Title:
Paintball gun, retrofit kit assembly, and methods of making and using
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Paint ball guns frequently break paint balls within the gun. When this happens the gun is jammed with paint and residue of broken paint balls, and a user of the gun cannot fire the gun. An improved paint ball gun includes structures and features which allow quick opening of the barrel and breach of the gun for cleaning. After cleaning of the barrel and breach of the gun, the barrel and gun breach are quickly returned to firing position, and a user of the gun loses only a few seconds of game time before being able to resume firing. A kit of retrofit parts, as well as methods of making and operating the improved paint ball gun are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Styles, Leon (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Gardner, Jason (Santa Ana, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/807427
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/29/2007
Assignee:
Velocity, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Office of Terry L. Miller (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A paint ball gun, said paint ball gun having a main body defining a bore for receiving a paint ball, an elongate barrel securing to said main body at said bore and having a breach end receiving the paintball and a muzzle end from which the paint ball is ejected forcefully, a breach closure member movable for opening and closing said breach end of said barrel, and connection structure movably attaching said barrel to said main body and having a first position aligning and sealingly connecting said barrel with said bore for ejecting a paint ball from said barrel and a second position allowing rapid displacement of said barrel at said breach end from alignment with said bore so that the breach end of said barrel is exposed for cleaning.

2. The paint ball gun of claim 1, wherein said connection structure moves pivotally between said first and second positions in response to a movement of less than 360°.

3. The paint ball gun of claim 1, wherein said connection structure moves pivotally between said first and second positions in response to a movement of less than 180°.

4. The paint ball gun of claim 1, wherein said connection structure includes a pivot pin upon which said barrel is pivotal relative to said main body, and the orientation of said pivot pin is selected from the group consisting of: substantially parallel with a bore of said barrel, and substantially perpendicular to a bore of said barrel.

5. The paint ball gun of claim 4, wherein said pivot pin is oriented substantially parallel with said barrel bore, and said connection structure further includes a latching device for latching said barrel in said first position of said connection structure.

6. The paint ball gun of claim 4, wherein said pivot pin is oriented substantially perpendicular to said barrel bore, and said connection structure further includes a latching device for latching said barrel in said first position of said connection structure.

7. The paint ball gun of claim 4 wherein said pivot pin is carried by an integral portion of said main body.

8. The paint ball gun of claim 4 wherein said pivot pin is carried by a member removably securing to said main body.

9. The paint ball gun of claim 8 wherein said member removably securing to said main body includes a collar member having a shape selected from the group consisting of: generally annular and generally of C-shape, and said collar member removably attaching to said main body adjacent to a breach end of said bore, and a tubular adapter member at an aft end replicating the breach end and mounting thread of a conventional paint ball gun barrel, said tubular adapter member at a forward part thereof including a radially outwardly extending flange portion defining a shoulder bearing on said collar member, whereby said tubular adapter member is threadably received into the gun barrel thread of a conventional paint ball gun body and secures said collar member to said conventional paint ball gun body to pivotally support a paint ball gun barrel relative thereto.

10. The paint ball gun of claim 9, wherein said member removably securing to said main body further includes a boss carrying a hinge pin, and a hinged portion pivotal on said hinge pin relative to said main body between a first position aligned with said bore, and a second position in which a breach end of said barrel displaced from said bore and is exposed for cleaning.

11. The paint ball gun of claim 10 wherein said hinged portion defines a respective bore, said respective bore of said hinged member defining an internal thread for threadably receiving a paint ball gun barrel.

12. The paint ball gun of claim 1, wherein said connection structure includes a pivot pin upon which said barrel is pivotal relative to said main body, and the orientation of said pivot pin is selected from the group consisting of: substantially parallel with a bore of said barrel, and substantially perpendicular to a bore of said barrel, said connection structure further including a member removably securing to said main body, said member including a collar member having a shape selected from the group consisting of: generally annular and generally of C-shape, and said collar member removably attaching to said main body adjacent to a breach end of said bore, and a tubular adapter member at an aft end replicating the breach end and mounting thread of a conventional paint ball gun barrel, said tubular adapter member at a forward part thereof including a radially outwardly extending flange portion defining a shoulder bearing on said collar member, whereby said tubular adapter member is threadably received into the gun barrel thread of a conventional paint ball gun body and secures said collar member to said conventional paint ball gun body to pivotally support a conventional paint ball gun barrel relative thereto.

13. The paint ball gun of claim 12, wherein said connection structure further includes a latching device for latching said barrel in said first position of said connection structure.

14. A method of using a paint ball gun, said method including steps of: providing a paint ball gun having a main body including a grip frame, a trigger, and defining a bore in the main body for receiving a paint ball; attaching an elongate barrel to the main body with a breach end receiving the paintball and a muzzle end from which the paint ball is ejected forcefully; providing a bolt assembly movable in the main body for opening and closing the breach end of the barrel; providing connecting structure movably attaching the barrel to the main body and having a first position aligning and sealingly connecting the barrel with the bore for ejection of a paint ball therefrom, and a second position allowing rapid displacement of the barrel at the breach end out of alignment with the bore; whereby in the second position of the barrel the breach end of the barrel is exposed for cleaning.

15. A retrofit kit for converting a conventional paint ball gun which utilizes a barrel defining an aft thread portion threadably engaging directly into a threaded forward bore portion of a main body of the paint ball gun, so that the barrel of the converted paint ball gun is movable quickly between a first position in which the barrel aligns with the bore portion so that a paint ball may be ejected forcefully therefrom, and a second position in which the barrel is moved out of alignment with said bore portion, exposing a breach end of said barrel and a breach area of said bore portion for cleaning, said retrofit kit including a collar member attachable at the forward end of said bore portion and movably carrying a hinged portion, said hinged portion defining a threaded bore for receiving a paint ball gun barrel, and in a first position said hinged portion aligning with the usual position of the paint ball gun barrel, so that the gun is operational to discharge a paint ball, in a second position of said hinged portion said paint ball gun barrel swinging aside from its usual position so that the breach is accessible for cleaning.

