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Publication numberUS3577921 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 11, 1971
Filing dateJul 18, 1968
Priority dateMay 3, 1961
Also published asDE1553937A1, DE1728364B1, DE1796283A1, DE1796283B2, US3302523, US3521523, US3530762, US3545333, US3561319, US3854400, US3951038
Publication numberUS 3577921 A, US 3577921A, US-A-3577921, US3577921 A, US3577921A
InventorsJules Edmond Van Langenhoven
Original AssigneeVictor Comptometer Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Caseless ammunition for firearms and the like
US 3577921 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent {72] Inventor Jules Edmond Van Langenhoven Benton County, Ark. 121] App]. Nov 760,108 [22] Filed July 18, 1968 Division of Ser. No. 473,556, July 7, 1965 abandoned. [45] Patented May 11, 1971 1 7 3 Assignee Victor Comptometer Corporation Chicago, I11.


, 5 2] US. Cl 102/38, 102/101 '51] Int. Cl F42b 9/16 150] Field ofSearch 102/38, 39, 43, 100, 101, (Cr Digest) 1 56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 35.949 7/1862 Potter 102/38 102/42 pub.

Maxim Hayner.. Hobbs Catlin et al. Galley eta1.... Johnson De Caro Hegge et a1. Dilchert FOREIGN PATENTS Italy OTHER REFERENCES SMOKELESS SI-IOTGUN POWDERS by Wallace H. Cox, pub. of E. I. DuPont Co. Inc.; pp. 25 38; 1935 copy in Primary Examiner-Robert F. Stahl AttorneyHamess, Dickey and Pierce tion.

Patented May 11, 1971 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 INV R,

CASELESS AMMUNITION FOR FITKEARMS AND THE LIKE This invention relates to firearm ammunition and, more particularly, to caseless ammunition for use with various types of firearms including air operated projectile firing apparatus. This application is a division of my copending application Ser. No. 473,556 filed July 7, 1965, which is a continuation of my prior application Ser. No. 189,621 filed Apr. 23, 1962, now abandoned.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION The present invention relates to caseless ammunition for firearms. The illustrative embodiments of the invention involve air operated .22 caliber firearms from which the ammunition is adapted to be fired as described in detail in the aforemention copending application Ser. No. 473,556, filed July 7, I965. The caseless ammunition is of generally cylindrical shape and comprises a projectile portion and a propellant portion of generally cylindrical shape. The propellant portion provides a one-piece solid porous ungranulated propelling charge of nitrocellulose. The projectile portion provides an integral support means for the propellant portion which is located entirely internally of the cylindrical peripheral surface of the ammunition. The projectile portion also provides holding and sealing means effective in a portion of the firing chamber of a firearm to temporarily axially hold the ammunition and to seal the bore end of the firing chamber against the flow of gases into the bore from the firing chamber until after ignition and substantial burning of the propellant.

The principles of the present invention have been applied to ammunition projectile firing systems, devices, and apparatus as hereinafter disclosed by reference to illustrative embodiments of the invention shown on the accompanying drawings wherein:

H6. 1 is an enlarged sectional view of one form of ammunition;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view of a portion of firearm apparatus shown loaded with a round of ammunition of presently preferred form and in a firing position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side elevational view of a round of caseless ammunition of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevational view of another round of caseless ammunition of the present invention;

H6. 5 is an enlarged side elevational view, partly in section, of a portion of a stud-driving tool type of firearm stud-type round of ammunition in firing position; and

FIG. 6 is an enlarged side elevational view, partly in section, of an alternative form of stud ammunition of the type shown.

While certain features of the present invention are particularly well adapted for use in air guns, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art to which this invention relates that the inventive principles are also applicable to other devices such as powder-actuated tools. Also, while certain forms of the ammunition are particularly advantageous in certain applications, the projectile design and the manner of attaching the propellant thereto may be varied as necessary and desirable depending upon such factors as the velocities required, breech pressure attained, the type of gun, and the projectile propellant characteristics.

