US 20020059927 A1
A Paint Ball Loading Device includes a storage tube and a shutter head to allow the user to quickly and easily reload a paint ball gun. The shutter head of the Paint Ball Loading Device contains a series of shutters which may be moved from a closed to an open position by simply inserting the shutter head into the paint ball gun hopper and turning the storage tube. The Paint Ball Loading Device also contains a locking mechanism to prevent the shutters from opening unexpectedly.
1. A paintball loading device, comprising:
a storage tube sized to receive a plurality of paint balls, and having an opening; and
a shutter head covering said opening and configurable between a first configuration wherein said shutter head is open and a second configuration wherein said shutter head is closed.
 This application is a continuation-in-part of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/227,137, currently co-pending, and herein fully incorporated by this reference.
 The present invention relates generally to paint ball gun accessories. More specifically, the present invention pertains to a paint ball loading device. The present invention is particularly, though not exclusively, useful for rapidly filling a paint ball gun hopper.
 Paint ball guns generally utilize a top mounted hopper to supply the gun with ammunition. The capacity of the gun depends upon the size of the hopper. A larger hopper carries more paint balls, however a smaller hopper is lighter and presents a smaller target for the opposing team. Either way, a common experience while using a paint ball gun, is running out of ammunition. When this happens in the middle of a competition, a player can be left defenseless. The longer the player spends reloading, the longer the player is vulnerable to the other team. Currently, reloading a paint ball gun is accomplished using capped tubes containing paint balls. In order to refill the paint ball gun hopper the user must grab the tube, remove the lid, fill the hopper, replace the lid, and then stow the tube. Therefore, reloading is a difficult task to accomplish with one hand.
 Consequently, there is a need for a paint ball loading device which is able to rapidly fill a paint ball gun hopper. Such a loading device would prevent extended periods of vulnerability by allowing the user to reload quickly.
 Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a Paint Ball Loading Device which is able to rapidly fill a paint ball gun hopper. It is another object of the present invention to provide a Paint Ball Loading Device which can be used with one hand. It is another object of the present invention to provide a Paint Ball Loading Device with a clear storage tube to enable a user to easily determine if the Paint Ball Loading Device is full. It is another object of the present invention to provide a Paint Ball Loading Device which may be removably attached to a paint ball gun hopper, to extend the capacity of the paint ball gun hopper (TO GO WITH OPTIONAL INSERT FOR PAINT BALL HOPPER).
 In accordance with the present invention, a Paint Ball Loading Device is provided and includes a storage tube and a shutter head. The shutter head contains shutters which may be opened or closed in order to transfer paint balls from the Paint Ball Loading Device to the gun hopper. The Paint Ball Loading Device may be used to quickly and easily reload a paint ball gun hopper.
 The Paint Ball Loading Device as described above will overcome the disadvantages of current reloading methods. For example, the Paint Ball Loading Device will greatly shorten periods of vulnerability by allowing a use to reload quickly.
 The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention, shown with a paint ball gun hopper;
FIG. 2 is a cross sectional perspective view of the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a shutter of the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention, showing the shutters in a fully closed position;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the shutter base of the Paint Ball Loading Device;
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the shutter base of the Paint Ball Loading Device showing the shutters attached and fully closed;
FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of the Paint Ball Loading Device showing the operation of the locking assembly, taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
 Referring initially to FIG. 1, Paint Ball Loading Device 100 is shown and includes storage tube 102, shutter head 104, and opening 106. Storage tube 102 is a hollow tube, capped at end 108 and attached to shutter head 104 at the other end. Storage tube 102 may be filled with paint balls (not shown) through opening 106 of shutter head 104. Paint Ball Loading Device 100 may be used to fill paint ball hopper 110 with paint balls by inserting shutter head 104 into hopper opening 112 and turning storage tube 102 in direction 114. This causes shutters 116 to open, discussed in connection with FIG. 2. The opening of shutters 116 allows paint balls to flow from storage tube 102 into paint ball hopper 110 through opening 106.
 In a preferred embodiment, tube 102 may be constructed of clear plastic, to allow a user to visually determine whether Paint Ball Loading Device 100 is full or empty. However, tube 102 may also be constructed of opaque plastic or any other material of similar weight and strength. Furthermore, In a preferred embodiment, tube 102 is of such a size that it holds enough paint balls to fill a standard hopper. Although it should be noted that tube 102 may be of larger or smaller size. Also, shutter head 104 and shutters 116 may be constructed of plastic. However, shutter head 104 and shutters 116 may instead be constructed of any material well known in the art that has similar strength.
