Patent application title: Clamping Apparatus for Firearm Rail Mount
Marco Gonzalez (Temecula, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AF41C2700FI
Class name: Article holding means clamp wedging or camming
Publication date: 2012-07-19
Patent application number: 20120181406
A mounting component for engagement of a scope or other component to a
firearm mounting rail. A base of the mounting component features first
and second translating halves which can be drawn toward each other by
rotation of a lever operating a cam to translate a cross member
communicating between the two halves of the base. An adjustment is
provided to change the length of the cross member extension between the
base halves to allow adjustment of the compressive force caused by lever
1. A mounting apparatus for engagement of a firearm component to a
firearm mounting rail having a narrow base and two parallel opposing
edges projecting over the base, comprising: a base, said base having a
first body half and a second body half; said base having means to engage
to said firearm component; at least one cross member engaged at a first
end with said first body half and at a second end with a cam center; a
gap formed between said first body half and second body half; a lever
engaged to said second body half, said lever rotatable from a first
position to a second position; said lever rotating from said first
position to said second position contacting said cam center and causing a
translation of said first end of said cross member toward said second
body half; and said translation narrowing said gap and providing means to
exert a compressive frictional engagement of said base to said rail,
thereby holding said base in a mounted position.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 additionally comprising: said second end of said cross member configured for translation into an aperture in said cam center; said translation providing means to adjust a diameter of said gap; and adjusting said diameter providing means to adjust a force of said compressive frictional engagement to said rail.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 additionally comprising: means to prevent said lever in said second position from rotating toward said first position thereby placing said lever in a locked position; and a release, said release activatable to allow rotation of said lever toward said first position from said second position.
4. The apparatus of claim 2 additionally comprising: means to prevent said lever in said second position from rotating toward said first position thereby placing said lever in a locked position; and a release, said release activatable to allow rotation of said lever toward said first position from said second position.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 additionally comprising: said first body portion having a first projecting edge; said second body portion having a second projecting edge positioned across said gap opposite said first projecting edge; and said first projecting edge and said second projecting edge engaging said rail under said two parallel opposing edges projecting over the base when said base is in said mounted position.
6. The apparatus of claim 2 additionally comprising: said first body portion having a first projecting edge; said second body portion having a second projecting edge positioned across said gap opposite said first projecting edge; and said first projecting edge and said second projecting edge engaging said rail under said two parallel opposing edges projecting over the base when said base is in said mounted position.
7. The apparatus of claim 3 additionally comprising: said first body portion having a first projecting edge; said second body portion having a second projecting edge positioned across said gap opposite said first projecting edge; and said first projecting edge and said second projecting edge engaging said rail under said two parallel opposing edges projecting over the base when said base is in said mounted position.
8. The apparatus of claim 4 additionally comprising: said first body portion having a first projecting edge; said second body portion having a second projecting edge positioned across said gap opposite said first projecting edge; and said first projecting edge and said second projecting edge engaging said rail under said two parallel opposing edges projecting over the base when said base is in said mounted position.
FIELD OF INVENTION
 This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application 61/151,721 filed Feb. 11, 2009, and is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference. The present invention relates generally to quick-release mounting devices for use in combination with mounting rails on firearms. More particularly, the disclosed device relates to an adjustable engagement system which interfaces between sighting optical components for a firearm and the mount operatively engaged to the firearm for engagement of the sighting mechanism. Even more particularly, the disclosed device relates to such an optic interface which is simple and efficiently removed and replaced by a user dealing with field conditions.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The Picatinny rail or MIL-STD-1913 rail and the similar functioning NATO rail are elongated brackets which are engaged to firearms in order to provide a standardized mounting platform for optical aiming devices and other firearm engaged components. Such rails are employed widely throughout the world on an ever widening array of firearms in a standardization of firearm mounts. Such standardized mounts allow manufacturers and users to engage an optical sight, or other engageable component of choice, operatively to the firearm so long as it will registerably engage upon the provided rail mount.
 Such mounting rails were originally employed for optical sighting scopes allowing the user to view a target through the scope of choice or through a scope adapted to the target or assignment at hand. However, once established in a standardized fashion, the use of the rail system has expanded to provide for operative engagement of other firearm accessories, such as tactical lights, night vision devices, laser sighting modules, reflex sights, fore grips, bipods, bayonets and any component having a mating mount allowing it to operatively engage the firearm rail.
 Because these rail-type mounts were originally designed and used for telescopic sights, these rails were formerly found only on the receivers of larger caliber rifles. This allowed for the engagement of a telescopic or other scope for sighting in upon the target. But the employment of such rail-type mounts has expanded to the point that today the combination of Picatinny or NATO rails and accessories therefor are displacing the original iron sights formally used on many firearms. Such mounting rails can now often be found on the undersides of frames of firearms, engaged upon barrels and even on grips.
