Title:
Non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus for improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a high capacity. These non-lethal projectiles are made of non-spherical and elongated outer shells 20 with tailfins 22 and index holes 21. The projectiles are either filled with an application-specific liquid or a powdered substance 29. In a paintball application, the shell is usually made of gelatin, filled with a water-based dye. The shell 20, index holes 21 and tailfins 22 are held together by a tape 27 with perforations 26 that define the boundaries between successions of the non-lethal projectile units. When the shell 20 is made of gelatin, the tape 27 may be made of the extra material that would otherwise be cut away during the manufacturing process of conventional unconnected non-lethal projectiles. In the desired embodiment, some material is retained for the tape 27 that holds the non-lethal projectiles together.



Inventors:
Lee, David W. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Isaacson, Karsten P. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/343836
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
01/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ABDOSH, SAMIR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wilson Daniel Swayze, Jr. (Plano, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder, comprising: a continuous tape to be separated; a non-spherical shell connected to said tape for holding a substrate to be released on impact; wherein said tape includes a weakened area for separating said non-spherical shell; and a feeding apparatus to separate said weakened area to detached said non-spherical shell.

2. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said feeding apparatus includes a blade to separate said weakened area.

3. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said weakened area includes perforations.

4. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said feeding apparatus includes a trench to correspond to said weakened area.

5. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said tape includes an index hole.

6. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 5, wherein said feeding apparatus includes an index tooth to engage said index hole.

7. A non-lethal projectile belt and feeder as in claim 6, wherein said feeding apparatus includes a matching index hole to accept said index tooth.

8. A non-lethal projectile belt as in claim 1, wherein said tape includes a fin to guide said non-spherical shell.

9. A non-lethal projectile belt as in claim 8, wherein said fin includes supporting material to support said fin.

10. A non-lethal projectile, comprising: a tape which has been separated; a non-spherical shell connected to said tape for holding a substrate to be released on impact; wherein said tape includes a portion of a weakened area for separating said non-spherical shell; and wherein said non-spherical shell includes a seam to affect a trajectory of said non-spherical shell.

11. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 10, wherein said tape is formed from two layers.

12. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 11, wherein said seam is formed by the overlap of said layers.

13. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 10, wherein said tape includes an index hole.

14. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 10, wherein said seam rolls said non-spherical shell substantially along a longitudinal axis of said non-spherical shell.

15. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 12, wherein said non-spherical shell is substantially a sub-sonic cone shape.

16. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 10, wherein said tape includes a fin to guide said non-spherical shell.

17. A non-lethal projectile as in claim 16, wherein said fin includes supporting material to support said fin.

18. A non-lethal projectile and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said feeder assembly includes a flap to assist the insertion of said non-spherical shell.

19. A non-lethal projectile and feeder as in claim 1, wherein said feeder assembly includes a gap to allow a tail of said non-spherical shell to pass through said feeder assembly.

20. A feeding apparatus to feed a non-lethal projectile on the tape, comprising: a blade to separate said non-lethal projectile from said tape; a trench to cooperate with said blade to separate said non-lethal projectile from said tape; an index tooth to engage an index hole of said tape; a matching index hole to cooperate with said index tooth to engage said index hole of said tape; a flap to assist the insertion of said non-lethal projectile; a gap to allow a tail of said non-lethal projectile to pass through said feeding apparatus; wherein said feeder apparatus includes a bolt to power the feeder assembly.

Description:

PRIORITY

The present invention claims priority under 35 USC section 119 and U.S. provisional application 60/648564 filed on Jan. 31, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to non-lethal projectiles and more specifically it relates to a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus for improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a capacity comparable to prior art feeding devices.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It can be appreciated that non-lethal projectiles have been in use for years. Typically, non-lethal projectiles are comprised of conventional paintballs; U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 is one example of non-lethal projectiles that is spherical in shape. They are usually made of two gelatin hemispheres and contain a colored liquid. U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 describes both non-spherical projectiles with tailfins as well as linkages between adjacent projectiles that allow higher feed rate. Additionally, non-spherical non-lethal projectiles, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 and variants with tailfins, U.S. Pat. No. 5,936,190 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,165 further improves accuracy and safety. This type of projectiles is directional and must be loaded in a predetermined orientation before it is fed (chambered) into the barrel for launching. Conventional hoppers, U.S. Pat. No. 5,166,457, have funnel shaped geometries. Non-lethal projectiles are loaded loosely into the hopper. The hopper is attached to the non-lethal projectile launch system and feeds the non-lethal projectiles into the breech in the launch system's barrel. Conventional hoppers rely on gravity to pull the non-lethal projectiles downwards into the barrel, and, for that reason, the conventional hoppers are usually positioned above the breech. Spring-loaded magazines such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,470,872, U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,909 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,079 provides a means to feed the directional non-lethal projectiles into the barrel, regardless of the orientation of the device. Powered hopper loaders, U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,367, U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,511, U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,567 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,488,019, partially resolves gravity-related feed rate limitation. Spring loaded hoppers, U.S. Pat. No. 6,644,293, achieved gravity-free operation.

