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Publication numberUS3673725 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 4, 1972
Filing dateOct 23, 1970
Priority dateOct 23, 1970
Publication numberUS 3673725 A, US 3673725A, US-A-3673725, US3673725 A, US3673725A
InventorsCravener James A
Original AssigneeCravener James A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tamper-proof lock for small arms
US 3673725 A
A safety lock for small arms, said lock preventing opening, breaking, loading or discharge of the piece. The lock comprises a pin mounted in a selected portion of the small arm. The pin is axially advanceable and retractable by means of a separate externally applied key which at all times is retained by the owner. The pin, when in one of its extreme positions, engages a portion of the conventional small arms mechanism to lock the gun against firing, loading or even opening of the action. The gun is, therefore, rendered "tamper-proof" until application of the appropriate key.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Cravener 1 51 July 4, 1972 [54] TAMPER-PROOF LOCK FOR SMALL ARMS [72] Inventor: James A. Cravener, 1627 5th Avenue,

Ford City, Pa. 16226 221 Filed: Oct. 23, 1970 211 Appl. No.: 82,932

52 us. 01 ..42 1 R, 42/70 R, 42/70 E, 42/70 F 51 Int. Cl. ..F4lc 17/00, F410 17/08 58 Field of Search ..42/1 R, I Y, 70 R, 70 E, 70 F [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,945,316 7/1960 Mulno ..42/1 R 3,553,877 1/1971 Welch et al. ..42/1 R FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 20,373 6/1905 Austria ..42 70 R Primary ExaniinerBenjamin A. Borchelt Assistant ExaminerC. T. .Iordan Attorney-Berman, Davidson & Berman [5 7] ABSTRACT A safety lock for'small arms, said lock preventing opening, breaking, loading or discharge of the piece. The lock comprises a pin mounted in a selected portion of the small arm. The pin is axially advanceable and retractable by means of a separate externally applied key which at all times is retained by the owner. The pin, when in one of its extreme positions, engages a portion of the conventional small arms mechanism to lock the gun against firing, loading or even opening of the action. The gun is, therefore, rendered tamper-proof until application of the appropriate key.

6 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 4 m2 3,673.725

SHEET 1 OF 3 INVENTOR. uA/WE S 4 0/94 yf/m-"A BY /74 5 {6W4 TAMPER-PROOF LOCK FOR SMALL ARMS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Almost without exception all small arms are supplied at the factory with a safety device which, when put in safe position, will prevent accidental discharge of the gun. Such safety means, however, are freely manipulable by anyone in whose hands the gun is placed. As a result, deaths and injuries due to accidental discharge of small arms seems to be noted almost daily in the press. A surprisingly large proportion of such accidents occur, not in the field, as on a target range or a hunting trip, but in or near the residence of the owner, and of such domestic accidents, a very large proportion occur because the gun is being handled by someone unfamiliar with such small arms and therefore are unable to detect whether or not the gun is ready for discharge.

The present invention makes it possible for the owner of virtually any form of small arms currently marketed to provide, in addition to the normal factory applied safety device, an additional lock operable by means of a separate, externally applied key, which key remains in the owners possession while the gun is at rest in a gun case, on a crowded shelf, or in a bureau drawer, in all of which locations any gun is vulnerable to mishandling by an inexperienced person.

It is an object of this invention to provide, in effect, a tamper-proof lock for all forms of small arms by which any particular piece may be locked by the owner before it is stowed away, the locking being accomplished by a separate, externally applied key which remains in the possession of the owner, with the result that while the gun is in storage, it is impossible for any person not equipped with the proper key to discharge, load or even to open the action of the particular piece.

Such a lock admittedly would be impracticable for field use as in hunting or target shooting. In field use, the conventional safety with which almost all small arms are equipped is perfectly adequate. At home, however, the gun rests in a cabinet, a bureau drawer, or a closet for weeks at a time and the present invention is concerned primarily with locking the piece so that unauthorized handling cannot possibly result in accidental discharge.

