The LeMat is one of the most famous 19th century revolvers thanks to its central smoothbore barrel and its Confederate affiliation, including use by P. G. T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg (owned sn. 1273), J. E. B. Stuart, and other Confederate generals and officers but only a few thousand are believed to have been made making all variations rare and desirable collectibles. They were designed by Jean Alexandre LeMat of New Orleans in 1856 but mainly manufactured in Liege, Belgium, and Paris, France. Period advertisements for the revolvers refer to them as "LeMat's Grape Shot Revolvers." There are several variations in the designs, including the use of different ammunition. This revolver has a nine-shot pinfire cylinder and a muzzle loading percussion shot barrel. These pinfire versions were mainly sold in Europe and were manufactured in lower numbers than the percussion revolvers of the Civil War. The upper barrel has a "crown/EL" marking on the left at the breech, and the right side has "COL LA LEMATS BTE." The right side of the frame is marked "3103," and the left side across the barrel lug and front of the frame is marked "174066." The rear of the barrel lug has "FP." The cylinder has an oval Liege proof, and the shot barrel has a "crown/reverse P" marking. The barrel has a dovetailed front sight, and the hammer has a groove for the rear sight and a vertical selector switch. The barrels and cylinder are blued, and the frame is casehardened. The grips are finely checkered, and the butt has a lanyard loop.
Fine with 25% original case colors on the frame, 50% original blue on the cylinder, gray and brown patina on the balance, moderate oxidation, buff marks, and moderate overall wear. The grips are fine and have distinct checkering, light scratches and marks, and minor handling wear. Mechanically fine. LeMat revolvers are very rare. Relatively few of the pinfire revolvers have made their way to the U.S., and they were made in smaller numbers than the percussion revolvers that made LeMat a household name.
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