Sadly with the missed opportunity of the early reusable cartridge, designers went down more complicated routes to achieve multi-shot solutions.
One option mechanised the reloading procedure from the back of the gun. One type, the so-called ‘Lorenzoni’ system from the 1680s used a rotating lever to rotate the breech past hoppers that would fill it with a ball, then a measured charge of powder. The example pictured also primes the pan, so after each shot all you need to do is drop the pistol, pointed down; half cock, close the frizzen and turn the handle 360 degrees.
This is by far the best system for auto-reloading loose powder, due to the angles of the cylinder a flashback into the powder reservoir is unlikely, if not impossible. The complexity and limitations of the use of this meant there was no military adoption, though at this time most militaries did not issue pistols as they were privately purchased by officers anyway.
And so, the search for repeating firearms keeps going…
The pistols featured here are part of the Royal Armouries Collection:
You can see more over at Forgotten Weapons here: