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Publication numberUS20060137233 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/025,037
Publication dateJun 29, 2006
Filing dateDec 29, 2004
Priority dateDec 29, 2004
Publication number025037, 11025037, US 2006/0137233 A1, US 2006/137233 A1, US 20060137233 A1, US 20060137233A1, US 2006137233 A1, US 2006137233A1, US-A1-20060137233, US-A1-2006137233, US2006/0137233A1, US2006/137233A1, US20060137233 A1, US20060137233A1, US2006137233 A1, US2006137233A1
InventorsPaul Meeks
Original AssigneePaul Meeks
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stabilizing apparatus and method
US 20060137233 A1
Abstract
A stabilizing apparatus and method according to which a force is applied to a line to place the line in tension and stabilize a component associated with the line, thereby facilitating the aiming of the component.
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Claims(20)
1. Apparatus comprising:
a line; and
means extending from the line for receiving a force so that the force is applied to the line via the means;
wherein the apparatus has a stabilizing configuration in which:
the line is connected to a structure;
the connection between the line and the structure resists the force applied to the line to place the line in tension; and
the tension in the line stabilizes a component associated with the line to facilitate the aiming of the component.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the receiving means comprises a first loop.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising a second loop extending from the line and spaced from the first loop by a predetermined increment along the line.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 further comprising a third loop extending from the line and spaced from the second loop by another predetermined increment along the line wherein the second loop is disposed between the first and third loops.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the length of extension of the line is adjustable.
6. The apparatus of claim 4 further comprising means for adjusting the length of extension of the line.
7. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the component is supported by a user of the apparatus;
wherein at least a portion of a hand of the user extends through the loop; and
wherein the force is applied to the line via the hand and the loop.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the component is a gun.
9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the component is a bow.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising means for connecting the line to the structure.
11. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the connecting means comprises a loop having an adjustable diameter.
12. A method comprising:
connecting a line to a structure;
applying a force to the line wherein the connection between the line and the structure resists the force to place the line in tension; and
aiming a component associated with the line wherein the tension in the line stabilizes the component to facilitate the aiming.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein a loop extends from the line and wherein the force is applied to the line via the loop.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising extending at least a portion of a hand of a user of the component through the loop;
wherein the force is applied to the line via the hand and the loop; and
wherein the user supports the component.
15. The method of claim 14 further comprising adjusting the length of extension of the line between the structure and the loop.
16. Apparatus for stabilizing a component to facilitate the aiming thereof, the apparatus comprising a line connectable to a structure and associated with the component wherein the line is placed in tension to stabilize the component when the line is connected to the structure and a force is applied to the line.
17. The apparatus of claim 16 further comprising at least one loop extending from the line and via which a force is applied to the line to place the line in tension.
18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein at least a portion of a hand of a user of the component extends through the loop and wherein the force is applied to the line via the hand and the loop.
19. The apparatus of claim 18 further comprising means for connecting the line to the structure.
20. The apparatus of claim 19 further comprising means for adjusting the length of extension of the line.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    This invention relates in general to a stabilizing apparatus and in particular to a stabilizing apparatus that steadies or stabilizes a component to facilitate the aiming of the component.
  • [0002]
    In the sport of hunting, a hunter's aim and accuracy in shooting a rifle, shotgun, pistol, bow or other component of choice is highly dependent upon the ability of the hunter to hold the component steady. Several factors that may contribute to a steady shot, or the lack thereof, include the length of the shot, the level of mental stress and/or the degree of concentration of the hunter, the amount of sleep or rest that the hunter has had in the past few days, the hunter's experience level and/or confidence, and any physical limitations such as arthritis or other types of joint pain.
  • [0003]
    Similarly, with respect to military applications, a soldier or other user's aim and accuracy in shooting a weapon is highly dependent upon the ability of the soldier or user to hold the weapon steady.
  • [0004]
    To improve aim and accuracy, devices such as gun rests are sometimes used to steady a hunter's or other user's component of choice. However, a typical gun rest is bulky and usually requires a predetermined amount of volumetric space for set up and operation. Also, the gun rest may require a flat surface upon which the gun rest must be set for proper operation. These requirements sometimes preclude the use of the gun rest in areas where space is limited or flat surfaces are not readily available such as, for example, tree stands, boats, wetlands or other outdoor areas.
  • [0005]
    Moreover, although the typical gun rest may stabilize a hunter's or other user's component of choice with respect to any up-or-down movement of the component or the arms of the hunter or user, and may even stabilize the component with respect to any side-to-side movement of the component, the typical gun rest is unable to adequately stabilize the component and the arms of the hunter or user with respect to all three directional axes, that is, the x axis or the side-to-side directional axis, the y axis or the front-to-back directional axis, and the z axis or the up-and-down directional axis.
