Lefaucheux Pinfire Revolvers

Calibers gunsmith shop recently worked on this Lefaucheux


Lefaucheux Pinfire Revolvers

by Dennis Adler

As early as December 1861, it had become clear to both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis that the Union and the Confederacy would need to import longarms and revolvers from Europe in order to equip the tens of thousands of volunteers fighting on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Although the need was far greater for the Southern states, where arms-making was no a widespread industry, even in the more industrialized North the burden of war wold soon outstrip production.


In 1862 President Lincoln commissioned Marcellus Hartley, a partner in the New York firearm-importing firm of Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, to supply the Union with French Lefaucheux revolvers and ammunition. The Lefaucheux was to become the fourth most commonly used revolver in the American Civil War, surpassed only by the Colt, Remington and Starr percussion pistols.


More Than a Decade Ahead of American Makers

By the mid 1840’s, rimfire cartridges were already in use throughout Europe, and by 1854 the first center-fire ammunition had been developed – thus the Europeans were more than a decade ahead of American armsmakers. There was, however, a third type of metallic cartridge, the pinfire, invented in 1843 by French gunmaker Casimir Lefaucheux. His innovative design, which used a small brass pin protruding from the cartridge to ignite an internal primer cap, was so well-received throughout Europe that by the late 1840’s, armsmakers were manufacturing revolvers, rifles, and even shotguns to work with a variety of Lefaucheux pinfire ammunition. The pinfire was an ingenious design; the spent cartridges could even be reloaded.


Although Lefaucheux died in 1842, his son Eugene continued his father’s work and in 1854 patented his own invention: the bored-through cylinder. He received his French patent on April 15, 1854, a full year before American Rollin Whit’s U.S. patent for the same design, By 1857, when Smith & Wesson introduced its first .22 rimfire revolver, the Massachusetts armsmaker had purchased the rights to the White patent, thus giving S&W the exclusive right to manufacture revolvers with bored-through, breechloading cylinders in the United States. This would prove to be a great impediment to arming the North, as White and S&W aggressively litigated every patent infringement, putting several small U.S. armsmakers out of business during the war.


Since S&W was years away from designing its first large-caliber cartridge revolver and was effectively preventing any other U.S. manufacturer from making them, between 1862 and 1865 the Union and Confederacy imported thousands of Lefaucheux revolvers. The U.S. Ordnance Dept. purchased 1,900 pinfire revolvers through Hartley and another 10,000 under direct contract during the war. The Confederacy followed suit, as well as purchasing pinfire versions of the Sough’s most powerful revolver, the nine-shot LeMat, manufactured in France and Belgium.


The Ordnance Men

On the Union side, Marcellus Hartley handled the majority of requisitions for imported firearms. A key figure in American industry (importing pinfire arms and ammunition before, during and after the war), Hartley was also responsible for establishing the Union Metallic Cartridge Co., one of only three American firms known to have manufactured and marketed pinfire ammunition in any quantity. UMC eventually became one of America’s most important ammunition manufacturers.

Immediately after the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, Jefferson Davis sent Capt. Caleb Huse on a mission to Europe to evaluate the purchase and importation of arms for the Confederacy. At the start of the was thousands of Southerners went into battle with little more that an issued musket, if one was available, and a single-shot flintlock or percussion pistol – arms that had been out of date since the Mexican-American War of the 1840’s. This is not to say that Southern states did not manufacture guns; quite the contrary. Southern gunmakers were very skilled but more accustomed to handcrafting sporting rifles, fowling pieces, and dueling pistols. They were disinclined toward mass production; that had always been the work of Northern manufacturers, such as Colt’s and Remington.

Before the was there had been many retailers such as Mitchell & Tyler, Kent, Paine & Co., and Samuel Sutherland in Richmond, Va; Hyde & Goodrich in New Orleans and other prestigious firms across the Sough that imported fine pistols and longarms from Europe, thus the Sough was, by nature, more accustomed to foreign-made arms.