A round of ammunition 110 adapted for use with a .22 caliber firearm or the like comprises a lead mass projectile, or the like, having a front end portion 112 and a rear end portion 114. In the illustrative embodiment, the projectile is provided with an inwardly extending bore 116. The rear end portion 114 is slightly outwardly flared as indicated at 118 for abutting obturating engagement with a similarly contoured portion in the barrel bore of the firearm. The amount of taper is dependent upon the shot start force desired. The shot start force should be sufficient to hold the projectile in place during the compression stroke until the propellant is ignited. Bore 116 has a corresponding inwardly directed taper 119 as shown. The bore 116 provides a propellant storage and ignition chamber within which one or more propellant caps 120, 121 may be provided. ln the embodiment shown, a pair of spaced propellant caps are illustrated. The propellant caps may comprise a nitrocellulose produce which is ignitable under the effects of heat and pressure to create high energy. The caps have a disclike form which is readily insertable into the bore 116. The caps have a diameter slightly smaller than the open end of the bore 116 so that they may be pushed along the tapered surface 119 of the bore until they are firmly wedged in the ignition chamber provided thereby.

Although the caps may be made from any material which is adapted to be decomposed at a high temperature to produce an explosive or gas-evolving action and which may be readily packaged, stored, and handled in a reliable manner, exceptional results are obtained from a porous nitrated cotton product. Nitrocellulose is particularly well suited for this use.

With the aforedescribed nitrate cotton product, the caps are very porous, easily ignited, completely burned upon ignition, and no undesirable residues are left in the barrel or the associated parts of the gun. While in most instances, the propellant may be manufactured, stored, and used in a solid stable form, it may be desirable, in some cases, to cover the propellant discs with a thin plasticlike film over the entire periphery. The plasticlike film may take various forms and, for example, be provided by the nitrating solution itself.

The projectile is held in position by frictional engagement between the enlarged tapered portion 118 and the barrel. The propellant caps are ignited by surface contact with the hightemperature air of the firing chamber and a high-level energy source is thereby provided for propulsion. The projectile is driven from the barrel by compression of the enlarged flared portion 1 18 as the shot start force is reached.

FIG. 2 shows a portion of an illustrative firearm or gun having barrel obturation means comprising a chamfered section 273, formed at the end of a movable firearm member 228-adjacent to the barrel 223, which is adapted to form a lead-col lecting groove 274 and receive a beveled end 275 of the barrel when the gun is in the firing position. A first cylinder bore 276, corresponding to the barrel bore 224, is provided adjacent the chamfered section 273 and the opposite end of the bore 276 terminates next to a larger diameter bore 277 joined by a beveled section 278 which form projectile holding means as hereinafter described in detail. Firing chamber obturation means are provided and comprise a tapering obturation chamber 279 extending to the rear face of the rear face of the firearm member 228, adjacent a movable air compression unit 233, 234, and terminating at its ends in a round 281 and a round 282.

