Confederate Baby LeMat

One of the rarest models of LeMat grapeshot revolver is this, the “Baby” LeMat. This is a substantially smaller gun than the normal LeMat, although it retains a 9-shot cylinder and a central barrel. In the Baby, however, the cylinder is in .32 caliber (rather than the standard .42) and the central barrel is .41 caliber instead of .63 (and in this specific pistol, the central barrel is rifled, where they are normally smoothbore).

These Baby LeMat revolvers were made under contract for the Confederate Navy, although production was very slow, and the contract was cancelled when even the first shipment of guns have not been receiver many months after it was scheduled. In total, only 100 of the guns were manufactured, and these were inspected and delivered to a Confederate representative in London shortly after the contract was revoked (the CSA agreed to take those guns which had been finished at that point).

Interestingly, I found that the Baby LeMat handles quite well. The standard LeMat is a very heavy and poorly balanced handgun (in my opinion), but the reduced size and weigh of the Baby has an effect on its handling out of proportion to the measurable difference. Perhaps if this had been the standard model for the gun, they would have been substantially more popular on the open market…

24 Comments

  1. I immediately noticed that the Julia Auction sign was missing from the background on this video (perhaps an OOPS! moment?) but such a logo/watermark would not be too difficult to add to the video later if desired.

    It must be an odd feeling disassembling something so small that’s worth nearly a hundred thousand dollars. I wonder if, on a price per pound basis, this is one of the most expensive items being auctioned? (though I think I may have stumbled upon the absolute cheapest-by-weight weapon, selling for about $2/pound, here — http://www.jamesdjulia.com/item/3033-394/ )

  2. “Say hello to my little friend!!” BOOM! The Baby LeMat certainly looks more ergonomic than the usual large cavalry model with respect to one-handed shooting from the hip.

    I’m happy that you’re using a relatively unsoiled version of the Confederate flag. The problem is that the CSA never seemed to get itself together on choosing a flag unless I’m totally wrong. The more controversial Confederate flag is a rectangular version of the square flag used by the Army of Northern Virginia. In hindsight, perhaps the White Supremacists use the “Southern Cross” because it is more jarring than the older “Stars and Bars.”

    Did I mess up?

  3. I’ve wanted one of these since I saw a full size reproduction in a Navy Arms catalogue back in the 1980’s but never had the money for one.

  4. I have a replica LeMat and it seems to have the same wrongs as this and all others I have seen.

    1: The ramming loader contacts the ball so soon after after disengaging it from the barrel clip that you get almost no leverage. It’s a very awkward movement compared to the Remington 1858 and the Colt 1851s.

    2: The shotgun position of the hammer seems to be at such an angle that it sometimes takes several recockings to get it to fire the percussion cap.

    I once had a chain fire from a chamber to the shotgun. Usually I fired the shotgun first, but tried once tried the chambers first. When that shotgun fired its ounce of buckshot at the same time on the first shot, it reared back and the hammer gouged out a piece of meat from the base of my thumb. That as a learning moment!

  5. Hmmm… How about a modern version, with 9 chambers for .327 Magnum and a center barrel chambered for .45 Colt/.410 shotgun…. Yeah I’d buy it.

    • Ironically, just a few years later the French during the Franco-Prussian war were trying to buy as many revolvers from the US as they could. While France had many revolver designers and some pretty good designs, their army had neglected to acquire an official revolver in the 1860s and was still equipped with single shot pistols. Once the war started, the domestic producers didn’t have the capacity to provide even close to the required numbers of revolvers to the army.

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