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Publication numberUS3315397 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 25, 1967
Filing dateNov 29, 1965
Priority dateNov 29, 1965
Publication numberUS 3315397 A, US 3315397A, US-A-3315397, US3315397 A, US3315397A
InventorsGilliam Clarence W, Smith Richard D, Szypulski Raymond W, Wildridge John E
Original AssigneeGilliam Clarence W, Smith Richard D, Szypulski Raymond W, Wildridge John E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flare gun having quick disconnect coupling
US 3315397 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 25, 1967 c. w. GILLIAM ETAL 3,315,397



A ril 25, 1967 c. w. GILLIAM ETAL 3,315,397


United States Patent Ofitice 3,315,397 Patented Apr. 25, 1967 3,315,397 FLARE GUN HAVING QUICK DISCONNECT COUPLING Clarence W. Gilliam, Crane, and Richard D. Smith and John E. Wildridge, Washington, Ind, and Raymond W. Szypulski, Berwyn Heights, Md., assignors to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Filed Nov. 29, 1965, Ser. No. 510,478 3 Claims. (Cl. 42-1) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.

The present invention relates to a gun for launching pyrotechnic devices, such as smoke and colored flares, and more particularly, the invention relates to a flare gun having a quick disconnect coupling for quickly connecting and disconnecting a flare cartridge to a gun.

Various devices have been employed in the past to launch a pyrotechnic flare by a hand-held device. One relatively small device for launching flares is shown in US. Patent 3,044,360, which issued July 17, 1962, to Russell 0. Stefan and Anton G. Lang. A guide tube having a bore therein is provided with a cylindrical firing pin that is spring biased by an expansive coil spring. The lower end of the tube is closed by a threaded plug and the opposite, or upper end, is threaded. A flare cartridge is provided with an externally threaded nipple which is threadedly engageable in the upper end of the tube.

In U.S. Patent 3,102,477, which issued Sept. 3, 1963, to Russell 0. Stefan and Anton G. Lang, there is shown a device similar to that shown in U.S. Patent 3,044,360, except there is shown an improved flare cartridge. In this patented device, the fuse charge is ignited in a manner to delay its burning and thus assure that a substantial portion of the mass of the fuse will remain unconsumed during a considerable portion of the upward flight of the projectile, thereby contributing to the momentum aiding in the ascent of the projectile and deferring the ignition of the signal charge until the projectile has reached an altitude where it will be an effective signal. The device of US. Patent 3,102,477, like that of Us. Patent 3,044,- 360, threadedly connects the projectile to the launcher.

While the devices of the above-mentioned patents perform adequately, they have a disadvantage in that the operator needs both hands to assemble the projectile to the launcher and also to disassemble the projectile after firing. Also, the time required to threadedly attach and disconnect the projectile to the launcher is relatively long and flares or signals cannot be rapidly launched.

The present invention consists of a projector tube that has a cylindrical firing pin and a spring is provided to forcibly drive the firing pin against a projectile case. The projectile case is provided with a circumferential groove on one end that engages with a quick disconnect device that is provided on the outer end of the projector tube. The quick disconnect consists of a plurality of balls that are separately retained in tapered holes that are of such dimensions that a portion of the balls extend into the inner diameter of the tube. A spring-biased sleeve is provided on the outer diameter of the tube and the inner bore of this sleeve is provided with a tapered portion that is engageable with the balls. Lateral movement of the sleeve causes the balls to move inwardly or outwardly, depending upon the direction of travel of the sleeve. The balls are engageable with the circumferential groove to lock the projectile case to the projector tube.

It is therefore a general object of the present invention to provide an improved projector for launching pyrotechnic signals.

Another object of the present invention means on a projector for to a projector case.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a release mechanism on a projector that is easily operated with one hand.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken on line 2-2 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an end view of the embodiment shown in FIGURE 1, showing, however, the cartridge removed;

FIGURE 4 is a partial sectional view showing a sleeve retracted in order to facilitate coupling of a projectile case to a projector tube;

FIGURE 5 is a partial sectional view showing a cartridge after firing; and

FIGURE 6 is a partial sectional view similar to FIG- URE 5 of the drawing only showing a sleeve retracted in order to uncouple a cartridge from a projector tube.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts through out the several views, there is shown a projectile launcher 11 to which a projectile case 12 is attached. The launch er is comprised of a cylindrical tube 13 which is closed at one end by a plug 14. A firing pin 15 is freely slidable within the bore of tube 13 and a pointed striker 16 is provided on the forward end of firing pin 15. A coiled spring 17 is provided between the rear end of firing pin 15 and plug 14.

