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Publication numberUS3570467 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 16, 1971
Filing dateJun 16, 1967
Priority dateJun 16, 1967
Publication numberUS 3570467 A, US 3570467A, US-A-3570467, US3570467 A, US3570467A
InventorsBelokin Paul Jr
Original AssigneeWoodstream Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bird launcher
US 3570467 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] lnventor Paul Belokin,Jr. FOREIGN PATENTS Y Ill. 516,942 1/1931 Germany 46/84 [21] A ppl. No. 646,648 805,308 1958 Great Britain..... 46/84 iii; filled d fi 2 3 1,153,927 10/1957 France 46/83 atente ar. [73] Assignee Woodstream Corporation 'f' Exam'fler Rlc.h?rd Pmkham Limz Pa Assistant ExammerW1llrarn R. Browne Attorney-Jacobi & Davidson, Lilling & Siegel ABSTRACT: A device is described for launching an aerial tar- [54] BIRD LAUNCHER get and a target is described for use with such devices. In one embodiment a manually operated mechanical launcher 1S 4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.

described having a spring-actuated rotary shaft with means for. [52] U.S.Cl 124/26, axially engaging the recessed hub of a target h h upon 46/84, 124/41, 124/31 273/105-4 release causes the target to-carry itself into the air in a manner [51] Int. Cl F 41b 15/00 peculiarly adapted to target practice and related sporm Both of Search 7, the laun her and target have cooperating concentric owling 6,41,31i46/84, 83 walls which allow the target to become airborne with the proper orientation and forward speed for target practice. In [56] References cued one embodiment the target is designed with radial balanced UNITED STATES PATENTS fins or blades joined to a recessed hub within a ring housing 693,328 2/1902 Morgan 46/83 and being radially offset from both the hub and housing. Other 880,633 3/1908 Curtis 46/84 embodiments are disclosed.

. I I i I 74* 5 l |8 I 5 I03 us -:x:- X. 2 1:2 I27 I22 g; 60 80 I26 y 1 I32 l 32 I ID i f I 84 l 5 j I2 l l 1 60 I38 |o4 I 34 I 36 w P0 |O6\ 42 88 y l 6 iii 5 I6 46 7 86 I4 24 92 lBlRll) LAUNCHER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention concerns a hand-operated spring-powered launching device which is adapted for use with both a frangible and nonfrangible targets, which is easy to operate and economical to use, and which throws the target with the proper flight orientation and speed for skeet or trap practice. This invention also concerns a frangible target designed for use with spring-powered launching devices. An advantage of the device of this invention is the ease of operation making it possible for the shooter himself to send targets into the air for target practice. A feature of this invention is the aerodynamic design of the target which upon release from the launcher climbs into the air at the proper speed and sails from the departure point with its axis of rotation in the vertical position to present a uniform and normal in-flight appearance to the shooter.

Spring-operated devices for launching clay birds for use in trap and skeet shooting are well known. In one form the clay bird is launched by a rotatable arm which swings from a cocked position about a pivot point to a suddenly released or stopped position and imparts both a forward and rotary velocity to the clay target so that it sails through the air in a manner simulating the flight of a live target. Hand-operated devices are also available which depend on the sudden flipping of a handle grasped in the hand of the user to send the bird into flight. In these devices, a cup-shaped frangible bird is used which rests against a rubber flange on the following edge of the rotating arm so that the bird is given a wiping action to impart rotational stabilized flight thereto. Gun clubs use electrically operated, automatically loaded machines to accomplish these results in a more facile and closely timed manner.

Launchers have been developed which employ the sudden release of a gas through the use of a .22 caliber blank cartridge or a compressed air tank to throw a target into the air, but these cannot be used with frangible targets and do not impart stabilized flight to the target. These devices are not entirely satisfactory because of the noise and expense involved, although they can use targets having a ,variety of forms, such as tin cans. In addition the path taken by the target is often erratic and not acceptable for trap and skeet shooting as enjoyed by the world of sportsmen. Except for the gas-operated launchers, devices of this type generally required one person to operate the launcher while the shooter concerns himself with hitting the target with his shot pattern SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention concerns a spring-operated device for launching aerial skeet and trap targets which provides a unitized housing having an enclosed launching means at one end which cooperates with a flanged target designed to engage the rotating spindle for a sufficient time to delay the departure of the target therefrom and impart the proper rotational velocity and trajectory to the target for skeet and trap practice. The device of this invention also provides a frangible target having a recessed hub with radial vanes or blades affixed to an outer cowling orflange member such that the target when in flight appears the same as the regulation clay target to the shooter and has substantially the same trajectory.