 In the case of the Picatinny rail, such mounts are comprised of a series of ridges each with a T-shaped cross section interspersed on opposite sides of planar or flat spacing slots. Aiming optical instruments, such as scopes, are engaged to the Picatinny rail by either sliding a scope-engaged mount onto one end of the rail or by employing a rail-gripping compression fitting clamp body which is engaged to grip the rail using means to bias the opposing portions of the clamp body toward each other. The biased clamp body thereby holds the scope in proper position adjacent to the rail. A NATO rail has a similar function. While lacking the T-shaped cross section with interspersed slots, it functions in a similar fashion to provide a mount for an optical component interface.
 Conventional clamping devices employed as the clamp body to grip either rail and to provide a fixed platform for an optical device all have their shortcomings. A primary shortcoming in most conventional rail-gripping devices is a lack of adjustability to engage over deviations in the structure of the rail. Such deviations from factory specifications can be caused by ongoing use, heat, cold, bumping and damaging the rail, and previously employed clamping devices gripping and damaging the rail.
 As a consequence, a user of such a firearm in the field can encounter vexing problems in the engagement of a clamping style mount to such rails. Severely damaged or out of specification mounting rails can actually prevent engagement of conventional clamp bodies there over and, as a consequence, prevent mounting of the optical aiming device to the firearm. A user in the field of battle is thus severely limited in the employment of the firearm without the ability to use the intended scope in operative engagement. Damaged rails can also cause a loss of registration of the mounted scope with the weapon resulting in a loss of accuracy when the mounted scope is employed. In some cases such a poor mount will result in a scope engaged to the firearm being unemployable for sighting a target.
 As such, there is an unmet need for a clamping body type engaged platform for engagement of optical aiming components which will function on a damaged rail and which will not damage the rail itself during use. Such a clamping body should be easily mounted to rails having minor and severe variations in specified operative size as well as to damaged rails. Such a device should easily be employable in the field for engagement of sighting and other devices to firearms by users who may be in less than optimal situations to engage the mount to the rail, such as a war zone. Further, such a mount or clamping body should be easily adapted to out of specification rails which may have been manufactured out of specified size or may have heated or chilled due to the environment to the low or high end of specification variations. Still further, such a device should provide a static solid mount to the rail, once so engaged, but in engaging the rail with sufficient force to achieve such a mount, it should also prevent damage to the rail itself while in use.
 With respect to the above, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the disclosed firearm engagement rail clamping component in detail or in general, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangement of the components or the steps set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The various apparatus and methods of the invention are capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways, all of which will be obvious to those skilled in the art once the information herein is reviewed. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
 As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for developing firearm mounting rail clamping components for firearms and the like and for carrying out the several purposes of the present disclosed device and method. It is important, therefore, that the embodiments, objects and claims herein be regarded as including such equivalent construction and methodology insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The disclosed device herein provides a remedy to the noted shortcomings of conventional firearm rail mount engagement devices in that it provides a secure mount to the mounting rail even on out of specification or damaged rails. The present invention is directed to a clamping body type mount adapted to engage upon and form a compressed frictional engagement to a mounting rail conventionally provided on a firearm such as a Picatinny rail or NATO rail. Using a unique cross member engagement of opposing components which provides a means for the components to translate toward and away from each other, the device enables the user to achieve a quick and secure engagement to the mounting rail on the firearm. The device herein additionally allows for such quick and secure engagements even to mounting rails which may be out of factory specifications by adapting to engage the rail in its present state. Even in adapting a mount to such out of specification mounting rails, the device is configured such that it will not harm the rail. This remedies an especially vexing problem of conventional mounts which employ cam locking and other rail engaging components which tend to damage the mounting.
 A first mode of the device, adapted to a conventional and widely employed Picatinny rail, uses a clamping body having a plurality of cammed handles on a first side of the body. These caromed handles each engage to a first end of a member which is positioned on the mount traverse to the axis of the Picatinny rail. A second end of the member is operatively engaged to a translating component having a rail clip on a lower portion. This rail clip is positioned opposite a second rail clip formed on the handle side of the clamp body.
 The cross members are adjustable for total length by turning ahead positioned on the second end of the member which is operatively engaged to the translating component. The handles are engaged to a cam which engages the first end of the cross members. The handles have a dismounted position wherein they are rotated and provide means to translate the second end of the cross member away from the rail and thus loosen the rail clip force on the translating component. This allows for easy engagement of the pair of two rail clips onto and in a disengagement from the rail. The handles have a second position rotated to a position where their axis is proximate to the rail and which provides a means to translate the second end of the cross member toward the handle. This translation of the cross member provides for a gripping action of the two rail clips and a concurrent frictional engagement of the device on the rail.