The Union’s Cartridge Confusion

European-made pinfire cartridges were designated in millimeters, which, for the U.S Ordnance Dept., already burdened with far too many different guns and caliber at the start of the war, made the pinfire cartridges a considerable issue to sort out. The French- and Belgian-made guns were made in an assortment of chamberings including 7 mm, 10 mm and 15 mm. The 12 mm (roughly a .44) was among the most commonly used, although more exotic Belgian pinfire revolvers with as many as 20 chambers in a massive double-stacked cylinder were chambered in 7 mm and 10 mm.


It is interesting to note that payments for guns procured in England by the Confederacy were often made in trade for cotton because Confederate currency had so little value outside of the Southern States. Cotton was a badly needed commodity in Great Britain, which gave the South an advantage in purchase negotiations. By early 1863, Caleb Huse, promoted to the rank of major by Jefferson Davis, had shipped thousand of British, French and Belgian pinfire revolvers and long arms to the Confederacy, thus becoming a pivotal figure in the Civil War. An 1851 graduate of West Point (seventh in his class) he served at West Point from 1852 to 1860 when he was appointed commander of cadets at the University of Alabama.

At the start of the war he resigned his position to join his former West Point commandant, Robert E. Lee, in support of the Confederate cause. Though he first served in the Army, his knowledge of firearms made him a perfect choice for Ordnance.


Living until age 74, Huse was one of the oldest Civil War veterans. He died on March 12, 1905 at his home in Highland Falls, N.Y. After the war he founded the Highland Falls Academy, also known as “The Rocks,” a military preparatory school designed for young men who planned to attend West Point. Among his early students was a young soldier named John J. Pershing.


The guns imported from England, Belgium and France, both before and during the war, played a significant role in not only arming the Confederacy, both the Union as well. One could say that the British and the French were dispassionate, openly selling arms to both sides. While that is certainly one view, Samuel Colt (as well as other Northern armsmakers who were still delivering guns to the South at the beginning of the war) would have simply considered it good business.


Buy 1, Get 1 FREE Membership to Caliber’s Indoor Shooting Range (Limited Time)


Coupon Code: BOGO16

Click here to BUY NOW

If you have been contemplating purchasing a membership to Calibers Shooters Sports Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then contemplate no more.  Calibers is currently holding our annual membership sale.  This only happens once a year and the savings are huge!

When you purchase any membership, you get the second membership free.  You must add 2 to the cart and use the coupon code: BOGO16.  This offer ends September 30, 2016.

What does it mean to be a member at Calibers?

Calibers Shooters Sports Center is the only climate controlled indoor shooting range in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  There will never be a rained out day because it is all indoors.

Members enjoy 10% off the purchase of all ammunition, training classes (including CCW; Concealed Carry License classes), and various merchandise.

Whether you looking for .22LR, .45 ACP or 9MM in any brand names, get 10% off your purchase.

Saving even more on firearm rentals.  That’s 50% anytime you want to rent a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to use at the shooting range.

Enjoy some relaxed time discussing your hobby with other members over coffee in the members only lounge.  This is available in all locations.

Please note that any monthly memberships purchased during the special will go back to the normal rate of $34.99 per person after 12 months from the sign-up date.

All Calibers’ Members receive the following benefits at all locations

  • Unlimited Use Of All Indoor Shooting Ranges
  • 1 Free Target Per Member Per Visit
  • 50% Off Handgun, Rifle, and Machinegun Rentals
  • 30% Off Firearm Transfer Fees
  • 10% Off Practice Ammunition, Training Classes, & Most Retail Items**
  • 5 Free Guest Passes with new or renewal
  • Call Ahead Lane Reservations – For Members Only
  • Additional Member Only Specials
  • Receive 1% in store credit for all the purchases you made at Calibers from the previous year. Spend it on any merchandise or services at Calibers.