16. A two-part quick-release barrel mount for mounting to a conventional paint ball gun to allow the barrel of the paint ball gun to be quick removed for cleaning, the conventional paint ball gun having a main body with a bore portion at a forward end defining a thread for receiving an aft end of a conventional paint ball gun barrel, and a conventional paint ball gun barrel at an aft end defining a breach end portion with a male thread for threadably engaging into said bore portion of said main body, said quick-release barrel mount comprising a first portion which at an aft end part thereof replicates the breach end portion and male thread configuration of the aft end of a conventional paint ball gun barrel, said first portion being threadably receivable into the main body of the paint ball gun in substitution for the barrel; and said first portion capturing thereon a generally ring-shaped second part which includes a pair of diametrically-opposed and radially outwardly extending lugs; said lugs being engaged by a matching pair of hook-shaped arms protruding rearwardly from a barrel mount member, said barrel mount member defining a through bore and at a forward opening of said through bore defining a barrel-receiving thread.

17. The quick-release barrel mount of claim 16, further including said second part defining an elongate boss carrying a spring-loaded detent member, in a first relative position of said second and said barrel mount member said detent member engaging into a detent pocket defined at an aft face of a detent tab extending radially outwardly on said barrel mount member.

18. An improved paint ball gun having a main body defining a bore into which a paint ball is receivable for forceful ejection via a barrel attached to said main body, said main body defining a barrel-receiving thread at a forward portion of said bore, and said barrel-receiving thread being circumferentially interrupted so as to define plural axially extending grooves which are free of thread.

19. An improved paint ball gun barrel having a breach end portion defining a male thread for threading engagement into a main body of a paint ball gun, said breach end portion male thread being circumferentially interrupted so that said male thread defines plural axially extending grooves which are free of thread.

20. An improved paint ball gun and barrel combination, which combination allows the barrel to be quickly removed from and replaced onto a main body of the paint ball gun, said paint ball gun main body defining a bore into which a paint ball is receivable for forceful ejection via a barrel attached to said main body, said main body defining a barrel-receiving thread at a forward portion of said bore, and said barrel-receiving thread being circumferentially interrupted so as to define plural axially extending grooves which are free of thread and which are circumferentially interposed with axially extending thread sections; and said paint ball gun barrel having a breach end portion defining a male thread for threading engagement into a main body of said paint ball gun, said breach end portion male thread being circumferentially interrupted so that said male thread defines plural axially extending grooves which are free of thread and which are circumferentially interposed with axially extending male thread sections; whereby said barrel may be attached to said main body by passing said breach end portion axially into said bore of said main body with said interrupted thread sections of said barrel passing along said grooves of said main body thread, and said interrupted thread sections of said main body passing along said grooves of said barrel breach end portion, and so that after passing axially into said main body said barrel and main body are relatively rotated to engage said interrupted thread sections with one another.

21. A paint ball gun, said paint ball gun having a main body defining a bore for receiving a paint ball, an elongate barrel securing to said main body at said bore and having a breach end receiving the paintball and a muzzle end from which the paint ball is ejected forcefully, a breach closure member movable for opening and closing said breach end of said barrel, and connection structure movably attaching said barrel to said main body and having a first position aligning and sealingly connecting said barrel with said bore for ejecting a paint ball from said barrel and a second position allowing rapid linear displacement of said barrel at said breach end from said first position and to a second position in which said breach end of said barrel is exposed for cleaning.

22. The paint ball gun of claim 21, wherein said connection structure moves linearly and substantially parallel with the length of said elongate barrel between said first position and said second position.

23. The paint ball gun of claim 21, wherein said connection structure moves linearly and substantially perpendicularly to the length of said elongate barrel between said first position and said second position.

24. The paint ball gun of claim 1, wherein said connection structure carries one of a male dovetail feature and a matching and slidably engageable female dovetail structure, and said main body carries the other one of said male dovetail feature and said matching and slidably engageable female dovetail structure.

25. The paint ball gun of claim 24, wherein an orientation for said male dovetail feature and for said matching and slidably engageable female dovetail structure is selected from the group consisting of: substantially parallel with the length of said elongate barrel, and substantially perpendicular to the length of said elongate barrel.

26. The paint ball gun of claim 25, wherein said orientation is substantially parallel with the length of said elongate barrel, and said connection structure further includes a latching device for latching said barrel in said first position.

27. The paint ball gun of claim 25, wherein said orientation is substantially perpendicular to the length of said elongate barrel, and said connection structure further includes a detent device for removably retaining said barrel in said first position, said detent device allowing said barrel to be moved to said second position in response to application of a predetermined lateral force to said connection structure.

28. The paint ball gun of claim 21 wherein said connection structure is defined by an integral portion of said main body.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a pneumatic marker or paint ball gun, to such a paintball gun including a breaking breach feature, to a retrofit kit for converting a conventional paintball gun to embody the improved structure and operation of this invention, and to a methods of making and using such a paint ball gun.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Paint ball guns were originally developed for marking objects at a distance. The guns were employed in such fields as forestry and cattle ranching, in which frangible projectiles (generally known as paint balls) were fired against trees to be harvested, or against cattle to be taken to market, for example. When the frangible paint ball hits its target, it breaks open and leaves a brightly colored “paint” mark on the target. For this reason, the paint ball guns themselves are frequently referred to as “markers.” But, more recently paint ball guns are much more widely used in various recreational and game environments, such as simulated war games in which the game players attempt to shoot opposing players with the paint balls, thus marking this opposing player with a particular color of paint from a frangible paint ball. Different colors of paint in the paint balls clearly indicate paint ball hits, and allow players and teams of players to compete against one another.

Paint ball guns using compressed air or gas for power are well known. Until a few years ago most paint ball guns were pneumatically-powered, but mechanically-operated guns. The recent entry into the market of electro-pneumatically operated paint ball guns provided more consistent and better performing guns for the recreational market. An electro-pneumatic paint ball gun provides improved performance with fewer component malfunctions than the earlier mechanical-pneumatic paint ball guns. However, a common problem with all paint ball guns, and especially those modern recreational paint ball guns which have a high cyclic rate of operation (i.e., a high rate of fire) is the breaking of paint balls in the gun breach and barrel. That is, the frangible paint balls inconveniently break in the gun itself, and leave the residue of the frangible shell of the paint ball and the paint contained in this shell, within the operating mechanism of the gun. A paintball gun so fouled is essentially unusable.

As a result, the user of a fouled paintball gun must discontinue operation of the gun, and in order to clear the gun of paint fouling is required to remove the barrel by unthreading it from the receiver of the gun, then swab it out, as well as cleaning the breach of the gun. Then the barrel is re-threaded onto the receiver of the gun. Because unthreading the barrel from the gun exposes the breach chamber of the gun, cleaning out the barrel removes most of the paintball residue and paint from the gun, and allows removal of the remaining paintball residue and paint from the breach mechanism as well. However, when such a partial disassembly and cleaning of a fouled paintball gun is necessary during a game or competition, the player using the gun incurs a great risk of being hit by opponents, and thus of being put out of the game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the deficiencies of the related art, it is an object for this invention to mitigate or eliminate at least one of these deficiencies.

