US 3228333 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 11, 1966 J. PHELPS ETAL 3,228,333 V ELECTRICALLY ACTUATED CARTRIDGE Filed March 12, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Jan. 11, 1966 J. PHELPS ETAL 3,228,333
I ELECTRICALLY ACTUATED CARTRIDGE Filed March 12, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 7 3,228,333 ELECTRICALLY ACTUATED CARTRIDGE Lionel Joseph Phelps, The Acres, Grange Court, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, England, and Alexander Marshall, Anton, Hardy Road, Greatstone-on- Sea, New Romney, Kent, England Filed Mar. 12, 1962, Ser. No. 178,908 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Mar. 13, 1961, 9,026/ 61 2 Claims. (Cl. 102-46) This invention relates to rifles or pistols, and more particularly to such weapons adapted to fire cartridges which are ignited or detonated by electrical means rather than mechanically.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved cartridge of this nature, and rifle or pistol therefor, which are especially suitable for use in high accuracy target shooting.
The present invention consists in a rifle or pistol cartridge which has a cartridge casing composed of electrically insulating material, an electrical contact at the base of the casing, and ignition means connected between the contact and a bullet fitted into the open end of the casing for igniting or detonating the propellant in the cartridge when an electrical current is passed through the ignition means. In one form of the invention the ignition means may take the form of an electrical filament extending through the propellant between the contact and the bullet or, alternatively, in another form the propellant may be composed of, or it may include, an electrically conductive material, thereby providing an electrical pat-h between the contact and the bullet.
The invention further consists in a rifle or pistol for firing the cartridge as set forth in the preceding paragraph, which includes an electrical system for applying, when the trigger of the weapon is actuated, an electrical potential between the electrical contact at the base of the casing and the bullet.
The invention still further consists in a rifle or pistol as set forth in the preceding paragraph, wherein the weapon is provided with a movable firing contact located upon a tumbler member in the firing action, and a fixing firing contact located adjacent the movable one, the two firing contacts being arranged to complete the electrical circuit for the supply of electric curent to the cartridge upon actuation of the trigger when the action is in a cocked condition.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a longitudinal section through one form of cartridge according to the present invention,
FIGURE 2, is a similar section through an alternative form of cartridge according to the present invention,
FIGURE 2a is a longitudinal section through a further form of cartridge,
FIGURE 3 is a diagrammattic view of the action of one form of rifle according to the present invention,
FIGURE 4 is a similar view of a portion of an alternative form of rifle according to the present invention, and
FIGURE 5 is a diagrammatic view of one form of pistol according to the present invention.
In carrying the invention into effect according to one convenient mode by way of example as shown in FIG- URE 1, a rifle or pistol cartridge adapted to be fired electrically includes a cartridge casing 1 composed of electrically insulating material into the open end of which is fitted a bullet 2.
Any suitable material may be employed for the casing as long as it is electrically insulating and will provide the required resilience for the casing as is well known in the art, but it is preferred to use a material of the class commonly referred to as plastics.
3,228,333 Patented Jan. 11, 1966 The cartridge casing may be of conventional design although, if desired, it may be of thicker material, especially over the base portion 1a as there is no need to consider striker indentation, and the rim 1b may be enlarged if necessary. The casing 1 is filled with a propellant 3 and rust inhibitor 4.
In the base portion 1a of the cartridge 1 is fitted a central electrical contact in the form of the head 5 of a pin 6 which extends axially inside the casing through the inhibitor 4 and propellant 5 for one third of the distance towards the bullet 2, and an electrical filament 7 of fine wire extends from the free end of the pin 6 to the bullet 2.
The electrical filament 7 thus constitutes ignition means by means of which the propellant 3 may be ignited when an electrical current is passed through the filament, causit to become incandescent, by applying an electrical potential between the bullet 2 and the head 5 of the pin 6.
If necessary, the filament 7 may be coated with a detonating substance to cause or assist in ignition or detonation of the propellant 3.
In an alternative arrangement as shown in FIGURE 2, a pin 8 is provided in the base portion 1a of the casing 1 so as to extend for only a short way into the propellant 3. The free end of the pin 8 is connected to a filament 9 which extends to a conductive coating 10 provided on the inside of the casing 1. The coating 10 extends to the bullet 2 so as to make electrical contact with it and so that when an electrical potential is applied between the bullet 2 and the head 11 of the pin 8, the filament 9 will become incandescent and ignite the propellant 3.
If desired, the coating 9 may consist of a thin strip, or it may extend over a larger area of the interior surface of the casing 1.
