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Publication numberUS3380342 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 30, 1968
Filing dateDec 21, 1966
Priority dateDec 21, 1966
Publication numberUS 3380342 A, US 3380342A, US-A-3380342, US3380342 A, US3380342A
InventorsChiabrandy Robert E
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Clearing mechanism for high rate of fire multi-barrel automatic weapon
US 3380342 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 30, 1968 R. E. CHIABRANDY 3,380,342

CLEARING MECHANISM FOR HIGH RATE OF FIRE MULTI-BARREL AUTOMATIC WEAPON Filed Dec. 2l, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet l FIG.I

INVENTORS ROBERT E. CHIABRANDY HIS ATTORNEY.

April 30, 1968 R. E. CHIABRANDY 3,380,342

CLEARING MECHANISM FUR HIGH RPTE OF FIRE MULTI-BARREL AUTOMATIC WEAPON Filed Dec. 2l, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet INVENTOR` ROBERT E. CH|ABRANDY BY Wt'. W

HIS ATTORNEY.

April 30 1968 R. E. CHIABRANDY E $380,342

CLEARING MECHANISM FOR HIGH RATE OF FIR' MULTI-BARREL AUTOMATIC WEAPON Filed Dec. 21, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORZ ROBERT E. CHIABRANDY.

BY )lu/:47 C'.

HIS ATTORNEY.

United States Patent O 3,380,342 CLEARING MECHANISM FOR HIGH RATE F FIRE MULTI-BARREL AUTOMATIC WEAPON Robert E. Chiabrandy, Burlington, Vt., assignor to genlral Electric Company, a corporation of New Filed Dec. 21, 1966, Ser. No. 603,574 6 Claims. (Cl. 89-12) This invention relates generally to an improved high rate of lire automatic weapon of the Gatling-gun type having a plurality of barrels mounted for rotation about a common axis, and more specifically, to improvements in an ammunition feeding mechanism for clearing the weapon of fired, as well as unred, rounds of ammunition at deenergization of the power source used to drive the gun.

The prolongation of the cold war period has seen an increase in guerrilla type warfare. With this has come a need for improvements in the rate of lire of weapons of the well-known Gatling-gun type which are currently in the military arsenal for a variety of applications, e.g., mounting on aircraft for straing missions. While these guns are primarily of a 7.62 mm. or mm. size, there has been an increasing need for development of weapons similar in caliber and size to the current hand carried anti-personnel weapons or ries. Such a gun would fire a round of approximately .22 inch caliber, such as used in the M16 military rille.

The typical Gatling-gun type of weapon now in use comprises a housing enclosing and supporting a rotor assembly. The rotor assembly, in turn, supports a plurality of bolt assemblies having individual ring mechanisms for igniting cartridges, electrically or by percussion. When the rotor is caused to revolve, either by means of an electric, hydraulic or gas (cartridge) drive, interaction between the housing and the rotor by means of cams and/ or gearing causes the various weapon actions. In this way, the ammunition is fed to the gun, the cartridges chambered, the bolts locked for tiring, the cartridges fired, and the empty cartridge cases extracted and ejected.

The increasing need for improved multi-barrel, automatic weapons of the Gatling-gun type, having higher and higher rates of fire, has raised certain problems in the design of the guns. One area of concern is the fact that, once rotating at its rated speed, the gun rotor develops considerable inertia. The nature and design of the current ammunition delivery systems are such that when the gun drive system is suddenly shut off at the end of a tiring burst, the rotor assembly continues to revolve and live lammunition is drawn into the gun and may remain there, unless the gun is cleared. Known systems for clearing such guns have utilized randomly timed, electrically operated feeding system clearing switches with partial success, and then only at relatively low, e.g., 6,000 shots per minute (s.p.m.), firing rates. However, as the firing speed rises towards 9,000 s.p.m., or higher, an electrically operated randomly-timed system can result in a jammed clearing mechanism. It would be desirable, therefore, to have a substantially all mechanical clearing system directly actuated and synchronized with the ammunition feeding mechanism, and operatively connected to the gun rotor.

Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved clearing mechanism for a very high rate of lire, multi-barrel Iautomatic weapon of the Gatling-gun type.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide mechanical means for automatically and positively switching an ammunition handling and delivery mechanism from feed to clear for use in a very high rate of fire automatic weapon of the Gatling-gun type.

