POTD: Primer + Powder + Bullet… What’s Missing? – Rocket Ball Ammo


POTD: Primer + Powder + Bullet… What’s Missing? – Rocket Ball Ammo

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a recurring topic. I have, on this platform, talked about the famous Volcanic pistols and their Rocket Ball ammunition. This time I am putting the ammunition on display under the Photo of the Day microscope.

These chunks of powdered and primed lead are not all Volcanic Pistol-specific ammunition. I imagine that would be the smaller variety of the group.  Rocket Ball ammunition made its way onto the scene in the late 1840s before self-contained brass style cartridges were standardized and accepted as a superior form of ammunition. The rocket Ball ammunition was simply a lead bullet with a hollowed-out base filled with powder and priming compound placed on the rear. the limited volume of powder made these cartridges pretty weak and as a result, they were never going to last in the world of advancing self-contained cartridges.

“The Rocket Ball ammunition design was first patented by Walter Hunt in 1848. Hunt’s design utilized the cavity of a Minie ball projectile to hold the propellant and was covered with a punctured base for ignition from an external source. This type of ammunition was used for the Hunt Repeating Rifle, Jennings Rifle, and Smith-Jennings Rifle. The design was improved upon by Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson by adding the primer to the ball making the ammunition completely self contained. This was used in the Smith & Wesson Lever Action Arms and Volcanic Arms. This lot contains two .54 caliber balls for a Jennings Rifle, 13 rounds of .41 Volcanic ammunition, and five rounds of .31 Volcanic ammunition.”

Rocket Ball

Lot 13: Group of Assorted Volcanic and Jennings Ammunition. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/81/13/group-of-assorted-volcanic-and-jennings-ammunition.

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Writer | TheFirearmBlog Writer | AllOutdoor.com Instagram | sfsgunsmith Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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