The main problem with conventional non-lethal projectiles is that the spherical non-lethal projectiles are inaccurate. Uncontrolled spinning of the projectiles causes imbalanced air pressure on one side of the projectile during flight versus the other. The difference in air pressure causes the projectile to accelerate towards the side with lower air pressure, thus bending its trajectory. One proven way to improve the accuracy of spherical non-lethal projectiles is to use a precisely fabricated gun barrel. These barrels reduce the spinning of the projectiles. Another way to make shots accurate is to use specially fabricated non-lethal projectiles with extremely smooth surfaces, thus reducing the disturbance of nearby air due to uncontrolled rotation. Any of these ways are highly expensive, and is generally used only by enthusiasts. U.S. Pat. No. 5,640,945 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,526,685 describe variations that put back-spin on the paintballs. This improves the predictability of the trajectory but the barrel needs to be held perfectly level. Any slight deviation in the spin axis will cause the projectile to curve away from the desired trajectory. Elongated, aerodynamic and spin-stabilized projectiles such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,936,190 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,165 are more accurate and safer. They correct their trajectory on the fly and do not require specialized equipment (such as a precisely fabricated barrel) in order to fire accurately. However, these projectiles are practically unusable unless a proper receiver mechanism and/or magazine is developed. They cannot be loaded directly into a conventional hopper or marker due to the fact that they need to be aligned with the gun barrel's longitudinal axis. This loading and alignment function is better performed at, for instance, a factory. Another problem with conventional non-lethal projectiles are that hoppers H1 (see FIGS. 1 and 2), whether passive or active, by definition, are challenged by gravity, orientation of the device and/or the inability to properly align non-spherical projectiles. For conventional passive hoppers such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,166,457 and even agitated hoppers H2 such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,454 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,947,100 the feed rate is limited by gravity. The feed rates of prior art device that primarily rely on gravity are continuously being challenged by the ever increasing demand for higher cycle rates. Another problem with the agitated hoppers and hoppers with conveyor mechanisms, like U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,567, U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,511 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,367 is that they may not be used up-side down. Hoppers with conveyor mechanisms also suffer from not having a deterministic behaviors when the hopper is close to empty, due to the fact that the slots in the conveyor mechanisms cannot be completely filled when there are fewer projectiles than the number of slots available. Not one of anti-jamming devices for hoppers described above guarantees continuous feeding down to the last projectile in the container. Spring loaded hoppers, like U.S. Pat. No. 6,644,293 may be used up-side down but it may not be used to align and deliver non-spherical projectiles. The linked projectiles in U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 partially addressed the rate problem but it is impractical until the proper receiver mechanism is developed. The linked projectiles in U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 also produces debris during use, which is undesirable and would degrade the performance of the receiver over time. Another problem with conventional non-lethal projectiles is that magazines or clips, U.S. Pat. No. 6,470,872, U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,909 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,079 may resolve the gravity problem but the capacity of one magazine is usually considerably below the amount required for a single uninterruptible event, such as a paintball game. Frequent reloading of the clips hinders the performance of a human user.

While these devices may be suitable for the particular purpose to which they address, they are not as suitable for improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a capacity comparable to prior art feeding devices. The main problem with conventional non-lethal projectiles is that the spherical non-lethal projectiles are inaccurate. Uncontrolled spinning of the projectiles causes imbalanced air pressure on one side of the projectile during flight versus the other. The difference in air pressure causes the projectile to accelerate towards the side with lower air pressure, thus bending its trajectory. One proven way to improve the accuracy of spherical non-lethal projectiles is to use a precisely fabricated gun barrel. These barrels reduce the spinning of the projectiles. Another way to make shots accurate is to use specially fabricated non-lethal projectiles with extremely smooth surfaces, thus reducing the disturbance of nearby air due to uncontrolled rotation. Any of these ways are highly expensive, and is generally used only by enthusiasts. U.S. Pat. No. 5,640,945 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,526,685 describe variations that put back-spin on the paintballs. This improves the predictability of the trajectory but the barrel needs to be held perfectly leveled. Any slight deviation in the spin axis will cause the projectile to curve away from the desired trajectory. Elongated, aerodynamic and spin-stabilized projectiles, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,936,190 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,165, are more accurate and safer. They correct their trajectory on the fly and do not require specialized equipment (such as a precisely fabricated barrel) in order to fire accurately. However, these projectiles are practically unusable unless a proper receiver mechanism and/or magazine is developed. They cannot be loaded directly into a conventional hopper or marker due to the fact that they need to be aligned with the gun barrel's longitudinal axis. This loading and alignment function is better performed at, for instance, a factory. Another problem is that hoppers H1 (see FIGS. 1 and 2), whether passive or active, by definition, are challenged by gravity, orientation of the device and/or the inability to properly align non-spherical projectiles. For conventional passive hoppers, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,166,457 and even agitated hoppers H2, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,454 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,947,100, the feed rate is limited by gravity. The feed rates of prior art device that primarily rely on gravity are continuously being challenged by the ever increasing demand for higher cycle rates. Another problem with the agitated hoppers and hoppers with conveyor mechanisms, like U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,567, U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,511 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,367 is that they may not be used up-side down. Hoppers with conveyor mechanisms also suffer from not having deterministic behaviors when the hopper is close to empty, due to the fact that the slots in the conveyor mechanisms cannot be completely filled when there are fewer projectiles than the number of slots available. Not one of anti-jamming devices for hoppers described above guarantees continuous feeding down to the last projectile in the container. Spring loaded hoppers such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,644,293 may be used up-side down but it may not be used to align and deliver non-spherical projectiles. The linked projectiles, U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 partially addressed the rate problem but it is impractical until the proper receiver mechanism is developed. The significant improvements on the projectiles and the corresponding feeding assembly described in the present invention shall be considered the first to reduce such linked projectiles to practice. The linked projectiles such as found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,448,951 also produces debris during use, which is undesirable and would degrade the performance of the receiver over time. Also, another problem is that magazines or clips, U.S. Pat. No. 6,470,872, U.S. Pat. No. 6,701,909 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,079 may resolve the gravity problem but the capacity of one magazine is usually considerably below the amount required for a single uninterruptible event, such as a paintball game. Frequent reloading of the clips hinders the performance of a human user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In these respects, the non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a capacity comparable to prior art feeding devices.

