Starrs Again and new Brownell's Catalog

Just when you think you're done with Starr revolvers for a while, something else pops up! Original .44 caliber Starr owner Robin Hewitt of England recently purchased an antique bullet mold made for the gun and ran a bunch of conical slugs from it (see picture) which look great. Robin hasn't fired any of them yet, as his Starr is in need of some minor repairs to restore it to shooting shape. The bullets, which feature a slight lip at the base, are tapered, providing a snug fit which eliminates the possibility of their inching forward on firing and tying up the cylinder. The tapered fit also seals chamber mouths against moisture and the remote chances of a frontal "chainfire" or multiple chamber ignition.

Robin sent me some sample bullets, but they are just a tad too long to fit in the loading lever slot of my original Remington or my second generation Colt first model Dragoon. The Starr slugs weigh 236 grains and are .730 inch long. Micrometer readings reveal that they taper from .441 to .460 in the last .05 inch to the bullet base.

The new Brownell's Catalog for 2000-2001, number 53 from the famed Montezuma, Iowa firm, is now available. For more than half a century, the company has had a reputation for being one of the best sources in the business for gunsmithing supplies, books and assorted goodies, including just about every conceivable type of tap, drill and die, for serious black and smokeless powder shooting enthusiasts. Among these is a ready to go basic gunsmithing kit includes Brownell's nylon and brass hammer, an essential tool for working on old guns without marring the surfaces. The kit also includes a "magnatip" screwdriver with interchangeable tips to fit various screw slot sizes, which is also a must for pro and semipro gun tinkerers alike.

Black powder breech loading shooters will be interested in Brownell's complete selection of Green Mountain barrels in calibers ranging from .32 to .45. Muzzleloading shooters have a choice of drop-in .50 caliber replacement barrels for a wide range of popular production hunting muzzle loaders in either the 1 in 28 inch twist designed for conical bullets or a 1 in 70 inch twist for round ball shooting. Brownell's also offers a complete line of tang sights and stock wood for antique and reproduction black powder single shot and lever action guns.

Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) enthusiasts will be interested in Brownell's selection of holsters and after market parts, including grips, for the popular Ruger Vaquero and Colt single Action Army revolvers, as well as imported Colt clones. Colt Single Action Army and Bisley restoration specialists will be particularly pleased with the addition of Peacemaker Specialists' historically accurate screws and parts for all three generations of Colts to the catalog. Some of these screws may also be useable on cap and ball revolvers.

One of the most interesting additions to the Brownell catalog for Civil War era shooters who also engage in CAS competition is the R&D conversion cylinder, which the late Tom Ball used to sell at the N-SSA Nationals. Chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge, these cylinders, which copy an early postwar Remington cartridge conversion, are made to fit reproduction .44 caliber Uberti, Armi San Marco and Pietta reproductions of the Remington New Model Army, as well as the reproduction Rogers and Spencer and Ruger "Old Army" revolvers.

While installation may require minor gunsmithing, two of these cylinders I am familiar with, one made for a Uberti and another for a Pietta, were drop in fits. Both guns gave excellent accuracy at ranges of 15 and 25 yards with Winchester .45 Colt "Cowboy" ammunition.

If you're going to order from Brownell's, it pays to order a lot of stuff at once. The company has just instituted a new flat rate shipping charge of $6.25 for any order shipped to anywhere in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Brownell's catalog is $5 postpaid in the United States and available from the company at 200 South Front Street, Montezuma, Iowa 50171. (641-623-4000 641-623-3896 (fax)

The N-SSA Fall Nationals may well be upon us by the time you read these lines. I can almost smell the wood smoke wafting aloft into the cool night air as I type away here on a dank and humid August day in New Jersey, the air conditioner roaring in my ear. I'm looking forward to browsing sutler's row for goodies, then going home to inaugurate the fall trout and bird hunting seasons, with the muzzle loading deer season just around the corner. I hope to have a new flintlock smoothbore gun this autumn, suitable for ball or shot, and that should keep me occupied through Christmas, when thoughts will again drift towards the annual renewal rites of trout season and the Spring Nationals. Life could be a lot worse. See you in Virginia!

2000 by Joe Bilby

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