Title:
Primer loader assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A primer loader assembly (10) comprises a loading and feeding assembly (26) for receiving an elongate magazine (28) containing primers (24); an advancement member (30) for advancing the magazine (28) along its longitudinal axis, through the primer loader assembly (10) to bring a primer (24) in register with the said primer chamber (22); and a push rod (32) for loading the primer (24) into the primer chamber (22) by moving the primer (24) from the magazine (28) into the chamber (22). The magazine (28) defines a plurality of individual separate tubular openings (28.1) for containing the primers (24) separate from each other. The magazine (28) further defines a plurality of curved guide slots (28.5), for engaging the advancement member (30) and to advance the magazine (28) step-wise along its longitudinal axis.



Inventors:
Muller, Ernst Johann Heinrich (Pretoria, ZA)
Application Number:
11/658440
Publication Date:
02/05/2009
Filing Date:
07/26/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41A19/57
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WEBER, JONATHAN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ladas & Parry LLP (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A primer loader assembly for loading a primer into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun, such as a cannon, the primer loader assembly comprising a loading and feeding assembly adapted to receive a magazine containing primers; an advancement member; and a loading member, the invention being characterised in that the advancement member is adapted to advance the magazine along its longitudinal axis through the loading and feeding assembly, so that the primer is brought into register with the primer chamber and loaded into said primer chamber by being moved from the magazine into the chamber by the loading member.

2. A primer loader assembly according to claim 1, wherein the magazine includes separating formations, in the form of side walls of a plurality of individual separate tubular openings extending through the magazine, for retaining the primers separate from each other, the arrangement being such that the loading member moves through the tubular opening to load the primer into the primer chamber.

3. A primer loader assembly according to claim 1, wherein the magazine is provided with a first connecting formation, in the form of a male T-formation, at one end thereof and a complementary second connecting formation, in the form of a female T-formation, at an opposite end thereof, the arrangement being such that opposite ends of the magazine are adapted to connect to the complementary connecting formations of other identical magazines, in one way only, so that the primers all face in the same direction, for loading into the primer chamber.

4. A primer loader assembly according to claim 1, wherein the magazine further defines an advancement formation for engaging the advancement member.

5. A primer loader assembly according to claim 4, wherein the advancement member includes at least one follower pin and the advancement formation is in the form of a plurality of guide slots defined in two opposite side walls of the magazine, providing a cam track along which the follower pin travels, which are arranged such that the magazine is adapted to be advanced step-wise, in a single direction, along its longitudinal axis.

6. A primer loader assembly according to claim 5, wherein the advancement member further includes a guide assembly, in which the follower pin and a first biasing means are located, the arrangement being such that the first biasing means biases the follower pin towards and in a direction transverse the longitudinal axis of the magazine so that the follower pin engages the guide slots.

7. A primer loader assembly according to claim 6, wherein the guide assembly is movable between an engaged position wherein the follower pin engages the guide slots; and a disengaged position wherein the follower pin is disengaged from the guide slots, the arrangement being such that the magazine is removable from the loading and feeding assembly when the guide assembly is in the disengaged position.

8. A primer loader assembly according to claim 7, wherein the follower pin is a first follower pin and the advancement member includes a second opposing follower pin, each pin being located within a guide assembly.

9. A primer loader assembly according to claim 1, which further includes a bracket assembly defining an adjustment cradle in the bottom of the bracket assembly, and which includes two parallel support bars extending from the bottom of the bracket assembly on opposing sides of the adjustment cradle, each support bar defining an opening for supporting one of the guide assemblies.

10. A primer loader assembly according to claim 1, wherein the loading and feeding assembly includes a loader cylinder assembly and a chamber block assembly arranged relative to each other so that their longitudinal axes are aligned.

11. A primer loader assembly according to claim 10, wherein the chamber block assembly defines a magazine guide slot for receiving the magazine and guiding movement of the magazine when progressing along its longitudinal axis through the chamber block assembly.

12. A primer loader assembly according to claim 11, wherein the magazine guide slot is adapted to receive the magazine from either side thereof, the arrangement being such that the magazine is advanced in a single direction from any one side of the chamber block assembly to the other side thereof.

