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xtriggerman

My Review of a 1858 Starr DA revolver

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I was tasked with repairing the lock works on this particular revolver and found the design quite interesting. The first thing that strikes you about this revolver is its a waay more heavy duty build compared to the common Colt 1860 Army. 

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Its an odd double action design that can not be thumb cocked into a single action directly. Its primary action is a straight up double action trigger pull that includes a click back hammer position to keep the hammer off the cap by only a short distance. However, there is a single action hammer position that can be obtained by use of the trigger travel stop that is a selective trigger stop. In this pic you can see the stop in its single action only positioning.

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Positioned this way, the trigger will not drop the hammer but it does cock the hammer into a ready to fire position like this... Once the hammer clicks into this position, the trigger returns to the forward position and then you can fire the cocked hammer by fingering the hammer sear positioned in the rear of the trigger guard. Certainly odd but functional for those preferring a far lighter "trigger" firing.

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The main feature of this revolver is the ability to remove the cylinder despite extreme fouling. In this shot you only need to thumb the take down screw loose from the right side of the frame and open and remove a loose cylinder.

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The colt and Remington designs of the day were not very good at handling multiple load and firings in that the cylinder axel pins are directly below the barrel cylinder gap. Once these axel pins become excessively gummed up with fouling, the Remington cylinder pin was near impossible to move forward threw the frame for cylinder removal. The Colt was a bit better at forcing the cylinder forward over a skanked up axel pin but non the less gumming up the action's function. The Starr was a far better design in this regard since the cylinder had a integral extension that defected hot fouling from the cylinder/barrel gap, keeping the bulk of it off the cylinder spindle nose.

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In addition to that anti bind feature, the cylinder ratchet  design is by far the most robust I'v ever seen!

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 The big revolver is quite comfortable in the hand with the wide smooth trigger face and generous grip spur for the web of your hand. I can see why the Government paid $25 per the 25,000 revolver order. Unfortunately, I think the Achilles heal in this design is the super tiny hammer lifter flat spring. This spring is installed in the hammer body via a typical of the day peen pinch. These little springs either snapped or just loose their tension and when that happens, the trigger sweep can no longer pick up the hammer to move it rear ward. When coil springs eventual took up this task decades latter, double action revolvers really came into their own reliability nitch. Incidentally, that little spring is what was the problem with this well used Starr. 

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Edited by xtriggerman
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2 hours ago, Chucktshoes said:

That is really cool. 

Yes...it is a very neat pistol. It's amazing to see the number and kinds of different pistols that were produced pre and post Civil War. AT least to me.

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Always neat to see designs better than the ones that became the standard. Lots of it was marketing even back then.

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Fascinating info.  I've known about the Starr for a long time but was unaware of its operational differences.  Thanks for an informative review.

Cheers,

Whisper

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That is very cool.  Thanks for sharing.

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  Very interesting! I was aware of the Starr revolver, but never had an opportunity to peek into the bowels of one. Thanks for sharing.

Do you think you could get a Colt Lightning revolver running again?

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12 hours ago, gregintenn said:

  Very interesting! I was aware of the Starr revolver, but never had an opportunity to peek into the bowels of one. Thanks for sharing.

Do you think you could get a Colt Lightning revolver running again?

 Can't say yes or no since I would need to take a look at what you have first. I'd love to have a stab at it tho. Nothing like a good old gun challenge! Heres a Moor's Patent #1 .41RF Derringer that I just fixed up for a guy. The barrel latch button was snapped clean off. So the order of the day was weld the pin stub up hi enough to weld a screw head onto the weld nub and make the button surface checkered as good as you see on the side of the grip with some ware and tear on the button so it doesn't look too new. Came out pretty good since I had to guess the button diam from pictures. Expensive little puppy...

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