The LeMat is one of the most distinctive and famous of all 19th century revolvers thanks to unusual central smoothbore "grape shot" barrel plus its use by well-known Confederate military generals and officers including P. G. T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and J. E. B. Stuart. They were designed by Jean Alexandre LeMat of New Orleans but mainly manufactured in Liege, Belgium and Paris, France. Period advertisements for the revolvers refer to them as "LeMat's Grape Shot Revolvers." The barrels on this example measure .40 caliber and 18 gauge (.64 caliber). It has a triangular front sight, pull-pin style barrel latch, the central selector on the hammer tip for switching between the cylinder and the smoothbore shot barrel, and groove on the hammer for a rear sight. The top of the barrel has "COL. LEMAT'S PATENT" inscribed in an engraved panel, and the serial number and circled script "LM" on the right of the breech. The serial number is repeated on the underside of the barrel, inside of the loading lever, on the cylinder, recoil shield, and right side of the frame. The checkered walnut grips have light engraving on the washer, screw, and nut. The butt has a lanyard loop.
Very good, retaining a crisp lightly pitted brown over once cleaned metal on the grapeshot barrel and grip straps with smooth artificially applied gray patina on the balance, some other scattered patches of light pitting, a few dings, and sharp markings in the metal. Grips are very fine with crisp checkering, a light scratch at the top of the left panel, some scattered minor dings, and defined edges. Loading lever assembly is a professionally made replacement. Mechanically fine. Nonetheless, a very scarce representative example of a much sought after first model LeMat!
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