13. A primer loader assembly according to claim 10, which includes a support member, attached to the chamber block assembly, for supporting the magazine as it progresses through the chamber block assembly.

14. A primer loader assembly according to claim 10, wherein the chamber block assembly further defines two pin guide slots extending transverse the magazine guide slot with each guide assembly extending through the opening in each support bar, the arrangement being such that when the magazine is located in the magazine guide slot of the chamber block assembly, the follower pins engage the guide slots of the magazine via the pin guide slots.

15. A primer loader assembly according to claim 10, wherein the loader cylinder assembly includes a first outer cylinder; a second inner cylinder in the form of an inner rod, being contained within the first outer cylinder and being telescopically movable relative to the first outer cylinder; and the loading member, in the form of a push rod, which is contained within the second inner cylinder and which is telescopically movable relative to the second inner cylinder for pushing the primer through the magazine and loading the primer into the primer chamber.

16. A magazine for containing primers to be loaded into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun, such as a cannon, by means of the primer loader assembly according to claim 1.

17. A magazine according to claim 16, which includes a body with separating formations for retaining the primers separate from each other.

18. A magazine according to claim 17, which defines a plurality of individual separate tubular openings extending through the body of the magazine from one side to the other side thereof, and with the side walls of the openings providing the said separating formations.

19. A magazine according to claim 16, which is provided with a first connecting formation at one end thereof and a complementary second connecting formation at an opposite end thereof, the arrangement being such that opposite ends of the magazine are respectively connectable to the connecting formations of other identical magazines.

20. A magazine according to claim 19, wherein the first connecting formation is in the form of a male T-formation and the second connecting formation is in the form of a female T-formation for mating with the male T-formation of another identical magazine.

21. A magazine according to claim 20 wherein the male T-formation of the magazine and the female T-formation of another identical magazine are adapted to mate with each other in one way only, the arrangement being such that the magazines are connectable so that the primers all face the same direction.

22. A magazine according to claim 16, which further defines an advancement formation.

23. A magazine according to claim 22, wherein the advancement formation is in the form of a plurality of guide slots defined in at least one side wall of the magazine, and providing a cam track.

24. A magazine according to claim 23, wherein the guide slots are arranged such that the magazine is adapted to be advanced in a single direction through the primer loader assembly, along its longitudinal axis.

25. A magazine according to claim 23, wherein the plurality of guide slots are defined in two opposite side walls of the magazine.

26. A magazine according to claim 16, which includes a retaining formation for releasably retaining the primers in the tubular openings.

27. A magazine according to claim 26, wherein the retaining formation is in the form of two deformable O-rings, between which an end of the primer is releasably retained.

28. A magazine according to claim 16, wherein the two opposite sides of the magazine are sealed, such that the tubular openings containing the primers are closed at both ends thereof.

29. A magazine according to claim 28, wherein the magazine is sealed by means of a film of a material selected from the group consisting of foil; thermoplastic polymer; paper; and laminated combinations thereof.

30. A gun including a primer loader assembly according to claim 1, for loading primers into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun.

31. A gun including a primer loader assembly according to claim 1, for loading primers into a primer chamber of a gun.

32. (canceled)

33. (canceled)

34. (canceled)

35. (canceled)

Description:

INTRODUCTION

This invention relates to a primer loader assembly, a gun provided with a primer loader assembly and a breech mechanism for use with such a primer loader assembly. More particularly this invention relates to a primer loader assembly for loading primers into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun such as a cannon. This invention further relates to a magazine for holding primers and for use with such a primer loader assembly.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

CA 1056631 discloses a magazine loaded repeating gun. The magazine has a plurality of separately spaced and linearly arranged chambers to accommodate relatively large calibre projectiles. The gun includes magazine advancement means for advancing the magazine through a breech opening of the gun in such a manner that the chambers are successively brought into a firing position in register with the bore of the barrel of the gun. The projectiles are thus fired whilst they are located in the magazine.

