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Modern Masterpieces: History of engraving belongs to the Italians as much as any other country 4/4

By S.P. Fjestad and Dennis Adler

The Starr single action was the third most commonly carried Union sidearm. The Pietta SA model is the only reproduction of this historic break action percussion revolver manufactured. The deluxe Dassa engraved model, copied from an original post Civil War era gun, is beautifully inlaid in gold and silver.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial Starr Single Action is the most distinctive tribute to the 150th anniversary with engraving based on an original gold inlaid and embellished single action model, one of several done in the same style in the 1860s.

This is the most elaborate of the commemorative guns and also one of the most expensive to do because of the gold and silver inlay work, the latter on the top of the barrel.

The most prolific sidearm of Federal troops during the War Between the States was the Colt 1860 Army. Pietta makes an excellent copy of the four screw cavalry model designed for a detachable shoulder stock. The Dassa model is engraved in a design based upon a one-of-a-kind example presented to General Ulysses S. Grant. The original gun, also shown, had ebony grips.

There are two Remington models, the first with engraving based on a presentation gun given to Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer. The second is based on a Nimschke engraved silver plated and gold washed Remington Army model presented to Major General George Meade in honor of his victory at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The Pietta version by Dassa will be nickel and gold finished and engraved in the same style.

There will be one 1860 Army, this based on a presentation model given to General Ulysses S. Grant. Though never carried by him in battle, the gun remained in the Grant family for generations. It is distinguished by a banner crossing over the top of the barrel that is inscribed “Union and Liberty.”

Although the engraver is unknown the vine scroll style is not, and it adorns an 1851 Navy owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Lee Navy was the inspiration for the hand engraved 1851 from Pietta and Dassa.

The 1851 Navy brings a further sense of balance to the North and South by being a copy of the round triggerguard model carried by General Robert E. Lee.

While all of these guns are “inspired” by the originals, there are some notable differences, mainly in the grip designs, which were originally ivory, ivory with a silver inscription cartouche, or rare wood, such as the ebony grips on General Grant’s 1860 Army.

In most respects, one could have custom grips fashioned for the guns, but the revolvers themselves are the most important piece of this historic line of limited edition commemorative firearms.

All of the Dassa models will be available through Dixie Gun Works, as well as from Incisioni Dassa, and

Comparison pricing between hand engraved and Deep Laser engraving certainly makes the case for new technology.

  • Centennial Buntline hand engraved with checkered grip .45 Long Colt $11, 495

  • Deep laser engraved .45 Long Colt $625

  • Bat Masterson hand engraved .45 Long Colt $2,465

  • Deep laser engraved .45 Long Colt $595

  • Bill Tilghman hand engraved .45 Long Colt $4575

  • Deep laser engraved .45 Long Colt $620

  • Starr S.A. 44 cal. hand engraved with gold inletting .44 Caliber Percussion $9,500

  • Laser engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $625

  • 1858 Remington General George A. Custer hand engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $4,575

  • Deep laser engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $485

  • 858 Remington General George Meade hand engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $4,925

  • Deep laser engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $765

  • 1860 Army Union & Liberty General Ulysses Grant hand engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $3,860

  • Deep laser engraved .44 Caliber Percussion $415

  • 1851 Navy Robert E. Lee hand engraved with steel backstrap & triggerguard .36 Caliber Percussion $2,445

  • Deep laser engraved .36 Caliber Percussion $342


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