May 1, 2020
A Word from Our President Joe George…
Since I started with Skagit Muzzle Loaders it’s nice to see more members shooting Flint Locks. When I first started shooting my CVA flint lock pistol (which has been retired for a few years, since I built the one, I use now), I had to learn to load and to prime the pan. In priming the pan, I was told to put a little powder to the far side of the pan opposite the touch hole, this would allow the sparks of powder to fly into the touch hole and ignite the powder in the barrel. I did this for years, with many flashes in the pan, more than I would want to admit. One day Grizz (Randy Adams) showed me an article written by Larry Pletcher.
In Larry Pletcher's "Pan/Vent Experiments he places the priming powder in the pan to the far outside, the middle of the pan and right next to the touch hole. He does this through high speed photography showing the effects of the flash entering the touch hole. Larry also go through the placement of the touch hole location to the pan. By locating in at the bottom, mid-way up, and near the top of the pan cover. You can read about his experiments at He also experiments with different grades of powder, for priming the pan, to see which ones will ignite the main charge the fastest. For new people shooting flintlocks, and experienced one’s, this is a good site to visit.
After reading the article I now place my powder next to the touch hole. Since I have done this, I rarely have a flash in the pan.
As noted last month in the April Newsletter, it was decided that SML would postpone the Rendezvous normally held in May to 2nd, 3rd and 4th of October. We are still on track with that. Work parties that were scheduled are at this time put on hold. We will keep you posted on this. Interlake and Whidbey will be the second weekend in August.
Also the property that the club meets for our monthly shoots and Rondy has been allowed to re-open and is usable by members in good standing ie: dues paid for 2020. Same procedures as before, contact Deacon prior to going out to the range.
Last month, members were asked to vote on their choice of three different logo styles. The deadline for that was April 14th. Votes were counted and it looks like the chosen logo is the original. We will not be doing tee shirts or hats at this time until club members can vote on it.
Skagit Muzzle Loaders is now on Instagram and the new webpages are up! Ken Draze has been working hard on this and it shows. He is asking for those that are willing to show their work/ projects, and pictures online to contact him. This is a great opportunity to show people what we are about. We have some great artists, weavers, leather crafters, etc. in this group, and he would love to show your work to our followers. Ken can be reached at
The Logger Rodeo 2020 here in Sedro Woolley, one of the longest running parades in the State Washington has also been cancelled. Skagit Muzzle Loaders has had a float in parade dating back to the early 1980’s. This has always been a fun time for the club, and I know a bunch of us will be happy when we can get back to it!
Welcome New or Returning Members
Harry Dawson, Anacortes, WA
For your Enjoyment…
Starr Weapons in American History
By Frank L. “Rusty” Starr
Nathan Starr was born to Joseph and Elizabeth Starr in 1709 in Middletown Connecticut. Not much is known about his early, but some time in his early teens he apprenticed as a blacksmith/tool maker and set up a shop. He specialized in edged farm tools and knives. When the Revolutionary War broke out, he was commissioned as a Major in the Continental Army and he forged and repaired weapons as part of his service.
After the war was over, Starr returned to his hometown of Middletown, Connecticut, and made a living manufacturing blades of a different sort, mostly agricultural tools like scythes for local farmers.
In 1798, Starr received the federal government’s first-ever contract for sword production. Because of increased international tensions between the young United States and the empires of Britain and France, the U.S. government requested Starr produce 2,000 cavalry sabers. Due to the size of his shop, Starr subcontracted out various stages of manufacturing to other local craftsmen, to enable him to meet the contract deadline. Starr produced the Model 1798 Light Dragoon, the model 1808 Naval cutlass, 1812 Model and Model 1814 Heavy Dragoon sabre and the Model 1798 and 1818 NCO sword. In 1799 Starr used the profits from his first government sword contract to buy a parcel of land along the banks of the Coginchaug River in Middletown, where he built a sizable factory to house his ongoing weapons-making operations. Starr increased his products to include firearms and received a Government contract for the Models 1816 .69 smoothbore Musket and the Model 1817 .54 rifled Musket, made circa 1834 in Middletown, Connecticut. These muskets would have started out life as a flintlock prior to being updated to the newer, more reliable percussion firing system circa 1840 through about 1860. The Model 1816 musket was one of the most prolific firearms in the pre-Civil War United States. Over 675,000 were manufactured at the national armories and thousands more were manufactured by private contractors. Many of these muskets were converted to percussion and saw use into the Civil War era. Nathan Starr Jr. manufactured 15,530 Model 1816s between 1829-1840 in Middletown, Connecticut.
