US 3238941 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 8, 1966 J. H. KLEIN ETAL BALLING GUN Filmedl June 19, 1965 TIRE United States Patent 3,238,941 lBALLlNG GUN .lames H. Klein, Greenwood Village, and Francis I. Tallentire, Aurora, Colo., assignors to Frost Engineering Development Corporation, Englewood, Colo., a corporation of Colorado Filed .lune 19, 1963, Ser. No. 289,059 9 Claims. (Cl. 12S-264) This invention relates to balling guns and, more speciiically, to hand-held devices specically adapted for use in introducing boluses into an animals mouth.
Ranchers and other livestock owners find frequent occasion to introduce various types of medication into large animals such as, for example, cattle and horses. If the medication is in liquid form, it is frequently administered by hypodermic needle and syringe but this practice oftentimes requires the services of a veterinarian. Some types of medication are also available in pill form or boluses as they are most often called and these can be administered more easily by non-professionals. Even here, however, certain difliculties arise because it is not an easy thing to restrain a large animal while one or more large pills are shoved down its throat. Also, the bolus may not be swallowed unless it is discharged deep in the throat well back of the tongue. This practice, if carried out by hand, is not only diflicult, but dangerous as even a cow or a horse can inllict painful bites.
The -prior art contains many mechanical devices for assisting in this important treatment, however, in each instance, the tool has one or more serious drawbacks that render it less than satisfactory for the intended purpose. For example, most, if not all, of the prior art balling guns as the devices for introducing boluses are often characterized, make no provision whatsoever for protecting the animals throat. In the case of a cow, the throat is soft, delicate tissue that is easily injured when unprotected metal parts are thrust therein. This problem is not confined to unskilled personnel either, because the animal can jerk its head and cause injury even when considerable care and experience are being exercised by the user.
Secondly, the nature of this operation is such that it must be performed both rapidly and efliciently while insuring that the dosage is exactly that desired. Some devices for this purpose dispense only one or two boluses before it is necessary to reload. Where large dosages are necessary, such a tool loses its utility because of the inordinate amount of time it takes to reload and the fact that the animal becomes increasingly diicult to restrain as time goes on. More serious, however, is the fact that some of the known units for this purpose cannot be relied upon to deliver the exact dosage intended. Failure of the tool to dispense the required number of boluses is obviously a very serious matter irrespective of whether too few or too many are delivered. This is further complicated by the fact that such errors in dosage are very dicult to detect due to the method of introducing the medication far back in the animals throat.
Still other units make little or no provision for handling boluses of different sizes. In some, small boluses cannot be retained or are likely to jam in the magazine. Others rely on friction for retention purposes and the boluses used therein are seldom suiciently uniform in size or shape to make this frictional contact between the magazine wall and bolus a dependable means of retention.
The prior art tools themselves have certain drawbacks completely apart from their intended function. For instance, some are fabricated from materials that will rust or corrode badly in the eld where they are almost universally used. Others cannot be cleaned or sterilized without damaging them. Still others are made from ferromagnetic materials that may become magnetized and pick lill Patented Mar. 8, 1966 up iron particles that can then be introduced into the animals undergoing treatment. Conversely, they cannot be used to introduce magnets for retrieving metal objects that the cows may have swallowed.
lt is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved balling gun of the multiple-dose type.
A second object is the provision of a bolus injector having a protective tip that effectively prevents injury to the animals throat.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a bolus gun that includes a positive direct mechanical dispensing action which insures accurate dosages.
Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a device of the class above-described that is completely operable with one hand even by unskilled personnel.
An additional objective of the invention is to provide a device for injecting boluses and the like that includes improved retention means capable of accepting and holding boluses of different sizes and shapes.
Further objects of the invention are to provide a balling gun that is rustproof, non-magnetic, lightweight, rugged, service-free, compact, versatile and decorative in appearance.
Other objects will be in part apparent and in part pointed out specifically hereinafter in connection with the description of the drawings that follows, and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation, portions of which have been broken away and shown in section to better reveal the interior construction of the balling gun of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged fragmentary diametrical section of the barrel or magazine, portions thereof having been broken away to conserve space;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged front end view of the protective tip showing the yieldable retention fingers;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged section taken along line 4-4 of FIGURE 1 showing the trigger, plunger stem and trigger guide on the handle;
FIGURE 5 is a section to an enlarged scale taken along line 5-5 of FIGURE 1 revealing this frictional member that engages the plunger shaft; and,
FlGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevation of the trigger, portions of which have been broken away and shown in section.
