Mid 19th Century Belt-Fed

Well almost– this uses a closed loop chain, but the concept is there.

Joe and I spoke of this concept many years ago, but I didn’t know until today that it had actually been done.  My version, though, would have been gas operated, but that technology wasn’t tested until some time after the end of the percussion era.  Gas operation and black powder wouldn’t go very well together because BP is so dirty, but it certainly can be done.  Energies are quite a bit lower, but you can throw a projectile of several hundred grains well into the super sonic, from a rifle.  The pistols of the same period could only just make, or slightly exceed, the speed of sound with heavy charges.  I’ve gotten 1130ish fps with a 180 grain pill from an 8″ bbl on an 1858 Remington New Model Army revolver replica, which is on par, energy wise, with the 40 S&W.  The huge 1847 Colt’s Dragoon (Walker) revolver could do somewhat better, but the story goes; it was prone to blow up.  Metalurgy has come a long way since then.

Hat Tip; castboolits.gunloads.com (I learned a lot about casting there, and I still hang out on the muzzleloading section now and then)