The firing chamber obturation means further comprises obturator plug means 285 interposed between the air compression means and the ammunition chamber 272. The obturator plug means comprises a generally cylindrically shaped housing 286 press fitted within a bore 287 formed in the cylinder head 233. The end of the obturator housing adjacent the member 228 is fomied with a tapered portion 288 that is complementary to the tapering bore 279 in the member 228. An air passage 289 is formed in the obturator housing and connects to a larger passage 291 formed in resilient disc 234 to provide airpassage delivery means by which high-temperature air is delivered from the compression chamber. Obturator air passage 289 merges into a chamfered section 292 forming a seat for flow-control means in the form of a ball check valve 293. In the presently preferred form of the invention, the check valve 293 is floatingly supported for movement within a bore 294 extending from the chamfered section 292 through the obturator housing 286. A colled retaining member 295 is positioned at the outer end of the bore 294 to floatingly retain the ball check valve 293 within the bore. An enlarged chamber 296 is formed at the mouth of the bore 294 adjacent the retaining member 295. Caseless rounds of ammunition, indicated generally by the reference numeral 301, and shown in detail in FlG. 2, are adapted to be positioned within an ammunition chamber 272 of a firearm member 228. 1n the presently preferred form of the invention, each round 301 comprises a metallic (e.g. lead) slug haVING a generally cylindrical section 302, complementary in diameter to the bore 277, and an end section 303 adapted to extend into the bore 276. A beveled section 304, connecting sections 302 and 303. is adapted to abuttingly engage the beveled section 278 of the projectile cavity 272 formed between the bore 276 and 277 to axially position the round within the firing chamber in member 228. The diameter of the cylindrical portion 302 is sufficiently larger than the diameter of the bore 276 so as to form a seal between the shoulders 278 and 304 and to hold the projectile in place in the ammunition chamber until the propellant has been ignited and sufficient force is obtained to compress the lead projectile and force it past the shoulder 278 and into the bore 276 and down the barrel bore 224. It is desirable to have an arrangement providing a shot start force greater than the force obtained by compression of the air alone so that the projectile will not start to move until after the propellant has been ignited. If a propellantless air-driven round of ammunition is to be used, the amount of frictional retention between the projectile and the ammunition chamber is reduced greatly so that the ammunition is merely supported in the ammunition chamber and is driven into the bores 224, 276 as soon as or shortly after the compression stroke begins. In this manner, the gun may be used as a high-velocity weapon with a round of ammunition having propellant associated therewith and a high-shot start force, and may be used as a low-velocity air gun with a modified round of propellantless ammunition having a low shot start force.

Propellant attaching means are provided in the form of a stub shaft portion 305, integrally connected to the cylindrical section 302, and terminating in a radially displaced upset por' tion 306. In the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, a disc of solid propellant 307, corresponding in diameter to a cylindrical section 302, is fixed to the stub shaft portion and held in place by upset portion 306. While the presently preferred manner of associating the propellant with the projectile provides particularly advantageous results, it is contemplated that the propellant might be otherwise attached such as by directly bonding the propellant to the rear of the projectile without utilizing the post 305. In the preferred embodiment, the length of the propellant portion is approximately equal to the length of the main portions of the projectile. The diameter and depth of the chamber 296 are chosen so as to provide a minimum air gap and a minimum air volume. In the firing position. the high'temperature ignition air will be confined in an ignition chamber defined by the ammunition, the walls of the ammunition chamber, the walls of the chamber 206, and the air passage means extending from the valve seat 293. It will be apparent that the ignition chamber is in effect also at least part of the firing chamber. The propellant 307 may be made up of a homogenous mass of propellant material or of several layers of different propellant material each of which may be molded, extruded, or otherwise mounted on the projectile. The layers may have successively higher ignition points progressing toward the projectile to provide a greater thrust if so desired or may be otherwise varied and modified to attain particular ignition and firing characteristics.

In the presently preferred form of the invention, the propellant is manufactured into a doughy mass suitable for formation in pellet or cap forrn separately from the projectile or directly on the projectile. This type of ammunition is caseless and the entire round is fired from the gun without residue.

The propellant made in accordance with the practice of the present invention is formed into porous pellets containing as s essential elements therein an ignitable explosive material and a cellulose binder material.

The doughy mass may be molded onto the projectiles. The projectile, of the type shown in FIG. 2, is supported with a suitable die enclosing the stub shaft portion and forming a die cavity therearound approximately equal to the diameter of the projectile with suitable allowance for shrinkage and the like. The doughy mass is extruded into the die cavity around the stub portion. The propellant dough is confined so that it cannot flow past the projectile and enough propellant dough is injected to fill the die cavity and produce the desired length and diameter pellet when dry. A l,l00-feet-per-second formulation may be used in combination with a 1,200-feet-per-second formulation as an ignition charge as shown in FIG. 3. The main charge 3070 is extruded onto the projectile first as hereinbefore described. Immediately thereafter, the projectile and main charge are displaced slightly in the die means and the ignition charge 30712 may be extruded into the rear of the main charge. In the presently preferred form, shown in FIG. 3, the ignition charge is centrally placed in the rear of the main charge in a somewhat semispherical form surrounded with and embedded in the main charge except for an exposed rear surface.

