Original U.S. Civil War Era Starr Model 1865 Saddle Ring Carbine - Serial 21419

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Starr carbine was a breech-loading single-shot rifle used by the United States Army. Designed in 1858, the Starr was primarily used by cavalry soldiers in the American Civil War.

In January 1858, Ebenezer Starr submitted his design for a single-shot, breech-loading rifle to the Washington Armory for evaluation. During testing, the rifle was noted to have no misfires, and its accuracy was considered better than average. Testers commented that if the gas seal could be improved, the weapon would be better than its rival, the Sharps carbine.

Interestingly, before the conclusion of the war, Starr successfully morphed their percussion model into a metallic cartridge carbine by changing out the breechblock, hammer and barrel. Only five thousand of the new model Starr, chambered for the .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridge, were ordered by the Ordnance Department, and many were issued to the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry in the spring of 1865.

Although the Starr carbine had proven to be effective during the Civil War, it was not successful during the trials of 1865 by the U.S. Army trials board, and no further rifles were ordered.

During the war, the Starr Arms Company had been the fifth largest supplier of carbines and the third largest supplier of .44 caliber single action pistols. After the war had ended, and with no further government contracts, Starr could no longer compete with larger manufacturers like Winchester, Sharps, and Colt, and the company closed its doors in 1867.

This example is offered in very nice condition. All aspects function correctly and move smoothly, though the cap nipple is broken. The bore in the 21" barrel shows lands and grooves, but is overall dark, probably from a lack of cleaning. Wood to metal fit is very good. All markings are correct and complete. The exterior finish is also covered with a peppery patina, so this carbine definitely saw a lot of use. 

The barrel is marked with serial number 21419 on the underside under the fore stock, and the same number appears on the falling breech. It is also marked nicely on both lock and barrel: STARR ARMS CO. YONKERS, N.Y. , though the barrel marking is hard to read. It also still has patent markings just behind the falling breech: STARR'S PATENT. / SEPT. 14TH 1858.

In nice condition, these ranked third in popularity after the Sharps and the Spencer Carbines.

Ready to display!

Design and features

The Starr carbine was similar in design to the Sharps carbine. The Starr had a longer receiver and a distinctive web between the tail of the breech lever and the underside of the butt.

The Starr carbine had a .54 caliber barrel that was 21 inches in length. The weapon had an overall length of 37.65 inches and a weight of 7.4 lbs. The Starr carbine had a three-position rear sight composed of a standing block and two folding leaves.


Year of Production: c.1864
Caliber: .54 inches (14 mm)
Ammunition type: .56-50 Spencer Rimfire Cartridge
Length: 37.5 in (950 mm)
Barrel length: 21 in (530 mm)
Action: Falling block action
Feed system: Single Shot, breech-loading

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