Lefaucheux Pinfire 7mm Revolver
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Antique Weapons - The 7mm Pinfire Lefaucheux
The basic design for the 7mm pinfire Lefaucheux revolver has it's roots way back in the year 1823 when a man by the name of Casimir Lefaucheux invented the pinfire cartridge in Paris, France. Some sources say that Lefaucheux actually invented the cartridge in 1828, but regardless of the exact date that this French gunsmith conceived the pinfire cartridge, it was officially patented in 1835. The pinfire cartridge consisted of a casing with an internal primer that was ignited by a pin that protrudes from the side of the case. This design may now be considered as antique weapons, but at the time it was an innovative advancement in firearm technology. In this type of gun design, the hammer strikes the pin from the top igniting the internal primer and powder charge and the projectile is discharged.
After Casmir's death, his son Eugene inherited all the rights and patents of the pinfire cartridge system. A Lefaucheux revolver was later developed known as the Model 1857. This revolver became popular in its time, and it was issued to the French army in 1857. Nations such as Spain, Italy, Russia, Egypt, and others also issued this revolver to its armed forces. The United States also became a big customer for the pinfire Lefaucheux revolver, although at that time you could not really describe it as the "United" States. With the North divided against the South during the Civil War, both sides purchased large quantities of the pinfire revolvers. Even though the North had firearm manufacturing capabilities, they were still the bigger purchaser of these Lefaucheux revolvers.
At the time, these pinfire was years ahead of anything that the US gun companies were making. The US manufacturers were still making muzzleloader guns and percussion type revolvers that required each chamber in the cylinder to be loaded by hand with a percussion cap, gunpowder, and ball projectile one at a time. The pinfire design was much more efficient in terms of loading and shooting, and millions of rounds of this ammunition were purchased during the Civil Warm. It is estimated that the North purchased well over 12,000 of these pinfire revolvers, while the South was thought to have imported as many as 5,000 of the Lefaucheux revolver. Interestingly, since Confederate money did not possess significant value outside of the South, many of the revolvers imported for the South were purchased with cotton and other useful goods.
A variety of different caliber pinfire guns were available in various metric sizes. The 7mm Pinfire Lefaucheux Revolver was one of several calibers available. Unique guns including 20 shot revolvers were available with double barrels and dual row cylinders which allowed the large number of cartridges to be loaded. A prototype with a large 30 round cylinder was even made, with the outer ring holding 20 cartridges and the inner ring containing 10 more. This is a LOT of capacity, especially when you consider that these guns were being developed at a time when single shot muzzleloaders were still being used in some places! As was indicated earlier, the pinfire revolver gun was widely used by the European military prior to the invention and widespread use of the centerfire gun. The 7mm pinfire Lefaucheux Revolver and other pinfire guns have become some of the more desirable antique weapons for gun collectors and enthusiasts.