Referring now to the drawings for a detailed description of the present invention and, initially, to FIGURE 1 for this purpose, it will be seen that the balling gun which has been designated in a general way by reference numeral 10 includes a barrel 12 having a soft tip 14 at the front extremity thereof, a plunger 16 mounted therein for axial slidable movement, a handle 1S on the rear extremity, and a trigger assembly that has been broadly identified by reference numeral 20 which cooperates with both the handle and plunger to eject predetermined numbers of boluses 22 from the end of the barrel upon actuation by the user. The barrel 12 comprises an elongate tube preferably fabricated from aluminum or some other rust and corrosion-resistant non-magnetic material. The barrel can, of course, be formed from plastic although there is greater likelihood of it becoming dented, bent or broken in use should the animal bite down on same than if fabricated from aluminum and alloys thereof. Also, by fabricating the barrel from metal, the task of sterilizing same becomes much easier. The barrel is of substantially uniform diameter and it serves the combined functions of a magazine for the boluses 22 and as a means for introducing the latter deep into the animals throat. In the particular embodiment illustrated herein, a clean-out port 24 is provided in the underside of the barrel adjacent the handle 18 for use in removing foreign material that may find its way into the magazine.
Next, with reference to FIGURES 1 and 2, it will be seen that the tip 14 comprises a soft rubber or plastic cap that fits over the front end of the barrel and is cemented or otherwise secured in place thereon. This cap completely covers the front end of the metal barrel and eliminates any possibility that the delicate tissues in the animals throat will be injured due to insertion of the tool. .In the specific form shown, tip 14 is a short tubular section having a wall thickness substantially greater than that of the barrel. This wall 26 has a deep annular groove 28 therein positioned and adapted to receive the end of the barrel.
Tip 14 serves another extremely important function, namely, the retention of the boluses in the magazine. For this purpose, three inwardly-extending flexible radial fingers 30 are formed integrally with the cap and partially cover the opening in the forward extremity of the barrel. These fingers yield inwardly to allow the boluses to be loaded one-atatime into the magazine and also retain them in place therein until forcibly ejected by the plunger. They also permit boluses to be retained in the magazine that have a diameter conisderably smaller than the inside barrel diameter which is a decided advantage because all boluses are not the 4same size and even those that are supposed to be identical vary from one another due to manufacturing imperfections. While only three radial fingers spaced 120 apart have been shown, it is apparent that other numbers and arrangements thereof will perform the same function.
Now, with reference to FIGURES 1, 2, 4 and 5, .the handle 18 will be described in detail. For lack of a better way to describe the handle, it can be characterized as being of the general type occasionally found on large capacity syringes that provides a pistol-grip appendage 32 located immediately behind the barrel and including three tingerholes 34-36 arranged one below the other arcuately in position to receive the first three fingers of the users hand. The fingerholes 34 and 35 that accept the rst two fingers are located, respectively, above and below the barrel axis and are separated from one another by a web 3S containing the axially aligned opening 40 through which the plunger shaft 42 passes as best revealed in FIG- URE 2. Intermediate of fingerholes 34 and 35 and displaced forwardly thereof is an integral plug 44 having a socket 46 in the forward end thereof and an annular shoulder 48 encircling its rear extremity. This plug fits into the inner end of the barrel to which it is secured by a fastener 50 or some other retention means (FIGURE l). The shoulder 48 limits the degree of plug insertion and the socket 46 accepts a substantial portion of the plunger tip 52 so as to increase the capacity of the magazine for a given length barrel.
