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Thread: Starr carbine

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Starr carbine

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    Recently came into one of these old originals at an auction down in Italy. Auction house stating that the gun had been modified as far as its chamber, which was total and utter BS as it turned out - to my great joy.

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    In hindsight i have to give it to ol´ Ebenezer. He did something right this time out. A 55cal gun it is tho, so read on.

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    Before i got to use the gun i asked on a few forums what the rear sight setting were, to no avail. Now, having blasted away with the thing, it´s obvious that we´re talking 100/300/500yds

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    A falling block design i thought to myself that it´d be along the lines of my Sharps rifle. Not so. The Starr uses two interlocking blocks and the one, forward, of them sports a...

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    ...lid for the chamber. The slightly peculiar part was that the gun was in as nice condition n nick it is while the mechanics were REAL worn. At that in turn the rifling was way above par!?
    Peculiar. No matter though, owning heavy machinery i set forth to take out all that freeplay out of the construction and presto...

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    ... we were back in business. The actual sealing surface though.. I know from my other paper cartridge guns, which the Starr certainly is too, that you´re on the money when you close the action, pull the hammer back and put a finger over the flash hole and blow to kingdom come down the muzzle aaaaand... no air escapes.
    So.
    How handle that?

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    What i did was turn a sorts of brass "shim" and hand lap that to correct thickness. Then install it with a rather specific industrial two comp glue. Of course the residue was taken off..
    Installed that and closed the action and just let it sit for two days. When i opened it back up.. yes Sir. As tight as you could ever ask.

    Now. This back story brings us to what castboolits is all about.
    See. Back in the day there were reports that the Starr carbines were no good, wouldn´t fire, wouldn´t keep its own as far as accuracy and so on. This, it turns out, due someone deciding that Sharps cartridges could be used for the Starr too, which is about as false as anything comes.
    The Sharps bullet first up is of lesser diameter and the actual cartridge in turn to short to give reliable ignition in a Starr.

    Thanxs to a gent on YT that has put a vid up on his Starr i got the dimensions for a contemporary bore-rider, and we all know that i´m partial to bore-riders for paper cartridge guns right.

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    These were basically the numbers, converted to millimeters - as we drew the thing in Solidworks. That however got me thinking and indeed as it turned out the bore rider diameter needed to be upped. To 13,75mm more specifically.
    Said and done..

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    She sure turned out on the hefty side though, but all good - being well aware since other experiments on the matter.

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    Two aluminium matrix´s were turned to be able to make hulls. One to roll the actual cylinder and then one to install the bottom of the cartridge.

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    Yeah! N then some!

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    ..then at the range. The thing ran like a damn locomotive. It just wouldn´t stop. Only thing i had to attend to was drift the front sight a tad to the right to be dead on target.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    A "small" Evil Roy was used and as them 590 slugs hit home at 50 and 100 meters.. HELLO! LOL

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    Of course rifling cleaned up even more from use. No argument there.

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    ´N finally that seal. As you can see the inside of that seal is chalk white, indicating good combustion, and that white stuff by the barrel cone is just grease.
    We used ample amounts of grease to just keep the thing going and only occasionally needed to rid the barrel of paper debris.



    ..and in turn. What can i say?
    Is the thing accurate with them bore-riders we made? Sure is. Hits exactly where you point it why next outing will be for numbers.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Btw.
    Them hulls there turned out to be very roomy to say the least, i guess due the bore rider setup, handing is an easy 90+grains of powder.
    For a carbine though that´s just silly why i this time out, the first, opted for the original load. 63 grains.

    So. Cartridges were made up of that baking paper, 65 grains of 3F and them 590 grain bullets. Works very very well, have to say. Being well aware that them bullets are approx 150grains heavier than the stock offering.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Great write up - thanks for sharing! I love seeing the odd and unusual coming back to life. I have quite a few odd and unusuals, but not a Starr. But a neighbor has one gathering dust..... hmm.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Many years ago I made a replica using one of the original locks Dixie used to sell for $30......seems a lot of the cartridge guns were sold to the French in 1871 and never used,and ended up in Belgium being broken up for bits.......Anyhoo,now there are a couple of originals here being used ..........as to the problems the guns had ....seems they would take a Sharps cartridge ,but the thick Sharps paper was meant to be cut off by the block,and was too thick for the cap blast to get through......nevertheless,the army issued Sharps cartridges for Starrs.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Great write up. Thanks for the info.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Love your expression after the shot. Big grin says it all.And that carbine really backs off when shot. Happy shooting. Frank

  8. #8
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    GREAT write up! Really enjoyed it. This ought to be made into a sticky for those of us who love Civil War carbines. Thanks for sharing - a lot of good info.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    For those on Facebook. There is a civil war carbine group. A lot of great discussions there.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thx guys!

    I wanna have a roundtrip so bad it aches but.. over here in Sweden where i live whole of may has basically been about one thing.
    Rain.
    Fact is, our spring on a whole has been terrible. That said though i NEED to get to the range for other reasons too and will sure as hell tag this Starr along and shoot for numbers this time out.
    Still got a few rounds left i made up for the first outing, and will compliment those i guess.

    Going to be very very interesting to evaluate the performance of this carbine handed them bore-riders. As paper cartridge guns rarely register in the chamber but more so are just "shoved in there", the bore rider principle comes into a level of its own when you´re lazy like I am.

    Lazy.. yeah. One of my old professors once told me, "the reasons we become engineers is that we´re lazy". That simple and can´t but agree.

    Ayways. I´ve got an idea of putting them up against each other. Got a few other, at least from the onset, paper cartridge guns standing around and.. carbines especially so.
    Just thinking it would be a neat idea with a sorts of shootout, now a 150yrs+ later.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    She sure can, to this day. 100 yards. Thing runs like a champ, that simple.
    Smaller holes are just the Anschutz 22lr along for the ride, nevermind those..

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    What a great story. Thanks.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check