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of non-lethal projectiles now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus construction wherein the same can be utilized for improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a capacity comparable to prior art feeding devices.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that has many of the advantages of the non-lethal projectiles mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art non-lethal projectiles, either alone or in any combination thereof.

To attain this, the present invention generally includes the Projectile Belt 10, the Feeding Assembly 12, the Extractor 14, and the Magazine 18, which will be described subsequently in greater detail. In addition, actions M1, pressurized gas tanks M2, barrels M3 and bolts M4 are other components that may be found in virtually all existing pneumatic non-lethal projectile launch systems in the market today. The action M1, also known as the “operating system”, of pneumatic non-lethal projectile launch system is the assembly that houses the bolt M4 and all the major moving parts. The action M1 is also the part to which peripherals, like a pressurized gas tank M2, a barrel M3 or a magazine 18 would attach. The present invention is independent to the internal mechanism of the action M1, as long as the bolt M3 is mechanically accessible and kinetic energy can be tapped via, for example, a bolt knob M5, and that the action M1 can supply enough power to drive the Feeding Assembly 12. In a gas blow-back action, the residual gas in the action after the projectile is ejected drives the bolt M4 back to their pre-firing positions. In a manual pump action, the bolt M4 is reset manually. Any existing bolts M4 and actions M1, fully-automatic, semi-automatic, manual, closed-bolt and open-bolt alike, may be adapted, with or without modifications, to fire non-lethal projectiles supplied by the present invention. The Projectile Belt 10 is an interconnected chain of non-lethal projectiles 11. These non-lethal projectiles are made of non-spherical and elongated outer shells 20 with tailfins 22 and index holes 21. The projectiles are either filled with an application-specific liquid or a powdered substance 29. In a paintball application, the shell is usually made of gelatin, filled with a water-based dye. The shell 20, index holes 21 and tailfins 22 are held together by a tape 27 with perforations 26 that define the boundaries between successions of the non-lethal projectile units. When the shell 20 is made of gelatin, the tape 27 may be made of the extra material that would otherwise be cut away during the manufacturing process of conventional unconnected non-lethal projectiles. In the desired embodiment, some material is retained for the tape 27 that holds the non-lethal projectiles together. In other applications, the tape 27 may be made from a different material. The Feeding Assembly 12 consists of the Extractor 14, a cam 40 with a pivot 47, a roller 41 mounted on the bolt knob M5 and a spring-loaded lever 48. The roller 41 travels within the rail 43 inside the cam 40, and by doing so, the roller 41 pushes the cam 40 along the edge 45 and causes it to rotate around its pivot 47. The lever 48 is forced into the one-way gear 34 on the back of the Extractor 14 and causing the Extractor 14 to rotate. The Extractor 14 is a sub-component of the Feeding Assembly 12. The Extractor 14 includes of four pairs of counter-rotating sub-components around two symmetrical drive shafts 36. The four sub-component pairs are the index drums 30 and 31, synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and sets of flaps 38. The pairs of synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and set of flaps 38 are longitudinally symmetrical to their counterparts, with the exception of the index drums 30 and 31, which may have distinctive, asymmetrical features determined by the construction of the tape 27 being used. On one side, the index drum 30 has a set of index teeth 54; and, on the other side 31, there are matching index holes 55. The relative positions of index teeth 54 and index holes 55 must match the index holes 21 on the tape 27 being used. Amongst the indexing features 54 and 55, there are blades 57 on one side and matching trenches 56 on the other. Similarly, the relative positions of blades 57 and trenches 56 should match the positions of the perforation 26 on the tape 27 being used. The two index drums 30 and 31 are synchronized by a pair of synchronization gears 32. There is also a pair of one-way gear 34 driven by the cam 40 and lever 48 during the re-cocking action of the bolt M4. The sets of flaps 38 mechanically assist the insertion of the extracted non-lethal projectile 11a into the breech M6. The flaps 38 may be used, should the index drums 30 alone be insufficient. In the Extractor 14, there is a gap 33 allowing the tailfins 22 to pass through. The Magazine 18 is a storage device made of durable but inexpensive material, such as nylon. The Magazine's body 61 is round in shape, resembling the drum magazines used by the military. The Magazine 18 optionally has a removable cover. When the cover is removed, the Magazine can be refilled and serviced. At one end of the Magazine is a ramp 66 guiding the Projectile Belt 10 traveling into the Feeding Assembly 12. A spin wheel 63 or bearing facilitates the unwinding of the Projectile Belt 10. The adapter 65 secures the whole Magazine 18 to the action M1. The adapter 65 may optionally implement a push rod 64, or similar mechanism to induce some movement of the Extractor 14 as the Magazine 18 is being inserted into the action M1, primarily to ensure the first projectile properly aligns with the index drums 30 and 31 of the Extractor 14. Along the interior of the Magazine 18, there may be soft rubber flaps 62 that prevent the Projectile Belt 10 from traveling in reverse due to gravity or vibration, although this is optional as well.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more interesting features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that will overcome the shortcomings of the prior art devices.

An object of the present invention is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus for improving prior art components of a non-lethal projectile launch system including the non-lethal projectiles and the non-lethal projectile feeding apparatus that are, when used in conjunction, mechanically deterministic, jam-free, gravitationally independent, cost efficient, while achieving a higher accuracy, a longer effective range, a feed rate not limited by gravity and maintaining a capacity comparable to prior art feeding devices.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall improve the usability and producible of the spin-stabilized, non-spherical, non-lethal projectiles described by the prior art. Empirical data shows that spin-stabilized projectiles have higher tolerances for manufacturing defects, thus eliminating the needs for any expensive components and/or the use of exotic materials in the marker's components.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall be gravity independent, in other words, non-gravity feed, which is capable of delivering non-lethal projectiles under any orientation of the device and it allows ultra high feed rate to satisfy high rate automatic non-lethal projectile launch systems.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall be deterministic, by inserting exactly one projectile into the barrel's chamber during each launches cycle; unless the magazine is empty, in that case no projectile will be loaded. This deterministic behavior practically eliminates jamming and breakages of the non-lethal projectiles in the launch system and reduces the chance of malfunction of the launch system.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall be easily manufactured, stored and used. The shape of the non-lethal projectiles shall be made such that it can be manufactured using existing technologies, such as rotary die machines in a gelatin paintball application, with slight or no modifications.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall align non-spherical, directional, non-lethal projectiles so that they are chambered in a predetermined and proper orientation every time.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall produce no waste or debris during use, other than the non-lethal projectiles themselves, which are ejected from the launch system, and the propellants.