Referring particularly to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, a firing slot 18 is cut through the wall of tube 13, and likewise a cocking slot 19 is cut through the wall of tube 13. Cocking slot 19 is parallel to firing slot 18, but shorter in length, and the two slots are connected by a cross slot 21. The end of cocking slot 19 is provided with a safety notch 22 that prevents the firing of the launcher in case the launcher is accidentally dropped. A cocking pin is threadedly attached to firing pin 15, and cocking pin 20 has a reduced diameter portion that passes through the slots in tube 13.

On the forward end of a launcher 11, a quick disconnect coupling 23 is provided. Coupling 23 is comprised of a sleeve 24 that has an internal tapered portion 25 that adjoins an enlarged counterbore section 26 that opens in a forward direction. A second enlarged counterbore section 27 is provided in sleeve 24 and opens in a rearward facing direction. Counter-bore section 27 terminates to form a shoulder 28. A retaining groove is provided on the outer periphery of tube 13 and a retaining ring 29 is provided therein. A coiled spring 31 is positioned between shoulder 28 and retaining ring 29. Tube 13 is also provided with three tapered holes that are equally spaced and positioned near the end of tube 13. A ball 32 is provided in each tapered hole and the dimensions of the balls and the tapered holes are such that a portion of the balls protrude within the bore of tube 13. By way of example, the tapered holes might have a diameter at the outer edge of 0.135 inch and a diameter at the inner edge of 0.120 inch, and the diameter of the ball might be 0.125 inch.

Sleeve 24 is provided with a large diameter portion 30 that provides a gripping surface for actuating coupling 23. After coupling 23 is assembled, retaining ring 29 and shoulder 28 prevent coupling 23 from becoming unattached from the tube 13 when coupling 23 is .moved in a rearward direction, and balls 32 and tapered portion is to provide quickly attaching a projectile 25 prevent coupling 23 from becoming unattached when coupling 23 is moved in a forward direction.

Referring particularly to FIGURE 2 of the drawings, projectile case 12 is com-prised of a metallic cartridge 33 that is provided with a ball groove 34 on one end. Groove 34 is engageable with the three balls 32. A primer 35 is provided within cartridge 33 adjacent the end that engages launcher 11, and a quantity of black powder 35 is adjacent the primer 35. A flare cup assembly is provided adjacent the black powder and is comprised of a cup 37 that contains a quantity of pyrotechnic composition 38 which, upon burning, provides a pyrotechnic display. Spacers 39, as required, are provided and the open end of cartridge 33 is closed by an end cap 41.

In operation, prior to coupling projectile case 12 to launcher 11, cocking .pin is moved so that the reduced diameter portion of cocking pin 20 passes through slot 19. As best shown in FIGURE 2 of the drawings, the pointed striker 16 is spaced back so that it will not come into contact with primer 35. To facilitate coupling of projectile case 12 to launcher 11, sleeve 24 is retracted, thus compressing spring 31 and moving the tapered portion away from balls 32. Balls 32 are now no longer wedged in their respective tapered holes and are free to be moved outwardly from tube 13. Cartridge 33 is then inserted into the bore of tube 13 until it shoulders against the front surface of tube 13. Sleeve 24 is then released and spring 31 drives sleeve 24 forward and tapered portion 25 causes balls 32 to become wedged in their respective holes. Balls 32 protrude into groove 34 of cartridge 33 and lock the cartridge to tube 13.

When it is desired to fire polytechnic device, cocking pin 20 is stroked backward in cocking slot 19, thus compressing spring 17. Cocking pin 20 is then moved through cross slot 21 and into firing slot 18. The cocking pin 20 is then released and spring 17 drives firing pin 15 forwardly and striker 16 strikes primer 35 causing it to fire. Primer 35, in turn, ignites the black powder 36 which propels flare cup 37 outwardly and, at the same time, causes the pyrotechnic composition 38 to ignite.

Referring particularly to FIGURE 5 of the drawings, it can be seen that after flare cup 37 has been propelled outwardly, the spent cartridge 33 is still coupled to launcher 1 1 by means of coupling 23. The forward end of firing pin 15 is in contact with the end of cartridge 33 and spring 17 is applying pressure to the opposite end of firing pin 15, and this pressure is tending to eject cartridge 33. The balls 32, however, are still retaining the spent cartridge 33.