  • [0006]
    Therefore, what is need is a stabilizing apparatus and/or method that overcomes one or more of the above-described problems, among others.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view depicting an operational mode of a stabilizing apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the stabilizing apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0009]
    Referring to FIG. 1, a stabilizing apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention is generally referred to by the reference numeral 10 and is connected to a structure in the form of a tree 12. A user of the apparatus 10, such as a hunter 14, is seated in a conventional tree stand 16, holding the apparatus 10 and supporting a rifle 18 having a rifle stock 18 a.
  • [0010]
    Referring to FIG. 2, with continuing reference to FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 includes a line in the form of a strap 20, and a buckle 22 engaged with the strap 20 so that the strap 20 extends through the buckle in a conventional manner. The strap 20 further extends through a clasp 24, and then extends back through the buckle 22 so that the length of extension of the strap may be adjusted in any conventional manner under conditions to be described.
  • [0011]
    Loops 26 a, 26 b and 26 c extend from the strap 20, with the loop 26 b spaced from the loop 26 a by a predetermined increment along the length of the strap, and with the loop 26 c spaced from the loop 26 b by another predetermined increment along the length of the strap. The loops 26 a, 26 b and 26 c are in the form of looped strips sewn to the strap 20, with portions of the strips defining a section 20 a of the strap 20. Thus, the strap 20 extends from the clasp 24 to the loop 26 c.
  • [0012]
    A loop 28 having an open and a closed configuration is connected to the clasp 24, and includes straps 30 and 32 extending from the clasp 24. A j-hook bracket 34 is connected to the distal end of the strap 30. A generally rectangular bracket 36 is engaged with the strap 32 and is further engaged with the j-hook portion of the j-hook bracket 34, thereby placing the loop 28 in its closed configuration and defining a diameter of the loop 28. An insert 36 a is hingedly connected to the bracket 36, and is biased against the strap 32 in a conventional manner to prevent appreciable relative movement between the bracket 36 and the strap 32. For example, the hinged connection between the bracket 36 and the insert 36 a may be spring loaded to prevent any appreciable relative movement between the bracket 36 and the strap 32. It is understood that the insert 36 a may include teeth formed therein that, due to the biasing of the insert 36 a, bear upon the strap 32 to further prevent any relative movement between the strap 32 and the bracket 36.
  • [0013]
    In operation, the apparatus 10 is placed in a stabilizing configuration. The loop 28 is placed in its open configuration by disengaging the bracket 36 from the j-hook bracket 34. The straps 30 and 32 are then drawn around the tree 12, and the bracket 36 and the j-hook bracket 34 are re-engaged to place the loop 28 in its closed configuration. The insert 36 a of the bracket 36 is rotated about its hinged connection so that the insert 36 a is not biased against the strap 32, and the distal end portion of the strap is pulled, thereby moving the strap relative to the bracket 36 and reducing the diameter of the loop until the straps 30 and 32 of the loop fit snugly around the tree 12.
  • [0014]
    It is understood that, if necessary or desired, the diameter of the loop 28 may be increased by rotating the insert 36 a and pulling the strap 32 so that the distal end portion of the strap 32 moves relative to and towards the bracket 36. It is further understood that, prior to drawing the straps 30 and 32 around the tree 12, the insert 36 a may be rotated and the bracket 36 may be moved along the strap 32, towards or away from the distal end of the strap 32, in order to increase or decrease, respectively, the initial diameter of the loop 28.
  • [0015]
    After the diameter of the loop 28 is adjusted so that the loop fits snugly around the tree 12, the insert 36 a is released and the insert 36 a is again biased against the strap 32, thereby preventing relative movement between the strap 32 and the bracket 36 and maintaining the snug fit. As a result, the strap 20 is connected to the tree 12.
  • [0016]
    The length of extension of the strap 20 from the clasp 24 to the loop 26 c is adjusted as desired and/or as necessary by sliding the buckle 22 relative to the strap 20 in a conventional manner. Sliding the buckle 22 away from the tree 12 decreases the length of extension of the strap 20, and sliding the buckle 22 towards the tree 12 increases the length of extension of the strap 20. It is understood that the length of extension of the strap 20 may be increased or decreased for several reasons such as, for example, accommodating the length of the arms of the hunter 14. It is further understood that the length of extension of the strap 20 may be adjusted before, during or after the strap 20 is connected to the tree 12.