The above and other objects will be made clear from the following detailed description taken in connection with the annexed drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a conventional rifle of the lever action type;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of FIG. I, with parts broken away to show the mounting of the improved tamper-proof lock;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the locking means shown in cross-section in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation of an automatic type rifle provided with a tamper-proof safety lock;

FIG. 5 is a section on the line 55 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation partly in section of a conventional bolt action rifle;

FIG. 7 is a section on the line 7-7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of the parts shown in cross-section in FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation partly in section showing the safety lock applied to a double-barreled, hammerless shotgun of the twin trigger type;

FIG. 10 is a section on the line 1010 ofFIG. 9;

FIG. 1 l is a side elevation of the back portion of a hammerless automatic pistol; and

FIG. 12 is a section on the line 12-12 ofFIG. 11.

In FIGS. 1 and 2, a typical lever action magazine type rifle is generally designated 10. The portion illustrated has a stock 12 and an action portion 14. The action portion has a pair of vertically spaced, rearwardly extending arms 16 and 18 which are embedded in the stock 12 and secured in position by a cap screw 20 which has a round head embedded in the upper arm 16 and a threaded end 24 engaging the lower arm 18. The action is under the control of a conventional lever 26 which is pivoted to the action 14 at 28 and has a portion 30 forming a guard for a conventional trigger 32. The action 14 includes a conventional hammer 34 which is cocked whenever the lever 26 is actuated.

The hammer is impelled to firing position by a spring 36 which surrounds a guide pin 38. The guide pin 38 passes through a spring 36 which bears upon a conventional backing spring 40, one end 42 of which slidably bears upon the upper arm 16 while the opposite end 44 bears against a shoulder formed in the lower arm 18.

The parts making up the improved tamper-proof storage lock are detailed in FIGS. 2 and 3. To install the device, the cap screw 20 is withdrawn and the stock 12 is separated from the action 14 leaving the arms 16 and 18 exposed. A lock body portion 46 is then welded to the backing spring 40, as best seen in FIG. 3. The body portion 46 has at its upper end a central cylindrical bore 48 which for a portion of its depth is internally screw threaded, as indicated at 50. A keyhole 52 is then drilled through the upper arm 16 in a location to provide axial registry with the bore 48. Adjacent its lower end the body portion 46 is provided with a transverse bore 54 which, at full cock of the hammer 34, receives the end 56 of the guide pin 38. With the hammer 34 in its fired position, as indicated in FIG. 2, the end 56 penetrates the transverse bore 54 in the block 46. At the bottom of the bore 48 there is formed a short central bore 58 which intersects the transverse bore 54.

A compression spring 60 then is placed in the bore 48 after which the locking member, generally designated 62, is inserted. The lower portion of the member 62 comprises a locking pin 64 sized to enter and be guided in the small bore 58. The pin 64 has an externally threaded head 66 which engages the thread 50 of the bore 48. A depression 68 is formed in the top surface of the head 66 and is centered under the aperture 52 of the upper arm 16.

As seen in FIG. 3, the depression 68 is generally star-shaped with five radially projecting arms. This is completely arbitrary. The chief objective in selecting a design for the depression 68 is that it shall not receive the bit of a conventional phillips screwdriver or the bit of a conventional allen wrench. Such screwdrivers and wrenches may be procured at any hardware store and it is essential to the present invention that no such readily available tool may be utilized to turn the head 66. The depression 68 may be engaged by mating lugs 70 formed on the shank 72 of the key having a conventional head 74. The lugs 70 of the key 72 are sized to pass through the aperture 52 in the upper arm 16. The head 74 is designed for convenient mounting on a key ring which remains in the permanent possession of the owner. If the lugs 70 are engaged with the arms of the depression 68, then when the key is turned, the threads 50 bring the pin 64 downward into engagement with a socket 76 formed in the underside of the transverse bore 54. In this position, the pin 64 is located to engage the end 56 of the guide member 38 which, as previously noted, is connected to the hammer 34, and moves to the left of the position in FIG. 2 when the hammer is cocked. With the parts in position, shown in FIG. 2, the hammer 34 cannot be cocked. Therefore, the entire action 14 is immobilized in closed, uncocked position and can be released only by using the key 72 to move the pin 64 from its position across the path of the end 56.