In order to vary the velocity, it may be desirable to change the amount of propellant of any given formulation attached to the projectile. However, it is necessary and desirable to have the dimensions of the ammunition remain constant. An inert charge may be first extruded onto the projectile to occupy a portion of the volume of the normal propellant cavity. An exemplary formulation for the inert charge comprises:

grams talcum 5 grams hydroxyethyl cellulose (high viscosity) 30 grams water A technical grade of talcum powder such as that sold by Fisher Scientific Company has been found to be satisfactory. This mixture should be kneaded into a doughy mass for approximately 30 minutes at room temperature before being extruded. It is important that the inert dough have sufficient consistency to set up on the projectile without lending to flow past the projectile. In one illustrative arrangement, shown in FIG. 4, producing a velocity of approximately 700 feet per second with the l,l00-feet-per-second propellant initially described, a volume of the inert charge 307C equal to the projectile diameter by .130 long is molded onto the rear of the projectile. Then a quantity of the l,l00-feet-per-second propellant 307d equal to the projectile diameter by .090 long is molded onto the rear of the inert charge. This amount of the propellant will produce a velocity of approximately 700 feet per second. The propellant material may be extruded in a tubular form. For one type of propellant utilizing removable solid filler particles of potassium nitrate or the like to form the voids, a 0.250-inch nozzle and a 0.062-inch pin are utilized so that, after washing and drying, the outside diameter of the propellant will be about 0.220 inches and the inside diameter will be about 0.045 inches. When the material has been dried, it is cut to lengths of about 0.l69 inches with a 0.010 wide slotting saw. A propellant pellet of approximately 157 mg. is thus provided which, after washing, will weigh about 50 mg. After cutting, the removable filler is removed from the pelets by washing the pellets for approximately 4 days in slowly running water at about F. Thereafter, the propellant pellets are dried for approximately 24 hours and then the still wet propellant may be pressed onto the post at the rear of the projectile. It is to be understood that the propellant also may be extruded onto the projectile or molded thereon. In another method utilizing removable liquid filler to form the voids the propellant is in the form of a doughy mass ready for molding into a tubular form for subsequent association with the projectile or for direct molding onto the projectile as hereinbefore described. After the molded pellets have been at room temperature for about 5 minutes, they are boiled in a 2-kpercent potassium nitrate water solution for approximately 15 minutes and are then dried at l40 F. Boiling of the pellets in the KNO -water solution reduces shrinkage and increases the rate of removal of the solvents to produce the voids in the propellant. Consequently, no further rinsing is required and the remaining KNO will act as an oxidizing agent during burning of the propellant.

Advantages of these propellants are that they may be economically manufactured, they are stable both in manufacture and use under normal conditions, they may be easily associated with a projectile to form caseless-type ammunition, and they will burn cleanly and minimize corrosion of the gun parts. Furthermore, while being stable and harmless in asscciation with a projectile during manufacture, storage, and handling, when properly positioned in a firing chamber of a gun, they are capable of being ignited and generating highenergy gases, which when properly confined, are capable of propelling a projectile through a gun barrel at high velocity. While the propellant attached to the projectile can be ignited in the open by a flame from a match or the like, the propellant merely bums at a slow rate causing no movement of the projectile and is completely harmless. In addition, the propellants and the methods of making them provide versatility and flexibility to enable propellants of varying degrees of porosity to be obtained in a manner which is simpler and more economical than previously known.

In an air ignition system, the ammunition is associated with firing chamber means of a firearm and connected to hot air ignition means in the form of an air compression cylinder as shown in FIG. 2.

