This .42 caliber LeMat revolver has a nine-chambered cylinder and weighs about four pounds. What makes this revolver unique is the addition of a second smoothbore barrel, of approximately .63 caliber, underneath the barrel. This larger barrel was designed to fire buckshot. The top of the hammer was fitted with a pivoting striker that could be rotated to fire the .42 caliber rounds or changed to fire the lower, larger barrel. This percussion revolver was designed by Dr. Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat, of New Orleans. LeMat was assisted in this enterprise by P. G. T. Beauregard, one of the Confederacy’s well known generals. These revolvers were manufactured from 1856 to 1865, with less than 2,900 being produced. They were made in Paris, France, and Birmingham, England. Many were purchased by the Confederacy and used by such famous high-ranking Confederate officers as J. E. B. Stuart.
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Smithsonian National Museum of American History