Specifically, it is an object for this invention to provide a paint ball gun having a breach mechanism allowing the gun to quickly break open at the breach so that the barrel and breach can be cleared of fouling.

Another object for this invention is to provide such a retrofit kit allowing a standard paint ball gun with a threadably attached barrel to be modified so that the breach will break open, allowing the barrel to be quickly moved or pivoted aside for removal of fouling.

The present invention addresses the deficiencies of the conventional technology by providing a paint ball gun having a main body including a grip frame, a trigger, and the main body also defining a bore for receiving a paint ball. An elongate barrel secures to the main body and has a breach end receiving the paintball and a muzzle end from which the paint ball is ejected forcefully. A bolt assembly is movable in the main body for opening and closing the breach end of the barrel, and connection structure attaches the barrel to the main body and has a first position aligning and sealingly connecting the barrel with the bore and a second position allowing rapid displacement of the barrel at the breach end from alignment with the bore so that the breach end of the barrel is exposed for cleaning.

A method of using a paint ball gun according to this invention includes the steps of providing a paint ball gun having a main body including a grip frame, a trigger, and defining a bore in the main body for receiving a paint ball. Attaching an elongate barrel to the main body with a breach end receiving the paintball and a muzzle end from which the paint ball is ejected forcefully. Providing a bolt assembly movable in the main body for opening and closing the breach end of the barrel, and connecting structure attaching the barrel to the main body and having a first position aligning and sealingly connecting the barrel with the bore and a second position allowing rapid displacement of the barrel at the breach end from alignment with the bore. Whereby in the second position of the barrel the breach end of the barrel is exposed for cleaning.

A retrofit kit for converting a standard conventional paint ball gun to the advantages of this invention includes a collar member attachable at the location of the paint ball gun barrel by use of a tubular adapter which at an aft end replicates the breach end portion and barrel mounting thread of a paint ball gun barrel. At a forward end portion the tubular adapter member provides a flange portion which has a shoulder bearing on the collar member when tightened. The collar member hingeably carries a hinged portion, and this hinged portion defines a threaded bore for receiving a paint ball gun barrel. In a first position the hinged portion is aligned with the usual position of the paint ball gun barrel, so that the gun is operational normally. In a second position of the hinged portion, the paint ball gun barrel swings aside from its normal position so that the breach is accessible for cleaning.

An advantage of the present invention is that a paint ball gun according to the invention can be quickly cleaned and placed back into operation after breakage of a paint ball in the breach of the gun. That is, the breach end of the barrel and the breach area of the gun itself are accessible when the barrel is moved to its second location.

Additional objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the pertinent arts upon reading the following detailed description of a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, which illustrates the best mode contemplated for practicing the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view in perspective of a first embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view also in perspective similar to FIG. 1, of the first embodiment with the paint ball barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration and with a portion of the paint ball gun moved to an alternative position;

FIG. 3 provides a side elevation view in perspective similar to FIGS. 1 and 2, with the paint ball gun barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with the barrel unthreaded and removed for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view in perspective of a second embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 provides a side elevation view in perspective similar to FIG. 4, of the second embodiment with the paint ball gun barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with the barrel unthreaded and removed for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view also in perspective similar to FIGS. 4 and 5, of the second embodiment with the paint ball barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with a portion of the paint ball gun moved to an alternative position;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation view in perspective of a third embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 provides a side elevation view in perspective similar to FIG. 7, of the third embodiment with the paint ball gun barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with the barrel unthreaded and removed for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 8a is a side elevation view in perspective similar to FIG. 8, of the third embodiment with the paint ball gun barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with the barrel and portions of the gun swung aside to a second position, and also with other parts shown in exploded perspective view for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view also in perspective similar to FIGS. 7, 8, and 8a, but showing only the barrel assembly partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and at an enlarged size, and with a portion of the barrel assembly moved to an alternative or second position;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view in perspective of a fourth embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 provides a side elevation view in perspective similar to FIG. 10, of the fourth embodiment with the paint ball gun barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration, and with the barrel unthreaded and removed for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 12 is a side elevation view also in perspective similar to FIGS. 10 and 11 but showing the fourth embodiment of paint ball gun with the barrel partially broken away for clarity of illustration and moved to an alternative position;

FIG. 13 is a side elevation view also in perspective very similar to FIG. 12, of the fourth embodiment of paint ball gun, but with portions of the barrel assembly partially broken away for clarity of illustration and with parts shown in exploded perspective view;

FIG. 14 is a side elevation view of the barrel assembly of the fourth embodiment of paint ball gun seen in FIGS. 10-13, with the barrel assembly shown in isolation view at an enlarged size;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an adapter for converting a standard conventional paint ball gun to a fifth embodiment of the present invention, and shows the adapter in a first operative position;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the adapter for converting a standard conventional paint ball gun to a fifth embodiment of the present invention as is seen in FIG. 15, and shows the adapter in a second position;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the adapter for converting a standard conventional paint ball gun to a fifth embodiment of the present invention as seen in FIGS. 15 and 16, and shows the adapter in a third position preparatory to removal of the paint ball gun barrel from a paint ball gun;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a fragmentary perspective view of an inventive paint ball barrel for use with the paint ball gun seen in FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a fragmentary perspective view of a seventh embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention;

FIG. 21 is a fragmentary perspective view of the paint ball gun seen in FIG. 20, with parts of the gun moved to an alternative position;

FIG. 22 is a fragmentary perspective view of a eight embodiment of paint ball gun according to the present invention; and

FIG. 23 is a fragmentary perspective view of the paint ball gun seen in FIG. 22 with parts of the gun moved to an alternative position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to drawing FIGS. 1-3 in conjunction with one another, and first considering especially FIG. 1, a paint ball gun 10 includes a main body 12, with a grip frame 14 pivotally carrying a trigger 16 and defining a trigger guard 18. A barrel 20 is threadably attached to the main body 12, and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 22a-best seen in FIG. 3) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 20. At a muzzle end opening 22b, the paint ball may be discharged from the barrel (indicated by the arrow on FIG. 1) by a blast of pressurized gas, as will be well understood by those ordinarily skilled in the pertinent arts.