It should be emphasized that the formation of the male key and the female screw head is a matter of completely arbitrary selection. For example, the male and female parts could be reversed. For an additional example, the female portion could be an arbitrary pattern of separate depressions which could be of arbitrary, individual cross-section. The male part would then mate with the pattern and with the individual cross-sections. All such variations may be referred to as coded formations.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a typical semi-automatic rifle. Semiautomatic guns fire each time the trigger is pulled. Fully automatic guns keep firing as long as the trigger is in rearward position. It is well known to gunsmiths that any semi-automatic rifle can be converted easily into fully automatic action,

though it is extremely rare for such a rifle to be supplied to a customer in condition for full automatic fire. The point is made here since hereinafter any reference to an automatic firearm shall be deemed to include both the fully automatic and semi-automatic types.

Guns of the type illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 usually have a magazine located in a tube which runs through the stock or in a tube underlying the barrel or, occasionally, in a clip extending transversely of the barrel. The particular magazine arrangement has nothing whatever to do with the present invention and is not illustrated here.

In FIGS. 4 and 5, the gun generally is designated 80 and usually has a combination stock and forepiece 82. The action 84 is insert into the stock and forepiece 82 and carries a conventional thumb-operated safety 86. A knob 88 is slidable in a slot 90 in the action 84. As shown in FIG. 5, the knob 88 has a shank 92 which goes into a sleeve 94. When the knob 88 is drawn rearwardly or to the left of FIG. 4, the slide 94 operates the entire action. The rearward or leftward stroke compresses the hammer spring 96 to cock the piece and to operate the extractor and ejector, not shown. At the rearward end of its stroke it picks up a fresh cartridge out of the magazine of whatever type and on the forward stroke (back to the position of FIGS. 4 and 5) injects a fresh cartridge into the breech, leaving the hammer cocked against the spring 96. In the particular model illustrated, the knob 88 reciprocates as each shot is fired. In many other models, however, the sleeve 94 actuates only the cocking mechanism and the sleeve along with the knob 88 remains stationary during the firing operation. All this, however, is immaterial so far as the present invention is concerned.

The sleeve 94 is provided with a rearwardly facing shoulder 96. In order to apply and utilize the present invention, a sleeve 98 is welded to a wall 100 of the action 84. The sleeve 98 and the wall 100 are first drilled and then tapped, after which a conical nose screw 102 is threaded into the sleeve 98 and the wall 100. The head of a screw has formed therein a depression similar to the depressions 68 of the screw 62 shown in FIG. 3. A disc 104 is then welded to the sleeve 98 and has a central aperture 106 through which a tool similar to the tool 72, shown in FIG. 2, may be inserted. When it is desired to store the piece, the tool 72 has its lock end 70 inserted through the aperture 106 to engage the mating depression in the head of the screw 102. This is turned to advance the screw axially to bring its conical nose across the path of the shoulder 96, thereby locking the piece against cocking, loading or firing.

FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 show the invention as applied to a bolt action rifle and is equally applicable to the many bolt action shotguns available on the market. The gun has a stock 110 to which is secured an action, generally designated 112, the action being under the control of a conventional bolt handle 1 14 which is shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 in its closed or firing position. Such guns are equipped with a conventional field safety 116 and the action is operated by lifting the handle 114 from the position shown to a position in which the handle 114 extends horizontally and outwardly of the action 112. In this position, the bolt may be withdrawn, such withdrawal cocking the hammer 124, extracting and ejecting the spent shell and on its forward stroke bringing a new cartridge into the firing chamber, leaving the gun loaded, cocked and ready to fire.