 Referring next to FIG. 2, a cross sectional view of the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention is shown and includes storage tube 102 and shutter head 104. Shutter head 104 includes shutters 116, shutter base 118, and shutter cover 120. Shutters 116 includes pin notch 117. Shutter base 118 includes lower vertical portion 122, lip 124, horizontal portion 126, upper vertical portion 128, locking tab catch 130, and tab notch 131. Shutter cover 120 includes horizontal portion 132, pin 134, locking tab 136, and upper portion 138. Shutter base 118 is affixed to storage tube 102 by inserting storage tube 102 inside of lower vertical portion 122 of shutter base 118. Storage tube 102 rests upon lip 124, and, in a preferred embodiment, may be glued to the interior wall of lower vertical portion 122 of shutter base 118. However, it is important to note that storage tube 102 may also be fastened to shutter base 118 by any means well known in the art. Shutter cover 120 is held in place by locking tab catch 130, and is positioned so that pins 134 rest within locking pin notches 117 of shutters 116. Shutter cover 120 is not affixed to shutter base 118, but may rotate in, and opposite to, direction 114. By rotating shutter cover 120 relative to shutter base 118, shutters 116 move from open position, shown in FIG. 1, to closed position, shown in conjunction with FIG. 4. When shutter cover 120 is rotated, pins 132 also move, and due to the shape of pin notches 117, shutters 116 are moved from an opened position to a closed position. It is important to note that either shutter cover 120, or shutter base 118 may be moved in a circular motion in order to open or close shutters 116. It is also important to note that since Paint Ball Loading Device 100 uses pins 116 and pin notches 117 to open and close opening 106, no gears or additional parts are needed. This prevents Paint Ball Loading Device 100 from jamming due to dirt and debris.
 Referring now to FIG. 3, a top perspective view of shutter 116 is shown and includes pin notch 117, pivot hole 140, top edge 142, front edge 144, and outer edge 146. Shutter 116 is attached to shutter base 118 at pivot hole 140, discussed in conjunction with FIG. 6.
 Referring to FIG. 4, a top view of shutter cover 120 shown with shutters 116 in the fully closed position. When shutters 116 are in the fully closed position, top edge 142 of one shutter 116 is in contact with front edge of an adjacent shutter 116, so that shutters 116 interlock to completely seal off opening 106. Further, shutter cover 120 includes ribs 148. Ribs 148 are important for locating and locking shutter cover 120 into hopper 110. ALSO, FOR FUTURE INCLUSION, RIBS 148 CONTAIN MECHANISM FOR LOCKING SHUTTER COVER TO OPTIONAL HOPPER INSERT.
 Referring now to FIG. 5, a top view of shutter base 118 is shown and includes lower vertical portion 122, lip 124, horizontal portion 126, upper vertical portion 128, spring pin 150, and strut 152. Spring pins 150 provides pressure against the underside of shutter cover 120, and form an essential part of the locking mechanism of Paint Ball Loading Device 100, discussed in conjunction with FIG. 7. Strut 152 provide additional gripping surfaces, as well as structural support to shutter base 118.
 Referring now to FIG. 6, the inside of shutter base 118 is shown with attached shutters 116. Shutters 116 are removably attached to shutter pivots 154 by inserting shutter pivots 154 into pivot hole 140 of shutter 116. Shutters 116 are then able to rotate in direction 156, about the axis of shutter pivots 154. By rotating shutters 116 in direction 156, shutters 116 are moved from closed position, shown here, to open position, shown in FIG. 1.
 Referring next to FIG. 7, a cross-sectional view of the Paint Ball Loading Device 100 shows the locking mechanism of the present invention. The locking mechanism of the present invention includes locking pins 150, locking tab catches 130, and locking tabs 136. Locking pins 150 provide pressure against shutter cover 120 in direction 158. This pressure keeps locking tab 136 within tab notch 131 of locking tab catch 130. When locking tab 136 is within tab notch 131, shutter cover 120 is unable to rotate in direction 114, shown in FIG. 2. As noted in the discussion pertaining to FIG. 2, it is the rotation of shutter cover 120 that causes shutters 116 to open and close. By preventing shutter cover 120 from moving relative to shutter base 118, shutters 116 are held in either the open or shut position. By pressing shutter cover 120 in the direction opposite to direction 158, locking tab 136 is disengaged from locking tab catch 130, and shutter cover 120 is able to freely rotate.
 While the Paint Ball Loading Device of the present invention as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of a preferred embodiment of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.