NRA Event at ABQ Calibers/Westside


Attend FREE Meet & Greet With NRA-PVF Endorsed
Candidates for New Mexico Legislature


Dear New Mexico NRA Member:

The November General Election for State House and Senate seats will determine the future of your Second Amendment rights in New Mexico.

On Saturday, September 24, 2016 NRA-ILA will host a FREE event featuring NRA-PVF endorsed candidates running in the most hotly-contested races in your area.  Details are below, coffee & breakfast will be provided!

NRA Meet & Greet w/Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes (HD 15)
Rep. Paul Pacheco (HD 23)
Diego Espinoza (Candidate for SD 9)


Calibers Shooters Sports Center-West
9320 Coors Blvd NW 

(505) 797-9715 ext 2100

Click here to RSVP 

Michael Horanburg · michael@nrailafrontlines.com · 505-261-2087

How to Buy a Gun Online (CalibersUSA.com)

You were browsing online for the latest deals on firearms.   You stumble upon a good website like CalibersUSA.com and you want to buy the gun you saw, but what’s the next step?


  1. Add the firearm/gun you would like to buy to the shopping cart.
  2. Click “Checkout Now”.
  3. Either sign-in as a returning customer, create an account as a new customer, or checkout using express checkout.
  4. Enter your billing address.
  5. For shipping address, enter in your billing address.
  6. Select your shipping method.
  7. Enter in your payment information and submit.
  8. Contact your FFL Dealer to send a copy of their FFL to Online@CalibersUSA.com
  9. After our Online Department has received the license, we will adjust your shipping address to your FFL Dealer’s address.


Q:How much is shipping a handgun to my FFL Dealer?

A:  Handguns ship for $9.99 via FedEx 2 Days.


Q:  How much is shipping a rifle or a shotgun to my FFL Dealer?

A:  It depends on the weight of the firearm, but long guns can ship FedEx ground.


All firearms must be shipped from CalibersUSA.com  to your local Federal Firearms License Dealer (FFL). Read below to learn how to complete your firearm order from Calibers.

It is your responsibility to check if the firearm is allowed in your state. 


Booking Private Lessons

Private Lessons

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Are you ready to take part in a private lesson with one of our Master Instructors?

Our instructors are highly qualified and equipped with the knowledge required to help build your confidence in handling firearms.  Having a one on one lesson allows yourself and the instructor to have full attention in increasing your skills and efficiency in shooting.

5 Lesson Pack $250

  • Choose this option to purchase our 5 Lesson Pack. The lesson pack inlcudes 5 hours of instruction in any topic you choose. Here are some common training tracks:
  • Safety and Handling
  • Shooting on the Move
  • M.U.C
  • Marksmanship Fundamentals
  • Multipule Target Engagement
  • Wrestling with a Gun
  • Presentation and Draw
  •  Strong Hand Weak Hand Shooting
  • Ju Jitsu with a Gun
  • Reloading the Handgun
  •  Low Light No Light Shooting
  • CQC Draw
  • Malfunctions of a Pistol
  • Shooting in Unusual Positions
  • CQC Shooting
  •  Rifle and Shotgun Training also available!!

Basic Firearm Safety $69.99

These lessons will focus on the primary responsibility of every firearm owner, safety. We will show you how to safely load, unload, store, and transport a firearm. This is an excellent format for people who are nervous  or simply curious about firearms.


Basic Handgun Operation $69.99

These lessons will provide a solid base of knowledge for operating and discussing firearms. The student will be taken through a review of safety and then taught the major components and functions of semi automatic handguns and revolvers.


Basic Rifle Operation $69.99

These lessons will deal with semi-automatic rifle variants. Bolt, lever, or pump action rifles can be discussed on request. The student will be taken through a review of safety and then taught the major components and functions of a rifle.


Basic Shotgun Operation $69.99

These lessons will focus on pump action shotguns such as the Remington 870 and Mossberg 590. The student will be taken through a review of safety and then taught the major components and functions of a pump action shotgun.