A disadvantage of this type of loading arrangement is that, owing to a lack of sealing between the front periphery of the chambers and the rear end of the barrel, it is not suitable for use in the case of primers for igniting projectile charges, as the amount of pressure generated by such charges would escape from the rear of the barrel.

WO 02/029350 discloses an automatic primer feed mechanism for use with a carrier assembly of a relatively large calibre artillery piece. The mechanism includes a loading means for automatic primer loading. The mechanism also includes a primer cartridge magazine, which houses a plurality of primers for insertion into the artillery piece. The magazine includes a build-up clip retaining structure with a loading inlet at one end for receiving the primers individually and a dispensing outlet at an opposite end through which the primers are dispensed.

A plate retaining a coiled flat constant tension spring is mounted in the magazine. The plate biases and indexes the next available primer for firing. The magazine is a detachable unit, so that once all the primers in the magazine have been dispensed, it can be replaced with a magazine containing fresh primers.

A first disadvantage of the above automatic primer feed mechanism is that the spring which allows movement of the primers, is prone to wear and tear owing to the mechanical movement thereof.

A second disadvantage of this mechanism is that, since the primers are loaded into the magazine via the inlet, advanced through the magazine, and dispensed into the artillery piece via the outlet, they are scratched and damaged along the way, thus altering their configuration leading to an imperfect seal in the interface between the primer and the chamber.

A third disadvantage of the above mechanism is that once all the primers have been dispensed, a new magazine must be inserted to continue firing of the gun. This interrupts firing and is relatively time consuming. Alternatively, while the gun is being fired and primers are dispensed via the outlet to the gun, an operator can insert primers at the inlet into the magazine, for continuous firing. This is also time consuming and requires manual labour equivalent to loading the primers manually into the breech.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a primer loader assembly, a gun provided with a primer loader assembly, and a breech mechanism and a magazine for use with such a primer loader assembly with which the aforesaid disadvantages can be overcome or at least minimised.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a primer loader assembly for loading a primer into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun, such as a cannon, the primer loader assembly comprising a loading and feeding assembly adapted to receive a magazine containing primers; an advancement member; and a loading member, the invention being characterised in that the advancement member is adapted to advance the magazine along its longitudinal axis through the loading and feeding assembly, so that the primer is brought into register with the primer chamber and loaded into said primer chamber by being moved from the magazine into the chamber by the loading member.

The magazine may include separating formations, in the form of side walls of a plurality of individual separate tubular openings extending through the magazine, for retaining the primers separate from each other, the arrangement being such that the loading member moves through the tubular opening to load the primer into the primer chamber.

The magazine may be provided with a first connecting formation, in the form of a male T-formation, at one end thereof and a complementary second connecting formation, in the form of a female T-formation, at an opposite end thereof, the arrangement being such that opposite ends of the magazine may be adapted to connect to the complementary connecting formations of other identical magazines, in one way only, so that the primers all face in the same direction, for loading into the primer chamber.

The magazine may further define an advancement formation for engaging the advancement member.

The advancement member may include at least one follower pin and the advancement formation may be in the form of a plurality of guide slots defined in two opposite side walls of the magazine, providing a cam track along which the follower pin travels, which may be arranged such that the magazine is adapted to be advanced step-wise, in a single direction, along its longitudinal axis.

The advancement member may further include a guide assembly, in which the follower pin and a first biasing means are located, the arrangement being such that the first biasing means biases the follower pin towards and in a direction transverse the longitudinal axis of the magazine so that the follower pin engages the guide slots.

The guide assembly may be movable between an engaged position wherein the follower pin engages the guide slots; and a disengaged position wherein the follower pin is disengaged from the guide slots, the arrangement being such that the magazine is removable from the loading and feeding assembly when the guide assembly is in the disengaged position.

The follower pin may be a first follower pin and the advancement member may include a second opposing follower pin, each pin being located within a guide assembly.

The primer loader assembly may further include a bracket assembly defining an adjustment cradle in the bottom of the bracket assembly, and which includes two parallel support bars extending from the bottom of the bracket assembly on opposing sides of the adjustment cradle, each support bar defining an opening for supporting one of the guide assemblies.