Another object is to provide a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus that shall have a capacity comparable to conventional hoppers in terms of the number of rounds of non-lethal projectiles that a launch system may carry at a time.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, this invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a typical non-lethal projectile launch system with a prior art hopper loader H1, with the optional agitator H2.

FIG. 2 is a partial cut-out side view of a prior art hopper loader with prior art non-lethal projectiles B being loaded into action M1. The hopper H1 is connected to the action M1 using an adapter H4. This figure also shows the agitator H2 and its agitator blades H5.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the present invention, showing the Feeding Assembly 12 and Magazine 18 connected to a typical non-lethal projectile launch system with an action M1, a pressurized gas tank M2, a barrel M3 and a bolt knob M5.

FIG. 4 is a front cross-sectional view of the Magazine 18 of the present invention with a Projectile Belt 10 coiled around its center.

FIG. 5(a) is a side view of the Projectile Belt 10 of the present invention;

FIGS. 5(b), 5(c), 5(d) and 5(e) are the bottom view, the perspective view, the front view and the rear view of the same single non-lethal projectile unit respectively.

FIG. 5(f) illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the same single non-lethal projectile unit.

FIG. 5(g) illustrates a perspective view of a single non-lethal projectile unit showing the tailfins 22 in the desired embodiment.

FIG. 5(h) illustrates an embodiment of the non-lethal projectile unit.

FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of the Feeding Assembly 12 of the present invention with the enclosure removed.

FIG. 7 illustrates a partial exploded view of the Extractor 14 of the present invention showing all of the components and its connection to the barrel M3.

FIG. 8 illustrates a front view of the index drums 31 of the Extractor 14 of the present invention, shown with the relative positions of incoming non-lethal projectiles 11 and barrel M3.

FIG. 9 illustrates embodiments of the Projectile Belt 10.

FIG. 10 illustrates an embodiment of the Feeding Assembly 12.

FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment and of the Extractor 14.

FIG. 12(a) illustrates a cross-sectional view of an embodiment prior to firing.

FIG. 12(b) illustrates a cross-sectional view of the embodiment after it has separated the first non-lethal projectile 11a but the bolt M4 is beginning to move in.

FIG. 12(c) illustrates a cross-sectional view of the bolt M4 and the embodiment having formed a gas seal behind the chambered non-lethal projectile 11a.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, the attached figures illustrate a non-lethal projectile belt and feeding apparatus, which comprises the Projectile Belt 10, the Feeding Assembly 12, the Extractor 14, and the Magazine 18, which will be described subsequently in greater detail. In addition, actions M1, pressurized gas tanks M2, barrels M3 and bolts M4 are other components that may be found in virtually all existing pneumatic non-lethal projectile launch systems in the market today. The action M1, also known as the “operating system”, of pneumatic non-lethal projectile launch system is the assembly that houses the bolt M4 and all the major moving parts. The action M1 is also the part to which peripherals, including a pressurized gas tank M2, a barrel M3 or a magazine 18 would attach. The present invention is independent to the internal mechanism of the action M1, as long as the bolt M3 is mechanically accessible and kinetic energy can be tapped via, for example, a bolt knob M5, and that the action M1 can supply enough power to drive the Feeding Assembly 12. In a gas blow-back action M1, the residual gas in the action M1 after the projectile is ejected drives the bolt M4 back to pre-firing positions of the bolt M4. In a manual pump action, the bolt M4 is reset manually. Any existing bolts M4 and actions M1, fully-automatic, semi-automatic, manual, closed-bolt and open-bolt alike, may be adapted, with or without modifications, to fire non-lethal projectiles supplied by the present invention. The Projectile Belt 10 is an interconnected chain of non-lethal projectiles 11. These non-lethal projectiles 11 include a non-spherical and elongated outer shell 20 with a tailfin 22 and an at least one index hole 21. The projectiles 11 may be with an application-specific liquid or a powdered substance 29. In a paintball application, the shell is usually made of gelatin, filled with a water-based dye. The shell 20, index holes 21 and tailfins 22 are held together by a tape 27 which may be continuous with weakened areas that includes perforations 26 that define the boundaries between successions of the non-lethal projectile units. When the shell 20 is made of gelatin, the tape 27 may be constructed integral with the shell 20 and from the extra material that would otherwise be cut away during the manufacturing process of conventional unconnected non-lethal projectiles. In one embodiment, some integral material is retained for the tape 27 that holds the non-lethal projectiles together. In other embodiments, the tape 27 may be made from a different material. The Feeding Assembly 12 includes the Extractor 14, a cam 40 with a pivot 47, a roller 41 mounted on the bolt knob M5 and a spring-loaded lever 48. The roller 41 travels within the rail 43 inside the cam 40, and consequently, the roller 41 pushes the cam 40 along the edge 45 and causes the cam 40 to rotate around its pivot 47. The lever 48 is forced into the one-way gear 34 on the back of the Extractor 14, and rotating the Extractor 14. The Extractor 14 is a sub-component of the Feeding Assembly 12. The Extractor 14 includes four pairs of counter-rotating sub-components to rotate around two symmetrical drive shafts 36. The four sub-component pairs are the index drums 30 and 31, synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and sets of flaps 38. The pairs of synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and set of flaps 38 are longitudinally symmetrical to their counterparts, with the exception of the index drums 30 and 31, which may have distinctive, asymmetrical features determined by the construction of the tape 27 being used. On one side, the index drum 30 has a set of index teeth 54; and, on the other side 31, there are matching index holes 55. The relative positions of index teeth 54 and index holes 55 should match the index holes 21 on the tape 27 being used. Including among the indexing features 54 and 55, there are blades 57 on one side and matching trenches 56 on the other. Similarly, the relative positions of blades 57 and trenches 56 should match the positions of the perforation 26 on the tape 27 being used. The two index drums 30 and 31 are synchronized by a pair of synchronization gears 32. There is also a pair of one-way gear 34 that is driven by the cam 40 and lever 48 during a re-cocking action of the bolt M4. The sets of flaps 38 mechanically assist the insertion of the extracted non-lethal projectile 11a into the breech M6. The flaps 38 may be used, should the index drums 30 alone be insufficient. In the Extractor 14, there is a gap 33, allowing the tailfins 22 to pass through. The Magazine 18 is a storage device which can be made of durable but inexpensive material or any suitable material, such as nylon. The body 61 of the magazine may be round in shape or any other suitable shape and may resemble the drum magazines used by the military. The Magazine 18 optionally has a removable cover. When the removable cover is removed, the Magazine 18 can be refilled and serviced. At one end of the Magazine is a ramp 66 for guiding the Projectile Belt 10 traveling into the Feeding Assembly 12. A spin wheel 63 or bearing facilitates the unwinding of the Projectile Belt 10. The adapter 65 secures the whole Magazine 18 to the action M1. The adapter 65 may optionally include a push rod 64, or similar mechanism to induce some movement of the Extractor 14 as the Magazine 18 is being inserted into the action M1, primarily to assist the first projectile being properly aligned with the index drums 30 and 31 of the Extractor 14. Along the interior of the Magazine 18, the Magazine 18e may optionally includes flaps 62 which may be constructed from soft rubber to prevent the Projectile Belt 10 from traveling in reverse due to gravity or vibration.

