield includes a short capping channel cut through the groove. The separate, blued backstrap is held to the frame by the rearmost frame screw, while the front strap is integral with the small oval trigger guard. The hammer spur is longer than that of either the DA Navy or Army models. It is case-hardened. The one-piece walnut grips are oil-finished. The grip is rounded at the bottom and is without a butt strap. The weapon measures 14¾" overall and weighs 3 pounds. The partially exposed nipples are parallel to the axis of the chambers.


Rear View Of Cylinder

Rear View Of Cylinder



     The 1-7/8" inch, six-shot, .44 caliber blued cylinder is marked with the serial number "25974" and a small "R". The oval stop slots are supplemented by intermediate safety slots of the same shape.


Close Up of Cylinder Serial Number "25974" And "R" on Cylinder And Oval Cylinder Stop

Close Up of Cylinder Serial Number "25974" And "R" on Cylinder And Oval Cylinder Stop



     The serial number will also be seen at the front bottom of the frame, on the hammer rest and on the bottom of the barrel at the forward most frame screw. The latter stamping is difficult to see and has not been photographed. Normally, only the first digit or two can be seen without taking the arm apart. Unlike the Navy and Army Double Action Revolvers (See Parts 1 and 2), there is no serial number stampings on the inside of the hammer shank.


Serial Number "25974" at Front Bottom of Frame

Serial Number "25974" at Front Bottom of Frame


Serial Number "25974" Stamping - Hammer Rest

Serial Number "25974" Stamping - Hammer Rest


Note Lack of Serial Number Stamping Inside of Hammer Shank

Note Lack of Serial Number Stamping Inside of Hammer Shank



     The inspector cartouches are no longer visible on this arm. What is left is very, very faint.... only a hint that they were once there. 



One Last Shot


Left Side View Of The Starr Model 1863 Single Action Revolver

Left Side View Of The Starr Model 1863 Single Action Revolver



     The reference material and some wording for this posting came from Robert M. Reilly and his book "U.S. SMALL ARMS 1816 - 1865". Also utilized was Norm Flayderman's FLAYDERMAN'S GUIDE(S) TO ANTIQUE AMERICAN FIREARMS.... AND THEIR VALUES."


     Again, my son and webmaster, Reed Radcliffe, processed this data to my (our) web page.
Dave Radcliffe