  • [0017]
    The hunter 14 positions himself or herself on the tree stand 16 and holds the apparatus 10. The thumb of the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14 is extended through the loop 26 a, and the stock 18 a of the rifle 18 is supported by the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14, thereby associating the rifle 18 with the strap 20. The hunter 14 aims the rifle 18 in any conventional manner, further supporting the rifle with his or her shooting hand. Before or during aiming, the hunter 14 applies a force to the loop 26 a by extending or pushing the non-shooting hand in a direction away from the clasp 24 and the tree 12, thereby causing the portion of the non-shooting hand extending between the thumb and the index finger to bear upon the loop 26 a. As a result, the force is applied to the strap 20 via the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14 and the force-receiving loop 26 a.
  • [0018]
    The connection between the apparatus 10 and the tree 12 resists the force applied to the strap 20 via the loop 26 a. That is, due to the force received by the loop 26 a, the strap 20, the clasp 24 and the loop 28 are urged away from the tree 12. However, the tree 12 prevents any appreciable movement of the strap 20, the clasp 24 and the loop 28 by applying a resisting or reaction force to the loop 28 that is equal and opposite to the force applied to the strap 20 via the loop 26 a.
  • [0019]
    The opposing forces acting on the apparatus 10, that is, the force applied to the strap 20 via the loop 26 a and the equal-and-opposite resisting or reaction force of the tree 12 on the loop 28, place the strap 20 in tension. Since the strap 20 is in tension and engaged with the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14, and since the stock 18 a of the rifle 18 is supported by the non-shooting hand, the rifle 18 is restrained from any unwanted shifting relative to the hunter 14 or the tree 12 that may otherwise occur due to, for example, the hunter being unable to absolutely control the position of his or her arms. As a result, the apparatus 10 is in its stabilizing configuration and the rifle 18, and the arms of the hunter 14, are significantly steadied or stabilized with respect to all three directional axes, that is, the x axis or the side-to-side directional axis, the y axis or the front-to-back directional axis (or the towards-or-away-from the tree 12 directional axis), and the z axis or the up-and-down directional axis. Thus, due to the stabilization provided by the apparatus 10, the aiming of the rifle 18 is facilitated and the hunter 14 is better able to make a reasonable shot with a high degree of accuracy.
  • [0020]
    Instead of solely via the loop 26 a, it is understood that the force may be applied to the strap 20 via any one of the loops 26 a, 26 b or 26 c, or any combination thereof.
  • [0021]
    It is further understood that, when the apparatus 10 is in its stabilizing configuration, the rifle 18 may still be repositioned as desired or necessary to adjust the aim of the rifle 18, albeit in a highly controlled manner due to the tension in the strap 20. It is further understood that the hunter 14 may control the degree of tension in the strap 20 by controlling the magnitude of the force applied to the loop 20 a. It is further understood that the strap 20 may be composed of any type of material suitable for undergoing opposing forces and/or tension such as, for example, durable, lightweight polyester webbing.
  • [0022]
    When not in use and/or in its stabilizing configuration, the apparatus 10 may be easily stored by, for example, rolling, bunching and/or winding up the straps 20, 30 and 32 and placing the apparatus in a coat or pants pocket. Also, the apparatus 10 may be easily transported to another location when not in use and/or in its stabilizing configuration.
  • Variations
  • [0023]
    It is understood that variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the scope of the disclosure. For example, during the operation of the apparatus 10, it is understood that any of the steps described above may be carried out before, during or after one or more of the other steps.
  • [0024]
    For another example, instead of the strap 20, 30 and/or 32, it is understood that any other form or type of line suitable for undergoing opposing forces and/or tension may be used in the apparatus 10. Forms of lines that may be used include, but are not limited to, all types of tethers, cords, ropes, bands, constructs, braided bands and other types of bands, tape, flexible tubing, cables, fabric, mesh, sheets, chains, or any combination thereof. Moreover, the line may be static or rigid, dynamic or flexible, or any combination thereof. For example, the line may be static or rigid while undergoing one range of tension, and may be dynamic or flexible while undergoing another range of tension.
  • [0025]
    Further, instead of via the loop 26 a, 26 b and/or 26 c, it is understood that the force may be applied to the line or strap 20 via other force-receiving means such as, for example, one or more brackets tied or otherwise connected to the strap 20, a glove connected to the section 20 a of the strap and into which the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14 extends, or a fixture connected to the strap 20. Also, the force-receiving means may be an informal winding or looping of the section 20 a of the strap 20 in the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14. It is understood that this informal winding or looping of the section 20 a is possible regardless of whether the strap 20 includes one or more of the loops 26 a, 26 b and 26 c extending therefrom.
  • [0026]
    Still further, instead of the tree 12, it is understood that the line or strap 20 may be connected to any type or form of natural or artificial structure. Exemplary natural structures include boulders, rocks, logs, earthen formations or other structures found in natural environments. Exemplary artificial structures include poles, walls, vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, trains, etc.), weaponry, buildings or other structures manufactured, assembled or built by humans.
