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Dr. Jean Francois Alexander LeMat (1821-1895) is best remembered for the percussion version of his "Grapeshot" revolvers which were famously used by the Confederacy during the American Civil War, but he continued to pursue and alter his designs in the post-war era. The centerfire variation of LeMat's famous revolvers were introduced in the late 1860s and modified and improved multiple times into the 1880s. This example is similar to the design shown in the 1871 French patent extension. Like their famous percussion predecessors, these centerfire revolvers have a combination of a rifled upper barrel fed by a revolving cylinder and a central smoothbore shot barrel. There is a loading gate on the upper right for loading the cylinder and a larger loading gate with a firing pin on the back of the recoil plate for loading and unloading the shot barrel. The hammer has a pivoting arm to switch to the shot barrel. The upper barrel has a triangular front sight and is marked "COLONEL LE MAT. PATENT" on top. "Crown/L" proofs on both barrel and cylinder. Circled "E/LG" proof on the cylinder. A notch rear sight is on the top of the recoil plate. Number "3" is stamped on both barrels, the cylinder, both loading gates, underside of the sideplate, lanyard ring base, and handwritten in black ink on the underside of both grip panels. "8" stamped on the hammer.
Very good with 30% period refinished blue finish with a plum appearance, and gray patina on the balance with scattered moderate brown freckling and some scattered patches of light pitting. The re-oiled grip is also very good with scattered dents and scratches, an oiled over mild chip on the bottom left edge, a small reglued cracked section at the corner above the trigger guard of the left grip panel, and numerous "kill" notches on the right grip panel. Modern made replacement loading gate tension spring. Mechanically fine. This is a very scarce example of a full-size centerfire LeMat "Grapeshot" revolver.
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