The Projectile Belt 10 is an interconnected chain of non-lethal projectiles 11. These non-lethal projectiles may be include a non-spherical and elongated outer shells 20 with tailfins 22 and index holes 21. The projectiles may be filled with an application-specific liquid or a powdered substance 29 or other suitable materials. The shell may have a sub-sonic cone shape. In a paintball application, the shell 20 may be made of gelatin, filled with a water-based dye. The shell 20, index holes 21 and tailfins 22 are held together by a tape 27 with perforations 26 that define the boundaries between successions of the non-lethal projectile units. When the shell 20 is made of gelatin, the tape 27 may be made of the extra material that would otherwise be cut away during the manufacturing process of conventional unconnected non-lethal projectiles. In the desired embodiment, some material is retained for the tape 27 that holds the non-lethal projectiles together. In other applications, the tape 27 may be made from a different material. The Projectile Belt 10 generally includes a plurality of similar constructed non-lethal projectiles 11 connected by the tape 27. The non-lethal projectiles 11 are segregated from the Projectile Belt 10 before they are chambered in the barrel M4 for launching. The non-lethal projectiles 11 may be filled with a liquid or powdered substance 29 such as a dye (in a paintball application) or pepper-derived irritants (in a law-enforcement application) or other such material. In the embodiment of such Projectile Belt 10, the non-lethal projectiles 11 are held together by a tape 27 that is integral with or an extension of the shells of the non-lethal projectiles 11 themselves. A series of oblong and aerodynamic non-lethal projectiles 11 are connected together by a tape 27 with tailfins 22 and index holes 21. The boundaries between adjacent non-lethal projectile units are defined by perforations 26 which are shown formed in a transverse direction with respect to the longitudinal direction of the tape 27. The perforations 26 allow the tape 27 to be cut more precisely and with less force. The index holes 21 are used to increase the mechanical precision of the feeding process; the index holes 21 are used in conjunction with the matching teeth 54 and holes 55 which are incorporated into the Extractor 14 component. A cutout 24 is made to enhance the proper separation of adjacent non-lethal projectiles 20 and also to prevent the tension on the tape 27 from being transfer into the shells 20 that have lower tension strengths due to their shapes. A tailfin section 22 is positioned behind the shell 20 and possibly behind the tape 27. Each tailfin 22a is rotationally symmetrical with its counterpart tailfin 22b around the longitudinal axis 91 of a non-lethal projectile unit 11 so that when the non-lethal projectile 11 travels through air, the tailfins 22 collectively produce a torque T1 that rolls the non-lethal projectile around its longitudinal axis 91. Supporting material 23 formed along the edge of the tape 27 is retained to maintain the angle of attack on the tailfins 22 at all times. Such rotation is commonly known as spin-stabilization, which increases accuracy of the projectile by nullifying the effects of minor imperfections in the projectiles, such as scratches on the outside surface, imbalanced payload, or unintended asymmetry. The segment of the tape 27 and the tailfins 22 produce a center of pressure behind the center of gravity of the non-lethal projectile unit 11, thus causing the orientation of the projectile 11 to stay aligned with the predetermined flight path, like a dart. The seam 25 which may be formed from the junction of two layers or sheets of tape 27, inherently a structurally weak spot, is typically in the front 28 of the shell 20, encouraging the shell 20 to break upon impact and subsequently releasing the payload 29. In other words, the non-lethal projectile 11 of the present invention will break more easily than conventional non-lethal projectiles at the same impact velocity. Assuming the same muzzle velocity and drag, the non-lethal projectile 11 of the present invention therefore has an increased effective range than conventional projectiles that cannot maintain orientation. Similar to conventional methods for manufacturing paintballs and other gelatin capsules, the embodiment of the Projectile Belt 10, including the shells 20, the tape 27, the tailfins 22 and all other features on the tape 27, may be manufactured in an uninterrupted or continuous fashion using an industrial rotary die encapsulation machine. Some material that would otherwise be cut away during the manufacturing of prior arts is now retained during the press process to hold the non-lethal projectiles 11 together to form the Projectile Belt 10. The cooling, drying and polishing process for such long chain of non-lethal projectiles 10 and other downstream post-processes are similar to as the ones for segregated conventional gelatin capsules, except for the differences described herein including a making use of the index holes 21 on the tape 27 during the process could potentially increase the yield and the overall quality of the product. Specifically, in a paintball application, the shells 20 and the tape 27 are both made out of the same soft gelatin sheets, therefore, the paintball Projectile Belt 10 may be manufactured in a continuous fashion using a rotary die encapsulation machine. The shape and layout of the desired embodiment of the present invention described in FIGS. 5(a) through 5(g) are purposefully created to satisfy the requirements of such rotary die machines. Utilizing such process significantly increases the predictable of such non-lethal projectiles 11 and Projectile Belt 10. Non-lethal projectiles 11 may be connected in different ways. In each of the constructions, a matching Extractor 14 should be developed to effectively segregate the projectiles 11 from the Projectile Belt 10. FIG. 9(a) illustrates the first embodiment 110 of such non-lethal projectile belt 10. Projectiles 111 are connected together by connecting material 113. The material 113 should be removed and discarded before a projectile 111 is chambered. Although spherical projectiles 111 are depicted in FIGS. 9(a) through 9(c), non-spherical projectiles may also be connected in a similar manner. FIG. 9(b) shows another embodiment 130 of such Projectile Belt. Non-lethal projectiles 111 are glued 114 to a tape 127. The tape 127 may optionally include indexing aids to assist loading. The non-lethal projectiles 111 are removed from the tape 127 during the feeding process. The tape 127 is subsequently discarded. FIG. 9(c) illustrates a third embodiment 140 of such non-lethal projectile belt 10. Each of the projectiles 111 may have a shape, such as spherical or oblong or other appropriate shape, and may have a soft gelatin or plastic pocket 138, which can be mechanically punctured. The content of the pocket 138 is removed and chambered afterwards. Although this embodiment is more mechanically robust, disadvantages of such belt 140 of pockets 138 include higher manufacturing costs and increased design complexity of the marker due to the need for discarding the spent cases. Yet another embodiment similar to the pocket embodiment 140 could be that non-lethal projectiles are contained within a series of interlocking cases (also known as links). The links are severed and discarded during the feeding process. Another alternative embodiment of the non-lethal projectile unit 11 is to combine the index holes 101 and the tailfins 102 as shown in FIG. 5(h). The combined structure may use a matching set of index drums 30 and 31 on the Extractor 14 which may cause a slight increase in cost in the launch system. However, this embodiment may reduce drag and improve the robustness of tailfins 102. In conclusion, the disadvantages of any spherical embodiment include the lack of spin-stabilization and low aerodynamic efficiency. Without the index holes, the probability of a misfeed or jamming increases. Also, if the connecting material needs to be discarded during the feeding process, the complexity and cost of the feeding apparatus increases.

