Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I have a little confession to make - I like guns. My foreign viewers probably think all Americans are constantly armed and dangerous but that's not true of us law-abiding types. I can't really afford the real ones so I have a number of non-firing replicas and I like to use them at Halloween as part of costumes. Anyway, my birthday is coming up and I finally sprung for a replica LeMat revolver that I had been wanting for a while. This revolver was invented by Dr. Jean Alexandre LeMat just prior to the American Civil War and was carried by many of the Confederate cavalry during that conflict. For the period this was a formidable firearm with nine (count 'em) nine spots in the cylinder for .44 caliber balls and a shotgun barrel for 16 gauge buckshot under the main barrel. The cylinder was loaded with powder (usually in the morning fresh) and a ball was patted into place using the lever on the side of the barrel. The shotgun round was loaded separately. Then percussion caps were placed over each chamber and she was ready to play Hell with Union cavalry! I've placed it next to a Colt .45 caliber Peacemaker to give an idea of scale - the LeMat was a big gun. For the TV series Johnny Ringo (1959-60) the hero carried one that the producer/actor Dick Powell had gotten re-fitted to fire cartridges and presented to the show's star, Don Durant. Also, in the science fiction TV series Firefly the captain carries a side-arm that was modeled after the LeMat.