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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