3,380,342 Patented Apr. 30, 1968 ICC Briefly, and in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of my invention, I provide a synchronized clearing switch assembly for use in a high speed multi-barrel weapon of the Gatling-gun type having a plurality of barrels mounted on a rotor for rotation about a common axis. The assembly comprises a contact member adapted to be mounted on the rotor and to project slightly beyond the periphery thereof, a pair of actuating levers, first shaft means for mounting the levers offset from each other, with respect to the rotor axis, so that one or the otherbut not both-can be struck by the contact member. The lirst shaft means is mounted at one end of a control device having, in one embodiment, a snap-action mechanism incorporated therein. A control rod is connected between the snap action mechanism and an external rotor drive means. The control rod thus senses energization and deenergization of the drive means which is, in turn, transmitted by the snap-action mechanism of the control device to the rst shaft means for longitudinal movement thereof to cause one of the actuating levers to move into position to be struck by the contact member. A link member is further provided, the link member being operably connected between the actuating levers and a second, rotatable shaft means supporting a pair of guide bar members. Each guide member has fingers partially forming a feeding path on one pair of edges thereof and an ejection path on the opposite edges. A clearing switch member is also rigidly supported on the second shaft means for reciprocating or flipping angular motion back and forth, in response to movement of the link member, between a iirst or clearing position, wherein the clearing switch member helps divert ammunition ow from entering the gun, and a second or feeding position, wherein the switch member forms part of the cartridge delivery guide path to the gun.

While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter of my invention, it is believed the invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of its structure and operation, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. l is an external view of an automatic Weapon of the `Gatling-gun type incorporating my invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are partial cross-sectional views of the weapon of FIG. 1 taken along lines 2 and 3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the improved automatic weapon illustrating the internal firing mechanism components; and

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of the gun rotor, ammunition delivery and clearing mechanism and my invention, illustrating the manner in which the several components of the mechanism cooperate to clear the weapon of ammunition.

Description Turning now to the drawings, in particular FIGS. l and 2, the major components of an automatic weapon of the Gatling-gun type shown incorporating my invention are: (1) a. rotor assembly, indicated generally at 10; (2) a gun housing, indicated generally at 20, (3) a housing bolt access cover or cam support member, indicated generally at 30; (4) a guide bar assembly, indicated generally at 45, (5) front and rear gun supporting means 50 and 55, respectively; (6) a plurality of barrels, one of which is indi- F cated at 60; and (7) barrel clamping means, indicated at 70 and 80. Also indicated in FIG. l is an arrangement for actuating all of the tiring pins by a single mainspring 142 mounted externally of the bolt assemblies, ie., in the bolt access cover or cam member 30. A safing mechanism for the weapon is indicated generally at and, finally, indicated generally at 140, is the gun clearing mechanism of the invention for diverting the flow of ammunition delivered to the gun, at the guide bar assembly 4S.

For an understanding of the operation of the weapon, in which my invention is incorporated, it is advisable t describe, in some detail, several of the major operating components. Turning first to a detailed description of the rotor assembly 10, which is a main structural component, it will be noted that the rotor is rotatably supported in the housing 20 at either end by bearings 11a-11b, to permit relative rotation therebetween. The front part of the rotor body also supports the barrel cluster. To this end, there are provided a plurality of openings, in this instance six in number, one of which is indicated at 12. Each opening is threaded for engagement with a threaded end 14 Of a barrel 60. The barrels include a shoulder portion adapted to seat in a counterbore a in the rotor body face 10b whereby the extreme rearward end or chamber portion 60b of the barrel is aligned with the locking well portion 16 of the rotor. The barrels may also be fixed in place by other suitable locking means, such as cams, lugs, or pins. The rotor body, in this instance, is machined in one piece and has a plurality of bolt slots or grooves, indicated generally at 18, broached or otherwise cut axially of the body and spaced circumferentially thereabout. As seen in FIG. 3, the rotor slots 18 include a plurality of guide ways which cooperate with mating parts of the bolt assembly, hereinafter described in detail. To this end, each track or slot 18 includes an upper lateral support or cam roller guide way 21. The bottom or radially inward boundary of the guide way 21 is formed by a pair of laterally-projecting walls 22-22. The space between the projecting walls forms a recess or guide-way 23 for the main body portion of the bolt assembly indicated at 100. The ways 18 in the rotor body are further cut away beneath the projecting walls 22-22 to form a guide way 24 receiving the head portion of a roller shaft locking pin as well as a pair of extractor lugs, both of which are parts of the bolt assembly illustrated. Finally, groove 18 has a bottom wall 26 providing clearance for the body portion of the bolt assembly. As is also shown in FIG. 2 at the rear of the rotor is a drive gear 28 held by a retainer plate 29 fastened to the rotor by a plurality of screws, one of which is indicated at 29a. It will be noted that the rearward portion of the rotor body ends in a groove 32, providing clearance to remove the bolt assemblies, which groove comprises one extremity of a stepped-down middle portion 10c of the rotor incorporating a continuation of the guide walls and ways 22, 23 and 24, described hereinabove. Clearance slots 3.3-3.3 are provided in rotor body portion 10c to permit extension into the body of a plurality of cartridge delivery lingers, described in detail hereinafter, of the cartridge guide bar assembly, indicated generally at 45. At the forward end of the middle rotor portion is a locking well 16. The locking well includes a breech lock surface 36 adapted to be engaged by a pair of locking lugs on the bolt assembly 169, as seen in FlG. 4. Surface 37 on the forward maximum diameter portion 10d of the rotor body, containing the barrel holes 12, provides a forward boundary wall in the locking well 16. At the extreme forward end of the rotor body is a recess or shoulder portion 38 adapted to receive the front bearing means 11a for rotatably supporting the rotor within housing at pad 42.