The loading and feeding assembly may include a loader cylinder assembly and a chamber block assembly arranged relative to each other so that their longitudinal axes are aligned.

The chamber block assembly may define a magazine guide slot for receiving the magazine and guiding movement of the magazine when progressing along its longitudinal axis through the chamber block assembly.

The magazine guide slot may be adapted to receive the magazine from either side thereof, the arrangement being such that the magazine is advanced in a single direction from any one side of the chamber block assembly to the other side thereof.

The primer loader assembly may include a support member, attached to the chamber block assembly, for supporting the magazine as it progresses through the chamber block assembly.

The chamber block assembly may further define two pin guide slots extending transverse the magazine guide slot with each guide assembly extending through the opening in each support bar, the arrangement being such that when the magazine is located in the magazine guide slot of the chamber block assembly, the follower pins engage the guide slots of the magazine via the pin guide slots.

The loader cylinder assembly may include a first outer cylinder; a second inner cylinder in the form of an inner rod, being contained within the first outer cylinder and being telescopically movable relative to the first outer cylinder; and the loading member, in the form of a push rod, which is contained within the second inner cylinder and which is telescopically movable relative to the second inner cylinder for pushing the primer through the magazine and loading the primer into the primer chamber.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a magazine for containing primers to be loaded into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun, such as a cannon, by means of the primer loader assembly according to the first aspect of the invention.

The magazine may include a body with separating formations for retaining the primers separate from each other.

The magazine may define a plurality of individual separate tubular openings extending through the body of the magazine from one side to the other side thereof, and with the side walls of the openings providing the said separating formations.

The magazine may further be provided with a first connecting formation at one end thereof and a complementary second connecting formation at an opposite end thereof, the arrangement being such that opposite ends of the magazine are respectively connectable to the connecting formations of other identical magazines.

The first connecting formation may be in the form of a male T-formation and the second connecting formation may be in the form of a female T-formation for mating with the male T-formation of another identical magazine.

The male T-formation of the magazine and the female T-formation of another identical magazine may be adapted to mate with each other in one way only, the arrangement being such that the magazines are connectable so that the primers all face in the same direction.

The magazine may further define an advancement formation.

The advancement formation may be in the form of a plurality of guide slots defined in at least one side wall of the magazine, and providing a cam track.

The guide slots may be arranged such that the magazine is adapted to be advanced in a single direction through the primer loader assembly, along its longitudinal axis.

The plurality of guide slots may be defined in two opposite side walls of the magazine.

The magazine may include a retaining formation for releasably retaining the primers in the tubular openings.

The retaining formation may be in the form of two deformable O-rings, between which an end of the primer may be releasably retained.

The two opposite sides of the magazine may be sealed, such that the tubular openings containing the primers are closed at both ends thereof.

The magazine may be sealed by means of a film of material selected from the group consisting of foil; thermoplastic polymer; paper and laminated combinations thereof.

According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a gun including a primer loader assembly for loading primers into a primer chamber in a spindle of a gun.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a breech mechanism for use with a primer loader assembly for loading primers into a primer chamber of a gun.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described further by way of a non-limiting example with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a primer loader assembly according to a preferred embodiment of the invention arranged at the breech of a gun;

FIG. 2 is a detailed perspective view of the primer loader assembly of FIG. 1, in a ram position;

FIG. 3 is a perspective exploded view of the primer loader assembly, provided with a magazine for containing primers;

FIG. 4 is a perspective assembled view of FIG. 3 from the top end of the primer loader assembly;

FIG. 5 is a perspective assembled view from the bottom end of the primer loader assembly of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the primer loader assembly with the magazine partially in register;

FIG. 7 is a longitudinal-sectional side view of the primer loader assembly in a store position;

FIG. 8 is the same as FIG. 7, but with the primer loader assembly in a locate position;

FIG. 9 is the same as FIG. 7, but with the primer loader assembly in a ram position;

FIG. 10a is a perspective view of the primer loader assembly, in use, while in a store position;