A gas inlet regulator body 24 is also attached to and depends from the main body 12, and provides communication via an inlet 24a (arrowed on FIG. 1) with a source of high pressure gas (not shown in the drawing Figures) for powering the paint ball gun 10. Also attached to the main body 12 via an upper feed tube 26 defining an opening or feed port 28 may be a paint ball hopper and feeding device (not seen in the drawing Figures, but indicated by arrowed numeral 30). The arrowed numeral 30 also indicates the provision into the feed port or opening 28 of a supply of paint balls which are fed in one at a time in succession. The feed port 28 opens into a top one 32 (best seen in FIG. 2) of two substantially parallel and vertically spaced bores (i.e., bores 32 and 34) defined by the main body 12, the lower one of which is indicated by an arrowed lead line. The lower bore 34 at its forward end receives an accumulator chamber member 36, as is best seen also on FIG. 2. The barrel 20 is threadably received at a rear portion 20c thereof (best seen in FIG. 3) into the front of bore 32, at which the main body 12 defines a barrel-receiving portion 12a. The barrel 20 is able to receive and discharge paint balls, as described above.

A bolt assembly 38 (only a handle portion 38a of which is fully seen in the drawing Figures) is reciprocally and sealingly received into the rear portion of bore 32, and cooperates with the feed port 28 and with the barrel 20 at breech opening 22a to define a breech chamber 40 (best seen in FIG. 2) in which a paint ball is sealingly received via feed port 28 and is held preparatory to this paint ball being forcefully discharged from the gun 10 via barrel 20, viewing FIG. 1. In the drawing Figures, the bolt 38 and handle portion 38a thereof are illustrated in a rearward one of their two operative positions, indicating that the bolt is open. When the bolt handle 38a and bolt 38 move forward to a second operative position (not seen in the drawing Figures) then the bolt 38 at its forward extent closes the breach chamber 40 to trap a paint ball therein preparatory to the paint ball being discharged from the barrel 20. Discharge of the paint ball is indicated on FIG. 1 by the arrow exiting muzzle 22b.

The gas inlet regulator 24 provides pressurized gas (i.e., compressed air, or nitrogen, or carbon dioxide, for example) into the lower bore portion 34. A front part of the bore portion 34 communicates with the accumulator 36 as described above. At the bore portion 34 (i.e., within the body 12), the paint ball gun 10 includes a discharge valve assembly (not seen in the drawing Figures) which will be well understood to those ordinarily skilled in the pertinent arts, including a poppet valve member arranged to communicating pressurized gas between the bores 32 and 34 in response to a user of the paint ball gun actuating the trigger 16. Thus, when a user of the paint ball gun 10 pulls the trigger 16, the pressurized gas is communicated from accumulator 36 to the breach chamber 40 and discharges a paint ball via barrel 20.

Those ordinarily skilled in the pertinent arts will understand that the grip frame 14 houses an electronic assembly and valving assembly (also not seen in the drawing Figures). This electronic assembly and valving assembly typically includes a 3-way, normally-closed solenoid valve and a circuit board (disposed within the grip frame 14) and including a microprocessor based control system controlling the operations and timing of the gun 10.

Further considering now the drawing FIGS. 1-3, it is seen that in order to allow the barrel 20 to be moved aside to allow quick cleaning of this barrel and the breach area of the paint ball gun 10, the front part of main body 12 includes a member or portion 42, which is pivotally or hingeably mounted relative to the remainder of the main body via a forwardly extending pin 44 carried by the main body portion 12, and pivotally received in a protruding boss 46 of the portion 42. Thus, this portion 42 is pivotally or hingeably movable between a first position, seen in FIG. 1, and a second position seen in FIG. 2. The portion 42 defines a forward portion of bore 32, defines barrel thread 12a, and carries the barrel 20. In its first position, the portion 42 and the barrel 20 are aligned with breach chamber 40, which is defined by a rearward portion of bore 32 defined within the remainder of main body 12. In this first position of the portion 42, a seal is established between the rear face 42a of the portion 42, and the forward face 12b of the main body 12. Most preferably, a sealing member 48 (best seen in FIG. 2) will be disposed at the surfaces defined by faces 42a and 12b in order to provide a seal between these faces. In the embodiment seen in FIGS. 1-3, the seal member 48 is disposed in a groove 48a circumscribing the breach chamber 40 at the opening of bore 32, although the invention is not so limited. Most preferably, this seal member 48 may include an O-ring or X-ring type of sealing member disposed between these faces and circumscribing the bore 32.

In order to retain the portion 42 in its first position seen in FIG. 1, while allowing it to be pivoted at will to the second position seen in FIG. 2, this portion 42 defines a latching bar 50 protruding rearwardly on the side of portion 42 opposite to boss 46. This latching bar 50 is arranged to nest into a pocket (indicated by arrow 52) defined along the left side of the main body 12 by the cooperation of a lower boss 54, a pair of vertically spaced bosses 56a and 56b which cooperatively carry a spring-loaded pivotal latch member 58, and the latch member 58 itself. As is seen best in FIG. 2, when the latch member 58 is moved aside (i.e., outwardly) at its forward end 58a by a user of the paint ball gun 10 pressing inwardly on a rear portion 58b of this latch member (indicated by the arrow on FIG. 2), the latching bar 50 is able to pivot outwardly and upwardly of pocket 52, viewing FIG. 2. As is also seen in FIG. 2, pivoting of the latching bar 50 out of pocket 52 has the effect of pivoting the member or portion 42 (and barrel 20) about pin 44 to the second position seen in this drawing Figure.

When the barrel 20 is pivoted to the position seen in FIG. 2, the breach opening 22a of this barrel is exposed and made accessible so that a cleaning swab or brush on a cleaning rod may be run thorough the barrel. Also, the breach area (i.e., breach chamber 40, for example) of the paint ball gun 10 is made open and accessible to be cleaned of paint and paint ball debris resulting from breaking of a paint ball in the gun 10. Once the operator of the paintball gun 10 is finished cleaning the barrel 20 and breach area 40, the gun 10 may be put back into operation simply by pivoting the portion or member 42 back to its position seen in FIG. 1. Thus, the latching bar 50 will be received and locked into pocket 52 by the latching member 58.

