One of the early attempts at self-contained cartridges for repeating firearms was the Volcanic cartridge. The Volcanic cartridge is a conical lead bullet much like a Minié ball, but with a deeper hollow base. In that base was the powder charge, held in by a disk covered with a thin cork wad and a metal cup. The cork and the cup had a hole through them so the firing pin could hit a fulminate pellet between the disk and cup. Functionally, the disk acted much like a modern primer’s anvil. On firing, the bullet’s lead skirt expanded to seal the bore.
As you can imagine, a bullet’s base doesn’t hold much powder so the loads were anemic at best. I’ve seen their energy reported as 56 ft.-lbs., which is about on par with the .25 Auto. Another problem with the Volcanic was that if you had a misfire, there was no way to extract the dud and you had to push it out with a cleaning rod.
Despite those shortcomings, Volcanic lever-action repeating pistols from Smith & Wesson, and pistols and rifles from the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company and New Haven Arms Co. were made and those eventually led to the Henry rifle and then the Winchester.
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In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.