The generally cylindrical housing 20, preferably a single casting, thus includes means for, respectively, supporting the rotor, longitudinally and reciprocably camming (moving) successive bolt assemblies 100 along the rotor, as well as means supporting the several components of the firing mechanism and the safing means 12). Thus, at the rear end of the housing is a reduced diameter portion 41 enclosing another pad 43 adapted to tightly abut and support rear bearing means 1lb, as shown in FIG. 2. The outer surface of portion 4 1 may be provided with lugs 41a or other means suitable for fastening the gun to a supporting member or stand as well as for attaching externally mounted accessory equipment. The housing includes a main cam or track 44 having a quasi-elliptical shape. As will be apparent, each bolt assembly is reciprocably moved longitudinally-axially-of the gun to pick up and deliver the rounds to a tiring chamber, and return the spent case for ejection. A number of support pads are cast or formed integrally with the housing, including pads 46a and 4617, for pivotally supporting a plurality of actuating members or levers. A pad portion, indicated generally at 45a, is also provided for support of the cartridge guide bar assembly 45, and a pair of drilled bosses 48a and 48h, aligned axially of the gun, pivotally support the bolt access cover or cam member indicated at 30. A further pad 242 may be provided for support of a detent mechanism for the cam member latching arm 240, which forms a part of the safing mechanism. As shown in FIG. 2, at the front of the rotor is a bearing retainer plate 52 fastened by bolts S3 to the rotor face.

Another major component of the multi-barrel automatic weapon of FIG. 1 are the bolt assemblies, one of which is indicated generally at 100. As explained, bolts in the typical prior art weapons of the Gatling-gun type firing percussion ammunition each contain an individual firing pin, a plunger and mainspring assembly to initiate ring of the cartridge, as well as guide means and extractor lugs for gripping the cartridge case. As seen in FIG. .2, bolt assembly includes an elongated generally rectangular body portion 110. The body portion supports cam follower means comprising a guide roller 112, an anti-friction roller 114, a roller shaft 116 and a shaft locking and guide pin 118. Positioned in the bolt body, in a longitudinally extending central passageway 119 therethrough, is a hammer, indicated generally at 122, a striker or firing pin, indicated at 124, and a retractor spring 126. A closure wall member or recoil plate 129 is force-fitted in the body passageway at the forward end thereof, the recoil plate 129 having an aperture 129a therethrough adapted to receive the tip 124e of the striker to permit the latter to contact the cartridge primer for ignition of the round. It will be noted that body 110, preferably a cast or forged piece, also includes means cooperating with cam means on the housing to lock and unlock the bolt assembly during operation of the weapon. To this end, a generally L-shaped lug 131 is provided, including an unlocking, forward facing tang 131a and an outer locking surface 131b. The forward end of the bolt body also includes integral cartridge-carrying lug means 132a-132a, as best seen in FIG. 4, for gripping the extractor rim of a cartridge case. Locking lugs 134a-134a, also best seen in FIG. 4, are incorporated on the body portion 110, being adapted to ride outwardly of the guide way walls 22--22 of rotor body 1t), during operation of the weapon. Finally it will be noted that the roller shaft locking and guide pin 118 has an enlarged head 11851. The guide pin head is adapted to ride in slot 24 in the rotor body, bearing on the inner and the outer walls thereof, for controlled relative longitudinal movement of the bolt assembly 100 with respect to the rotor. During operation, the guide pin head 118a is always to the rear of the rotor slot 32, while the forward end of the bolt is held in place by engagement of the locking and extractor lugs 134cz-134a and 132:1- 132a, respectively, within the guide ways.