Importantly, as is seen in FIG. 3, the member or portion 42 defines a bore 42a which defines the forward portion of bore 32, defines the barrel-receiving portion 12a for the main frame 12, and also defines a standard female barrel-receiving thread 52b allowing a user of the paint ball gun to change barrels 20 when desired in order to utilize a barrel better fitting a particular lot of paint balls.

A Second Embodiment

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 4-6 in conjunction with one another a second embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. Because the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, and of FIGS. 4-6 have many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function, these features are referenced in FIGS. 4-6 using the same numeral used above, but increased by one-hundred (100). First considering FIG. 4, it is seen that the paint ball gun 110 includes a main body 112, with a grip frame 114 pivotally carrying a trigger 116 and defining a trigger guard 118. A barrel 120 is threadably attached to the main body 112, and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 122a) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 120. At a muzzle end opening 122b, the paint ball may be discharged from the barrel 120. A gas inlet regulator body 124 depends from the main body 112 and communicates via an inlet 124a (arrowed on FIG. 4) with a source of high pressure gas. The paint ball gun 110 also defines an upper feed tube 126 with an opening or feed port 128 for receiving a supply of paint balls, indicated by arrowed numeral 130.

The feed port 128 opens into a top one 132 of two substantially parallel and vertically spaced bores 132 and 134 defined by the main body 112. The barrel 120 is threadably received at a rear portion 120c into the front of bore 132, at which the main body 112 defines a barrel-receiving portion 112a. The barrel 120 is able to receive and discharge paint balls, as described above.

A bolt assembly 138 with a handle portion 138a is reciprocally and sealingly received into the rear portion of bore 132, and cooperates with the feed port 128 and with the barrel 120 at breech opening 122a to define a breech chamber 140 in which a paint ball is sealingly received via feed port 128. Discharge of the paint ball is indicated on FIG. 4 by the arrow exiting muzzle 122b.

A front part of the bore portion 134 communicates with the accumulator 136, and when a user of the paint ball gun 110 pulls the trigger 116, the pressurized gas communicated to the breach chamber 140 and discharges a paint ball via barrel 120.

Considering now drawing FIGS. 4-6, it is seen that in order to allow the barrel 120 to be moved aside to allow quick cleaning of this barrel and the breach area 140 of the paint ball gun 110, the front part of main body 112 includes a member or portion 142, which is pivotally or hingeably mounted relative to the remainder of the main body 112 via a vertically extending pin 144 carried by the main body portion 112, and pivotally received in a boss 146 protruding on the right-hand side of the main body 112 (best seen in FIG. 6). It will be understood that the invention is not limited to the pivot axis defined by pin 144 being oriented vertically, and that the embodiment of FIGS. 4-6 is an example only of a preferred exemplary embodiment of the invention. For example, the pivot axis for the member 142 may be oriented at any desired angle, such that the barrel 120 is pivoted aside when moved to its second location. Continuing with a consideration of the drawing Figures, it is seen that this portion 142 is pivotally or hingeably movable between a first position, seen in FIG. 4, and a second position seen in FIG. 6. The portion 142 defines a forward portion of bore 132, defines barrel-receiving portion 112a, and carries the barrel 120. In its first position, the portion 142 and the barrel 120 are aligned with breach chamber 140 defined by a forward portion of bore 132 defined within the remainder of main body 112. In this first position of the portion 142, a seal is established between the rear face 142a of the portion 142, and the forward face 112b of the main body 112. Most preferably, a sealing member 148 (best seen in FIG. 6) will be disposed at the surfaces defined by faces 142a and 112b in order to provide a seal between these faces. In the embodiment seen in FIGS. 4-6, the seal member 148 is disposed in a groove 148a circumscribing the breach chamber 140 at the rear opening of the portion of bore 132 defined within the member or portion 142, as is seen in FIG. 6.

In order to retain the portion 142 in its first position seen in FIG. 4, while allowing it to be pivoted at will to the second position seen in FIG. 6, this portion 142 pivotally carries a spring-loaded latching member or pawl 150 protruding rearwardly along the side of portion 142 opposite to boss 146. This latching member 150 is arranged to engage with a latching boss 152 defined along the left side of the main body 112 (as is best seen in FIG. 6)

As is seen best in FIG. 6, when the latch member 150 is moved by an operator of the paint ball gun 110 upwardly against its spring load this latch member disengages from the latching boss 152, allowing pivoting of the member or portion 142 about pin 144 to the second position seen in drawing FIG. 6. Again, when the barrel 120 is pivoted to the position seen in FIG. 6, the breach opening 120a of this barrel is exposed and made accessible so that both the barrel 120 and the breach area (i.e., breach chamber 140, for example) of the paint ball gun 110 is made open and accessible to be cleaned of paint and paint ball debris resulting from breaking of a paint ball in the gun 110. As with the first embodiment disclosed and discussed above, once the operator of the paintball gun 110 is finished cleaning the barrel 120 and breach area 140, the gun 110 may be put back into operation simply by pivoting the portion or member 142 back to its first position, which in this embodiment is seen in FIG. 4. The latching member 150 will re-engage with the latching boss 152, and will retain the barrel 120 in its first position.

Also, as is seen in FIG. 5, the member 142 defines a bore 142a (a forward portion of bore 132) which defines a standard thread 152b allowing a user of the paint ball gun 110 to change barrels 120 when desired in order to utilize a barrel better fitting a particular lot of paint balls.

A Third Embodiment

Retrofit to a Conventional Paint Ball Gun

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 7-9 a third embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. As will be seen, this third embodiment includes a standard paint ball gun 210 (i.e., one not providing for removal of the barrel other than by time-consuming unthreading of this barrel from the main body of the paint ball gun). This embodiment also will be seen to include a kit of parts (perhaps best seen in FIG. 9), which will be further explained, and allowing and effecting conversion of the standard paint ball gun to enjoy the advantages of this invention. Because the embodiment of FIGS. 7-9 has many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function, to features depicted and described above, these features are referenced in FIGS. 7-9 using the same numeral used immediately above, but increased by two-hundred (200) over their first use. First considering FIG. 7, it is seen that a paint ball gun 210 includes a main body 212, with a grip frame 214 pivotally carrying a trigger 216 and defining a trigger guard 218. A barrel 220 is threadably attached to the main body 212 (via the retrofit kit—as will be further explained), and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 222a—best seen in FIG. 8) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 220 for discharge therefrom. At a muzzle end opening 222b, the paint ball will be discharged from the barrel 220.