FIG. 10b is a detailed view of the primer loader assembly of FIG. 10a;

FIG. 11a is a perspective view of the primer loader assembly, in use, while in a locate position;

FIG. 11b is a detailed view of the primer loader assembly of FIG. 11a;

FIG. 12a is a perspective view of the primer loader assembly, in use, while in a ram position;

FIG. 12b is a detailed view of the primer loader assembly of FIG. 12a;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional side view of a guide assembly with a follower pin in a disengaged position; and

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional top view of FIG. 13.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 9, a primer loader assembly according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is generally designated by reference numeral 10.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 10, 11 and 12, a conventional gun (not shown) includes a breech assembly 8 having a sliding breechblock 9 and a swinging block assembly 12 hinged on a breech ring 14. The swinging block assembly 12 includes an obturation assembly having a spindle 16. The spindle 16 defines a flash channel 20 that terminates at one end in a primer chamber 22 for receiving a primer 24 (shown in FIGS. 10, 11 and 12).

The primer loader assembly 10 loads one primer 24 at a time into the primer chamber 22 in the spindle 16 of the breech assembly 8 of the gun.

Referring in addition to FIGS. 3 to 6, the primer loader assembly 10 includes a loading and feeding assembly 26 for receiving an elongate magazine 28 containing primers 24; an advancement member 30 for advancing the magazine 28 along its longitudinal axis, in a first x-axis direction, through the loading and feeding assembly 26 to bring a primer 24 in register with the said primer chamber 22; and a loading member in the form of a push rod 32 (shown in FIGS. 7 to 9) for loading the primer 24 into the primer chamber 22 by moving the primer 24 from the magazine 28 into the chamber 22.

The magazine 28 defines a plurality of individual separate tubular openings 28.1 with the side walls 28.2 of the openings 28.1 providing separating formations for containing the primers 24 separate from each other. The magazine 28 further includes a retaining formation to releasably retain the primers 24 in the tubular openings 28.1. The retaining formation is in the form of two deformable O-rings, located adjacent one another inside each tubular opening 28.1. The arrangement is such that an end of the primer 24 is releasably retained between the two O-rings.

The magazine 28 is further provided with a first connecting formation at one end thereof and a complementary second connecting formation at an opposite end thereof. The first connecting formation is in the form of a male T-formation 28.3 and the second connecting formation is in the form of a female T-formation 28.4. The arrangement is such that opposite ends of the magazine 28 are each connectable to the complementors ends of other identical magazines respectively, so as to facilitate the continuous feeding of loaded magazines 28 into the primer loader assembly 10. Primers 24 are thus continuously available for loading into the primer chamber 22 as and when required. The male T-formation 28.3 of the magazine 28 and the female T-formation 28.4 of another identical magazine are adapted to mate with each other in one way only, the arrangement being such that the magazines are connected to each other with the primers 24 all facing in one direction.

The magazine 28 further defines an advancement formation in two opposite walls of the magazine 28, in the form of a plurality of curved guide slots 28.5, for engaging the advancement member 30. The guide slots 28.5 are arranged so that the magazine is adapted to be advanced in one direction along its longitudinal axis.

The advancement member 30 includes a guide assembly 30.2 which houses a follower pin 30.1 and a biasing means in the form of a first compression spring 30.3. Each follower pin 30.1 engages the guide slots 28.5 of the magazine 28. The guide slots 28.5 provide curved cam tracks for the follower pins 30.1, the pins 30.1 thus follow along the cam tracks to advance the magazine 28 step-wise along its longitudinal axis, in the first x-axis direction. The arrangement is such that the first compression spring 30.3 biases the follower pin 30.1 in a direction towards and transverse the longitudinal axis of the magazine 28, i.e. in a second y-axis direction.

The guide assembly 30.2 is movable between an engaged and a disengaged position, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. The guide assembly 30.2 is circumferentially surrounded by a first abutment member 31.1, a biasing means in the form of a second compression spring 31.2, and a second abutment member 31.3. The second abutment member 31.3 includes a first receiving means 33.1 and a second receiving means 33.2. The first and the second receiving means 33.1 and 33.2 are each in the form of a recess defined by the second abutment member 31.3. The first receiving means 33.1 has a predetermined depth and the second receiving means 33.2 has a predetermined depth being more than that of the first receiving means 33.1.

