CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
- TECHNICAL FIELD
This application claims the benefit of European Patent Application No. EP 1238009.6 filed Feb. 28, 2012, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The invention relates generally to firearms, and more particularly to a firearm provided with a barrel fixed to the firearm body by at least one screw, so as to prevent or reduce any unwanted movement of the barrel when the firearm is being used.
In general terms, two fundamental parts of a firearm are the firearm body and the barrel. The firearm body includes items such as the trigger, the housing for the bullet(s), the firing mechanisms, the stock, etc. The barrel is an elongated hollow element that projects forward in relation to the firearm body and inside which the bullet is guided and accelerated when the firearm is fired.
The connection between the barrel and the firearm body should be sturdy and robust to ensure that the barrel does not move in any way, or at least to minimize such movement, when the firearm is fired. A connection which is not robust would nearly always lead to problems of accuracy when shooting. Moreover, a more or less serious accident, depending on the firearm calibre, could occur if the barrel comes loose from the firearm body or the firearm breaks during firing.
Several methods of fixing the barrel to the firearm body are known in the state of the art, very often based on the use of screws in order to ensure fixing. In these screw-based fixing methods, the barrel is usually inserted into the firearm body in a male-female connection and then screws are inserted that tighten the firearm body against the barrel. The screws are either directly connected to the firearm body or connected to a part or set of parts by way of a flange surrounding the firearm body in the barrel connection area. Examples of this type of connection can be seen in patents U.S. Pat. No. 3,731,418 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,834,053, which show two transverse screws pass through the firearm body and tighten it against the end of the barrel, in this case without the use of auxiliary flanges.
The connection by means of transverse tightening screws is a simple and quite effective solution. In the first place, it largely prevents the barrel from turning or moving. Additionally, it is also easy to disconnect when the firearm is to be cleaned. In spite of this, it has been found in practice that, especially as regards preventing possible longitudinal movement of the barrel in relation to the firearm body, the connection by means of tightening screws does not fully guarantee that there is no such longitudinal movement and can therefore be improved. Such is the case that, on occasions, firearms have to be provided with extra items, in addition to the screws, to lock the barrel against the firearm body and completely prevent longitudinal movement.
The aim of the present invention is to provide a screw-based connection between the barrel and the firearm body, which is simple and which eliminates or minimizes movement of the barrel longitudinally or in any other direction in relation to the firearm body when the firearm is fired. It is to the provision of a firearm meeting these and other needs that the invention is primarily directed.
In example forms, the present invention relates to a firearm with a barrel fixed to the firearm body by at least one screw, where the firearm body includes a housing to receive the barrel and where the screw is fixed to the firearm body so that the firearm body presses against the outer surface of the barrel. Tightening the screw or screws enables the barrel to be secured inside the housing of the firearm body. Additionally, the firearm according to the invention has the particularity that the barrel includes at least one surface hollow on its outer surface, intended to house part of a respective screw and cause additional locking of the barrel. More specifically, part of a screw already fixed to the firearm body is arranged inside a surface hollow, so that the screw inserted partly into the surface hollow prevents or greatly limits potential longitudinal movement of the barrel in relation to the firearm body.
In this way, the screw or screws in the firearm according to the invention perform a double function. Firstly, they tighten the firearm body against the part of the barrel housed inside the firearm body, preventing the barrel from moving due to friction, or greatly minimizing such motion. Secondly, they come into contact with the barrel itself, being partially housed inside the surface hollows on the barrel, acting like mechanical bolts or stops that completely prevent or drastically reduce, due to a collision effect, any longitudinal or rotary movement of the barrel in relation to the firearm body. Thus, if tightening of the screws fails or they become slightly loose, the bolt or stop effect secondly provided by the screws would continue to ensure that the barrel does not move longitudinally.
In another aspect, the invention relates to a firearm comprising a frame defining a housing, and a barrel comprising an end adapted to be received and engaged within the housing of the frame. The barrel preferably further includes a recess. A screw is preferably engaged within a bore through the frame, wherein a portion of the screw extends into the recess of the barrel when the end of the barrel is received in the housing of the frame and the screw is installed into the bore, thereby resisting movement of the barrel relative to the frame.
