Invented in 1857 and patented by Dr. Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat of New Orleans, with approximately 2900 manufactured abroad, the LeMat represented a significant firepower boost over other percussion revolvers of the era integrating a 9 shot revolver and a 16 gauge "grapeshot" shotgun barrel. The early production revolvers, like this revolver, were manufactured in Paris, France, with later production in Liege, Belgium, and Birmingham, England. The barrel to be fired was selected by shifting the hammer nose up or down with a lever attached to the nose. Le Mat revolvers were popular with Confederate officers during the Civil War. The most famous LeMat owner was General J.E.B. Stuart. The top barrel flat is marked "SYSTME LEMAT BTE S.C.D.G. PARIS", the right rear flat is marked with the serial number and ahead of that is the star over "LM" proof mark. The matching serial number is also marked on the lower right side of the frame and on the cylinder. The left side of the hammer is marked with the letter "N". The screw heads are engraved with a simple line pattern. Dovetailed blade front and hammer notch rear sights, blue finish with casehardened hammer and trigger guard and fitted with checkered walnut grips and lanyard ring on the butt.
Fine as period refinished with 60% dull blue finish remaining with a brown and plum patina on the balance. There is some scattered minor oxidation, mainly on the frame and cylinder. The hammer shows much of the darkened case colors, and the trigger guard has a mottled gray patina. The grips are also fine with some handling wear, a few minor handling marks and some slight bruising in the otherwise crisp checkering. The markings are crisp and clear. The action is excellent.
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