The Feeding Assembly 12 includes of the Extractor 14, a cam 40 with a pivot 47, a roller 41 mounted on the bolt knob M5 and a spring-loaded lever 48. The roller 41 travels within the rail 43 inside the cam 40, and in so doing, the roller 41 pushes the cam 40 along the edge 45 and causes it to rotate around its pivot 47. The lever 48 is forced into the one-way gear 34 on the back of the Extractor 14, and causes the Extractor 14 to rotate. The Feeding Assembly 12 is a conveyor mechanism that separates the projectiles from the Projectile Belt 10 and delivers the segregated projectile 11a into the breech M6 in the Barrel M3. The Feeding Assembly 12 includes the Extractor 14, a cam 40, a lever 48, a roller 41 attached to the bolt knob M5 (commonly found in today's market) on the bolt M3. The cam 40 and the lever 48 is synchronized and driven by the movements of the bolt M5. During re-cocking, the bolt M5 moves backward 93 and causes the roller 41 to travel along the rail 43. When the roller 41 is traveling within the linear edge 44 of the cam 40, no movement is induced on the cam 40. The length of the linear edge 44 is determined by the length of the projectiles 11 that is, how far the bolt M3 has to travel in order to clear the breech M6 for the incoming projectile 11b. After that, the incoming projectile 11b may move into the breech M6. When the roller 41 reaches the up ramp 45, any further movement will cause the cam 40 to rotate around its pivot 47 in the clockwise direction 92, which in turns, causes the lever 48 to push the one-way gear 34 on the back of the Extractor 14. By doing so, the Extractor 14 separates the projectile closest to the breech M6 from the remaining Projectile Belt 10. The Extractor 14 advances the Projectile Belt 10 by one width of the projectile 11 and delivers the separated projectile 11b into breech M6. Prior to firing, the bolt M3 moves forward 94 and drives the cam 40 in the opposite direction 95. The spring-loaded lever 48 slides to the next tooth on the one-way gear 34, without causing any movement in the Extractor 14. The projectile 11a is chambered. When the re-cocking sequence begins, the process repeats. An embodiment of the Feeding Assembly 12, shown in FIG. 10, uses a pair of symmetrical conveyor belts 202 to drag the Projectile Belt 10 into the breech M6. The conveyor belts 202 are driven by the movement of the bolt M4. As the bolt M4 opens and moves backward during re-cocking, it provides kinetic energy to drive the Feeding Assembly 12. Besides using the cam 40 and lever 48 to synchronize the bolt M4 with the conveyor belts 202, the precise timing of the two conveyor belts 202 relative to the bolt M4 may also be encoded in the trenches 222 on the surfaces of two timing plates 220. Glide pins 221 are created on the outside of the conveyor belts 202. The conveyor belts 202 are sandwiched between the timing plates 220 that are directly connected to the bolt M4. The glide pins 221 are inserted into the trenches 222 that encode the one-way movement of the pins 221 relative to movement 224 of the bolt M4. In other words, the conveyor belts 202 are driven by the movement of the timing plates 220. Another embodiment employs a similar concept but the timing is encoded in a timing ring built around the bolt M4 instead of the timing plates 220. A bolt knob M5 traveling back and forth will cause the timing ring to rotate along the longitudinal axis of the bolt M4. The rotational movement is transferred to the conveyor belt 202 or to the desired embodiment of the Extractor 14 and provides conveyor belt 202 and extractor 14 with kinetic energy and synchronized movement. Other embodiments that converts the linear motion of the bolt M4 into unidirectional rotational motion is through gear set, such as a rack-and-pinion combined with a unidirectional freewheel, are within the scope of the invention. All of the structural embodiments variants of Feeding Assembly 12 described here are more complex than the desired embodiment, and may be less efficient, less reliable, less robust and/or more costly.

