Nicknamed, "The Grapeshot Revolver," the LeMat pistol was invented by a medical physician of French descent, who resided in New Orleans. His name was Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat. This massive handgun, the most intriguing arm of the Civil War period, as manufactured in Paris, France and ran through the Union blockade to the Confederate Government. The LeMat's firepower made it the favorite weapon of Jeb Stuart and any Confederate cavalryman fortunate enough to obtain one. It was the weapon of choice also for General Beauegard, Major Henry Witz, General Braxton Bragg and many other high ranking Confederate Officers. This gun fires nine shots of .42 calibre ammunition, while the arbor, upon which the cylinder turns is itself a shotgun barrel, firing a 20 gauge load! There were approximately 2500 LeMat pistols manufactured for the Confederacy, not all of which were delivered. There were two distinct models of the LeMat pistol, and a variant model referred to as a "transitional" model. First model serial numbers ranged from 1 to about 450. They had right side loading levers, spur trigger guards, part-octagon-partround barrels, full swivel lanyard rings in the lower grip, and a few other defining features. Second Models have full octagon barrels, left side loading levers, round trigger guards, fixed butt-rings for lanyards, and some other small defining features. Second model serial numbers range from 950 to 2500. Transitional models are found serially numbered from about 450-950. Thus we come to the examination the First Model Transitional LeMat 579. LeMat 579 has been found to be 100% original in all respects, with all original parts of the gun., which is exceptional for pieces in this serial number range. Part-by part examination reveals the following: All matching serial number parts, Cylinder, Barrel, Frame Locking Lever, Grapeshot Barrel Arbor, Frame, Hammer, Ratchet Arm, Side Plate and Spur Trigger Guard. This example has a "third series" barrel markings (Col. LeMat Bte SGDG PARIS), the "Bte." is French for "patent" and the S.G.D.G. is the abbreviation for "sans grantie du government" translated in English, "patented but without guarantee if the Government." Inspected by CSN Inspector Lt. William H. Murdaugh. Serial number 579 and properly stamped with the Star over LM marking on the right side of the barrel. Conclusion: First Model Transitional LeMat 579 is an excellent, original example, boasting all original parts and screws. Additionally this First Model Transitional LeMat survives in an astounding state of almost new preservation. LeMat 579 additionally is "one of three" known engraved examples. This example is one of the finest condition "First Model Transitional LeMats I have personally ever observed and a true treasure.
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