These formidable revolvers had a nine-shot .42 caliber cylinder revolving around a central axis that was a .63 caliber smoothbore barrel for buckshot. This French made LeMat is an early transitional model with the spurred trigger guard, rotating lanyard ring in the butt, and reciprocating pin cylinder locking mechanism of the first model revolvers; and the left side loading lever location and “L” and “M” block letters beneath a star trademark of the second model revolvers. It has a very unusual fully round 7″ barrel with the top engraved, “Col. LeMat BTE SCDG PARIS,” and the serial number “340” appears on the barrel and frame. The mechanism works well, the loading lever is missing, and the pivoting hammer nose is missing a tiny piece but is still fully functional. All of the metal has a smooth dark patina with several small bruises and dings on the barrels. The barrel address is in very good condition and both bores are in good condition. The walnut grips are in very good condition with only light wear on the checkering. Few Confederate collectors are fortunate enough to have a LeMat in their collections.
French émigré Jean Alexandre LeMat developed this ‘Grape Shot’ revolver in New Orleans in 1856, with aspirations of marketing his unique sidearm as a primary weapon for dragoons and other mounted troops. Due to his familial ties with US Army Major Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, this unique 10-shot gun, made particularly distinct by the option of a 20-gauge smoothbore barrel, was eventually embraced by the Confederate Army and Navy, and was notably favored by Confederate Major General J. E. B. Stuart. Manufactured in France and Belgium, and then secretly shipped from England to Bermuda to avoid the Union Navy blockade, it’s estimated that less than 2,900 of these intimidating guns were produced during 1856–1865, with the Confederate Army and Navy receiving around 2,500 shipments. In both appearance and historical stature, this LeMat revolver is a truly impressive and powerful gun made all the more desirable by its sheer scarcity.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.