A feature of the disclosed weapon is the provision of a single mainspring mounted externally of the primary firing mechanism of the weapon. That is, in FIGURES 2 and 4 it will be seen that secured to pads 48a and 48b of the housing 20, by a hinge pin 48e is a cam member or bolt access cover, indicated generally at 30. When opened, the cover provides access to the bolt assemblies for repair or replacement thereof. This arrangement greatly facilitates maintenance on the weapon when, for example, any one of six bolt assemblies may require work. The cover member 36 thus functions as an external mounting platform for the single mainspring operable to actuate the firing mechanisms described herein, as well as a support and locating means for the several cam means necessary to actuate bolt locking and unlocking. Another feature of the gun shown is that the bolt access cover or cam member 30 is so interlocked with the tiring pin actuation mechanism that the mainspring is automatically deactivated and incapable of causing the gun to lire whenever the cover is opened for maintenance, as shown in FIG. 4. In addition, this feature provides a manual saling device for use during maintenance on any part of the gun or its associated equipment. As shown, cover assembly 30, when opening, pivots about pin 48C, the pin being received in a hole 48d formed in a thickened portion 132 at one of the lateral edges of a main curved body portion 30a of the cover. The cover conforms to the circular shape of the generally cylindrical walls of the housing 20, of which the cover forms a sector when closed. The outer surface of the cover, as seen in FIG. 1, includes a pair of ribs 133-133 extending from the hinge pin tunnel or boss portion 132 toward a similarly enlarged edge portion 134 at the opposite lateral side of the body portion 30a. Extending partially longitudinally of edge portion 134 is a recess or hole 135, the forward or bottom Wall of which open to a smaller passage 136, which, in turn, opens at the forward edge of the body portion 30a, as best seen in FIG. 2. Intersecting the smaller passage 136 at right angles thereto is still another smaller passage in the form of a slot 137. Further, as seen in FIG. 4, the thickened portion 134 of this edge of the cover body is partially cut away to form a larger slot 139, intersecting slot 137. Slot 139 is adapted to receive an intermediate part of the latching means portion of the weapon, indicated generally at 120. Latching mechanism or means 120 includes a latching bar or cam 240 pivotally mounted adjacent one end thereof on the cover body by means of a pin 241 inserted in a hole 241a in a boss formed on the exterior or outer surface of the cover body 30a. A portion of the arm is captured in a slot 242e: in a pad 242 on housing 2i); A suitable detent may also be provided, as indicated generally at 243, of the ball and plunger variety, to maintain the cam 240 in a fully latched position in slot 242e. Received in passage 135 at the rear edge of body 30a is a single mainspring 142 having a plunger 144 associated therewith. The mainspring is captured between the bottom wall of passage 135 and a head or shoulder 144er at one end of the plunger. It will be noted that the opposite end of the plunger has a hole 146. Projecting laterally of the plunger and into slot 137 for relative sliding movement therein, in accordance with the saiing feature of the gun, is a pin 147 which is tightly fitted in the transverse hole 146 in the plunger body.

As stated, cam member 30' preferably supports cam means cooperating with a plurality of levers, indicated generally at 160* and 162, for operating hammer 122 in each. bolt assembly firing mechanism. Specifically, there is a locking cam indicated generally at 164, a cocking lever stop lug indicated generally at 16S, a retractor cam indicated generally at 166, and an unlocking cam indicated generally at 168. The cocking lever stop lug 165 projects inwardly of the housing during operation of the weapon, and includes a pair of bearing surfaces 165a and 165b each adapted to contact the cocking lever 160 during one portion of the ring cycle. Locking cam 164, llocated adjacent the forward edge of body portion 30a, includes an initial bolt-locking ramp portion 164a, a holding ramp portion 16411 and a clearance ramp portion 164e, serially arranged along its interior surface. Bolt unlocking cam 168, pinned to cover 30 by means 16811, is of generally L-shaped configuration having a tang 16811 overlying clearance ramp portion 164e of cam means 164. Retractor cam 166, on the other hand, projects from the surface with its longitudinal axis skewed from a plane parallel to the general direction of surface 165b, i.e., a plane normal to the gun axis. The retractor cam includes an initial contact surface or ramp portion 16611, which proceeds at an angle back along the cam body to a small fiat ramp portion 166b at the extreme end of the effective length of the cam body. The retractor cam is positioned to contact hammer 122 shortly after the hammer disengages both the cocking and firing levers and 162, respectively. As will be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, both cooking lever 160 and tiring lever 162 are pivotally mounted on pins 170' and 172, respectively, supported on pads 46a and 46h on the housing 20. The cocking lever, is generally triangular, having a hammer contact arm 174, a stop contacting or bearing surface 175, and a firing lever contact or driving arm 176. Conversely, the tiring pin lever 162 has a driven arm 177, a power arm 178, and a hammer contact arm 179.