In a further alternative arrangement shown in FIG. 2a, the filament is eliminated and the propellant 3 is composed of, or includes, an electrically conductive material 12, such as a conventional propellant mixed with a finely divided electrically conductive material, so that the propellant may be ignited by the flow of electrical current through the propellant between the base portion 1a of the cartridge, provided with a suitable contact 13 and the bullet 2,
In this way an inexpensive, relatively simple, cartridge is provided, the ignition means between the contact and the bullet ensuring rapid and reliable ignition or detonation and virtually eliminating the possibility of excessive current drain on the battery after firing being caused by the formation of a short circuit in the cartridge as it is fired.
For firing a cartridge according to the [foregoing description, a rifle or pistol is provided with an electrical system for applying, when the trigger of the rifle or pistol is actuated, an electrical potential between the electrical contact at the base of the casing and the bullet.
In the arrangement shown in FIGURE 3, such an electrical system is applied to a falling block action of the Martini type.
In the arrangement, the conventional striker mechanism is dispensed with, and the breech block 21 is provided with a spring-loaded cartridge-engaging electrical contact 22 arranged to contact the head 5 or 11 (FIGURE 1 or 2) of the pin in the cartridge, when a cartridge is inserted in the chamber of the weapon. A feed wire 23 extends from the contact 22 past the action block fulcrum pin 24 to a fixed firing contact 25.
The fixed firing contact 25 is located adjacent a moveable firing contact 26 which is carried upon an elongation 27 of the tumbler 28 which is shaped so as to cock the mechanism when the breech block 21 is depressed by actuation of the cocking lever 29.
The moveable contact 26 is connected by means of a feed wire 30 and switch 37 to the positive terminal of a battery 31. The negative terminal of the battery is connected to the framework of the action at 32 by wire 33 so that when a cartridge is inserted into the chamber of the rifle with the bullet in contact with the lead to the rifiing of the barrel, electrical connection is established between the bullet and the negative terminal of the battery, through the framework of the action and the wire The fixed and moveable firing contacts 25 and 26 are located so that when the action is cocked and the switch 37 and the trigger 34 are actuated, disengagement of the sear 35 from the bent 36 causes the two contacts 25 and 26 to be brought together to complete an electrical connection between the head or 11 of the pin in the cartridge and the positive terminal of the battery 31. In this way, the electrical potential of the battery 31 is applied to the cartridge in the desired manner when the trigger is actuated.
It is preferred to make the loading required to actuate the trigger exceptionally light, and to make this adjustable to very fine limits.
The switch 37 serves as a safety device and is suitably located on the stock so that it can be operated by the thumb. It will be apparent that the weapon cannot be fired unless this switch 37 is closed.
By means of the above, disturbance of the weapon which is usually caused at the instant of firing by the striker mechanism, is completely eliminated, thereby rendering the weapon eminently suitable for use as a target weapon.
Alternatively, as shown in FIGURE 4, the electrical system may be incorporated into a bolt action rifle by making the bolt 40 nonrotatable and replacing its striker mechanism with the cartridge-engaging contact 22. Additional bolt receiver contacts 41 are also provided for electrically connecting together a feed wire 42 to the top of the bolt receiver 43 from the fixed firing contact 25,
and a feed wire 44 in the bolt 40 from the cartridgeby wires 30 and 33 in similar manner to that previously described.
As a further alternative shown in FIGURE 5, the electrical system may be incorporated into a pistol having a break-down type action. As before, the striker mechanism is replaced by a cartridge-engaging contact 22 for making electrical contact with the contact at the base of the cartridge, the cartridge-engaging contact 22 being connected to the fixed firing contact 25 in the action.
The moveable firing contact 26 is located on the tumbler 28 and to the rear of the fixed firing contact 25, and an extension 51 of the tumbler 28 is arranged to cock the action when the weapon is broken for loading.
The electrical system is then completed through thumb switch 37 to batteries 31 in similar manner to that previously described.
Various modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention.
1. A cartridge which includes a casing of electrically insulating material, an integral base portion closing one end of the casing, a bullet closing the other end of said casing, a propellant in said casing, an electrical contact in said base portion, an electrically conductive coating on the interior surface of said casing in engagement with said bullet, and an electrical filament connected between said contact and said coating.
2. A cartridge which includes a casing of electrically insulating material, an integral base portion closing one end of the casing, a bullet closing the other end of said casing, a propellant in said casing, an electrical contact located in said base portion, and an electrically conducting material distributed through said propellant whereby an electrical path is provided for the flow of electric current between said bullet and said contact for the ignition of said propellant.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 138,679 5/1873 Mott l0246 1,303,032 5/1919 COrtner 4284 1,485,404 3/ 1924 Martin et al l0246 2,262,925 11/ 1941 Cole.
2,805,604 9/1957 Humphrey 4284 X 2,926,566 3/1960 Atkins et al l0246 X 2,953,990 9/1960 Miller et al. 102-42 3,009,419 11/1961 Clay et a1. l0246 3,023,528 3/1962 Rouby 42-84 BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner.
SAMUEL FEINBERG, Examiner.