In still another aspect, the invention relates to a firearm including a barrel having a surface hollow formed in an external surface thereof, and a firearm body defining a housing for receiving an end of the barrel. The housing preferably includes a proximal side and a distal side with a gap between the proximal and distal sides. The firearm body preferably defines a bore for receiving a screw, whereby engagement of the screw within the bore draws the distal side of the housing toward the proximal side to tighten the gap and engage the end of the barrel within the housing, and also positions a portion of the screw within the surface hollow of the barrel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other aspects, features, and advantages of the invention will be understood with reference to the drawing figures and detailed description herein, and will be realized by means of the various elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following brief description of the drawings and detailed description of example embodiments are exemplary and explanatory of preferred embodiments of the invention, and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.
Details of the invention can be seen in the accompanying drawings, which do not seek to restrict the scope of the invention:
FIG. 1 shows a side view of an example embodiment of a rifle according to the invention, once the handguard is assembled.
FIG. 2 shows the rifle of the previous figure, but without the handguard.
FIG. 3 shows the embodiment of the previous figures, in an exploded view.
FIG. 4 shows a cross-section view, according to the section plane A-A in FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 shows a detailed view of the screws on the handguard.
The present invention may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawing figures, which form a part of this disclosure. It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the specific devices, methods, conditions or parameters described and/or shown herein, and that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments by way of example only and is not intended to be limiting of the claimed invention. Any and all patents and other publications identified in this specification are incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
Also, as used in the specification including the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include the plural, and reference to a particular numerical value includes at least that particular value, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from “about” or “approximately” one particular value and/or to “about” or “approximately” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent “about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment.
The figures that accompany this description show an example embodiment of the invention, in different assembly situations, starting with a side view which shows a rifle already assembled with all of its components. It will be understood that while described and shown with respect to a rifle embodiment, the invention comprehends rifles, shotguns, pistols and other forms of firearms. FIG. 1 shows a rifle comprising a barrel (1) fixed to a firearm body (2). The body (2) includes a handguard (2 a) which, in this figure, is already assembled, thereby concealing a series of interior components that are relevant to the invention.
FIG. 2 shows the rifle of the previous figure, but without the handguard (2 a). As shown in this second figure, the rifle comprises two screws (3) to secure the connection between the rifle body (2) and the barrel (1).
FIG. 3 shows the components of the previous figure in exploded form. As can be seen, the rifle body (2) includes a housing (4) to receive the barrel (1), in this case to specifically receive one end of the said barrel (1). The housing (4) comprises a generally cylindrical sleeve or chamber for receiving a correspondingly shaped engagement portion of the barrel, but in alternate embodiments the corresponding portions of the barrel and the receiver of the housing may be otherwise shaped and configured. The figure makes it possible to understand that the screws (3) are fixed to the rifle body (2) so that the rifle body (2) tightens against the outer surface (5) of the barrel (1). In this embodiment, tightening is achieved due to the fact that the rifle body (2) has a longitudinal gap (6) that provides the rifle body (2) with a certain elasticity, so that when the screws (3) are tightened, the body slightly deforms and, in turn, the inner walls of the housing (4) are tightened against the barrel (1).
The rifle according to the invention also has the particularity that the barrel (1) includes at least one recess, depression or surface hollow (7) on its outer surface (5). Each surface hollow (7) is intended to receive part of a respective screw (3) so that a mechanical stop effect takes place. As shown in FIG. 4, part of a screw (3) already fixed to the rifle body (2) is arranged inside a respective surface hollow (7), so that the screw (3), partly inserted into the surface hollow (7), prevents potential longitudinal or rotary movement of the barrel (1) in relation to the rifle body (2), due to a collision or stop effect resulting from abutment or contact between surfaces of the crew and the barrel. The threaded end of the screw (3) matingly engages within a female threaded bore in the distal side of the housing (4) of the firearm's frame (2), whereas the screw shaft passes freely through a bore in the proximal side of the housing, with the screw-head (3 a) abutting against a contact face or shoulder of the proximal side of the housing, whereby tightening the screw draws the distal side of the housing toward the proximal side to tighten the gap (6) and thereby tighten the engagement of the housing against the barrel.