The handle 114 operates in a groove 1 18 formed in a sleeve 120 forming a part of the whole bolt. As the handle 114 is lifted from the position of FIGS. 6 and 7, it encounters a helical portion 122 of the groove 118 which brings about a rearward cocking motion of the hammer portion 124 of the action 1 12. When the handle 1 14 has been lifted as far as it will go, it is then drawn rearwardly to extract the empty shell and then thrust forwardly to put a new shell in the breech and to close the breech, after which the mechanism is locked by return of the handle 114 to the position of FIGS. 6 and 7.

All of the foregoing represents strictly conventional structure and action. It will be noted, particularly in FIG. 6, that the action 112 includes a rearwardly extending upper arm 126 and a rearwardly extending lower arm 128. The lower arm 128 includes a conventional trigger guard 130 which protects a conventional trigger 132. As best seen in FIG. 6, a bore 134 is formed in the 128 and is met by a counterbore 136. An axially aligned opening 138 is drilled and tapped in the arm 126.

A sleeve 140 (see also FIG. 8) has a head 142 which is seated in the counterbore 136 of the arm 128 and at its opposite end has a threaded portion 144 which enters and engages the threads of the bore 138 in the upper arm 126. A relatively narrow bore 148 is formed in the threaded end 144 and extends inwardly of the threaded portion where it encounters a bore of larger diameter 150. A compression spring 152 is received in the bore and bears against a shoulder 154 formed where the bore 150 meets the bore 148. A locking member is generally designated 158 in FIG. 8 and has a cylindrical stem 160 which slidably penetrates the spring 152 and the bore 148. The member 158 also has a threaded end 162 which engages the threads formed on the interior of the bore 150 of the member 140.

The member 162 has formed in its free end a depression, not shown but preferably similar to the depression 68 in the head of member 66, shown in FIG. 3, and is operable by means of a key 164 which, at its free end, has projections 166 which enter the depression in the free end of member 162, all as shown in FIG. 6.

The gun is in tamper-proof condition with the parts in the position shown in FIG. 6, where the stem 160 has its free end protruding above the upper surface of the upper arm 126. If, with the parts in this condition, an effort is made to raise lever 114, such lifting thrusts the hammer 124 back or leftward in FIG. 6 to bring a depending portion 168 of the hammer 124 rearwardly into juxtaposition with the protruding portion of the pin 160, thus preventing any further retraction of the bolt 120. The gun, therefore, cannot be opened, loaded or fired while the pin 160 occupies this position.

The spring 152 is provided simply to exert axial pressure between the portion 162 and shoulder 154 of the member 140 to prevent any accidental displacement of the pin 160 due to handling of the gun. Since, in this particular form of the invention, there may be more than usual axial displacement of the pin 160, it may be desirable to use multiple threads on the portion 162 and mating threads in the bore 150 so that each turn of the member 162 will produce a greater axial movement of the pin 160 than would be the case were a single thread used.

There is an additional feature of the invention contemplating the use of a safety block, best seen in FIG. 8 and generally designated 170. This is a simple cylindrical member having a bore 172 which will pass the portion 166 of the key 164 and having external threads 174 similar to the threads of portion 162 and which likewise engages the threads in the bore 150. This part is provided with a simple kerf 176. After the member 158 is inserted into the sleeve 140, the member is threaded into the upper end of the bore 150 until it is substantially flush with the outer surface of the head 142. The inner end of the member 170 in that position provides a rearward stop to limit withdrawal of the member 158. Even if the member 170, however, would be fully withdrawn from the bore 150, it is still impractical, without key 164, to back the pin 160 out of the position illustrated in FIG. 6.