A feature of this invention is the provision of a frangible skeet and trap target adapted to propel itself in aerial flight from a spring-operated launcher with its axis of rotation oriented perpendicular to the earth along a substantial portion of its trajectory.

Another feature of this invention is to provide a convenient and easily operated light weight launcher for self-propelled frangible targets having a target-enclosing cowling at one end and a hand-operated crank at the other end with a conveniently disposed thumb release in the body of the launcher whereby both the loading and target-release functions are facilitated. One aspect of this invention relates to the shape of the lobes on the spring-actuated spindle to engage the matching recessed hub of the target which in cooperation with a cowling on the launcher and the flanged edge of the target impart the desired aerial path to the target.

By these means the target of this invention does not tumble or proceed through the air in an erratic manner and its trajectory is substantially uniform for each target. The device is easy and safe to operate and is noiseless. The device is readily adapted to use by an unskilled individual and the length or height of the target trajectory is subject to control of the operator. Other advantages of the invention will be described or become apparent.

It becomes therefore an object of this invention to provide a spring-operated target launcher and frangible target for use therewith, which propels the target into aerial flight of the proper trajectory for skeet and trap use.

Another object of this invention is to provide a frangible skeet and trap target adapted to be used with a spring-wound hand-operated launcher.

Another object of this invention is to provide the winding, catch and release mechanism for a target launcher of sturdy construction and sufficiently controlled acceleration and inertial characteristics to project a heavier-than-air frangible target into the air in a targetlike trajectory.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A specific embodiment of this invention is shown in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the launcher of this invention as controlled by the hand of an operator with the progressive positions of a released target shown in dotted lines along its trajectory;

FIG. 2 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a frangible target of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view, partially cutaway along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3 to show the construction;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the target of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the launching cowl of the launcher of this invention; 1

FIG. 7 is an enlarged end view of the target-engaging spindle; and

FIG. 8 is an end view of the clutch disc shown in FIG. 2.

THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, particularly FIG. 1, the launcher of this invention is shown to comprise a housing l0 having a tapered handle section 12 with a collar 14 at the narrow end, engaged by the crank 16 and an axially extending cowl 18 at the other end defining a cup-shaped cavity which encompasses the target 20 therein in ready position. The launcher is shown in the normal operating position at about a 45 angle from the ground as held by the hand 22 of an operator. The crank 16 has a rotatable handle 24 supported at its extended end by the pin 26. A release button 28 extends through the flared wall 30 of the housing 10 at an angle convenient for em gagement by the thumb 32 of the operator.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the target 20 is shown in full lines in its position prior to release of the button 28. Initially in its flight, having been given a rotary motion by the launcher, the target will assume a position as shown by the dotted line target 20'. Within about 5-8 feet of the launcher, the target will orient itself to the position shown at 20" and within a few feet will have assumed the position shown at 20" for the remainder of its flight path.

In FIG. 2 the relationship of these parts is shown in more detail including the elongated tapered bore 32 within the handle I2, terminating at the transverse wall 34 within which is supported the sleeve bearing 36. At the cowl end of the launcher there is provided an enlarged bore 38 of cylindrical configuration and in axial alignment with the center of the bearing 36. The bore 38 hasa pair of oppositely disposed circumferential shoulders 40 formed integral with the flared wall section 30. At the lower end of the handle 12 a peripheral recess 42 is provided to receive the inner circumferential edge 44 of the collar 14. The opposite edge of the collar 14 has an inner recess 46 forming a shoulder tp receive the cover disc 48 in press-fitted relationship.

The bore 38 receives the stationary transverse circular launching plate or wall 50in press-fitted relationship by means of notches 52 which engage the shoulders 40 and is thereby held transverse the concentric bores 38, and 32 and supports the bushing 54 centrally therein. The bushing or thrust bearing 54 is adapted to carry the spindle 56 in rotating relationship. The spindle 56 is attached to the shaft 60 as by means of the threads 62 within its central bore 64. The end of the spindle 56 (see FIG. 7) is formed into a pair of oppositely disposed abutments or pawls 66 and 68 with target-engaging flat surfaces 70 and 72 respectively, and curved, inclined flat surfaces 74 and 76 between same.

