Volcanic Repeater

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Volcanic Repeating Arms Pistol - .41 Volcanic
Volcanic Repeating Arms Pistol with factory engraving - .41 Volcanic

The Volcanic Repeater series were an important step in the evolution of both repeating rifles and the modern metallic unitary firearm cartridge. Based on the Volitional Repeater that had been designed by Walter Hunt in 1848, they were lever-action weapons using a magazine tube mounted under the barrel, and fired ammunition that was derived from Hunt's Rocket Ball design.

The original Rocket Ball was an attempt to solve design issues with Needle Guns, which had easily damaged firing pins and paper cartridges not suited to mechanical loading. The Rocket Ball was similar to the earlier Minié ball, but with a deeper hollow in the base which contained a charge of powder. The Volcanic weapons used the same bullet design, but instead of using caplock ignition they added a percussion primer to the seal on the base of each bullet to make a self-contained round which could easily be loaded mechanically and did not require a long, fragile firing pin to hit a primer buried deep inside a paper case. While this is sometimes held to be an early example of caseless ammunition, it is a borderline example like Russian VOG grenades where arguably there is a case but it is attached to the projectile.

While this design led to important developments, it was not actually a commercial success: while Volcanic weapons had superior capacity to an equivalent-sized revolver, the tiny powder charge that would actually fit in a Rocket Ball or Volcanic Ball led to fairly pathetic muzzle energy in the region of 56 foot-pounds, less than a modern .25 ACP round. The pistol versions were also very large and bulky compared to revolvers, and it was difficult to operate them without using both hands.

Perhaps more important than the weapons themselves were the connections the company created. Jennings Rifle Company had Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson working for them. This led to the partnership of Smith and Wesson a year later in 1854, and their work at perfecting the concept of the Volcanic Ball led to patenting a copper-cased rimfire cartridge design on August 8th 1854 (US Patent 11,496), and development of the first cartridge revolver following the expiration of Samuel Colt's revolver mechanism patent in 1856 and their coming to an arrangement with Rollin White, who held a patent for bored-through revolver cylinders. Oliver Winchester, one of the company's investors, effectively dissolved the Volcanic Repeating Arms company in 1857, later relaunching the company as the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Volcanic Repeater mechanism was heavily influential on Benjamin Tyler Henry's Henry 1860 rifle and by extension Winchester's classic lever-action rifles, such as the Winchester Model 1866 "Yellow Boy". Two of the world's largest gun companies are here because of this collaboration.

The Volcanic lever action was patented February 14, 1854 by Smith and Wesson (US patent 10,535). Firearms based on the patent were manufactured by Smith & Wesson, Volcanic Repeating Arms, and New Haven Arms until 1860.

Contents

Specifications

The Volcanic firearms were manufactured in these variants:
Barrel
length
Caliber Magazine
capacity
Designation
3.5/4" .31 6 Pocket Pistol
6" .31 10 Target Pistol
6" .41 7-8 Navy Pistol
8" .41 9-10 Navy Pistol
16.5" .41 20 Pistol-Carbine with detachable shoulder stock
16/16.5" .41 20 Rifle Carbine
20/21" .41 25 Rifle Carbine
24/25" .41 30 Rifle Carbine

The Volcanic Repeater and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
For a Few Dollars More Clint Eastwood Manco (The Man With No Name) 1965
For a Few Dollars More Gian Maria Volontè El Indio 1965
Magnificent Warriors Richard Ng Luk 1987
Magnificent Warriors Michelle Yeoh Fok Ming-Ming 1987
Magnificent Warriors Tung-Shing Yee Sky 1 1987
Invisible Target in Cheung Man Yiu's office 2007

Television

Show Title Actor Character Note / Episode Air Date
The Man in the High Castle seen on the wall 2015

Video Game

Game Title Appears as Note Release Date
Gun 2005
Call of Juarez "Volcano Gun" 2007
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood "Volcano Gun" 2009
Red Dead Redemption "Volcanic Pistol" 2010
Fistful of Frags "Volcanic Pistol" 2014
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades 2016
Red Dead Redemption II "Volcanic Pistol" 2018





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