The clearing mechanism of my invention, together with the associated ammunition clearing and handling mechanism, will now be described in detail. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, in particular, illustrated generally at 45 and 140, respectively, are the cartridge guide bar and clearing assemblies. The guide bar assembly 45 includes a guide bar 46 adapted to be secured to the housing 20, at pad 45a of the housing, by a lug or tang portion 46a on the guide bar using suitable fastening means. A feature of the improved guide bar assembly disclosed herein is the provision for shaft means cooperating with the clearing assembly 140 for signalling clearing operation, the shaft means being indicated at 180. Shaft extends through a hole 181 in the forward portion of the guide bar 46 and is restrained therein for rotation, relative to the guide bar, by the guide bar mounting screw or pin 182, which serves as a stop for one end of the shaft 180. The other end of the shaft 180' projects beyond the guide bar and lits loosely into a hole 183 provided in the housing means 20. Thus, guide bar 46 is fixed with respect to the housing, while shaft 180 is free to rotate. Mounted just to the rear of where shaft 180l enters hole 183 is an actuating member in' the form of a fork 185 having a slot 186. The fork 185 is adapted to cooperate with the clearing assembly 140, as more fully explained in detail hereinafter. As seen in FIG. 5, guide bar 46 includes a pair of lingers, indicated generally at 18S-188, conligured to receive cartridges from the feed mechanism, partially illustrated in FIG. 5. The fingers direct cartridges to the bolt assemblies for tiring, as well as receiving the spent cartridges and transmitting them to an ejection chute (not shown). To this end, each linger includes a rotor body clearance surface 188a, an outer or feeder guide surface 188b, an inner or ejector guide surface 188e, and an outer clearing guide surface 188d. Between the fingers, which fit into the clearance slots 33---33y in the rotor body, is an opening or slot 190 formed in the body of the guide bar assembly and adapted to provide clearance for a ipper bar or switch 192. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, flipper bar 192 is securely aflixed to shaft 180 at the proper angle by pin 193. The pper bar 192 is pivotable between a feed position (solid lines FIG. 5) and a clearing position (dotted lines FIG. 5) with suitable stop means in the form of a pin 194 (for clearing) and a pin 195 (for feeding) being provided as part of the feeder mechanism. Also indicated, in FIG. 5, is part of the mechanism forming the end of the cartridge path as the cartridge leaves the delivery mechanism and is about to enter the guide bar assembly. As indicated, this includes -a pair of inner guide plates 198-198, a pair of outer guide plates 199-199, and a pair of sprockets 200-200. The sprockets are fixed to and rotate with drive shaft 201 moving relative to the inner and outer guide plates, which are fixed. As stated above, the flipper bar 192 rotates with shaft 180, with respect to the guide bar assembly, and directs the cartridges either to a clearing path or a feeding path, as hereinafter described in detail. FIG. 3 also shows a pair of fixed guide members 2064 and 206. Guide member 204 is bolted to the housing 20 at about the 9 oclock position and, in conjunction with the rotor guides and bolt extractor lugs 132-132, provides lateral position control of the cartridges as they are being rammed forward. Guide 206, on the other hand, is bolted to the housing at about the oclock position in the drawing, and functions to help position cartridge cases during extraction.

