Going back to 1850-1880, chain guns was a rare thing in firearm technology. When you think about high capacity, the Guycot chain pistol was the first and ahead of its time.
The Guycot chain pistol was the development of two Frenchmen, Henri Guenot and Paulin Gay in 1879. It is chambered for a unique 6.5mm caseless rocket ball type cartridge in which the base of the projectile is hollowed out and contains the propellant powder and a primer. Upon firing, the entirely of the projectile exits, leaving nothing to be extracted or ejected from the chamber.
So yes, this means that once it is loaded, the gun can be fired as fast as the user can pull the trigger.
Paulin Gay reportedly got the idea of using a chain, after observing chains being used to cut stone blocks in a quarry.
There was also a Guycot rifle which holds 80 cartridges.
Compared to their competitors during that era, the Colt revolver (holds 6 cartridges) and the Henry rifle (which can only hold 16 cartridges), the Guycot pistol and rifle have a huge advantage in capacity. However, they never really caught on.
Unfortunately, for the Guycot’s military aspirations, this cartridge was far too small and under powered to attract and serious interest and only a few hundred at most were made. These were divided between several models, including a 25-shot pistol, a 40-shot pistol like this one, and an 80-shot carbine.
With a total of 40 shots the French Invented Guycot Chain Pistol was quite ahead of it’s time. Very impressive thinking on their part.
If you compare that to the modern day Glock17 9mm pistol with 17 rounds or less. This blast from the past gun is pretty awesome to have and it sure outclass the modern pistol in firepower.
In spite of having larger capacities than other firearm types of that era, chain guns didn’t sell very well as personal defense weapons because of the inconvenience of the loose belt hanging out of the firearm. However, they are well suited for machine guns, which hadn’t been invented yet.