The guide assembly 30.2 includes a lug 30.4 towards one end thereof, opposite to the follower pin 30.1. The lug 30.4 is receivable by the first and the second receiving means 33.1 and 33.2. When the guide assembly 30.2 is in the engaged position, the lug 30.4 is received by the second receiving means 33.2 and engages the guide slots. In the disengaged position, the lug 30.4 is received by the first receiving means 33.1 and the guide assembly 30.2 disengages the guide slots, so that the magazine 28 could be freely removed from the loading and feeding assembly.

The primer loader assembly 10 further includes a bracket assembly 34 defining an adjustment cradle 36 in the bottom of the bracket assembly 34. Two parallel support bars 38 extend from the bottom of the bracket assembly 34 on opposing sides of the adjustment cradle 36. Each support bar 38 defines an opening 40 for supporting one of the guide assemblies 30.2.

Referring in particular to FIGS. 7 to 9, the loading and feeding assembly 26 includes a loader cylinder assembly 42 and a chamber block assembly 44 arranged relative to each other so that their longitudinal axes are aligned. The loader cylinder assembly 42 includes a first outer cylinder 46 wherein an inner rod is contained, which is telescopically movable within the first outer cylinder 46. The inner rod is in the form a second Inner cylinder 48, wherein the push rod 32 is contained, the push rod 32 being telescopically movable within the second inner cylinder 48. The first outer cylinder 46 and the second inner cylinder 48 are movable in a third z-axis direction, being the primer loader operational centreline.

The chamber block assembly 44 includes a cylinder interface 50 at one end thereof. The cylinder interface 50 includes a cylinder end cap 52, which is adapted to receive the second inner cylinder 48 and the push rod 32 of the loader cylinder assembly 42. The chamber block assembly 44 defines a magazine guide slot 54 for receiving the magazine 28 and guiding movement of the magazine 28 when progressing it along its longitudinal axis in the x-axis direction through the chamber block assembly 44. The chamber block assembly 44 further defines two pin guide slots 56 extending transverse the magazine guide slot 54.

Each guide assembly 30.2 extends through the opening 40 in each support bar 38, the arrangement being such that when the magazine 28 is located in the magazine guide slot 54 of the chamber block assembly 44, the follower pins 30.1 engage the guide slots 28.5 of the magazine 28, via the pin guide slots 56.

The chamber block assembly 44 further includes two alignment fingers 58, which are receivable by the rear end of the spindle 16.

The loader cylinder assembly 42 is connected to upper ends of the support bars 38 via an adjustment nut 60. The chamber block assembly 44 is located between the two opposing support bars 38 and is connected to the loader cylinder assembly 42 at the cylinder end cap 52.

In use, the breech assembly 8 of the gun is opened and ammunition (not shown) is loaded into the barrel chamber of the gun. Thereafter, a primer 24 is loaded, by means of the primer loader assembly 10, into the primer chamber 22 defined in the said spindle 16, whereafter the breech assembly 8 is closed. Activation of the primer 24 ignites the ammunition.

In loading the primer 24 into the primer chamber 22, the primer loader assembly 10 moves from a store position (shown in FIGS. 7, 10a, and 10b), to a located position (shown in FIGS. 8, 11a, and 11b), and finally to a ram position (shown in FIGS. 9, 12a, and 12b), where the primer 24 is loaded into the primer chamber 22. Thereafter, the primer loader assembly 10 moves back to the store position.

When the primer loader assembly 10 is in the store position, the second inner cylinder 48 and the push rod 32 are both contained within the first outer cylinder 46, and the magazine 28 is in an intermediate semi-aligned position, wherein there are no tubular openings 28.1 of the magazine 28, and hence no primer 24, aligned with the primer chamber 22 (as shown in FIG. 6).