The shaft 60 extends from the bore 64 of the spindle 56 through an aperture 78 in the leaf spring 80, through the collar 82 to which it may be splined or otherwise affixed. The shaft extends through the sleeve 84, through the bearing 36, also through the bore 86 of the transverse wall 88 of the collar 14, and the bore 90 of the crank lever 16. The assembly is held in place against the thrust bearing 54 by the nut 92 engaging the end of the shaft 60.

The collar 82 has an axially extending dog or ear 94 selectively engaged by a corresponding aperture 96 in the spring 80. The collar 82 has a journal 98 with a transverse bore hole 99 therethrough. The upper end of the coil spring 100 is bent to engage the hole 99. This end of the coil spring can also pass through a corresponding bore hole (not shown) in the shaft 60 to secure these parts for rotation together. The bearing 36 encompasses the elongated journal 102 of the clutch disc 104 through which the shaft 60 is rotatably supported. The disc 104 has at least a pair of down-turned tabs 106 stamped therearound. A recess 108 is provided in the wall 34 to receive the spring 110 carrying the detent 112 for engagement with the detent tabs 106 when positioned opposite same. The periphery of the disc 104 is provided with a notch 114 engaged by the shoulder 116 in the inner wall of the collar 14 to hold these parts for rotation about the shaft 60.

The platform 50 has an aperture 118 to receive the offset end 120 of the leaf spring 80 and form a fulcrum support. Radially opposite thereto the pin 122 is affixed to the platform 50 and extends through the aperture 124 at the end of the spring. The head 126 of the pin 122 is larger than the aperture 124 to retain the leaf spring against the small coil spring 127 carried by the pin.

The leaf spring 80 has a terminal inwardly inclined tab 130 which engages against the back of the button 28 holding same within the aperture 132 ofthe flared section 30 of the housing by means of the flanged edge 134. The crank 16 engages the collar 14 through slot 136 in its sidewall. The end 138 of the coil spring 80 engages a radial bore hole 139 (FIG. 8) in the journal 102 of the clutch disc 104 but does not engage the shaft 60. Both the collar 14 and the disc 104 (through its journal 102) are rotatable upon the shaft 60.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the target of this invention has a cup-shaped hub member 140 from which extend three blades 142, 144 and 146 each having nonradial trailing edges 148 extending from the base of the hub 140 and radial leading edges 150. Between the leading edge 150 of one blade and the trailing edge 148 of the next blade there is an opening 152 in the target. The trailing and leading edges of any one blade are not in the same place as shown in FIG. 4 so that the blades 144, for example, present inclined lower and upper aerocurve surfaces 154 and 156 in the direction of rotation.

The target is a single molded unit with the blades formed integral with the hub 140 and also integral with down-turned cowl segments 158 at their ends. The base of each ofthe cowl segments 1.58 is formed integral with the top edge of the offset or inwardly depending flange 160 to huddle the blade-ingested air downwardly through the flange 160. The flange 160 allows a clearance 164 (FIG. 2) between the cowl segments 158 and the bore 38 of the launcher. This flange 160 has a circumferential and concentric outer cowl member 162 with a flat trailing edge 163.

In FIG. 5 it is seen that the angle a between the intersecting leading and trailing edges of succeeding blades is greater than and that each trailing edge 148 is longer than the leading edge of each blade. Also the central axis of each blade, as illustrated by the line A-B in FIG. 5 does not intersect with the center of rotation 166 of the hub 140 and trails about one-half the width of the base of the blade in a direction opposite the direction of rotation. Furthermore, (see FIG. 4), the height C of any blade at the leading edge of its cowl segment 158 is about twice the height D of the concentric flange and the cowl 162, while the hub 140 extends still further ahead of the arc of rotation of the leading edges of the blades by a distance E equal about that of the height I). The total height C+D+E is about that of any regulation clay bird and its silhouette during rotation in flight closely resembles the regulation target. Because of the cowl segments 158 the total area of the target which may be struck by the shotgun pellets is about the same as a regulation target, notwithstanding the area lost by openings 152.