The handle 18 also includes an arm 54 extending rearwardly from the pistol-grip portion 32 thereof that performs several important functions among which are additional support and a guide for the plunger shaft, as a guide for the trigger, as a rear limit stop for the trigger, as a front limit stop for the plunger, and as a means for retaining one or more friction clips 56 that hold the plunger rod in any desired position. On the rear extremity of this arm is a downturned end portion S8 having an axial opening therethrough adapted to slidably receive the plunger rod 42. The underside of this downturned end portion is slotted at 60 to intersect the axial opening at a right angle thereto and accept one or two hairpin-type friction fasteners 56. These friction fasteners 56 when mounted within slot 60 in frictional engagement with the plunger shaft or push-rod 42 as shown in FIGURE 5 provide means by which the plunger is frictionally coupled to the handle in a manner to maintain any selected relative position therebetween. This is, of course, important in the operation of the lballing gun because at the close of each dispensing function, the plunger tip will remain in contact with the boluses left in the magazine and provide a visual indication of how many are left. Also, the gun remains ready for the next injection with no lost motion in the plunger. Furthermore, if the plunger were free to slide back and forth under the inuence of its own weight, .it would Ibe diflicult to determine when a boluse or series thereof were, in fact, being dispensed and, most significant, the trigger mechanism would not function satisfactorily, if at all, because the plunger would be retracted each time the trigger returned to its unactuated position as will be described in detail presently.
As can best be seen in FIGURES 1 and 4, the underside of the arm 54 of handle 18 is provided with an integrallyformed longitudinally-extending web 62 that parallels the push-rod 42 of the plunger and has its lower edge 64 located in spaced parallel relation to the axis thereof. The trigger 66 is mounted on the push rod in a manner which will be set forth presently and it includes a slot 68 in its upper end positioned and adapted to receive the web 62 of the handle extension that foams a guide therefor and prevents said trigger from swinging from side-to-side as it moves back and forth between axially-spaced abutments 70 and 72 formed by the lpistol-grip 32 and downturned end -portion 58 of the handle, respectively.
The plunger 16 is relatively simple and can best be seen in FIGURES l and 2. It comprises merely a long straight push-rod or Ishaft 42 having a rounded tip 52 at the forward extremity thereof adapted to ride back and forth inthe barrel and push the boluses past the yieldable fingers 30 of the tip while maintaining the rod centered therein. In the particular form shown, the rear extremity of the push-rod is provided with the same kind of tip 74 capable of being grasped by the operfators hand to withdraw the plunger for loading purposes although other kinds and shapes of tips will suffice just as well for the latter function. In fact, tip 74 can be eliminated altogether and the push rod itself used to retract the plunger provided some sort of stop is provided at this location to keep the rod from moving so far forward that the unit falls apart.
The details of the trigger assembly 20 remain to be described and they are most clearly revealed in FIGURES l, 4 and 6 to which reference will now be made. The trigger itself (66) comprises nothing more than a narrow band of strap metal curved at the lower extremity .thereof to provide a thumb grip for the users hand. The upper edge of the trigger is provided with the guide slot 68 previously mentioned. Intermediate the slot and the curved portion of the trigger is an opening 76 sized and located to pass the push-rod freely except when the latter is tilted by reason of an off-center force applied thereto by thumb-pressure on the curved portion; whereupon, said trigger will bind on the push-rod and enable same to be pushed forwardly by pressure on the trigger. A com-pression spring 78 mounted on .that exposed portion of the push-rod extending between forward abutment 70 and the front face of the trigger completes the trigger assembly. This spring returns the trigger to rear abutment 72 by sliding it along the push-rod once the thumb-pressure is released. It should, perhaps, also be mentioned that the space between abut-ments 70 and 72 that determines the trigger excursion is preferably selected so as to eject one or a selected number of boluses at each actuation assuming, of course, that the boluses are cylindrical and of substantially uniform length.
In use, the plunger is retracted and the boluses loaded into the magazine or barrel through the front end by flexing the resilient fingers inwardly. In the particular form shown, each full actuation of the trigger will dispense exactly one grain bolus into the animals mouth. If desired, marks or other indicia can be provided on web 62 which will indicate the extent of trigger movement necessary to eject a single bolus of a smaller size. The gun can be unloaded either by repeated actuations of the trigger or by merely pushing the plunger all the way forward.