As the primer loader assembly 10 moves to the locate position, the second inner cylinder 48 and the push rod 32 simultaneously move out of the first outer cylinder 46, towards the chamber block assembly 44. The chamber block assembly 44, and hence the magazine 28 located in the magazine guide slot 54, are pushed by the second inner cylinder 48 towards the bottom of the bracket assembly 34, in the z-axis direction. Since the follower pins 30.1 are not movable in the x-axis direction or in the y-axis direction, as the magazine 28 is advanced, the follower pins 30.1 travel along the cam track, thereby advancing the magazine 28 stepwise in the x-axis direction and thus bringing a primer 24 in register with the primer chamber 22. The magazine 28 is therefore in an aligned position. The alignment fingers 58 are located on the rear end of the spindle 16 to ensure proper alignment of the primer chamber 22 with the primer 24.

The chamber block assembly 44 then moves from the locate position, to the ram position. The push rod 32 commences its downward movement out of the second inner cylinder 48, which remains stationary, through the magazine 28 and through the alignment fingers 58. When the push rod 32 moves into the magazine 28, it abuts the primer 24 and thereby pushes it from the magazine 28, through the chamber block assembly 44 and the alignment fingers 58 into the primer chamber 22.

Once the primer 24 is loaded in the primer chamber 22, the primer loader assembly 10 returns to the store position. The push rod 32 moves back into the second inner cylinder 48, and both are simultaneously moved back into the first outer cylinder 46. The chamber block assembly 44 also moves away from the bottom of the bracket assembly 34. The follower pins 30.1 again travel along the cam track to advance the magazine 28 stepwise to the intermediate semi-aligned position, where there are no primers 24 in register with the primer chamber 22.

After the gun has been fired, the breech of the gun is opened and the spent primer cartridge 24 is automatically extracted and removed and the next primer 24 loaded into the chamber, repeating the above procedure.

Should the magazine 28 need to be removed from the chamber block assembly 44, the guide assembly 30.2 is moved from the engaged position to the disengaged position. The guide assembly 30.2 is pulled away from the magazine 28 while the second compression spring 31.2 is compressed until the first abutment member 31.1 abuts the support bar 38. The guide assembly 30.2 is then rotated so that the lug 30.4 is moved from the second receiving means 33.2 to the first receiving means 33.1, which has a predetermined depth being less than that of the second receiving means 33.2. The follower pins 30.2 are thus disengaged from the guide slots 28.5 of the magazine 28 and the magazine 28 could be freely removed from the chamber block assembly 44.

Since the magazine 28 is connected to another identical magazine at each end thereof, such that a chain of magazines is formed, a first advantage of the primer loader assembly 10 is that rapid fire of the gun is possible. The magazine 28 therefore does not need to be manually removed from the primer loader assembly after all the primers in said magazine has been fired and replaced by a magazine containing fresh primers. A second advantage of the primer loader assembly is that the magazines 28 are disposable, once all the primers 24 in the magazine 28 have been removed. A further advantage of the primer loader assembly 10 is that since the primers 24 are activated in the primer chamber, it is foreseen that a superior seal is created between the front periphery of the primer body and the primer chamber.

It will be appreciated that variations in detail are possible with a primer loader assembly, a gun provided with a primer loader assembly and a breech mechanism and a magazine for use with such a primer loader assembly according to the invention without departing from the scope of the appended claims.

For example, the primer loader assembly could include a support member in the form of two support trays (not shown) attached to either side of the chamber block assembly, adjacent to the magazine guide slot, for supporting the magazine while it moves through the chamber block assembly during loading of the primers into the primer chamber.

Furthermore, the two opposite sides of the magazine could be sealed with a protective film or layer (not shown) of a material selected from the group consisting of thermoplastic polymer; paper; foil; and laminated combinations thereof such that the tubular openings containing the primers are closed at both ends thereof. The arrangement is such that the primers could be loaded from the magazine into the primer chamber without first removing the film, since the loading member would move through the film and the tubular openings. It is foreseen that disposable magazines could be supplied and stored while sealed and subsequently used while sealed. This would protect the primers from dirt and damage.