Referring now to FIGURE 6 of the drawings, coupling 23 is shown retracted, whereupon the pressure being applied by spring 17 moves firing pin 15 forward thereby causing the firing pin 15 to eject spent cartridge 33. Firing pin 15 moves forward until cocking pin 20reaches the forward end of firing slot 18.

It can thus be seen that the present invention provides a relatively simple means for coupling a projectile case to a launcher so that very rapid firing can be accomplished. Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood, that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

What is claimed is:

1. A gun for launching a pyrotechnic signal in a cartridge having a circumferential groove around the outer periphery thereof, said .gun comprising:

a cylindrical tube having a closed end and an open end,

a cylindrical firing pin :slidably positioned within said cylindrical tube and having a pointed striker on the forward end thereof,

a coiled spring within said cylindrical tube between said closed end and the rear end of said firing pin,

a longitudinally extending firing slot through the wall of said cylindrical tube,

a longitudinally extending cocking slot through the wall of said cylindrical tube, said cocking slot being parallel to and shorter than said firing slot,

a cross slot connecting the rearward ends of said firing slot and said cocking slot,

a cocking pin connected to said firing pin and passing through and being movable in said firing and cocking slots,

a plurality of equally spaced tapered holes near said open end of said cylindrical tube,

a plurality of spherical balls positioned one each in each said tapered hole, said balls being engageable with said circumferential groove in said cartridge,

a sleeve slidably positioned on the outer periphery of said cylindrical tube, said sleeve having an inner tapered surf-ace engageable with said plurality of spherical balls, and

spring means for biasing said tapered surface against said balls.

2. A gun for launching a pyrotechnic signal as set forth in claim 1 wherein a safety notch is provided at the rear end of said cocking slot.

3. A gun for launching a pyrotechnic signal as set forth in claim 1 wherein means are provided for ejecting said cartridge.

References Cited by the Applicant UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,455,878 5/1923 Grinnell. 1,775,178 9/1930 Von Frantzius. 2,859,444 11/1958 Reymond. 2,955,586 10/1960 Harnrick. 3,044,360 7/ 1962 Stefan et al. 3,102,477 9/1963 Stefan et al.

BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1455878 *Mar 3, 1922May 22, 1923G C A Mfg CompanyFuse-plug puller
US1775178 *Sep 11, 1929Sep 9, 1930Von Frantzius PeterPistol
US2859444 *Mar 26, 1954Nov 11, 1958Ile D Etude De Procedes De SceExplosively actuated gun
US2955586 *Feb 5, 1959Oct 11, 1960Jet Lines Products Company IncAngular adapter for attachment to gun barrel
US3044360 *Dec 1, 1960Jul 17, 1962Lang Anton GFlare gun
US3102477 *Nov 21, 1961Sep 3, 1963Stefan Russell ORocket signal device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3956843 *Mar 13, 1975May 18, 1976Smith & Wesson Chemical Company, Inc.Dual range projectile and launching device and disposable launching tube assembly therefor
US4192236 *Apr 17, 1978Mar 11, 1980Wallop Industries LimitedFiring mechanism for percussion caps
US4649893 *Feb 22, 1985Mar 17, 1987Mayer & Grammelspacher DianawerkCompressed-air weapon with piston rod hook element and counter-hook engagement system
US6951070 *May 23, 2001Oct 4, 2005Piexon AgDefense device, preferably self-defense device and storage unit used therein
US7293558 *Jul 8, 2004Nov 13, 2007Francesco AmbricoSystem for launching lightweight elements during festive events
US7316090Aug 23, 2005Jan 8, 2008Piexon AgDefense device, preferably self-defense device and storage unit used therein
US8336459 *Aug 6, 2010Dec 25, 2012The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The ArmyFlare adapter and conversion kit for shotgun
US20040020946 *May 23, 2001Feb 5, 2004Raphael FleischhauerDefense device, preferably self-defense device and storage unit used therein
US20060010745 *Aug 23, 2005Jan 19, 2006Raphael FleischhauerDefense device, preferably self-defense device and storage unit used theein
US20060054152 *Jul 8, 2004Mar 16, 2006Francesco AmbricoSystem for launching lightweight elements during festive events
U.S. Classification42/1.15, 124/80
International ClassificationF41F3/00, F41A19/00, F41C3/02, F41A19/40, F41F3/052, F41C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41C3/02, F41F3/052, F41A19/40
European ClassificationF41F3/052, F41A19/40, F41C3/02