The Extractor 14 is a sub-component of the Feeding Assembly 12. The Extractor 14 includes of four pairs of counter-rotating sub-components around two symmetrical drive shafts 36. The four sub-component pairs are the index drums 30 and 31, synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and sets of flaps 38. The pairs of synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and set of flaps 38 are longitudinally symmetrical to their counterparts, with the exception of the index drums 30 and 31, which may have distinctive, asymmetrical features determined by the construction of the tape 27 being used. On one side, the index drum 30 has a set of index teeth 54; and, on the other side 31, there are matching index holes 55. The relative positions of index teeth 54 and index holes 55 must match the index holes 21 on the tape 27 being used. Amongst the indexing features 54 and 55, there are blades 57 on one side and matching trenches 56 on the other. Similarly, the relative positions of blades 57 and trenches 56 should match the positions of the perforation 26 on the tape 27 being used. The two index drums 30 and 31 are synchronized by a pair of synchronization gears 32. There is also a pair of one-way gear 34 driven by the cam 40 and lever 48 during re-cocking action of the bolt M4. The sets of flaps 38 mechanically assist the insertion of the extracted non-lethal projectile 11a into the breech M6. The flaps 38 may be used, should the index drums 30 alone be insufficient. In the Extractor 14, there is a gap 33 allowing the tailfins 22 to pass through. The Extractor 14 is a sub-component of the Feeding Assembly 12. The Extractor includes four pairs of counter-rotating sub-components around two symmetrical drive shafts 36. The four subcomponent pairs are the index drums 30 and 31, the pair of synchronization gears 32, the pair of one-way (unidirectional) gears 34 and the pair of flaps 38. The pairs of synchronization gears 32, one-way gears 34 and set of flaps 38 are longitudinally symmetrical to their counterparts, with the exception of the index drums 30 and 31, which may have distinctive, asymmetrical features determined by the tape 27 being used. On one side, the index drum 30 has a set of index teeth 54; and, on the other side 31, there are matching index holes 55. The relative positions of index teeth 54 and index holes 55 should match the index holes 21 of the tape 27 being used. Amongst the indexing aids 54 and 55, there are blades 57 on one side and trenches 56 on the other. Similarly, the relative positions of blades 57 and trenches 56 should match the positions of the perforations 26 on the tape 27 being used. The action of the blades 57 are illustrated in FIG. 8. The blade 57e is cutting through the perforations 26 between projectile 11b and 11c. The two index drums 30 and 31 are synchronized by a pair of synchronization gears 32. There is a pair of one-way gear 34 driven by the cam 40 and lever 48 during re-cocking action of the bolt M4. The sets of flaps 38 mechanically assist the insertion of the extracted non-lethal projectile 11b into the breech M6. The flaps 38 may be implemented, should the index drums 30 and 31 alone provide insufficient mechanical support. The Extractor 14 must be placed in close proximity to the breech M6, see FIG. 8, so that the last projectile 11a in the belt 10 will be held up in breech M6 with the absence of the next projectile 11b. It is desirable and possible for a blade 57a and an index tooth 54b to temporarily intrude into the breech M6, as long as they do not interfere with the bolt M4. There is a gap 33 in the Extractor 14 and 14′ that allows tailfins 22 on the Projectile Belt 10 to pass through. Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12 which illustrate an embodiment of the Extractor 10, this embodiment of the Extractor 10 moves longitudinally along the axis of the barrel M3. Its motion is synchronized with the bolt M4, which can be achieved through a spring 216. This embodiment 210 of the Extractor 14 leads the bolt M4. Additionally, re-cocking of this embodiment 210 of the Extractor 14 is delayed relative to the bolt M4. This embodiment 210 of the Extractor 14 has a very sharp blade 212 for removing non-lethal projectiles 11 from the Projectile Belt 10 by cutting through the connecting material 27 between the first projectile 11a and the second 11b. On both sides of the blade, there are ramps 215 that guide the tape 27 into the blade 212 as the Extractor 210 is pushed forward by the bolt M4. The other purpose of the ramps 215 is to narrow the blade opening 214 to reduce the chance of injury. The embodiment 210 and the bolt M4 then form a gas seal behind the chamber.