Turning now, more specifically, to a description of the clearing switch assembly 140 of my invention for use in a very high speed automatic weapon of the Gatling-gun type, it will be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5 that slot 186 of fork member 185, mounted on the guide bar shaft 180, is adapted to engage a multiple cam actuating link, indicated generally at 210. Thus, link 210 has a rst arm portion 210a bent into engagement with a hole 212a in a feed cam or lever member, indicated generally at 212. In addition, link member 210 has a middle section 21017, which is engaged in slot 186, and a second end portion 210C. The latter connects with a second cam or lever member, indicated generally at 214, being engaged in a hole 214a provided therein. As shown in FIG. 3, the clearing assembly cams are in the feed position. The cams or levers 212 and 214 are pivotally mounted on a short shaft, indicated generally at 216. The cams or levers contain arm portions indicated, respectively, at 212b and 214b. When positioned according to the mode of operation desired, arm 212b or 21411, alternatively, is contacted by a trip lever, indicated generally at 220 in FIG. 5. As will be seen from the drawings, the trip lever 220' is pivotally mounted at 220:1 on the rotor body, the lever including a striking surface 220.5 for engaging, alternatively, arms 214b and 212b, as stated. The trip lever may be rotated out of striking distance of either cam for reverse rotation of the rotor during maintenance work, for example. A spring (not shown) may be provided if necessary, to insure that the trip lever 220 will be in position to contact the cam levers, the spring being suitably contained in a recess in the rotor body. As shown, shaft 216 of the clearing switch assembly is connected to switch block or body portion indicated at 225 having a retainer cover 225a. The body 225 provides a mounting block for a snap action mechanism, indicated generally at 226, which may be provided to insure rapid axial movement or positioning of the actuating levers or cams 212 and 214 between the feed and clear positions, and vice-versa, during weapon operation. To this end, there is included a forward slide member 227, an aft slide member 228, both suitably retained on the block for relative axially slidable movement with respect thereto and with respect to each other, and a compression spring 230. The spring 230 is retained in aligned slots in the slide members and provides the forces required for left and right-axial or longitudinal-movement of the shaft 216 (connected to the cam levers), as a result of movement of control drive rod 232. Drive rod 232 preferably has a slack or system stackup adjustment mechanism, indicated generally at 234, on the end connected to member 228. The drive rod provides a force to move shaft 216 to the left in the drawings, for the feed operation, or to the right or opposite directicn, for the clearing operation. This force is supplied by a suitable sensing means such as a gun drive motor torque sensing device operably connected to the other end (not shown) of rod 232. When the motor is de-energized, the absence of the signal allows a spring (not shown), for example, on the other end of rod 232 to force slide member 227 to the left for clearing, as is more fully described hereinafter. The action is thus describable as push-pull, with ramps or cams 227a and 228er, respectively, on the slide members cooperating with locking springs 236 and 238, also respectively, to provide the aforementioned snap-action. With su'icient signal torque, together with the very high rate of iire accompanied by rapid rotor rotation, the snap-action mechanism may be eliminated making the rod end at 234 a direct connection to shaft 216.

Cil

Operation The operation of the improved clearing mechanism of my invention will now be described in detail.

As stated above, systems for clearing ammunition from a high rate of lire automatic weapon have heretofore been electrically operated and randomly timed, with the result that at relatively high rates of firing speed reliability of performance of the system can suffer. The system described hereinabove is, however, mechanically connected directly into the gun mechanism, i.e., shaft having fork means 18S is provided with a positive, .synchronized mechanical initiating signal for the clearing operation. Thus, assume the gun is being fired, with ammunition flowing from a suitable storage means (not shown) into the feeder mechanism, partially illustrated in FIG. 5. Accordingly, the teeth of sprocket wheels ZGB-200, in cooperation with the pairs of inner and outer feeder guide plates shown at 198--198 and 199-199, respectively, are delivering the cartridges (shown in dotted lines in the drawings). Flipper bar or switch member 192 is, therefore, resting against stop pin 195. The curved surface 192a of bar 192, together with the surfaces of the feeder guide plates and the outer or feeder guide surfaces 188b-88b of fingers 18S-188, forms a continuation of the feed path for delivery of cartridges to the gun rotor. Note that the center point of the actual transfer of the cartridges to the gun, as indicated on the drawing, is adjacent the junction of finger surfaces 188a and 18811 on both lingers, the junction points being aligned axially of the guide bar assembly. At this time, shaft 180 is being maintained in the feed or firing position, as follows. The rotor drive motor torque sensing device (not shown) is holding rod 232 and aft slide 228 in the extreme left-hand position, as illustrated in FIG. 5. The snap-action mechanism, indicated generally at 226, including the forward and aft slide members, 227 and 228, respectively, acts to maintain slide 227 at the left side of the block 225. Levers or cams 212 and 214 are thus located at their rearwardmost positions, wherein the forwardmost or feeding cam 212 is aligned with the trip lever 220, i.e., clearing cam or lever 214 is out of axial alignment therewith and cannot contact the trip lever. This results in the application of a signal mechanically through the link member 210 rigidly attached to both the levers 212 and 214 and the fork 185. The latter, in turn, controls the position of shaft 180 on which is mounted the ipper bar 192. After the flipper has been switched, the spring action of the link 210 maintains its position.