As is seen best in FIG. 8, the barrel 220 is threadably received at a rear portion 220c thereof into a threaded bore 242a of a member 242. As is seen in FIG. 7, in a first position of the member 242, this member and the barrel 220 align with the front of bore 232, at which the main body 212 of the conventional paint ball gun 210 defines a conventional barrel thread (not seen in the drawing Figures). However, in this case, the barrel thread of the paint ball gun main body 212 does not directly receive a barrel, but receives a tubular adapter part 60 of the retrofit kit, which is best seen in FIGS. 8a and 9. This tubular adapter part 60 at an aft end portion thereof has an extension 62 and an external thread 64, which replicate the aft end of the paint ball gun barrel 220, as is seen in FIG. 8. So, this adapter part 60 threadably engages into the barrel thread at the front of the conventional paint ball gun body 212, as is seen in FIGS. 7 and 8. The adapter part 60 at its forward portion includes a flange portion 66 of enlarged diameter, so that it provides a shoulder (indicated by arrowed numeral 68 on FIGS. 8a and 9). The flange portion 66 defines wrenching flats 70, and a bluff surface 72 upon which a bore 74 extending through the adapter part 60 opens.

About the adapter part 60 is carried a collar member 76 which may be annular or generally of C-shape, as is best seen in FIG. 8a. On one side this collar member 76 defines an outwardly extending boss 246 which in this embodiment (as is seen in FIGS. 7, 8, 8a, and 9), protrudes on the right-hand side of the main body 212. On the opposite side, the collar member 76 defines a latching boss 252. At the boss 246, a portion 242 is pivotally or hingeably received, and serves the same function as the portion 142 seen in the embodiment of FIGS. 4-6. That is, the portion 242 threadably receives the barrel 220 (refer to FIG. 8), and may be pivotally or hingeably movable between a first position, seen in FIG. 7, and a second position seen in FIG. 9. The portion 242 carries a spring-loaded latching member 250 which engages with the latching boss 252, as is best seen in FIGS. 7 and 8.

In order to secure the collar member 76 non-rotationally in place on the main body of the paint ball gun 210, the user of the gun removes the barrel 220, and threads adapter part 60 into place, trapping the collar member 76. When the adapter part 60 is nearly fully threaded into the barrel thread at the front of the main body 212, the user selects the rotational position for collar member 76 which is desired (i.e., selecting the pivot angle orientation for the barrel 220 as it swings aside to the position seen in FIG. 9) and securely tightens the adapter part 60 by application of torque via wrenching flats 70. When the portion 242 is swung to its first position seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, the seal member 248 carried in this portion sealingly engages against bluff surface 72, and the latch member 250 engages with latching boss 252. Operation of this retrofitted paint ball gun, and movement of the barrel 220 to its second position to allow barrel and breach cleaning is the same as for the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 4-6.

A Fourth Embodiment

Another Retrofit to a Conventional Paint Ball Gun

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 10-14 a fourth embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. Again, this fourth embodiment includes a standard paint ball gun 310 (i.e., one not providing for removal of the barrel other than by time-consuming unthreading of this barrel from the main body of the paint ball gun). In contrast to the retrofit embodiment seen in FIGS. 7-9 (which provided a retrofitted gun similar in function to the embodiment of FIGS. 4-6), however, the embodiment of FIGS. 10-14 provides a retrofitted paint ball gun with the barrel pivoting aside similarly to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3. This embodiment of FIGS. 10-14 will also be seen to include a kit of retrofit parts (perhaps best seen in FIGS. 13 and 14), which will be further explained. The addition of the retrofit kit of parts to a conventional paint ball gun allows and effects conversion of the standard paint ball gun to enjoy the advantages of this invention.

Because the embodiment of FIGS. 10-14 has many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function, to features depicted and described above, these features are referenced in FIGS. 10-14 using the same numeral used immediately above, but increased by three-hundred (300) over their first use. First considering FIG. 10, it is seen that a paint ball gun 310 includes a main body 312, with a grip frame 314 pivotally carrying a trigger 316 and defining a trigger guard 318. A barrel 320 is threadably attached to the main body 312 (via the retrofit kit), and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 322a-best seen in FIG. 11) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 320 for discharge therefrom. At a muzzle end opening 322b, the paint ball may be discharged from the barrel 320.

As is seen best in FIG. 11, the barrel 320 is threadably received at a rear portion 320c thereof into a threaded bore 342a of a member or portion 342. As is seen in FIGS. 10 and 11, in a first position of the member 342, this member and the barrel 320 align with the front of bore 332 (best seen in FIG. 13), at which the main body 312 of the conventional paint ball gun 310 defines a conventional barrel-receiving portion 312a (only a part of which is seen in FIG. 13). However, in this case, the barrel thread of the paint ball gun main body 312 does not directly receive a barrel, but receives a tubular adapter part 160, which is best seen in FIG. 13. This tubular adapter part 160 at an aft end portion thereof has an extension 162 and an external thread 164, which replicate the aft end of the paint ball gun barrel 320, as is seen in FIG. 11. So, this adapter part 160 threadably engages into the barrel thread at the front of the conventional paint ball gun body 312, as is seen in FIGS. 12 and 13. The adapter part 160 at its forward portion includes a flange portion 166 of enlarged diameter, so that it provides a shoulder 168. The flange portion 166 defines wrenching flats 170, and a bluff surface 172 upon which a bore 174 extending through the adapter part 160 opens. About the adapter part 160 is rotationally carried a generally C-shaped collar member 176 which on one side outwardly defines a boss 346 which (as is best seen in FIGS. 12 and 13), protrudes on the right-hand side of the main body 312.

A forwardly extending pin 344 is carried by the main body portion 312 via collar member 176, and this pin is pivotally received in a protruding boss 346 of the pivoting portion 342. Thus, this pivoting portion 342 is pivotally or hingeably movable between a first position, seen in FIGS. 10 and 11, and a second position seen in FIGS. 12 and 13. The pivoting portion 342 defines a forward portion of bore 332, defines barrel-receiving portion 312a, and threadably receives the adapter part 160 at portion 162 thereof. In its first position, the pivoting portion 342 and the barrel 320 are aligned with breach chamber 340, which is defined by a rearward portion of bore 332 defined within the remainder of main body 312. In this first position of the portion 342, a seal is established between the rear face 342a of the portion 342, and the forward face 172 of the adapter member 160. Most preferably, a sealing member of O-ring configuration, for example, will be disposed at the surfaces defined by the faces 342a and 172 in order to provide a seal between these faces.

