Sunday, July 17, 2011

Steampunk Minicannons Are Real – Cultists Watch Out!

One of the most interesting guns from the Civil War, the LeMat was made in France (and later Britian) and imported by the CSA. Invented by Dr. Jean Alexander LeMat from New Orleans, this scarce gun is one the holy grails of Civil War collectors. It was a unique invention and continued to be manufactured even after the war. Originally produced as a percussion gun, it was also made as a cartridge revolver. There was even a carbine version produced.
LeMat Carbine
A few European manufactures copied the design although they probably didn’t pay for the patent. Later LeMats and copies were made to shoot self contained metallic cartridges such as rim fire, center fire, and pin fire cartridges, rather than muzzle loading percussion guns.

LeMat Revolver, Civil War, Percussion

 LeMat Revolver Original Patent DrawingAlthough I have handled both original and repro LeMats, I have never fired one. However, I have talked to a couple of people who have shot them and they report that if you fire the shotgun barrel first, the percussion caps on the unfired cylinders can be jogged loose by the recoil. Also because the selector is on the hammer, you need a free hand to flip down the striker from the cylinder mode to the shotgun mode and the same story to flip it back again. Despite those shortcomings, its nine shot cylinder capacity and minicannon under the barrel makes it a really powerful close-up weapon for cavalry or the intrepid explorer.

LeMat Revolver, European Copy
I had been offered an original LeMat some years back, but it was a good deal more than I could afford at the time. I traded off my modern Italian repro LeMat around that time. For steampunkers and costumers there are non-firing metal and cast plastic replicas that look pretty good. For those playing CoC in the Victorian era, they are great period weapons.  The only drawback is that they are quite large and heavy weapons for holster weapons on par with the Colt Dragoon pistols.



  1. "The only drawback is that they are quite large and heavy weapons for holster weapons"

    Bah, there's nothing like bulk to deter the fanatics. Besides, the Dragoon is probably my favourite revolver. The size of that thing! Granted, something less bulky has it's advantages, but it does look awesome.

    Thanks for pointing out the LeMat carbine, I've not heard of it before.

  2. This is also the first time I have seen a Lemat Carbine. Years ago at a Cowboy Action shoot, I was able to shoot a replica Lemat and liked it. It was for sale but out of my price range.

    A fine weapon and now I have to figure the Lemat carbine stats for gaming.