Assume now, that the gun drive is de-energized at the end of a firing burst. As the output torque of the motor falls off, a return spring or suitable sensing device, at the other end of control rod 232 (now shown) moves the 4control rod and aft slide 228 to the right in the drawing, compressing spring 230. As aft slide 228 moves right, locking spring 236 moves up on ramp 228g, releasing forward slide 227, which snaps to the rig-ht and locking spring 238 comes down `behind shoulder 227a. This causes movement to the right (in the drawing), or forward movement with respect to the gun axis, of shaft 216, moving cam lever 212 and 214 to their forwardmost position. At this point, arm 214b of clearing lever or cam 214 is brought into axial alignment with trip lever 220. Depending on the angular position of the trip lever, either immediately or before one more revolution of the rotor 10 is completed, surface 22017 contacts cam 214 causing it to rotate on Ishaft 216. This, in turn, results in link 210, engaged with fork 185, moving the fork counterclockwise, as seen in FIG. 5 which turns shaft 180 in the same direction. Immediately the ipper bar or clearing switch member 192 moves from the feed position, shown in solid lines in the drawing, to the clear position, shown in dotted lines. The flipper, resting against stop pin 194 now forms a portion of a clearing path for cartridges still being fed to the gun clue to the inertia of both the gun and the electrical (or hydraulic) drive system. That is, cartridges which are still live are guided along a clearing path formed by the outer and inner guides, the flipper or switch surface 192b, and the outer or clearing surfaces 188d of fingers 188. At the salme time, cartridges left in the gun at the time deenergization occurs are guided, as usual, along the ejection path, passing out of the gun along the path partially formed by surfaces 188C of fingers 188.

Since the clearing switch of my invention is mechanically controlled or operated, reliability and timing problems associated with the use of known electrical devices for the clearing operation are eliminated.

What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. In a high rate of fire automatic weapon having a plurality of barrels circumferentially arranged about a common axis, an externally-powered rotor assembly supporting said barrels, and a plurality of cartridge-carrying bolts received in axial ways in s-aid rotor for reciprocal longitudinal movement therealong to and from a cartridge firing station, the improvement of means for clearing said weapon at cessation of power tothe rotor, said clearing means comprising:

la trip member mounted on the periphery of the rotor and projecting outwardly thereof;

sens-ing means including first and second cam members,

one of said cam members being contacted by said relatively moving trip member when the rotor power source is energized, the other of said cam members being alternatively contacted by said trip member when said power source is de-energized;

an ammunition feeder mechanism including,

a plurality of sprockets a feeder shaft rotatably supporting said sprockets adjacent the rotor body, and

4a plurality of guide members cooperating with said sprockets for delivery of live cartridges from a storage area to t-he weapon; guide means accepting cartridges from said feeder mechanism,

said guide means including,

a body portion having means for mounting said body portion to the weapon intermediate the feeder mechanism and the bolts,

Aa plural-ity of fingers spaced axially of said guide means body portion and having, respectively, tirst aligned arcuate surfaces cooperating with the relatively moving sprockets to receive live cartridges supported thereby and second align-ed arcuate surfaces, said second and first aligned Iarcuate surfaces joining at a point on each of .the lingers having its locus identical with the transfer point of said cartridges from said sprockets to -said fingers, and

a connecting shaft rotatably supported in said guide body portion and linked to said cam members; and a clearing switch member affixed to said connecting shaft,

said switch memlber being pivotable through an imaginary line joining said loci in response to rotation of said connecting shaft caused by movement of respective ones of said cam members, whereby when said one of said cam members is contacted by said trip member said switch member pivots to a first posit-ion wherein live cartridges ,are directed to said first aligned arcuate surfaces for transmission thereby to said bolts, and whereby when said other of said cam members is so contacted said switch member pivots to a second position wherein said cartridges are directed to said second aligned arcuate surfaces for ejection overboard of said weapon.