  • [0027]
    Also, instead of the loop 28, it is understood that other means may be used to connect the line or strap 20 to the tree 12 or other natural or artificial structure. For example, the strap 20 may be tied around the tree 12 and secured thereto using a knot formed from the strap. Also, one or more fasteners such as, for example, nails, spikes or adhesives, may be used to fasten the strap 20 to the tree 12. Moreover, an eyebolt may be connected to and/or extend from the natural or artificial structure, and the line or strap 20 may be tied or otherwise connected to the eyebolt.
  • [0028]
    Further, instead of the buckle 22, it is understood that other means may be used to adjust the length of extension of the strap 20. For example, the strap 20 may be divided into at least two portions and a fastener such as, for example, a fastener similar to a cable tie or a zip tie, may be used to join the two portions of the strap 20. Alternatively, a telescoping sleeve may connect the two portions of the strap 20. Moreover, the two portions could be tied together at different locations along one or the other of the portions to adjust the length of extension of the strap 20. Also, the strap 20 could be wound around a reel and unwound as necessary to adjust the length of extension.
  • [0029]
    Still further, it is understood that the rifle 18 may be associated with the strap 20 in a wide variety of ways. For example, the stock 18 a may extend through the loop 26 a, 26 b or 26 c, instead of the non-shooting hand of the hunter 14. The hunter 14 may then hold the rifle 18 and push or extend the rifle 18 to place the strap 20 in tension, or a machine or device may support or hold the rifle 18 and move the rifle 18 to place the strap 20 in tension. Also, the strap 20 may be directly connected to the rifle 18 by, for example, tying the strap 20 around the stock 18 a of the rifle 18. Furthermore, in another configuration in which the rifle 18 is associated with the strap 20, the rifle 18 may be disposed in one or more support structures or devices and the strap 20 may be connected to the support structures or devices. The support structures or devices may then be moved relative to the tree 12 to place the strap 20 in tension.
  • [0030]
    Moreover, instead of the rifle 18, it is understood that the apparatus 10 may be used to steady or stabilize, and thereby facilitate the aiming of, other components. For example, components in the form of guns include, but are not limited to, all types of pistols, rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns or handguns, automatic or otherwise. Other components include, but are not limited to, all types of bows including hunting bows, surveying and other types of construction equipment, leveling and other types of home-improvement equipment, or any other type of device that shoots projectiles and/or requires aiming. Accordingly, it is understood that the apparatus 10 may be used in military applications or other types of applications besides hunting applications, and that the user of the apparatus 10 does not have to be a hunter.
  • [0031]
    It is understood that the presence of the hunter 14 is not necessary, and that the operation of the apparatus 10 may be fully automated in any conventional manner. It is further understood that hunter 14 does not have to be positioned on a tree stand 16, and instead may be positioned in any indoor or outdoor location. Moreover, the hunter 14 may be standing, sitting, lying on a horizontal surface, kneeling or positioned in another position during the operation of the apparatus 10.
  • [0032]
    It is further understood that additional parts may be connected to the strap 20 such as, for example, a scope or other sighting means. Also, in the context of hunting, it is understood that the apparatus 10 is suitable for all types of hunting such as, for example, deer, turkey, varmint, duck or elk hunting.
  • [0033]
    It is understood that any of the foregoing variations may be combined with one or more of the other variations.
  • [0034]
    Any foregoing spatial references, such as “upper,” “lower,” “above,” “below,” “between,” “vertical,” “angular,” etc., are for the purpose of illustration only and do not limit the specific orientation or location of the structure described above.
  • [0035]
    Although an exemplary embodiment of this invention has been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many other modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiment without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the following claims. In the claims, means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7454859 *Jul 1, 2005Nov 25, 2008Buckner GaryCombination gun rest and aiming brace
US7958663Sep 3, 2008Jun 14, 2011Saunders Iii James WSuspended gun rest
US8096077 *Jan 17, 2012Caywood Clayton RRifle recoil absorbing strap assembly
US8316572Jun 13, 2011Nov 27, 2012Saunders Iii James WSuspended gun rest
US8683909 *Dec 10, 2010Apr 1, 2014Oak Sturdy, LLCMounted gun support for hunting
US9052156 *Mar 29, 2013Jun 9, 2015Jacques A. NevilsIntegrated bipod tension stabilization rifle sling
US9328992Nov 14, 2014May 3, 2016Johnny Lee SmithMethod and apparatus for gun stabilizer
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US20090064560 *Sep 3, 2008Mar 12, 2009Saunders Iii James WSuspended gun rest
US20140290108 *Mar 29, 2013Oct 2, 2014Jacques A. NevilsIntegrated bipod tension stabilization rifle sling
Classifications
U.S. Classification42/94
International ClassificationF41C27/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41C33/001
European ClassificationF41C33/00B