LeMat Revolver
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Basic Information

The LeMat revolver is one of the more unusual guns available in the Old West and American Civil War eras. It was a fairly large handgun, featuring two barrels, one beneath the other. The upper barrel fired traditional bullets, and was available (at various times) in .40, .42, or .35 caliber. The under barrel fired a shotgun shell, being (depending on year of manufacture) either 16- or 28- gauge. Fully loaded, the gun held 9 bullets and 1 shell. The LeMat used cap-and-ball ammunition, and took a long time to load. The gun featured a selector switch, so the firer could choose between pulls of the trigger whether to fire bullet or shell. It's a single-action revolver.

Most were manufactured in France, but the gun was designed in New Orleans, Louisiana, and several thousand were purchased by the Confederate States.

In some ways, this could be seen as a pistol version of the drilling.


2. RPG Sourcebook: Knuckleduster Firearms Shop (by Forrest Harris, published by Knuckleduster Press) has really good coverage on this weapon's history and details.
3. RPG: Deadlands Reloaded (by Shane Lacey Hensley and BD Flory, published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group) includes a listing for the revolver and for a carbine variant that isn't mention in either of the two sources above.

Game and Story Use

  • In a game set after the American Civil War, use of a LeMat could be an indicator that a character had previously been a soldier in the Confederate Army.
  • Witnesses to a murder could describe the killer used a revolver, but the nature of the wounds would suggest the murder weapon was a shotgun.
  • The LeMat was manufactured overseas, and then smuggled past the Union's blockade of the sea. Player characters from the South could be trying to penetrate that blockade, or Northern characters could be tasked with stopping a shipment of an unknown "secret weapon" that turns out to be LeMat revolvers.
  • Many games handle shotguns very differently from other firearms, either affecting armor differently or getting modifiers to attack rolls. In such a system, this weapon would offer additional combat options to the character armed with it.
    • It's also got a large ammo capacity, high stopping power (.42 cal), and since it's a Single-Action Revolver, it can be used to Fan The Hammer. There's a lot to love about the LeMat.
      • Note that whilst the pistol portion may be fairly high calibre, the shotgun barrel is less so being approximately .66 cal (16g) or .55 cal (28g)1.
    • The downside would likely be long reload times. For more on the reload times, see Cap-and-Ball Revolver. Enforcing that reload time is probably a really good idea.
      • Several other real-life drawbacks to the gun (mediocre reliability, extra weight and somewhat slower draw speed, odd caliber, rareness, etc) are the sort of things games tend to either hand wave or ignore completely. The result can be a gun that was pretty obscure in the real world, but absolutely dominates the gaming table.
      • The annoyed GM might enforce some rule that models the fact that changing firing modes between 'shotgun' and 'revolver' on a LeMat was surprisingly time consuming and fiddly. Anecdotally a significant number of Confederate officers were found dead with a LeMat somewhere in the transition between the two states, having either been killed whilst fiddling with it or having made a mistake switching modes and been left with a weapon that wouldn't fire.
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