2. In a high rate of fire automatic weapon having a plural-ity of barrels circumferentially arranged about a common axis, an externally-powered rotor assembly supporting said barrels, and a plurality of cartridge-carrying bolts received in axial ways in sa-id rotor for reciprocal longitudinal movement therealong to and from a cartridge firing station, rthe improvement of means for clearing said weapon at cessation of power to the rotor, said clearing means comprising:

a trip member mounted on the periphery of the rotor and projecting outwardly thereof;

means contacted by said relatively moving trip member for sensing, respectively, when the rotor power source is energized and when it is de-energized;

an ammunition feeder mechanism including feeder guide means for delivering live cartridges from a storage area to the weapon;

a housing guide means intermediate the rotor assembly bolts and said feeder guide means and cooperating therewith to accept cartridges from said feeder guide means at a fixed effective transfer point between the respective guide means;

means connected between said sensing means and said housing guide means for transmitting signals therebetween indicative of the operative state of the rotor power source; and

a switch member juxtaposed between said feeder guide means and said housing guide means and operably 'connected to said signal transmitting means, whereby said switch member cooperates with the respective guide means to direct live cartridges to the bolts when in a first position, said switch mem-ber being movable through said transfer point by said signal transmitting means to a second position, wherein said switch member cooperates with the respective guide means to direct live cartridges from said feeder mechanism overboard of the weapon.

3. The apparatus of the invention according to claim 2 wherein said sensing means includes first and second cam members, said first cam member being contacted by said trip member when rotor power is applied, said second cam member being contacted, alternatively, when said rotor power is shut off, and wherein said signal transmitting means includes `an elongated shaft rotatably supported by said housing guide means and said switch member comprises a curvilinear bar supported on said elongated shaft for pivoting movement therewith -between said first and second positions.

4. The apparatus of the invention according to claim 2 wherein said feeder guide means include a feeder shaft, a pair of sprockets mounted on said shaft for rotation therewith, a plurality of fixed, curvilinear guide members, and first `and second stop means, whereby said guide members and said sprockets cooperate with said housing guide means t-o deliver live cartridges tothe bolt's whenever said switch member is moved through said transfer point and against said first stop means, said guide members and said sprockets likewise cooperating with said housing guide means to deliver live cartridges overboard of .the weapon whenever said switch member is moved `oppos-itely through said transfer point and against said second stop means.

5. The apparatus of the invention according to claim 2 wherein said housing guide means comprises a body portion adapted to be mounted to the weapon intermediate said feeder mechanism and the bolts, and a pair of fingers spaced axially on said body portion, each of said fingers having first and second surfaces, the first surfaces of each of the fingers being, respectively, arcs of equal circles .in parallel planes, said planes being perpendicular to the rotor axis and said circles having colinear centers, and the second surfaces of each of the fingers being, respectively, arcs of equal and smaller circles in said planes, Isaid smaller circles also having colinear centers, the first and second surface arcs of each finger meeting at said transfer point.

6. rllhe apparatus of the invention according to claim 5 wherein said switch member comprises at least one fiat Ibar rectangular in cross-section and having first and second curvilinear surfaces at the edges thereof, said first curvilinear surface forming a continuation of one of the iirst arcuate surfaces of said `fingers for directing live cartridges therealong to the bolts when said switch member 4is in ysaid rst position, said second curvilinear surface forming a continuation of one of the second arcuate surfaces of said lingers for directing live cartridges therealong overboard of the weapon when said switch member is in said second position.

No references cited.

SAMUEL W. ENGLE, Primary Examiner'.

Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *None
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4270436 *Jan 8, 1979Jun 2, 1981General Electric CompanyAmmunition feed and eject mechanism
US4294158 *Jan 8, 1979Oct 13, 1981General Electric CompanyGun bolt control mechanism
US4342253 *Apr 7, 1980Aug 3, 1982General Electric CompanySprocket arrangement in a high rate of fire revolving battery gun
US7013789 *Nov 14, 2003Mar 21, 2006Dillon Michael JIntegral latching system for machine gun top cover and safing sector assembly
DE3040798A1 *Oct 30, 1980Sep 3, 1981Gen ElectricPatronenzufuehrvorrichtung
WO1985005442A1 *May 20, 1985Dec 5, 1985Ronald Ross KerfootMulti-barrel machine gun
Classifications
U.S. Classification89/12, 89/33.1, 89/33.3, 89/137
International ClassificationF41A9/00, F41A9/36
Cooperative ClassificationF41A9/36
European ClassificationF41A9/36