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Old July 23, 2008, 08:03 PM   #1
mwm1331
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LeMat Cartridge?

Hello everyone this is my first post here. Anyway I was wondering, I know pietta makes Black powder replicas of the civil war Lemat, but does anyone make a cartridge firing version? Or perhpas a replica of the rarer pinfire lemat converted for modern cartridges?

I know its probably a long shot but I figured you guys would know better than anyone.
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Old July 23, 2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Nobody makes one that I know of. There were some originals converted. Johnny Yuma carried an original converted to .44 rimfire in The Rebel. The shotgun barrel fired a .45 blank.

Last edited by Hawg; July 23, 2008 at 10:06 PM. Reason: dumb mistake :D
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Old July 24, 2008, 11:12 PM   #3
mwm1331
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I thought as much. Can a BP replica be fitted wiht a conversion to take low power cartridges? Or Do I have to learn how to fire BP guns just to see what one of these feels like?

Also, how much of a idfference is there between a "pinfire" and a modern cartridge?
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Old July 24, 2008, 11:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, you can get conversion cylinders for the price of a new gun. A pinfire has a pin sticking out from the side of the cartridge. It's actually a friction primer. It fits in a notch cut into the cylinder and when the hammer falls it drives it into the cartridge creating sparks as it goes. Sorta like a friction primer for a cannon in reverse.
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Old July 25, 2008, 07:02 AM   #5
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That pinfire LeMat is impressive! Apparently it had the same problem as all the LeMats; too complicated to produce in quantity; farmed out in small batches to different gunsmiths all over; poor standardization; variable quality.

I have a front loading replica: That center barrel sure can call attention at the shooting range. It's about 20 gauge (I don't have it handy - all my guns are in storage, pending a move to a new house) - are there any reliable loading tables for the LeMat revolvers?
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Old July 25, 2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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I have not personally shot one, but I have been told by those who have, that shooting the center 20 ga barrel is an awakening experience..........
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Old July 25, 2008, 10:55 AM   #7
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Interesting thread. I have not seen pin fire cartridges before.
Bill in SC
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Old July 25, 2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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I'd love to see a modern cartridge conversion on the LeMat but I doubt it'll ever be produced. It'd be a niche within a niche.

I've seen pictures of an original LeMat percussion pistol converted by the factory in France to fire pinfire cartridges. They also produced cartridge guns.

Here's an article on the gun Johnny Ringo used.

http://www.johnnyringo.net/lemat.htm
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Old July 25, 2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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Yeah, it was Johnny Ringo.
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Old July 25, 2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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Lemat

"are there any reliable loading tables for the LeMat revolvers?"
There are reliable tables for that caliber and the 20ga. load, not specifically labelled LeMat.
You use loads for .44 BP pistol and loads for .62 smoothbore (20ga.). You can find them in the Lyman BP handbook as well as other places.
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Old July 27, 2008, 04:10 PM   #11
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Yeah I ran across the "johnny Ringo" article when I was looking ofr info online. Cool, but not quite what I had in mind.
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Old July 27, 2008, 08:11 PM   #12
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You may be able to use this kit,
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Old July 27, 2008, 08:40 PM   #13
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Where's he going to get a pinfire Lemat?
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Old July 28, 2008, 03:12 PM   #14
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I appreciate it Gbro, but as Hawg suspected, I dont own an original pinfire lemat (though I wish as appparently no surviving pieces survive, or so few as to be the same thing) It was my hope that perhaps someone had made a reproduction version of this rarer version of the Lemat.

I figured it was a longshot, but you never know till you ask right?

Hawg, you mnrtioned that the conversion cylinders are expensive, but are they, and is the reproduction Lemat which I believe is produced by pietta, stronjg enough to handle the stresses of modern loads? I know what we use know is far more powerful. I admit I have no experience with any firarms older than a 1911 .45 and even then its with newer ones. I would be a bit hesitant to try and teach myself BP firing, even if I could find the time. I simply thought this would be an interesting gun to take out for target shooting.
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Old July 28, 2008, 04:55 PM   #15
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Conversion cylinders will handle low power loads like cowboy loads. I don't think they advise the use of full power jacketed bullets in them. They will however withstand full power bp loads. I've never handled a Lemat but they should be able to withstand low power loads should you have one converted by a competent gunsmith. However they're about the most expensive revolver repro you can get. Add to it the price of having it converted and you are gonna have one expensive toy. Cabela's has theirs on sale for 749.99, down from 849.99. A Kirst conversion cylinder for a 58 Remington is around 275.00 so you can probably add that plus whatever the going rate for custom smith work is to the price of the Lemat. I'd say probably around 2,000 total.
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Old July 28, 2008, 05:34 PM   #16
mwm1331
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And correct me if Im wrong Hawg, but the conversion would only convert the nine rounds in the cylinder, not the +1 in the middle correct?


BTW thanks for the guidance.

Also, in the event I one day have the money to burn, what would be necessary to have a cartridge firing version capable of handling modern rounds (non low power) for all ten shots? Would it have to be custom built from the ground up or would a gunsmith begin with a repro and work from that? Just wondering what it would take to make a update of the model?

And yeah, I realise ahead of time it would probably cost more than my car, but a guy can dream.

One last thing Hawg, since you've been so helpful. If I wanted to learn to handle and load BP guns like this or the Walker and Schofield without a conversion cylinder, how would I best go about it?
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Old July 28, 2008, 06:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
And correct me if Im wrong Hawg, but the conversion would only convert the nine rounds in the cylinder, not the +1 in the middle correct?
Correct.

First of all Schofields were never cap and ball guns.

Read everything you can find. There's useful information in the sticky at the top of this forum.
Go back through past threads here and you'll find a lot of information on loading, lubing, shooting, cleaning and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask. You may get ten different answers on each question but it doesn't mean any of them are wrong. There's more than one way to clean and lube bp guns and most all of them work.
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Old July 28, 2008, 06:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
I know what we use now is far more powerful.
Over the roundball out of a percussion pistol, yes but blackpowder cartridges, not really. It's still tough to improve upon the original .45Colt blackpowder load. A ~250gr bullet at 900fps is still mighty potent. The issue is really smokeless powder's pressure and pressure curve. Which is why we like to keep our blackpowder designs like the open top Colt's to about 700-750fps with smokeless powder.

There's a picture of a Lemat pinfire conversion on page 29 of Dennis Adler's book on metallic cartridge conversions. Worthy of note is that the French Lefaucheaux pinfire revolvers also saw extensive use during the war. That at the time, they were considered superior to domestic percussion guns and the French patent for bored-through chambers preceded the Rollin White patent by a full year.
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Old August 9, 2008, 04:09 PM   #19
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I've used recommended BP loads for 20 ga. in the center barrel of my Fratelli Pieta replica, but not really too worried about an overload - within reasonable limits - as the barrel is very short (compared to a shotgun),and a light wad under a bunch of 22 BB, or 000*, excess powder will blaze out into the countryside. It looks great at night

*devastating!
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