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. 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. Most known centerfire LeMat carbines have fairly low serial numbers like this example which has a "4" on the right side of the frame and "11" on the various components. The barrel and cylinder have Liege proofs. Similar Belgian LeMat centerfire carbines are illustrated and described on pages 127 and 130 of "LeMat, The Man, The Gun" by Forgett and Serpette. The upper rifled barrel is signed "COLONEL LE MAT PATENT" in small letters ahead of the notch and folding leaf rear sight with notches for 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. There is also a notch rear sight on top of the recoil shield, and the front barrel band has a blade front sight. There is a central loading gate at the back for the 20 gauge shotgun barrel and another loading gate on the lower right for the cylinder. The buttstock is smooth and has an oiler in the heel.
Fine with mostly gray patina overall, some lighter brown patina, patches of slight pitting, and minor overall wear. Part of the selector is absent. The stock is fine and has mild scratches and dings and smooth oiled finish. Mechanically fine. This is definitely a very rare and interesting 19th century revolving firearm. All LeMat's are rare and desirable, and these revolving centerfire carbines are especially difficult to find. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection.
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