Cartridge Converted Starr Model 1863 8″ Single-Action Revolver Antique

SOLD FOR: $1,275

WOA#: WY240321BS053

Make: Starr Arms Co.

Model: Starr Model 1863 converted to fire cartridges

Serial#: 24609

Year of Manufacture: Circa 1863-1867, Antique

Caliber: We measured the bore as .45 inches but we are unsure what cartridge the pistol is chambered for. We recommend having the bore cast to determine the appropriate cartridge to use with the revolver prior to firing. Please note, the gun is chambered for centerfire cartridges.

Action Type: Single-Action Top-Break Cartridge Firing Revolver with a 6-Round Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the frame is marked “STARR.ARMS.Co.NEW.YORK.” The right side of the frame is marked “STARR’S PATENT JAN.15.1856.” The top of the grip, concealed by the frame, is marked “36079”. The backstrap is marked “23298, the frontstrap “24124”. The slot where the hammer rest’s on the frame is marked “23457”. The front face of the stop-strap assembly, situated under the ramrod, is marked “24609”. Most major parts have a single letter or number inspector mark.

Barrel Length: 8”

Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a dovetailed blade.

Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The grip is one-piece wood. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are some more notable dings at the bottom-left. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original to cartridge conversion. Serialized parts are not matching.

Bore Condition: The bore is grey with mostly sharp rifling. There is scattered light pitting and light erosion concentrated in the grooves. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.

Overall Condition: The revolver retains about 65% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Most notable wear is in the backstrap and around the cylinder gap. There is surface erosion around the cylinder gap. There is polishing under the finish at the muzzle. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches with a few small, but deeper dings. There is some scattered light oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings are generally clear. Overall, the revolver is in Very Good condition as converted Antique.

Mechanics: This Starr Model 1863 has been extensively modified to allow the revolver to fire centerfire cartridges. The nose of the hammer has been modified and a plate installed on the recoil shield for a new center-fire firing pin assembly. Otherwise, the gun’s action is unchanged from a standard Starr Model 1863. We have not fired this revolver. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be required to meet your maintenance standards.

Box Paperwork and Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: The Starr Model 1858 Army Revolver was the brainchild of Ebenezer Townsend Starr (1816-1899), a man who came from a family of arms makers. Starr joined the Navy when he was 17 and served from 1834-1837. Following his brief service in the Navy, Starr was injured in a railroad accident which he never fully recovered from. Eventually Starr began to develop weapons and established “Starr Arms Co” of New York in the late 1850s. In 1861, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Starr was offered a commision in the Navy but he was unable to accept the position due to lingering complications from his accident. Despite this, he would prove a great service to the Union, providing the Federal Government with tens of thousands of both single and double action revolvers. Starr’s company provided the Union with its third largest order of revolvers with over 47,000 manufactured, his company was only surpassed by Colt and Remington. This particular specimen is a Model 1858 Army Revolver, an early double-action design. As one of the first double-action handguns to be developed, the action is a bit difficult to master and Union troops were definitely frustrated by this. Thus, Starr developed his Model 1863 which was a single-action revolver that proved more simple to use than the M1858. Starr’s company had come to rely on military contracts and the end of the Civil War did not bode well for his company. Unsurprisingly, Starr Arms Co. went under two years later in 1867. Although his company had failed, Starr remained an active inventor for most of his remaining years, he ultimately passed away in 1899 at the age of 83.

This particular revolver is a modified Starr Model 1863 which has been altered to fire centerfire cartridges. There have been a number of converted Starr revolvers observed on the market, but there has never been any concrete information on who performed the conversions or when. Although this is unconfirmed, there is a high probability these guns were altered in France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The bulk of the United States surplus weaponry which had been made for service in the Civil War was sold to France during the conflict, and the French were known to perform ad-hoc conversions of some of the more aged weapons. While we are unsure if this is the story behind this revolver there is no indication that the U.S. government ever attempted to convert Starr revolvers and Starr Arms never did either. Whatever the story of this revolver it is certainly a fascinating historical firearm. Good luck on your bid!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Cartridge Converted Starr Model 1863 8" Single-Action Revolver Antique
Cartridge Converted Starr Model 1863 8″ Single-Action Revolver Antique