Starr Carbine - Inventory Number: RIF 082
Issued to the Federal cavalry during the Civil War, this weapon is a good example of a Starr carbine, a breech loading, .54 caliber, percussion weapon produced by the Starr Arms Company of Yonkers, New York. The Starr carbine resembled the more famous ‘Sharps’ carbine of the time but the Union cavalrymen did not think as highly of the Starr as they did the Sharps. The first shipment of 1,000 Starr percussion carbines was delivered to the Ordnance Dept in September 1863, and in total over 20,000 such weapons were purchased by the US government.
Manufactured between 1862 and 1865, the Starr percussion carbines were all .54 caliber breechloaders fitted with 21” long, round tapered barrel. The carbine employed a split breech, drop block mechanism that allowed the trooper to insert a linen cased cartridge into the chamber of the breech. Upward motion of the operating lever / triggerguard closed the breech, and ignition was activated with the striking of a percussion cap by the external hammer. The weapon measured 37½” long and weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. The iron lockplate and frame were casehardened and the barrel blued.
This original carbine bears serial #10,507 and features a two-piece black walnut stock with an 8” long fore-end secured by a single brass barrel band. Has a 14½” long buttstock with a brass buttplate.
The lock and barrel have a nice patina. Maker stamping on the lockplate is strong and reads, “STARR ARMS CO. / YONKERS, N.Y.” in two lines. Barrel surface has a good, one-line mark of “STARR ARMS CO. YONKERS, N.Y.” in front of the rear sight. Proper front and rear sights are present. Receiver tang back of hammer is stamped with a bold “STARR’S PATENT / SEPT. 14th 1858”. A single iron sling ring is mounted on the left side of the receiver.
Mechanics crisp. Original nipple is present. Bore is nice with good rifling.
Wood is in nice condition and has very light signs of wear with only a few small marks. There are no cracks or inspector cartouches visible. S small chunk of wood is lacking near the bottom of the buttplate. Single brass barrel band holds barrel to forearm. There is a faint inscription on the stock near buttplate reading: “A.D.” – 1864”
This is a good representative example of a percussion carbine carried by Union cavalry.
Inventory Number: RIF 082