In the embodiment shown, the screw-head (3 a) of the screw (3) is partially lodged inside the surface hollow (7). This enables full advantage to be taken of the screw (3), as its threaded part is used to screw and tighten the screw (3) to the rifle body (2), contracting the gap (6) to engage and tighten the interior of housing (4) against the outer surface (5) of the barrel (1); while the screwhead (3 a) performs the function of locking itself into the surface hollow (7) in abutment with the barrel (1). In the embodiment shown, only the screwhead (3 a) of the screw (3) is partially lodged inside the surface hollow (7), i.e. no other part of the screw (3) is lodged inside the surface hollow (7). In alternate embodiments, different portions of the screw (3) are in contact with the surface hollow (7) or other portions of the barrel (1). As seen best with reference to FIG. 3, the body (2) thus comprises a sleeve or chamber of the housing (4) for receiving the end of the barrel (1), defining a longitudinal axis extending lengthwise through the center of the housing and the barrel; and further comprises at least one bore through which the screw(s) (3) are installed. The bores through which the screw(s) (3) are installed extend generally transversely to and offset from the longitudinal axis of the housing (4) and barrel (1), and the bores through which the screw(s) (3) are installed partially intersect(s) the open sleeve or chamber of the housing (4), along the lower internal surface of the sleeve or chamber of the housing (4). In this manner, an opening or passage is formed at each point of intersection or overlapping of the bore(s) through which the screw(s) (3) are installed and the sleeve or chamber of the housing (4), through which opening(s) or passage(s) the portion of the screw(s) (3) which lodge inside the surface hollow(s) (7) of the barrel (1) will extend when assembled. Thus, the screw(s) (3) can function both to tighten the housing against the barrel, and to interengage within the surface hollow(s) (7), and thereby prevent axial and/or rotational movement of the barrel relative to the housing.
In the embodiment shown, the rifle includes two screws (3) and the barrel includes two respective surface hollows (7). Alternate embodiments of the invention may include one, three, or any other number of screws (3) and surface hollows (7) of the barrel (1). The invention also contemplates that the number of surface hollows (7) may be different from the number of screws (3), so several screws (3) share a single surface hollow (7)—even if the option of a surface hollow (7) for each screw (3) is the most robust.
Additionally, the screws (3) and the respective surface hollows (7), as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, are preferably located at the bottom of the barrel (1). This embodiment has the advantage that the screws (3) and, in general, the entire lower area, can be hidden by the handguard (2 a) when the rifle is fully assembled. FIG. 1 shows how the screws (3) are concealed by the handguard (2 a) of the rifle body (2). In alternate embodiments of the invention, different locations of the screws (3) and the respective surface hollows (7) may be utilized.
According to the invention, the handguard (2 a) is preferably configured such that it cannot be assembled correctly onto the rest of the rifle body (2) if the screws (3) have not previously been fully screwed in. This provides increased safety for the user, who, on perceiving that it is not possible to assemble the handguard (2 a) will realise that the screws (3) are not properly screwed in and will tighten them fully, making the barrel (1) perfectly secured and locked to the firearm frame or body (2). For this reason, the handguard (2 a) includes at least one internal element (8) intended to prevent assembly of the handguard (2 a) onto the rest of the rifle body (2), by colliding with the screw (3) in the event that the screw (3) is not fully screwed in. One example of an internal element (8), in the form of an internal wall or rib, can be seen in FIG. 5. In this figure the screws (3) are drawn inside the handguard (2 a), schematically showing the screws (3) in their correct position, in which they clear the internal elements (8), i.e. they do not collide with said internal elements (8). In alternate embodiment of the invention, the internal elements (8) may take the form of an internal wall, internal ribs, or any other applicable protuberance that interferes with the screws (3) if they are not correctly positioned (properly screwed in).
All patents and publications referred to herein are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties. Also, while described herein with respect to example embodiments relating to rifles, it will be understood that the present invention may be adapted to use in connection with rifles, shotguns, pistols or other types of firearms, and embodiments of such are within the scope of the invention unless specifically excluded in the following claims. While the invention has been described with reference to preferred and example embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications, additions and deletions are within the scope of the invention, as defined by the following claims.