On the opposite side (i.e., along the left-hand side of the paint ball gun 310), the collar member 176 defines a latching boss 352. At the boss 346, a protruding spring-loaded detent member 346a is received, and serves a latching function when the barrel is in its first position seen in FIGS. 10 and 11. In this embodiment, the user of the paint ball gun 310 has simply to apply a sufficient pivoting force (indicated on FIG. 12 by the arcuate arrow) so as to overcome the detenting force supplied by the member 346a. When the user applies a sufficient pivoting torque, the barrel 320 and member 342 will pivot aside to the position seen in FIGS. 12 and 13. After the barrel and breach are cleaned, the user of the gun 310 simply swings the barrel and portion 342 back to the position seen in FIGS. 10 and 11, at which the detent member 346a will snap into boss 352. Operation of this retrofitted paint ball gun is the same as for the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 1-3.

A Fifth Embodiment

Yet Another Retrofit to a Conventional Paint Ball Gun

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 15-17 a fifth embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. As will be seen, this fifth embodiment, like the third and fourth embodiments, allows conversion of a standard or conventional paint ball gun (i.e., one not providing for removal of the barrel other than by time-consuming unthreading of his barrel from the main body of the paint ball gun) to the advantages of this present invention. Because the third and fourth embodiments illustrated the standard or conventional paint ball gun, this fifth embodiment is illustrated in isolation for economy of illustration.

This fifth embodiment also will be seen to include a kit of parts allowing and effecting conversion of the conventional or standard paint ball gun to enjoy the advantages of this invention because as so retrofitted, the barrel of the standard paint ball gun can be quickly removed for cleaning and just as quickly can be replaced to put the gun back into operation. This quick clearing of the paint ball gun and its return to operation is very important to a competitive paint ball player.

First considering FIG. 15, it is seen that a quick-release barrel mount 78 for mounting to a conventional or standard paint ball gun (not seen in FIGS. 15-17) includes a first portion 80 which at an aft end part 82 thereof replicates the configuration of the aft end of a standard paint ball gun barrel (recalling FIGS. 11 and 14, for example. This first portion 80 is much the same as part 160 seen in FIG. 13, and threads into the body of the paint ball gun in place of the barrel. The first portion 80 captures thereon and holds in place a generally ring-shaped second part 84 which includes a pair of diametrically-opposed and radially outwardly extending lugs 86 (only one of which is seen in the drawing Figures). These lugs 86 are engaged by a matching pair of hook-shaped arms 88 protruding rearwardly from a barrel mount member 90. As is seen best in FIGS. 15 and 17, the second part 84 also defines an elongate boss 92 carrying a spring-loaded detent member 92a (best seen in FIG. 17). This detent member 92a engages in a first relative position of the members 84 and 90 (as is seen in FIG. 15) into a shallow detent pocket (not seen in the drawing Figures) defined at the aft face of a detent tab 94 extending radially outwardly on the member 90. At a forward end opening of the member 90, a through bore 96 opens, and defines a barrel-receiving thread 96a.

A user of the quick-release barrel mount seen in FIGS. 15-17 first attaches the member 84 to the main body of a paint ball gun using the first portion 80, as was explained above about use of the part 160 seen in FIG. 13. The part 84 defines a bluff surface against which a seal member (not seen in the drawing Figures) carried on member 90 sealing engages in the first relative position of these parts. Then the user of the paint ball gun threadably attaches the member 90 at the aft end of a selected paint ball gun barrel, and attaches the members 84 and 90 together as seen in FIG. 15 by a combination of axial and rotational motion, indicated by the cranked arrow on FIG. 15. This motion engages the arms 88 with the lugs 86, and results in the detent member 92a engaging the detent lug 94. As so mounted, the paint ball gun is operational and will shoot paint balls.

As FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate, in the event the user of the paint ball gun desires to quickly remove the barrel from the paint ball gun (i.e., for cleaning of the barrel and/or breach area of the gun) then a partial turn of the barrel (FIG. 16) of less than 180 degrees, will unlatch the detent 92a from detent tab 94. This rotational movement is followed by an axial movement along the axis of the barrel (FIG. 17) which will remove the barrel from the gun for cleaning. Of course, removing the barrel from the gun, also exposes the breach area of the gun for cleaning. Replacement of the barrel onto the paint ball gun is the opposite to removal, and is equally quick. As a result, the paintball gun can be cleaned and quickly be placed back into operation even during a competition or paint ball game.

A Sixth Embodiment

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 18 and 19, a sixth embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. This sixth embodiment also has many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function, to those depicted and described above. These features are referenced in FIGS. 18 and 19 using the same numeral used above, but increased by four-hundred (400) over their first appearance. Considering FIG. 18, it is seen that the paint ball gun 410 includes a main body 412, with a grip frame 414 pivotally carrying a trigger 416 and defining a trigger guard 418. A barrel 420 may be threadably attached to the main body 412 (as will be further explained). This barrel 420 defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 422a) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 420 for forceful discharge. The paint ball gun 410 also defines an upper feed tube 426 with an opening or feed port 428 for receiving a supply of paint balls, as will be well understood.

The feed port 428 opens into a top one 432 of two substantially parallel and vertically spaced bores 432 and 434 defined by the main body 412. The barrel 420 is threadably receivable at a rear portion 420c into the front of bore 432, at which the main body 412 defines a barrel-receiving portion 412a. The barrel 420 is able to receive and discharge paint balls, as described above. A bolt assembly 438 with a handle portion 438a is reciprocally and sealingly received into the rear portion of bore 432.

Considering now drawing FIGS. 18 and 19 in greater detail, it is seen that in order to allow the barrel 420 to be quickly attached to and removed from the main body 412, the body defines a screw thread 412a which in this embodiment is circumferentially interrupted. That is, the screw thread 412a defines one or more axially extending “grooves” at which the screw thread 412a is interrupted. Similarly, viewing FIG. 19, the barrel 420 at screw thread portion 420c is circumferentially interrupted, and defines one or more matching axially extending grooves at which the screw thread 420c is interrupted. It will appear that the screw thread sections at 420c on barrel 420 are receivable axially into the grooves defined by screw thread 412a of the body 412. Thus, as is seen in FIG. 18, a user of the gun 410 may mount the barrel 420 to the body 412 by first inserting the portion 420c axially into the bore part 412a, with the thread parts of each passing along the grooves of the other, and then rotating the barrel 420 a part turn to lock the barrel in place. This axial-followed-by-rotational movement is represented on FIG. 18 by the cranked arrows adjacent to barrel 420, indicating the first axial motion, followed by the rotational motion. The barrel 420 is removed from main body 412 by opposite motions.