Air under increased pressure and temperature enters the ignition chamber through the passages 289, 291. The ball valve depending upon its initial position, is either forced away from the valve seat or maintained away from the valve seat by the high-pressure air and the flow passage between the ignition chamber and the compression chamber is kept open until the pressure in the ignition chamber becomes greater than the pressure in the passages 289, 291 due to leakage of air past the piston at the end of the compression stroke. When the pressure differential is attained, the ball valve 293 is moved onto the valve seat 292 and the passage 289 is closed. It has been found that ignition of the propellant will ordinarily occur after the valve is closed due to an ignition time delay apparently equal to the time necessary to transfer heat from the air to the propellant and raise the temperature of the propellant to the ignition temperature. The front of the ammunition round 301 provides a seal in the bore 277 and on the shoulder 278 so that the high-temperature ignition air cannot leak past the round. When the round begins to move, lead on the projectile portion 302 is compacted to permit movement past shoulder 278 and, as the projectile moves into the barrel, it has been found that some of the lead will be removed from the projectile and forced into the lead-collecting groove 274. Consequently, upon subsequent firings, there will be an accumulation of lead in the groove and a lead seal will be established between the barrel and the cylinder. The high-temperature of the air within the ignition chamber ignites the propellant 307 and the projectile 301 is driven out of the barrel bore 224 at a high velocity. The ball check valve 293 is driven against its seat 292 so that the products of ignition will not enter the air compression cylinder 29] through passages 289, 291.

Referring now to FIGS. 5-6, certain of the inventive principles are shown to be embodied in ammunition for a powderactuated stud-driving tool.

Referring again to FIGS. 5-6, the projectile to be driven from the tool may take any of the conventional forms now available for use in tools of this general type. ln the illustrative embodiment, the round of ammunition 730 comprises a projectile portion in the form of a stud having an elongated shank portion 732, terminating in a pointed end 733, and a headed portion 734. A propellant portion of the round of ammunition comprises, in the illustrative embodiment, plug means 736 attached to the projectile head portion and providing support means 738, obturation shoulder means 740, and propellant attaching means 742. The plug means may be made of any suitable material. such as plastic materials, which will be capable of being compressed and driven through bore 608 in the barrel 676 after ignition of the propellant. In the illustrative embodiment, the propellant 744 is mounted in a cavity at the rear of the plug with a surface exposed for surfacecontact with hightemperature air delivered from a hot air source to the firing chamber formed between a rearwardly movable breech member 694 and chamber surfaces 692, 693 at the rear of the tool barrel 676 through passage 706. It will be understood that the propellant may be otherwise attached or associated with the projectile. Referring now to FIG. 6, an alternative projectile form is shown to comprise a threaded head portion 748 with the plug means 736 being generally cylindrical and molded or extruded onto the threaded head portion as shown. The barrel may be modified as necessary or desirable by, for example, providing an obturation shoulder for engagement with the surface 750 as hereinbefore described in regard to the ammunition shown in FIG. 2. lt will be understood that any other stud form may be utilized and, as is conventional, a guide ring 746 may be mounted on the front of the studs.

It will be apparent that the aforedescribed tool operates similarly to the aforedescribed gun apparatus. In the firing position, it will be observed that the propellant cap 744 is exposed in the firing chamber for contact with high-temperature air to be delivered from the air compression means during firing of the tool while the front edge of the plug 736 also serves to hold the stud in the barrel until the time that the propellant is ignited and the stud is driven down the barrel.

While the propellant is shown to be attached to the stud, it could be separately loaded. Furthermore, while in the illustrative embodiment, a free-flight powder-actuated tool is disclosed, certain principles of this invention are applicable to a piston-driven-type tool as will be readily understood by those skilled in the powder-actuated-tool art.

