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Starr Model 1858 / Model 1863

Double-Action 6-Shot Percussion Revolver

Starr Model 1858 / Model 1863

Double-Action 6-Shot Percussion Revolver


The Starr revolver saw service during the American Civil War in both Single- and Double-Action Army and Navy forms.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1858
MANUFACTURER(S): Starr Arms Company - USA
OPERATORS: United States

Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible. Calibers listed may be model/chambering dependent.
ACTION: Double-Action (DA); Single-Action (SA)
CALIBER(S): Model Depedent: .36 Ball; .44 Ball
LENGTH (OVERALL): 320 millimeters (12.60 inches)
WEIGHT (UNLOADED): 2.87 pounds (1.30 kilograms)
MUZZLE VELOCITY: 725 feet-per-second (221 meters-per-second)
RATE-OF-FIRE: 15 rounds-per-minute

Series Model Variants
• Starr Revolver - Base Series Name
• Model 1858 Army - Model of 1858; double-action trigger; .44 caliber chambering; 21,454 examples produced.
• Model 1858 Navy - Model of 1858; double-action trigger; .36 caliber chambering; 3,000 examples produced.
• Model 1863 Army - Model of 1863; single-action trigger; .44 caliber chambering; 23,000 examples produced.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Starr Model 1858 / Model 1863 Double-Action 6-Shot Percussion Revolver.  Entry last updated on 4/24/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Requiring all manner of firearms during the American Civil War (1861-1865), the United States government commissioned the Starr Arms Company to produce a Single-Action (SA) version of its Double-Action (DA) revolver. Both versions were eventually taken on by the North with at least 47,454 produced in all. These saw service mainly in the west campaigns of the war and three sub-variants of the base design were ultimately seen - the Double-Action Navy model of 1858 in .36 chambering, the Double-Action Army model of 1858 in .44 chambering, and the Single-action Army model of 1863 in .44 chambering with production numbers reaching 3,000, 21,454 and 23,000 respectively. Civilian sales were also had during the period.

Design of the pistol fell to Ebanezar (Eban) Townsend Starr and all of the guns were manufactured out of the Starr Arms Company facility of Binghampton and Yonkers, New York for Federal service. The guns relied on a percussion cap system of operation with each chamber of the six-round cylinder loaded with a charge and a ball. Percussion caps were set upon the awaiting nipples found at each chamber. The hammer then fell on these caps to produce the needed ignition of the propellant charge within each chamber, the resultant forces propelling the ball out of the barrel.

Externally, the revolver was of a conventional design arrangement. The handle was ergonomically curved for a good fit in the hand while being covered in useful grips. A solid frame was featured around the rotating six-shot cylinder which offered strength that open-frame revolvers of the period generall lacked. The hammer protruded from the rear of the frame within reach of the shooting hand's thumb for actuation as necessary. A loading arm was positioned under the barrel to help ram the contents of the chambers to the rear (and thus closer to the percussion cap's port). The barrel sat over this arm in the usual way, the ball projectiles guided into it by way of a proper seal from the cylinder's front face to the barrel's rear end. All in all, a traditional revolver arrangement that was proven to work. Sighting was by way of iron fittings over the top of the gun.

By numbers along (over 47,000), the Starr Double-Action was one of the most widely-available and in-service revolvers of the American Civil War.