By the end of the War of 1812, Starr, together with his son Nathan Starr Jr., had firmly established themselves as one of the foremost arms manufacturers in the United States, producing not only swords, sabers, and cutlasses, but muskets and rifles as well. Starr also had the honor of creating some of the elaborate ceremonial swords awarded to some of the most famous heroes of the War of 1812, including Commodore Isaac Hull and General Andrew Jackson.
Example of an 1808 Nathan Starr
1798 Starr Dragoon Sabre
Starr 1818 Heavy Dragoon Sabre
Starr 1818 NCO sword
Model 1816 Smoothbore .69
Model 1817 .54 Musket
Over the approximately fifty years that Nathan Starr and Son
was actively producing arms for the federal government, he helped to arm thousands of American soldiers and sailors and helped establish Connecticut’s national reputation as a hub of quality weapons manufacturing — a reputation that persists well into the present day.
Nathan Starr Jr. manufactured 15,530 Model 1816s in 1829-1840 and more than 10,000 Model 1817 Rifles in Middletown, Connecticut.
After the War of 1812 and the War with Mexico, Nathan Jr. had turned the family business over to his two sons Nathan and Ebenezer who had continued on with advanced Firearms. Sword and Musket manufacture stopped. Eben received US patents for a double action revolver and a breechloading carbine in 1858 and started production of a .36 cal double action revolver later followed by a .44 cal version and the .54 cal carbine.
When the U.S. government started producing its own weapons at federal armories instead of relying on private contractors, Starr’s commercial fortunes began to drop until the Civil War broke out. The Starr’s along with some private investors moved the Company to Yonkers and Binghamton New York and retitled the Company Starr Arms. The Revolvers were made at Binghamton and the Carbines at Yonkers. Starr’s blades still saw plenty of action in the Civil War as freshly recruited Union soldiers frequently carried them into battle. The Starr Double Action Revolvers and Carbines and in 1863 a Single Action Revolver were the third highest purchased weapons by the US Government during the war. When the war ended the Company could not compete with Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson and Winchester and the doors were closed for good in 1866 at the Binghamton plant and in 1867 at the Yonkers plant.
Starr’s musket’s lock features the starburst trademark of Nathan Starr above his name with “US” on either side. The tail of the lock is dated 1834 and marked for its place of manufacture, Middletown, Connecticut.
The Starr Armory in Binghamton
.36 cal. Starr Double Action Revolver
.44 cal. Starr Double Action Revolver
.44 cal. Starr Single Action Revolver
Starr Percussion Carbine .54 cal,
Starr 52/56 Rimfire Carbine
Starr bullet mold
During the American Civil War 50,000 Starr Revolvers and 25,000 Carbines were made.
Just a little part of my ancestry, Thanks for reading!
A little bit about “Rusty” Frank Starr
Frank Lee Starr. "Rusty"
Born in Baltimore, Maryland 8/6/52.
Built my first Muzzleloader when I was 13 (CVA)
Married Bonnie in 1973.
I've reenacted the French and Indian war, Rev and Civil War and Buckskinning. Shot in the North South Skirmish Association for years and a member of the Merryettesville muzzleloaders. Been building muzzleloaders regularly since 1970.
Worked in Human medicine for Five years and Medical research for forty-eight years. Currently retired but still building Muzzleloaders and also leather items, knives and other skinning items. Hoping to move to Skagit County this year!!
I want to thank Rusty for his input in the newsletter this month. You really made it happen Rusty thank you.
Next Month, I look forward to introducing Miss Bonnie Starr. A real treat indeed!!!
Be ready members, you very well may be called on…
Until then… Happy Trails!!!!
Our Newsletter will now also be on our webpage
I can be reached at if you have something you would like to share with us.
All mistakes are Bills fault.