It is to be noted that the head 142 is provided with circumferentially spaced depressions 178. These are engaged by a specially formed wrench for the initial installation of the sleeve 140 in the upper and lower arms 126 and 128. The depressions 178 are arranged in an unconventional pattern to prevent unauthorized removal. The tool engaging the depressions 178, however, need only be used by the factory or the gunsmith in the initial assembly of the parts. It is unnecessary for the owner to carry more than the key 164.

FIGS. 9 and 10 show the action portion of a conventional double-barreled shotgun of the twin trigger type. Such guns are of the break open type and, being hammerless", give no external indication whether or not the gun is cocked and/or loaded and, therefore, present a particular danger during periods of storage. In FIG. 9, the gun is shown as having a conventional stock 200 to be mounted on a conventional action generally designated 202. A conventional lever 204 is disposed laterally to permit the barrels 206 to pivot downwardly so as to break" the action and permit loading. This same movement cocks the internal hammers of both barrels against their respective springs (not shown). Lateral movement of the lever 204 thrusts rearwardly a pin 210. The pin 210 penetrates a spring 208 which, at one end, bears on a lug 212 through which the pin 210 passes. At its opposite end the pin 210 actuates mechanism, not shown, which returns the lever 204 to its normal or control position.

The gun is provided with a thumb-operated safety latch 214 to which is attached a fork member 216 which receives and actuates a head 218 on one arm of a bell crank 220 pivoted in the action frame at 222. Leaf springs 224 have one end wrapped around the pivot pin 222 and the opposite or free ends 226 bear on lugs 228, one of which is formed on each of the triggers 230, which acts to restore the triggers after each trigger has been pulled to discharge the piece. The bell crank 220 has a lower arm 232 which, when the latch 214 is pulled rearwardly or leftwardly in FIG. 9, rocks about the pivot 222 to engage a beveled surface 234 of each of the lugs 228 and therefore immobilizes the triggers 230. In the position of FIGS. 9 and 10, however, the safety is in the off position.

The invention of this application is applied in FIGS. 9 and 10 by securing a sleeve 240 in a suitable bore formed in a stationary portion of the action frame. The sleeve 240 has an internally threaded bore 242 which receives a screw 244. The outer end of the screw 244 is formed with a recess similar to that shown at 68 in FIG. 3 and when the screw 244 is advanced to the position in FIGS. 9 and 10, it blocks upward movement of the trigger lugs 228 as well as with the blocking displacement of the safety lever end 232, thus thoroughly immobilizing the piece with the safety latch 214 in off position and with arm 217 of fork 216 juxtaposed to the free end of pin 210. As a matter of fact, the piece can not be broken by lateral displacement of the lever 204, since such displacement would thrust rod 210 rearwardly, thereby engaging fork member 216 of the safety slide 214. In ordinary field use, when the gun is broken by movement of the lever 204, rod 210 moves rearwardly and automatically restores the safety 214 from its off position to its safety" position.

The sleeve 240 is welded to a cap 246 with a restricted bore 248 for the reception of a key such as 72 in FIG. 2 or 164 in FIG. 6. In the particular construction shown, it is necessary to form an access opening 250 in the conventional trigger guard 252 in order to provide access for the previously mentioned key.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show the application of the present invention one of the most dangerous forms of firearms to be encountered in any household. This is the hammerless automatic pistol with the magazine contained in the hand grip. Such a firearm gives absolutely no external indication whether it is either loaded, cocked, or both and a particularly dangerous feature is that, in most models, the magazine can be dropped by pressing a single external button or lever, thereby dropping the magazine. This seems to reassure the inexperienced handler that the gun is unloaded and therefore harmless. This misapprehension accounts for many accidental injuries and deaths since if the magazine drops, the gun may still have a cartridge in the firing chamber and still may be cocked and ready to fire.

