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Frenchman Dr. Jean Francois Alexander LeMat (1821-1895) is primarily remembered for his unusual percussion and pinfire handguns from the Civil War era that were used by some Confederates including General J.E.B. Stuart. However, after the war, LeMat continued to design more advanced versions of his distinctive firearms and returned to France in 1868. In France, he also led an American volunteer legion during Franco-Prussian War, was a negotiator during the French Insurrection in 1871, and developed early airships. Production totals for the LeMat firearms are not known. However, given that production of the more well-known and more often seen percussion revolvers numbered only in the low thousands, the centerfire carbines from the late 1860s to the 1880s production totals were likely very low, possibly only a few hundred. There are very few surviving examples. Revolving rifles, carbines, and shotguns were never very popular and were essentially obsolete when compared to repeating arms manufactured by Winchester and others in the same period. Similar LeMat centerfire carbines are illustrated and described on pages 127 and 130 of "LeMat, The Man, The Gun" by Forgett and Serpette. This example is largely unmarked aside from a small */D" on the left side of the rifled barrel and a small "*/I" on the bottom of the shotgun barrel. It has a saber bayonet lug on the right side of the rifled barrel, a blade front sight on the front barrel band, and a notch and folding rear sight with two apertures and a top notch on the folding leaf. The ejector is mounted to the breech ring, and the frame has loading gates for both the shotgun barrel and cylinder and a selector switch on the hammer to switch between barrels. The stock is smooth and has a carbine style buttplate.
Very good with silvery gray patina overall and mostly only light age and storage related wear. The refinished stock is very fine and has smooth finish and light marks and scratches. Mechanically fine. Overall a solid representative example of a very scarce LeMat carbine!
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