The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company began producing rifles and pistols in early 1856. These weapons used the “Rocket-ball” cartridge that consisted of a bullet with a hollow cavity in the base which contained the powder charge. A priming cap held the powder in place and provided ignition. This ammunition, made in either .31 or .41 caliber, was grossly underpowered as muzzle energy was an unimpressive 56 foot pounds.
The frame of the Volcanic rifle was made of gunmetal, which is an early form of bronze. Softer than iron, gunmetal was easier to work with and would not rust. Pistols in .31 caliber were made in either 4 or 6 inch barrels holding 6 or 10 rounds respectively. The .41 caliber pistol came with either a 6” or 8” barrel carrying 8 or 10 rounds. A Carbine was produced in 3 barrel lengths–16” holding 20 rounds, 20” holding 25 rounds and 24” holding 30 rounds. The ammunition was held in a tubular magazine beneath the barrel that was loaded from the muzzle end by pivoting the loading sleeve.
Two advantages the Volcanics had was a rapid rate of fire and its ammunition was waterproof. However the “Rocket-ball” ammunition was too underpowered to be considered a hunting weapon or a man stopper. In addition, the Volcanic design suffered from problems such as gas leakage from around the breech, multiple charges going off at the same time, and misfires. Misfired rounds would have to be tapped out with a cleaning rod as the gun had no means of extraction.
There are no factory records available for this model.