Remington Rider magazine pistol

Circa 1880:  Although most mechanically repeating firearms rely on multiple barrels or the principles of revolver, one of the first American-made handguns to use a self-contained round was the Volcanic pistol, an early Smith and Wesson design, which fed rounds into the chamber from a tubular magazine under the barrel.

Volcanic pistols used ammunition that predated metal-cased cartridges, basically little rockets that were relative ineffective projectiles.

However, with the advent of metal-cased cartridges, under direction of Oliver Winchester, the basic principles of the volcanic pistols matured into the series of Winchester lever action rifles.

Around 1870 Joseph Rider, one of the chief engineers for Remington Firearms revisited the idea of a mechanically repeating pistol with a tubular magazine produced between 1871 and 1888 (there is no serial number evident). This little pistol holds 5 extra-short 32 calibre rimfire cartridges, the same as used by the Protector palm pistols.

There appear to be two hammers on this pistol, but the forward one is in fact the cocking lever. Thumbing this lever works the ejection and loading mechanism and cocks the true hammer. The cocking lever then returns under spring action, and serves as the breech block. It is interesting to speculate whether with a more powerful cartridge this mechanism might auto-load, cycling the cocking lever with the force of the recoil. I imagine it could work, but probably the cocking lever pivot would not hold up for long.

Unusually, most of the model pistols were engraved at the factory, making this unadorned version a somewhat less common variant.

Roger Papke