Star Firearms: C-series pistols

Star Firearms — C-series pistols

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A model CK pistol

The C-series is a straight blowback vest pocket pistol which falls in size between the H and E series. All model C pistols are in .25 ACP (6.35 mm), so this is essentially a larger model E (or later, Starlite).

All these weapons are steel framed, single action pistols with a fixed barrel. The reciprocating slide is the rear third and sides of the remainder of the top end. The barrel is visible above the forward part of the slide and does not move on firing. The extractor is at the 12 o'clock position.

Manuals & Disassembly Instructions

I do not have manuals for every pistol shown on this site. However, in many cases there is a related manual. Partly to make the series relationships clearer, and partly to assist with speed and accuracy of updating, all manuals can be found in one place, the manuals page. All manuals available are provided as downloadable PDFs, or you may purchase a printed copy of the entire set of handgun manuals.

All vest-pocket and target pistols operate and strip in approximately the same way. These manuals are very slim, and do not provide really useful step-by-step instructions. It may be beneficial to review all the manuals for this series to assure you have gotten all relevant information.

As some of these manuals are not in english, and have no diagrams, I will explain the basic takedown procedure here. Stripping is just like taking down most any straight-blowback, fixed barrel european gun (e.g. the Walther PPK). This is, however, somewhat unusual if you have only worked with larger Browning lock pistols in the past.

  • As with any time you are working on a pistol, assure it is empty first.
  • Remove the magazine and cycle the slide several times.
  • Push down on the button at the top of the left grip panel, in front of the safety lever.
  • While holding this button down, pull the slide to the rear approximately 1/2".
  • In this position, the slide can now come up thru notches in the slide rails. Pull the rear of the slide up,/em. off the rails. Use caution, as the slide is still under full spring pressure.
  • Lower the slide over and off the end of the barrel. Be careful not to scratch the barrel or other parts.
  • Reassemble in the reverse manner.

First Generation Model C

First generation Model C pistol

I have very little information on this pistol, and some is clearly incorrect so there may be updates in the future. The model C was produced from 1924 until about 1930 or 31, when it was replaced with the model CO. At least one example appears to have a date code that implies production went on much longer, so this is among the open issues with the series.

The layout of the Model C, up through the CO, is entirely typical of Star, and other, vest pocket pistols. The magazine release is conventiently located on the left side behind the trigger guard instead of on the butt, but the safety is a small lever behind the trigger which hinges far to the rear. The only stocks encountered are hard plastic with an unusual "Star Trade Mark" in a diamond on each panel.

Some or all of these first generation pistols will not have model markings on the butt, and must be identified by caliber, features and other marks. The caliber should be referred to only as 6.35 (possibly with the "35" underlined instead of a decimal) and not as ".25" caliber. The left side should have the "Star" with quotes trade name, and the company name is listed in full on the right side of the slide.

Models CO

Model CO E factory engraved pistol

This variation was produced from 1930 to 1956, when it was replaced with the Model CU.

The controls appear unchanged, as do the basic contours of the pistol. Stocks seem to have been either black hard rubber with an unusual Star diamond logo of sorts, or smooth wood. The O suffix has no clear meaning, so it is not obvious what change this incorporated. Observed changes include the shape of the hammer, the cocking serrations moving forward slightly, and the safety lever being made much more flush (it previously had a pyramidal shape).

Model CO E

Since almost their earliest days, Bonifacio Echeverria has offered factory engraved pistols as custom order pieces. The detail range varies widely, based on the price the customer is willing to pay. Though these were mostly done on pocket pistols, the service was available for all firearms. I have never encountered an engraved SMG, but would not be suprised.

Top view of model CO E showing extractor position

A number of Model CO pistols were made with a standard engraving package, and sold as the model COE, where E stands for "engraved." These do not seem to have been distributed in the special custom-engraving boxes, and presumably commanded a lower price as the detail level was set by the factory. Stocks were synthetic Mother of Pearl. While originally advertised as "unbreakable," which they presumably were compared to natural materials and other types of synthetics, they have proven fragile over time and should be replaced or handled very carefully.

I have never encountered a model C, or any other model of Star pistol with a model number stamp to indicate the engraving (though it is possible they exist). The "COE" designation was just used on boxes, in order forms and catalogs and within the factory. Engraving after production is very rare, so an engraved Star can be safely assumed to be factory engraved one way or the other.

Model CU

Model CU pistol

In 1956, production of the Model CO pistols was dropped in favor of an upgraded C series called the Model CU. This pistol remained in production until 1973.

The primary changes were to bring this weapon up to date with a conventional thumb safety. The magazine release was enlarged, the gripframe was slightly lengthened and flared at the bottom, and numerous small changes were made. Stocks were apparently always black or brown checkered plastic with the Star logo.

The pistol was available with black or chromed slides, and anodized frames in black, "RAF Blue," "Forest Green," "Antique Gold" and "Steel Gray." These colors may have been available with other models as well and seem to have replaced the factory engraving package of the CO. See the D series page for an example of a Star bright anodized frame.

Model CK

Model CK pistol, right side

The model CK is identical to the other CU, with a thumb safety, but were aluminum-framed to reduce weight. These were introduced with the CU in 1973, and produced thru the end of classic series production in 1983. This pistol may also have been sold in the US under the name "Starlet" though that name comes up for other guns as well. As on the CU, stocks seem to have been either black or red-brown checkered plastic.