Boot Camp Prep $99.99

These lessons are designed to provide an individual entering the military a foundation for firearm manipulation. Weapon systems that will be discussed include the M9 and M4. The lessons will also include a discussion of marksmanship theory. Finally the student will learn how to properly sight in an M4 carbine.


Firearm Maintenance $49.99

These lessons will discuss proper cleaning, lubrication, and preventative maintenance to perform on your firearm. Any firearm type can be covered.


Marksmanship Fundamentals $69.99

These lessons will provide a working understanding of the fundamentals of marksmanship. Fundamentals that will be practiced include grip, stance, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, breathing, and follow through. These lessons are also an excellent venue for experienced shooters to get some pro tips.



Holster Presentation $69.99

These lessons will teach the student how to safely and properly present a firearm from the holster


Defensive Handgun Techniques $89.99

These lessons will provide the student with skills such as reloading, clearing malfunctions, multiple threat engagement, recoil management, hi vs. low probability targets, and shooting on the move


Advanced Rifle Operation $89.99

These lessons will focus on live fire training utilizing a semi automatic carbine. Skills that will be discussed include reloading, malfunction clearing, recoil management, multiple threat engagement, and use of cover.


Advanced Shotgun Operation $89.99

These lessons will focus on live fire training utilizing a pump action shotgun. Skills that will be discussed include reloading, malfunction clearing, recoil management, multiple threat engagement, and use of cover.

Click Here to Book Classes

Buy, Sell & Trade

Buy Sell Trade.png

Do you have a firearm at home that isn’t being put to use at the shooting range?  At Calibers Shooters Sports Center we buy guns, we sell guns, and we trade guns.  So if you happen to visit any of our two locations and see a firearm you like, be sure to keep us in mind.  You can bring in your handgun, shotgun or rifle and sell it to us or trade it in for a new one.  If you feel like keeping the guns you already have, then you can also pick up a new one to add to your collection from  one of our inventory.

New inventory is added daily.  Come visit us, let’s talk.  505-797-9715  sales@CalibersUSA.com

Calibers Safe Store

Calibers Shooters Sports Center Safe Store 4340 Cutler Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

Open 7 Days A Week

11am – 7pm

Contact our store manager today.  Tom@CalibersUSA.com


There are better places to safely store your handguns, shot guns, and rifles than just your drawer or lamp table.  The safes you find at your local home improvement stores definitely will not be able to compare to some of these top brands that specializes in building the ultimate safes.  Visit Calibers Shooters Sports Center Safe Store located on Washington and Cutler to view our full inventory.


Liberty, Browning, Fort Knox, and Winchester

Additional Safe Related Services

  • Delivery Available
  • Installation
  • We Move Existing Safes
  • Trade-Ins

Build your Liberty

Build your Fort Know

Safe Store Manager: Tom Sawyer 505-938-3152

Albuquerque’s Indoor Shooting Range. We welcome experienced and new firearm users.

Inddoor Shooting Range
Climate Controlled Indoor Shooting Range at Calibers Shooters Sports Center

Why Calibers Shooters Sports Center?

If you are located in the Albuquerque metro area, then you may have heard of us; Calibers Shooters Sports Center.  Calibers is the only climate controlled indoor shooting range in New Mexico.  The business was established back in 1997 and still standing strong today.

One of our goal is to provide the with city a place to safely enjoy the sports of shooting. However, Calibers offers more than just an indoor shooting range.  New firearm users are encouraged to visit our facilities.  Learning in a safe and comfortable environment with knowledgeable staffs is always ideal when you are starting to familiarize yourself with something you are currently not accustom to.

If you are ever interested in coming by to give us a try, our shooting range daily fee starts at only $20 per visit.   Continue reading “Albuquerque’s Indoor Shooting Range. We welcome experienced and new firearm users.”