In FIG. 11, a hammerless automatic pistol is generally designated 270 and has a conventional jacket or slide 272 slidable on a conventional frame 274. The gun has a conventional butt or hand drip 276 and is fired by a conventional trigger 278. The butt 276 receives the magazine of cartridges and the topmost cartridge is fed into the firing chamber by drawing the jacket 272 rearwardly to the right of FIG. 11, where it is slidable on the frame 274. After its rightward movement, the jacket 272 is released, whereupon it is thrust forward by the recoil spring, not shown, causing a cartridge to be lifted from the magazine in the handle 276 and placed in the chamber of the barrel which underlies the jacket 272. The rearward motion of the jacket 272 ejects a spent shell and cocks the hammer. Accordingly, when the slide 272 has been drawn back and released, the gun is both loaded and cocked.

It will be noted that the jacket 272 in its lower edge is provided with a pair of notches 280 and 282. A safety lever 284 is provided in the frame 274 about a pin 286. The free end of the lever 284 is provided with a knurled thumb knob 288 and with a redially projecting lug 290. If the gun is loaded and cocked, the handler may put the gun in safe" position by thumbing the knob 288 until the lug 290 enters the rearward notch 282.

The pivot pin 286 in a gun of this class usually extends across the frame 274 and carries mechanism, not shown because conventional which, when in the safety" position of FIG. 11, prevents pulling the trigger 278 so that the cartridge presumably contained in the firing chamber will not be discharged.

The present invention is applied to the guns of the type shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 by forming an axially threaded bore 292 in the thumb knob 288. A member 294 is threaded into the bore 292 and carries a cylindrical pin 296. The opposite end of the member 294 contains a depression 298 similar to the depression 68, seen in FIG. 3, which is engaged by the ribbed end 300 of a key 302. A disc 304 is welded to the knob 288 and has a central bore 306 of a diameter sufficient to pass the ribbed end 300 of the key 302, and to prevent accidental complete withdrawal of the member 292. In the position shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, the member 294 is screwed forwardly and the pin 296'engages a mating recess formed in the frame 274. This immobilizes not only the slide 272 but the trigger 278, as previously noted.

It will be evident from the foregoing disclosure that the mechanical elements of the improved tamper-proof storage lock are substantially the same for a wide variety of guns, the changes chiefly being of size and proportion. The inventive concept is fundamentally the same despite variations of make and model. It is to be expected that anyone skilled in the art, perusing the foregoing description, will discern numerous possible variations in detail from the several forms shown. It is not intended, therefore, to limit this invention to the precise mechanical details hereinabove set forth.

What is claimed is:

1. A tamper-proof lock for small arms of the type having an action which, upon actuation, ejects a spent shell, cocks a hammer and conditions the piece for firing, said action having relatively stationary frame portions supporting movable parts of the action, the improvement comprising: a lock body portion mounted on at least one of said relatively stationary frame portions, said body portion having an upright bore extending therethrough, a member mounted in said bore for axial movement therethrough, means on said member cooperating with means in said body portion to secure said member in a locking position, a compression spring in said bore in said body portion, said spring bearing at one end on said member and at the other end on said lock body, one end of said member, in one extreme position, engaging a selected movable part of the action substantially to lock the entire action, and in the opposite extreme position unlocking the same; said member having formed at its opposite end a coded formation to engage a specialized, externally applied key for moving said member from locked to unlocked and from unlocked to locked positions.

2. The device of claim 1, in which said body portion has a radially outwardly projecting head at one end and external threads at the other end.

3. The device of claim 1, in which the action-engaging end of said member comprises a pin of less diameter than the remainder of said member.

4. The device of claim 1, including internal means in said body portion for blocking full passage of said member through said body portion.

5. The device of claim 1, including means adjacent one end of said body portion for blocking withdrawal of said member from said body portion.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the means on said member cooperates with the means on said body portion for securing said member in closed position includes internal threads in the upright bore and cooperating external threads on said member to permit said member to be threaded into said bore.

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U.S. Classification42/70.11, 42/70.6, 42/70.1, 42/70.8
International ClassificationF41A17/02, F41A17/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41A17/02
European ClassificationF41A17/02