The Civil War Confederate LeMat revolver 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, as with all wartime production weapons, 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 selector for a rear sight. The barrel has “Syst. Le Mat Bte s-g-d-g Paris” (partially faded) inscribed in an engraved panel, and the serial number 1068 and “LM” marking on the right at the breech. The serial number is repeated on the inside of the loading lever, on the cylinder, 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.
This fine and very rare weapon grades NRA antique “Good” and presents an even smooth untouched dark brown age patina overall, scattered light to moderate pitting and wear from actual period field use and has traces of the original blue finish on the grapeshot barrel and in protected areas. The grips are also very good with scattered light period wear, scratches and some very minor chips. Mechanically, the hammer cocks but the cylinder does not index every time.
These pistols are incredibly RARE and to find one in totally honest unmolested condition is even more rare! Museum and serious investment grade.