In the broadest aspects of the present invention it is contemplated that other types of propellant may be used and that other propellant ignition means may also be provided. However, particularly advantageous results are obtained by the use of the particular propellant and the particular means of igni tion the propellant disclosed. Obviously, the details of construction and the arrangement of the parts may be varied without departing from the principles herein disclosed. Since the inventive principles disclosed herein have obvious application in alternative combinations, it is intended that the scope of this invention as defined by the appended claims include those alternative embodiments which utilize the inventive principles herein disclosed.


l. A round of caseless ammunition having a generally cylindrical peripheral surface and shape comprising only a onepiece integral projectile and a one-piece integral attached propellant charge:

the projectile comprising a generally rounded variablediameter nose portion;

a cylindrical center portion of larger diameter'than the nose portion;

a cylindrical support surface on said projectile for supporting the ammunition in a firing position in a firing chamber in a firearm;

a transverse annular forwardly facing shoulder means on said projectile for temporarily holding the ammunition against axial displacement and sealing the ammunition on a corresponding shoulder means in a firing position in a firing chamber in a firearm;

a tail portion of reduced size relative to the cylindrical central portion;

the propellant charge comprising one relatively large homogeneous porous solid ungranulated colloided piece of nitrocellulose having a size and shape generally corresponding to the cylindrical central portion of the projectile and forming a rearwardly extending continuation thereof and mounted on and permanently attached thereto by attachment means including said tail portion of the projectile, said attachment means being located completely internally of the generally cylindrical peripheral surface of the round of ammunition.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1 and said tail portion comprising a reduced-diameter support post means centrally protruding from the rear of said projectile and being of reduced diameter relative to said propellant charge and being centrally embedded in said propellant charge.

3. The invention as defined in claim 2 and wherein said support post means includes radially extending portions providing flange means axially locating said propellant charge relative to said projectile.

4. The invention as defined in claim 1 and said propellant charge having a cylindrical peripheral side surface and a transverse rear end surface which by themselves form the entire outer peripheral surfaces of the rear portion of the ammunition.

5. The invention as defined in claim 1 and having an ignition charge attached to said propellant charge.

6. The invention as defined in claim 5 and said ignition charge being embedded in the rear end of said propellant charge.

7. A round of ammunition for a powder-actuated tool or the like comprising a projectile and a caseless porous solid propellant associated therewith, said projectile comprising a head portion at the rear thereof and an elongated shank portion extending forwardly from said head portion, the shank portion being smaller than the bore with which the projectile is to be associated for firing, guide and support means mounted on said shank portion and on said head portion and being larger than the shank portion and the head portion and of a similar size as the bore with which it is to be associated for firing, and propellant-attaching means provided on said guide and support means, the propellant being attached to the guide and support means.

8. The invention as defined in claim 7 and said propellantattaching means comprising a rearwardly extending cavity.

9. The invention as defined in claim 8 and 'said rearwardly extending cavity being formed in said guide and support means rearwardly of said head portion.

10. The invention as defined in claim 7 and shoulder means formed on said propellant-attaching means for abutting engagement with said bore.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3724376 *Feb 2, 1971Apr 3, 1973Remington Arms Co IncExpendable case shotshell
US3728966 *May 7, 1968Apr 24, 1973Olin MathiesonCartridge
US4453860 *May 10, 1982Jun 12, 1984Dynamit Nobel AktiengesellschaftCoating with polymer, dicarboxylic acid monoamide, and ammonium oxalate which disintegrates
US4572076 *Mar 13, 1984Feb 25, 1986Diehl Gmbh & Co.Caseless ammunition for automatic weapons
US5469790 *Sep 15, 1993Nov 28, 1995Singer; John S.Aerodynamic projectile and means for propelling same
US7137218Sep 26, 2005Nov 21, 2006Adkins Jr Wayne LMuzzle load assembly
U.S. Classification102/431, 42/106
International ClassificationF41A19/56, F41A9/45, F41A9/28, C06B21/00, F42B5/18, F42B5/188, F41A3/76, B25C1/12, F41A9/23
Cooperative ClassificationF41A9/28, C06B21/0091, Y10S102/702, F41A3/76, F41A9/23, F42B5/188, F41A9/45, F41A19/56, B25C1/12, F42B5/18
European ClassificationB25C1/12, F42B5/18, F41A9/23, F41A9/28, F41A3/76, F42B5/188, F41A19/56, F41A9/45, C06B21/00F
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