POTD: From Obscurity to Infamy – The Lemat Revolver
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Have to hand it to pop culture for digging up history, right? It is not always historically accurate, but that does not mean it is useless. In the last two decades or so we have seen all sorts of supposed misplaced arms burst their way back into the limelight. The Lemat revolver is one of these firearms. The Lemat revolver was manufactured from 1856 to 1865.
The Lemat has been credited as a beloved sidearm to confederate cavalrymen. In recent history, it has been reproduced by Pietta and subsequently (and intermittently) is available through various US western-style importers. It has also been in a bunch of video games and specially featured in the Westworld TV show as a cartridge conversion. The Lemat Revolver was produced in .42 caliber/20 Gauge and .35 caliber/28 Gauge configurations. The most widely known examples featured nine chambers as well as one center pin smoothbore shotgun. The user could toggle between the two via a switch on the hammer that would flick the firing pin up or down depending on the desired fire.
“A signature weapon of the Confederacy and one of the most distinctive revolvers of the percussion era, the LeMat features a central smoothbore barrel in addition to the rifled barrel, and was used by P. G. T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, J. E. B. Stuart, and other Confederate generals and officers. 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).
-Rock Island Auction Company”
Lot 173: LeMat Percussion “Grape Shot” Revolver [Photograph found in Premier Firearms Auction #82, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/82/173/lemat-percussion-grape-shot-revolver