The Magazine 18 is a storage device made of durable but inexpensive material, such as nylon. The Magazine's body 61 is round in shape, resembling the drum magazines used by the military. The Magazine 18 optionally has a removable cover. When the cover is removed, the Magazine can be refilled and serviced. At one end of the Magazine is a ramp 66 guiding the Projectile Belt 10 traveling into the Feeding Assembly 12. A spin wheel 63 or bearing facilitates the unwinding of the Projectile Belt 10. The adapter 65 secures the whole Magazine 18 to the action M1. The adapter 65 may optionally implement a push rod 64, or similar mechanism to induce some movement of the Extractor 14 as the Magazine 18 is being inserted into the action M1, primarily to ensure the first projectile properly aligns with the index drums 30 and 31 of the Extractor 14. Along the interior of the Magazine 18, there may be soft rubber flaps 62 that prevent the Projectile Belt 10 from traveling in reverse due to gravity or vibration, although this is optional as well. The Magazine 18 provides an enclosure for the Projectile Belt 10 and protects the Projectile Belt 10 from being damaged before it enters the breech M6, although the absence of such magazine 18 will not affect the normal operation of the present invention. The Projectile Belt 10 may be fed directly into the Feeding Assembly 12 with or without the Magazine 18. In the desired embodiment, Projectile Belt 10 coils around the center spin wheel 63 of a drum Magazine 18. The optional spin wheel 63 facilitates the unwinding of the Projectile Belt 10 inside the Magazine 18. And, for easier packaging and retailing, the Magazine 18 may be made of disposable materials so that the Magazine 18 may be conveniently discarded after use. Although the round-shaped drum Magazine 18 may be the most space- and weight-efficient, a magazine can take many other shapes, such as straight rectangular or curved. These variants are commonly known as box magazines. The magazines may be made of metals, plastics and/or other materials, depending on the requirements of the target environments. If the Magazine 18 is re-usable, the actual construction may also include a removable lid, secured by screw or clips.

The action M1 is the assembly where all other components are connected to. The bolt M4 is attached to the cam 40 of the Feeding Assembly 12 through a roller 41 on the bolt knob M5. The lever 48 is actuated by the cam 40. The spring-loaded lever 48 sits on a one-way gear 34 of the Extractor 14. The Feeding Assembly 12 is connected to the breech M6 of the barrel M3 so that the Extractor 14 may insert the segregated non-lethal projectile 11a into the breech M6. The Extractor 14 aligns the incoming non-lethal projectiles 11 along the barrel's M3 longitudinal axis (or at an otherwise predetermined angle) using the index holes 21 on the Projectile Belt 10. The Magazine 18, containing the Projectile Belt 10, is attached to the Feeding Assembly 12 through an adapter 65 such that the incoming Projectile Belt 10 is properly aligned with the action M1. Unlike conventional gravity-feed mechanism, the Magazine 18 and the Feeding Assembly 12 may be positioned in any orientation. The position of the Magazine 18 relative to the action M1 is not restricted to the positions vertically above or below the breech M6. It may be positioned at any angle around the action M1. However, under most circumstances, the use of a Magazine 18 is optional. The Feeding Assembly 12 will accept a Projectile Belt 10 without a Magazine 18, although the use of a Magazine 18 as a protective cover will prevent contaminants such as sand and dust from entering the action M1. Contaminants increase the likelihood of failures of the action M1. Furthermore, for illustrative purposes, only the non-lethal embodiment of the projectile belt and the feeding apparatus and their embodiments has been presented. However, it is obvious that harmful or even lethal payloads may also be delivered using the same projectile belt concept and the same feeding apparatus. Harmful fill materials include, but not limited to, biological agents, chemical agents, pesticides, hard solids, explosives and sharpened tips.

To begin using the invention, a user acquires a pre-fabricated belt 10 of non-lethal projectiles potentially in the form of a loaded Magazine 18. The user inserts the Magazine or the belt into the Feeding Assembly. By doing so, the first non-lethal projectile 11 would be situated next to the breech M6 opening of the barrel M3. For most pump-action, semi-automatic and fully-automatic actions, the user is required to perform an initial cocking of the bolt M4 into its rear-most position. The bolt's M4 movement causes the cam 40 and the lever 48 to move, whose actions are synchronized with the bolt M4. The movement of the cam 40 causes the Extractor 14 in the Feeding Assembly 12 to rotate. The rotating Extractor 14 extracts the first non-lethal projectile from the Projectile belt by cutting through its perforation 26 and pushes the loose non-lethal projectile 11 into the breech and pulls the remainder of the Projectile Belt 10 towards the breech M6. The action M1 is loaded and ready to fire. During firing, the bolt M4, which is usually spring loaded, is released. The bolt M4 chambers the loose non-lethal projectile 11a and seals the barrel M3 from behind. The next non-lethal projectile 11b remains outside of the barrel M3 at this time. The cam 40 driven by the bolt M4 returns to its original position. The lever 48 also returns to its original position by skipping over to the next tooth on the one-way gear 34 without causing any movement in the Extractor 14. After the chambered projectile 11a is ejected from the barrel M3, the bolt M4 returns to its pre-firing position either by the residual gas pressure, as in semi- or fully automatic action, or by manual action. The bolt's M4 movement causes the cam 40, the lever 48 and the Extractor 14 to move, as described previously in the description of the preferred embodiment of the Extractor 14. The rotating Extractor 14 extracts the next non-lethal projectile 11b, pushes the loose projectile 11b into the breech and pulls the remainder of the Projectile Belt 10 towards the breech M6. The Action is again in a ready-to-fire configuration. The cycle repeats when the user releases the bolt M4 again. In a closed-bolt action, the cycle is almost the same, with the exception that the bolt M4 remains in the forward most position (breech M6 closed) before the trigger is pulled. When the breech M6 is closed and locked, the action M1 is said to be ready to fire.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.