Referring to FIG. 5 the underside ofthe hub 140 has a double-lobed recess having its center at 166. Each lobe has an inclined surface 170 and 172 terminating in walls 174 and 176 designed to mate with and be engaged by the teeth 66 and 68, (of the spindle 56). The flat surfaces 70 and 72 and inclined surfaces 74 and 76 of the spindle 56 match, respectively, the walls 174 and 176 and the inclined surfaces 170 and 172 of the recessed hub. The top 178 of the hub is recessed between the lobes 180 and 182 and extends partly within the bore 64 of the spindle 56. Also the outer circumferential surface of the cowl 162 is closely spaced from the inner bore 38 of the cowl 18.

The launcher and target of this invention are used as follows: The handle 12 is gripped in one hand and the crank 16 is turned clockwise as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 1. Since the crank 16 is not affixed to the shaft 60, the crank engages the slot 136 and rotates the collar 14 along with the disc 104 and the journal 102 within the bearing 36. With the dog 94 engaged in the aperture 96 the collar 82 is fixed along with the shaft 60. The spring 100 is thereby wound around and tightened upon the sleeve 84. When the spring is tight one of the detents 106 will engage the detent rod 112 and hold the spring in its tautened position.

A target 20 is then placed within the cowl 18 with the trailing edge 163 resting upon the shoulders 40 above the platform 50. The device is pointed generally upward and inclined slightly in the direction of desired flight and the button 28 is depressed. This releases the dog 94 and the spring 100 unwinds from the other end carrying the collar 82 and spindle 56 therewith. The target rotates with quickly increasing velocity, and is frictionally held by the spindle shape until the run down of the spring slows the spindle whereupon the air compressed below the blades during the run down of the spring and the action of the blades lifts it suddenly from the cowl 18 into flight. As soon as the target is released it passes through the positions 20', 20" and into stabilized flight as shown by position 20".

The air pressure built up below the aerocurve surfaces 154 and 156 of the rotating target 20, upon release of the spindle 56 is confined against the platform 50 by the cowl 18 and the close fitting bore 38 for an appreciable takeoff distance of the target during which time the initial flight is axially of the launcher. If the axis is inclined to the vertical, the thrust of the target will tend to move the target laterally into undisturbed air and the blades 20 will cause a pressure drop above the leading edge of the cowl and a pressure below it tending to level the target. The lateral movement of the hub through the air will also tend to level the target for it to float on a pressure mass below it with a generally arcuate trajectory in which the target will gradually glide back to the earth as the flywheel size of the openings 152.

power of the hub and blades gradually dies, air friction against the hub tending to keep the target level.

From this description it is apparent that parts and functions can be changed or omitted without departing from the spirit of this invention. The spaced blades 142, 144 and 146 have diverging trailing and leading edges either of which can be radial. The trailing edges 148 extend downwardly from the plane of the open bottom of the cup-shaped hub 140. Also the leading edges of each cowl segment 158, though extending rearwardly from the plane of .the base of the hub 40, need not be straight edges and may be arcuate or otherwise curved. The spindle 56 and the hub 140 may have more than two cooperating and matching teeth and recessed lobe parts. Similarly, the blades may be formed with radial leading edges 150 and diverging trailing edges 148, or diverging leading edges and radial trailing edges, which joint to the next adjacent blade at an angle at as much as 135, although this would in all likelihood limit the blades to two in number and decrease the The aerial target can be formed of any moldable composition such as the lime-stone-pitch mixtures used in trap and sheet targets or various plastic compositions particularly brittle or frangible plastics. Most of these materials are nontoxic chemically to rooting animals, such as pigs, but may break into small pieces having sharp corners which are detrimental when ingested by animals. The targets can be molded from cereals such as soybean flour, soybean meal and soybean hulls with a suitable binder to form, when broken, fragments that soften or are digested in the stomachs of rooting animals. Alhyd resins modified. with soybean acids are another source of plastic molding or binding material that may be used.

The targets may be molded in one piece with a substantially uniform wall thickness and frangibility throughout all parts or fabricated with minute indentations in the outer surface to form points of weakness in the structure so as to be readily broken by the shot. By altering the shape of the parts of the target, it can be made to emit a whistling sound in flight.

