Original U.S. Civil War Starr Model 1858 Saddle Ring Carbine

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.

The rifle was adopted as the Model 1858 carbine. Between 1861 and 1864, over 20,000 were produced by the Starr Arms Company of Yonkers, New York. The Model 1858 was designed to fire paper or linen cartridges. In 1865, the government ordered 3,000 Starr carbines chambered to use metal cartridge. These proved to be successful, and an additional 2,000 were ordered. 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 perfectly bore in the 21" barrel shows some use but has good lands and grooves. It will rate a six on a one to ten scale. Action is smooth and tight. Wood to metal fit is very good. All markings are correct and complete. The barrel is marked with LAB Inspector's marks and the small of the wood stock bears a government inspector's cartouche. Marked nicely on both lock and barrel: STARR ARMS CO. YONKERS, N.Y.

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. It fired paper or linen cartridges that were ignited by conventional percussion caps. The weapon fired reliably as long as the lengthy flash channel was kept clean.

Production history

Designer: Ebenezer Starr
Designed: 1858
Manufacturer: Starr Arms Company
Number built: 25,000


Year of Production: c.1864
Caliber: .54 inches (14 mm)
Ammunition type: Paper or Linen Wrapped Cartridge
Ignition: percussion cap

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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