Having thus described the several useful and novel features of the improved balling gun of the present invention, it will be apparent that the several worthwhile objectives for which it was developed have been achieved. Although but a single specific embodiment of the invention has been illustrated herein, we realize that certain changes and modifications therein may well occur to those skilled in the art within the broad teaching hereof; hence, it is our intention that the scope of protection afforded hereby shall be limited only in so far as said limitations are expressly set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A balling gun for introducing boluses into an animals throat comprising, an elongate tubular barrel forming a magazine adapted to receive a plurality of boluses in aligned end-to-end relation, a protective tip formed from a relatively soft pliant material fitted to the front end of the barrel intended for insertion into the animals mouth, said tip including a cap portion encircling the barrel end and at least one springable finger projecting across the opening in said barrel end, said nger being adapted to retain the boluses within the barrel yet bend aside and allow same to pass upon the application of an axial force thereto, a handle aixed to the rear end of said barrel forming a closure therefor, said handle including a portion at the forward end thereof adapted to be grasped by the users fingers and an arm extending rearwardly from said finger-engaging portion that terminates in a `downturned abutment, said finger-engaging portion having an opening therethrough aligned concentrically with the longitudinal axis of the barrel, said downturned abutment having an opening therethrough concentric with the barrel axis and the opening in the fingerengaging portion, a plunger mounted within the barrel for reciprocating motion from a retracted position into an extended position wherein boluses contained within the magazine will be pushed out the front end of the barrel past the yieldable finger, said plunger having an enlargement at the forward extremity thereof adapted for longitudinal sliding movement inside the barrel and a pushrod extending rearwardly therefrom along the barrel axis through the aligned openings in the finger-engaging portion and downturned abutment of the handle, actuating means mounted on the push-rod between the downturned abutment and the finger-engaging portion of the handle, said actuating means including a trigger mounted on the push-rod for normal free-sliding movement relative thereto, said trigger including locking means operative to lock said trigger against relative slidable movement with respect to said push-rod and move same toward the open end of the barrel upon the application of a forwardlyacting force to said trigger at a point displaced to one side of the barrel axis, and said actuating means including a compression spring mounted on the exposed portion of the push-rod lying between the finger engaging portion and downturned abutment, said spring being operative to return the trigger rearwardly against the downturned abutment by sliding said trigger along the pushrod when the forwardly acting force is substantially released, said actuating means further including a guiding means which prevents said trigger from rotating on said push rod, and friction means operatively interconnecting the handle and push rod adapted to maintain the latter in extended position following actuation of the trigger while the spring returns said trigger to its starting position by sliding same rearwardly along said push-rod.
2. The balling gun as set forth in claim l in which, the downturned abutment on the rearwardly-extending arm of the handle includes a transverse slot intersecting the coaxial push-rod opening therein, and in which the friction means comprises a generally U-shaped spring clip retained Within the transverse slot in the downturned abutment with the legs thereof in frictional contact with that portion of the push-rod passing across said slot.
3. The balling gun as set forth in claim 1 in which, the rearwardly extending arm of the handle is located above the push-rod, said guide means comprising an elongate relatively thin guide web projects downwardly from said arm in parallel relation to the push-rod, and in which the trigger of the actuating means is provided with an upwardly-opening slot positioned and adapted to receive the guide web thus preventing said trigger from moving sideways during its excursions along the push rod.
4. The balling gun as set forth in claim 1 in which the tip includes at least two yieldable fingers extending inwardly radially from equiangularly-spaced points around the cap.
5. The balling gun as set forth in claim ll in which the finger engaging portion of the handle includes fingerholes arranged arcuately one below the other in position to receive the first three fingers of the users hand.
6. The balling gun as set forth in claim ll in which the clean-out opening is provided in the underside of the barrel adjacent the handle, said opening being substantially smaller than the smallest bolus to be dispensed therefrom.
7. The balling gun as set forth in claim 1 in which the barrel and push rod are fabricated from a rust and corrosion-resistant non-.magnetic metal, and in which the handle and plunger tip are non-metallic.
8. The balling gun as set forth in claim 1 in which the push-rod includes stop means on the rear extremity thereof adapted to engage the downturned abutment of the handle and limit the forward excursion of the plunger.
9. The balling gun as set forth in claim 1 in which the space separating the finger-engaging portion of the handle and the ydownturned abutment thereof within which the trigger moves is substantially equivalent to the space occupied within the magazine by a plurality of boluses of a given size whereby a single full actuation of the trigger will dispense a predetermined number of said boluses.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,761,446 9/1959 Reed 12S-217 FOREIGN PATENTS 651,524 4/1951 Great Britain.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.