In view of the above, it will be seen that main body 412 may employ conventional or standard paint ball gun barrels, which simply thread into place conventionally. Similarly, the barrel 420 may be employed on a conventional or standard paint ball gun, and will simply thread into place conventionally. However, when main body 412 and barrel 420 are used together, then the barrel 420 may be quickly installed on and removed from the main body 412 by a combination of axial and rotational motions as described above. As before, when the barrel 420 is removed form the main body 412, the barrel and breach area of the gun 410 are available for cleaning.

A Seventh Embodiment

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 20 and 21 in conjunction with one another a seventh embodiment of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. Because the embodiment of FIGS. 20 and 21 have many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function, to features illustrated and described in prior embodiments of the invention, these features are referenced in FIGS. 20 and 21 with the same numeral used above, but increased by another increment of one-hundred (100) over the last prior use.

First considering FIG. 20, it is seen that the paint ball gun 510 includes a main body 512, with a grip frame 514 pivotally carrying a trigger 516 and defining a trigger guard 518. A barrel 520 is threadably attached to the main body 512, and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 522a) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 520. At a muzzle end opening (not seen in the drawing Figures) the paint ball may be discharged from the barrel 520. A gas inlet regulator body 524 depends from the main body 512. The paint ball gun 510 also defines an upper feed tube 526 with an opening or feed port 528 for receiving a supply of paint balls, indicated by arrowed numeral 530.

Considering now drawing FIGS. 20 and 21 in detail, it is seen that in order to allow the barrel 520 to be moved from a first or operative position allowing the gun 510 to be fired and to a second or opened position allowing both the bore of the barrel 520 and the breach area of the main body 512 to be cleaned, the main body 512 includes a portion 542, which at a forward end threadably receives the barrel 520 (as is seen in FIG. 20). At its aft end, the portion 542 includes a rearwardly extending tang 542a, which on an underside thereof defines a female dovetail feature (indicated by arrow 542b on FIG. 21). The main body 512 defines a matching male dovetail feature 512a (best seen in FIG. 21) onto which the female dovetail feature of the portion 542 is axially receivable, as is indicated by the large movement arrow in FIG. 21. As is indicated in FIGS. 20 and 21, the main body 512 carries a pair of spring-loaded latching fingers 558a and 558b (best seen in FIG. 21). These latching fingers each engage a respective one of a pair of latch protrusions 550a, 550b (only one of which is seen fully in FIG. 21) in order to retain the portion 542 and barrel 520 is their operative position, as is seen in FIG. 20. When the latching fingers 558a and 558b are operated by a user of the paint ball gun 510, and the barrel 520 and portion 542 may slide forwardly along and off of the dovetail 512a (i.e., leftwardly viewing the drawing Figures, as is indicated by the double-headed movement arrow in FIG. 21). Then the breach end of barrel 520 and the breach area of the main body 512 are exposed for cleaning. Restoration of the barrel and portion 542 onto the gun 510 to return the gun to operation is illustrated in FIG. 21 by the right-ward direction of the double-headed motion arrow.

An Eighth Embodiment

Referring now to drawing FIGS. 22 and 23 in conjunction with one another yet another embodiment (i.e., an eight embodiment) of a paint ball gun according to this invention is illustrated. Again, because the embodiment of FIGS. 22 and 23 have many features in common with, or features which are analogous in structure or function to, features illustrated and described in prior embodiments of the invention, these features are referenced in FIGS. 22 and 23 with the same numeral used above, but increased by another increment of one-hundred (100) over the last prior use.

First considering FIG. 22, it is seen that the paint ball gun 610 includes a main body 612. A barrel 620 is threadably attached to the main body 612, and defines a breech end opening (indicated by the arrow 622a) at which a paint ball may be received into the barrel 620. At a muzzle end opening (not seen in the drawing Figures) the paint ball may be discharged from the barrel 620. Considering drawing FIGS. 22 and 23 in comparison to one another, it is seen that in order to allow the barrel 620 to be moved from an operative position allowing the gun 610 to be fired and to an opened position allowing both the bore of the barrel 620 and the breach area of the main body 612 to be cleaned, the main body 612 includes a portion 642, which at a forward end threadably receives the barrel 620 (as is seen in FIG. 22).

At its aft end, the portion 642 includes a pair of rearwardly extending tangs 642a, 642b (only one of which is fully seen in FIG. 23). These tangs 642a/b are vertically spaced apart, and cooperatively define a laterally-extending female dove tail groove, indicated on FIG. 23 with the numeral 642c. The main body 612 defines a matching vertically spaced apart and laterally-extending male dovetail feature 612a, 612b (best seen in FIG. 23) onto which the female dovetail feature 642c of the portion 642 is axially receivable, as is indicated by the double-headed motion arrow seen in FIG. 23. When the portion 642 is received onto the dovetail feature 612a, 612b, as is seen in FIG. 22, the gun 610 is operational and may be fired. Conversely, when an operator of the gun 610 slides the barrel 620 and portion 642 laterally to the relative position seen in FIG. 23, then the bore of the barrel 620 and the breach area of the main body 612 are exposed for cleaning.

As is best seen in FIG. 23, the main body 612 defines a detent recess 646, which will be engaged by a protruding detent member (not seen in the drawing Figures) carried at the aft face of portion 642 when the barrel 620, portion 642, and main body are in their relative position seen in FIG. 22, so that the gun 610 is operational to fire a paint ball. To move the portion 642 and barrel 620 between the positions seen in FIGS. 22 and 23, the user of the paint ball gun 610 simply applies a sufficient lateral force to overcome the detent force provided at recess 646, and the portion 642 will slide laterally on or off of the dovetail features described above.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to be limited only by the spirit and scope of the appended claims, giving full cognizance to equivalents, and to various modifications and improvements as is permitted under the law. For example, it is apparent that the embodiment of FIG. 18 could employ another version of an interrupted thread type of engagement. However, considering the disclosure set out above, it is apparent that this invention provides a paint ball gun in which the breach end of the barrel, and the breach of the gun mechanism, may both be quickly accessed for cleaning with a movement of the barrel through less then 360 degrees. In most of the present embodiments, the barrel and gun breach are accessible with a movement of 90 degrees or less.





 
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