In using the launcher of this invention with the herein described aerial targets for trap practice the handle 12 can be held normal to the earth's surfaceor at an angle of less than 45 thereto, in which latter event the target can be made to leave the launcher, with a climbing action as it rises to a stabilized forward flight orientation, simulating the action of a live bird being flushed from the field by a hunter. By adjusting the angle of release, a wide variety of target flights can be produced. This flexibility of functions allows the operator to take advantage of or avoid the effects of strong winds on the target flight as long as the drop of pressure above the leading edge of the cowl 160 and the pressure induced therebelow through the cowl is great enough to lift the leading edge with respect to the target body and trailing edge.

lclaim:

l. A device including the combination of:

a. an aerial object having a cup-shaped hub with oppositely facing symmetrical recessed lobes formed in the bottom wall thereof;

b. spaced flared blades extending from the rim of said hub, having trailing edges extending downwardly from said bottom wall; 7,

c. circumferential cowl segments at the ends of said blades extending rearwardly from the rim of said bottom wall;

d. a circumferential flange integral with the ends of said cowl segments, said flange having a trailing edge of greater diameter than the leading edge;

e. means to launch said aerial object comprising a tubular housing member with an axially extending concentric cowling at one end with a transverse wall adapted to receive said aerial object within said cowling with said circumferential flange in juxtaposition with said concentric cowling;

f. a shaft rotatably mounted centrally in said housing;

g. means to engage said hub of said aerial object afiixed to the end of said shaft and extending through said transverse wall with its end central of said a coil spring engaging said shaft; and

. means to selectively wind and release said spring to impart rotary motion to said aerial object whereby said blades build up sufficient air pressure against said transverse wall by means of the sealing action of said cowling against said flange;

j. said means to selectively wind and release said spring comprising: a v l. a first flanged collar rotatably mounted on said shaft and attached to one end of said spring;

2. crank means to rotate said collar; V

3. means to allow said collar to rotate in a direction to wind said spring and prevent its rotation in the opposite direction;

4. a second flanged collar affixed to the other end of said shaft and to said spring; and

5. means to selectively engage and release the flange of said second collar in order to allow the rotation of said shaft by said spring.

2. A device for launching an aerial target comprising:

a. an elongated tubular housing member having an axially extending concentric circumferential cowling at one end with a transverse wall spaced therefrom and adapted to receive an aerial target within said cowling;

. a shaft rotatably mounted centrally in said housing;

means to engage said aerial target affixed to the end of said shaft and extending through said transverse wall with its end central of said cowling;

. a coil spring engaging the other end of said shaft;

e. means to selectively wind and release said spring to thereby impart a rotary motion to said target engaging means; and

. said means to selectively wind and release said spring comprising:

l. a first flanged collar rotatably mounted on said shaft and attached to one end of said spring;

2. crank means to rotate said collar;

3. means to allow said collar to rotate in a direction to wind said spring and prevent its rotation in the opposite direction;

4. a second flanged collar affixed to the other end of said shaft and to said spring; and

5. means to selectively engage and release the flange of said second collar to allow the rotation of said shaft by said spring.

3. A device in accordance with claim 2 in which said means to engage said aerial target comprises a hollow spindle on said shaft, said spindle having peripheral teeth in its extended end.

4. A device for launching an aerial target comprising:

a. an elongated housing member having cowling means at one end adapted to receive an aerial target;

, b. a shaft rotatably mounted in said housing;

c. means to engage said aerial target affixed to the end of said shaft and extending into said cowling means;

. a spring means engaging the other end of said shaft; and

means to selectively wind and release said spring means to thereby impart a rotary motion to said target engaging means; and p f. said means to selectively wind and release said spring means comprising:

1. a first collar means rotatably mounted on said shaft and attached to one end of said spring means;

2. crank means to rotate said collar means;

3. means to allow said collar means to rotate in a direction to wind said spring means and prevent its rotation in the opposite direction;

4. a second collar means affixed to other end of said shaft and to said spring means; and

5. means to selectively engage and release said second collar means to allow the rotation of said shaft by said spring means.

cowling;

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Classifications
U.S. Classification124/26, 446/38, 124/41.1, 124/31, 273/364
International ClassificationA63H27/127, F41J9/18, F41J9/00, A63H27/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41J9/18
European ClassificationF41J9/18