Starr DA & SA Revolvers

Starr revolvers are one of the less recognized designs used in the US Civil War, although tens of thousands of them were made and issued. Indeed, in many ways they were superior to the much more common Colt and Remington revolvers of the period. One of the interesting facts about the Starr is that the double action design came first, and was only replaced with the more typical single action design several years into the war (due to problems with price and complexity). Today we’re taking a look at a pair of Starrs, one single action and one double action. Ultimately the company shut down after the end of the war, and Colt would go on to dominate the revolver market in the United States.

Theme music by Dylan Benson –

[Music] Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video on Forgotten weapons comm I mean I’m here at the Rock Island auction House taking a look at some of the guns That are coming up for sale in their February 2015 regional auction and there Was a lot that I saw in the catalog that Was a pair of interesting civil war-era Revolvers that I thought we should Definitely take a look at they are stars We have a double action star and a Single action star I think the history Behind these and the mechanics behind Them are actually pretty interesting A lot of people may not realize stars Actually were quite prevalent in the Civil war making up a total of almost 13 Percent of the revolvers used by the Union Army in addition to the much more Commonly recognized Remington’s and Kolb’s so star was actually a commercial Revolver design that existed right Before the Civil War Initially star made a 36 caliber or Navy Calendar double action revolver 1858 or So it really wasn’t selling very well And so he decided to to change it up and Offer it as a 44 caliber or army caliber Revolver and was able to successfully Convince the Ordnance Department to Purchase a whole bunch of them the Ordnance Department initially purchased About 20,000 44 caliber double action

Star revolvers the numbers vary a bit Because of negotiations that went back And forth over the number of guns and The price ultimately if I recall Correctly about 16,000 were delivered to The Army in 44 plus about another 5,000 That were sold commercially in 44 now Before we get to the difference between The single action and the double action I think we should bring the camera back Here and take a little bit of a closer Look at exactly how the double action Gun works because I think it’s pretty Interesting so these were designed by a Man named Ebenezer star he was born in Yonkers and these were manufactured in Binghamton New York he originally Patented this double action trigger Mechanism in as early as 1856 like I Said sold the guns until 1858 and 36 Caliber then went to 44 ultimately Because of the civil war contracts he Got by 1861 the star Factory was quite a Large concern Employed 225 men which said quite quite The large factory at the time now the Original gun was a double action so We’ll look at that first so one thing That distinguishes the double action Star from other double-action revolvers Then and now is that the trigger is Really just a cocking lever what it does Is [ __ ] the hammer like so and then this Little detent at the back of the trigger

Guard is actually the trigger That’s what fires the gun so if you want To shoot accurately you can [ __ ] the Hammer with the front trigger and then Fire with the back if you need to shoot Quickly in the heat of battle say you Can pull the cocking lever all the way Through and the back of that talking Lever trigger will actually hit the real Trigger it’s a very strong trigger pull So that the back of this trigger hits This trigger and fires the gun that way Like I said is an extremely stiff Trigger pull in double action it does Also have this little lever on the back Of the trigger which if you loosen this Screw this lever will slide down and Actually hit the back of the frame and Prevent you from hitting the trigger so Sliding this down allows the gun to sort Of fungal function in single action by Limiting the function of this trigger to Only cocking the hammer so you would Pull the trigger which [ __ ] the hammer You then release the trigger move your Finger back here and fire with a much Lighter crisper trigger so this is a 44 Caliber revolver six shot it has a Pretty standard ramrod for loading Cartridges or loading ball disassembly Is very easy we have a screw right here In the frame which it’s pretty cool even On this original example the screw is Nice and easy to remove so that comes

Out go ahead and put Half-cock and then the frame pivots open On this screw frame opens all the way up And the cylinder drops out one of the Other really nice advantages to stars Design was that there is no separate Cylinder access pin this is main is Built into the cylinder itself so that There’s no way fowling can get in Between the pin and the cylinder and Cause it to jam up which was a problem On on Colt revolvers in addition we have A nice big recess back here for the the Finger which is the part that you can See this moves up which engages in the Ratchet teeth on the back of the Cylinder that rotates the cylinder this Hole is very nicely and cleanly filled By the cylinder one of the other Problems with Colt revolvers both Originals and today’s replicas is that Bits of fired cap are liable to fall Into the action and jam up the cylinder Start design prevented that there’s Really no no place where a piece of cap Can fall in and cause problems there you Can see that there are two cylinder Stops on the cylinder for each chamber Plus a third one at the back right here So what we have the there’s there’s a Set of six that interact with this stop On the trigger All right so you can see here that we Have engaged the cylinder stop with a

Chamber directly under the hammer that Would be in a position ready to fire a Single action however we have the hammer Half [ __ ] right now I can also move the Cylinder slightly so that it engages in One of the stops while the hammer is Directly in between cylinders so this is How you could carry the gun safely with All six cartridges all six chambers Loaded is to use a cylinder stop to use The cylinder stop where the the gun is In between cylinders so you don’t have a Cap under the hammer finally the Cylinder stops at the back here this Little v-shaped detent that was used for The double action trigger you can see Here when I have the trigger fully or The cocking lever fully rearward we have A stop that comes up here that would Engage in one of these B notches at the Back of the cylinder to lock it during Double action fire reassembly is very Simple we simply take the cylinder drop It back into into its nest there close The frame reinsert the frame screw Tighten it up till it comes through and The gun entry assembled and ready to go So one of the problems that star ran Into with these double action revolvers Was their cost at the time to the Government they cost between 20 and 25 Dollars depending on the contract Negotiation and that was really quite a Quite a lot of money in addition troops

In the field really didn’t like this Double action system the trigger pole Was very heavy a lot of officers felt That the mechanism was to come excuse me To complex and just not very popular so What star did part way through the the War in fact in 1863 was they abandoned This double action And redesign the gun with a very Traditional basic single action trigger So with a single action star we now [ __ ] The hammer by hand and we have a very Normal trigger pull the trigger drop the Hammer this was able to significantly Reduce the cost of the guns the Government cost of the single action Star was only twelve dollars so about Half of what the double action gun cost This now operated the exact same way as The Colts and Remington’s and other guns That officers and soldiers were more Familiar with that made them more Popular just all in all simplified the Design now disassembly remains the same Pull this screw pop the frame cylinder Comes out cylinder has stayed the same You can see it no longer has the double Action stops at the back edge of the Cylinder but everything else is Identical you can see the hand in there When you [ __ ] the hammer the hand lifts Up that rotates the cylinder assembly is The same we just drop the cylinder in Close frame and replace the screw ready

To go ultimately about 30,000 of these Single action guns were purchased by the Union government so even more of the Single actions than the double actions Made it into the war so ultimately the Star company folded went out of business In 1867 pretty much right after the end Of the Civil War the problem they had Was that they didn’t really have a good Dynamic sales department they had a very Good revolver technically in many ways Better than Colt and the other companies That were selling revolvers at the time But they didn’t have someone to really Go out and promote the brand and make it Popular with the public so when easy Military contracts from the war dried up The company just didn’t really have have The the motivation it seems to to Continue producing they just accepted The fact that the easy work was done Then they shut down and went on to do Other things These two of course still exist here if You’d like to add them to your own Collection they are for sale in rock Islands auction so I have a link below To the catalog page at Rock Island you Can take a look at the notes they have And the high-res pictures these two Revolvers are actually a single lock Together so you could get them for the Price of one thanks for watching hope You guys enjoyed it learn something

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