 The distance of travel of the translating component is adjustable by turning the cross member into its threaded mount with the cam and thereafter positioning the second end of the cross member closer to or further away from the axis of the rail. Thus, the force of the gripping engagement of the two opposing rail clamps may be adjusted. This force adjustment provides a means for the user to accommodate out of specification rail sides or damaged rails on which the device may need to be mounted.
 A second mode of the device, adapted to fit a NATO rail, functions in a similar fashion. However, rather than one body portion, this mode of the device features a first body half and second body half in a translatable engagement. This mode of the device employs the two length adjustable cross members which will translate the two body halves toward and away from each other to grip or dismount from the NATO rail.
 Both embodiments of the device feature means for engagement of an optical or sighting component thereon. In the second mode of the device, for gripping the smooth NATO rail, there is a forward projecting Picatinny style rail engaged to one body half.
 Both embodiments of the device employ rotatable levers to translate the cross members that are lockable to prevent the device from becoming unintentionally dismounted from the rail on which they engage. Means to lock the levers and prevent their rotation is provided by a biased locking pin which must be translated out of engagement with the cam to allow the handle to rotate and loosen the grip on the rail. A spring loaded button provides a safety to prevent translation of the locking pin unless released by the user.
 The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the more pertinent and important features of the improved firearm rail engagement component herein, in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood so that the present contribution to the art may be more fully appreciated: Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that the conception and the disclosed specific embodiments herein may, of course, be readily utilized as a basis for forming other firearm rail-gripping devices for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions and methods are anticipated insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
THE OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an easily employable gripping firearm rail mount allowing for the easy engagement of a scope or other component to a firearm mounting rail.
 It is an additional object of this invention to provide such a mount which will accommodate out of specification rails and will still be easy to engage and disengage from such rails.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide such a firearm rail mount which will not damage the firearm rail.
 The foregoing has outlined some of the more pertinent objects of the invention. These objects should be construed to be merely illustrative of some of the more prominent features and applications of the intended invention. Many other beneficial results can be attained by applying the disclosed solution to yield new compressibly engageable mounts for gun rails. Accordingly, other objects and a fuller understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the summary of the invention and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment in addition to the scope of the invention defined by the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device engaged upon a conventional Picatinny rail.
 FIG. 2 shows the device of FIG. 1 from another perspective view.
 FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the device of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the device of FIG. 1 in an engaged position on a rail and ready to engage a scope.
 FIG. 5 depicts another mode of the device adapted to engage a NATO style rail with smooth projections.
 FIG. 6 shows the device of FIG. 5 without a scope on the device.
 FIG. 7 is an end view of the device of FIGS. 5 and 6.
 FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 9 depicts the cam operating lever.
 FIG. 10 is a cross section view of the lever of FIG. 9.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Referring now to FIGS. 1-10, wherein similar parts of the device 10 are identified by like reference numerals, there is seen in FIGS. 1-4 a first preferred mode of the device 10 which achieves a compressive frictional engagement upon a Picatinny or similar style firearm mounting rail 12 having notched projections 15 overhanging a narrow base to provide the interface to engage a sighting device such as a scope 13 to the firearm.
 As depicted in the figures, the device 10 features a body 14 which employs a plurality of cam-engaged handles 16 on a first side of the body 14 to achieve the compressive engagement to the rail 12 at a narrower base portion and under the over riding projections 15. The handles 16 each engage to a first end of a respective cross member 18 which is positioned traverse to the axis of the elongated Picatinny or similar rail 12.
 A second end 17 of the cross member 18 is operatively engaged to a translating member 20 having a rail clip 22 on a lower portion. This first rail clip 22 is positioned opposite a second rail clip 22 formed on the handle-side of the body 14 which has a first body half 30 and second half 32.
 The cross members 18 have means for adjustment for total length which as shown is provided by turning a head 23 positioned on the second end 17 of the cross member 18 which is operatively engaged to the translating member 20 with cooperating threads or the like. The adjustment of the length of the cross members 18 provides a means to adjust the compressive force of the device on the rail 12. Making the length in between the translating member 18 and opposing body halves 30 and 32 shorter will cause a higher compressive force and making it longer will loosen the force on the rail 12. Each of the handles 16 are engaged to a cam 24 which engages with the first end of the cross embers 18.
 The handles 16 have a dismounted position as depicted in FIG. 6a, wherein they are rotated to translate the second end 17 of the cross member 18 away from the rail 12 and the opposing rail clips 22. This positions both sides of the body from the rail 12 and thus loosens the rail clips 22 formed on the second body half 32 and first body half 30 for an easy placement of the pair of two rail clips 22 and the body onto and off of the rail 12.
 The handles 16 have a second position rotated to a position where their axis running through the handle 16 is proximate and parallel to the rail 12. Rotating the handles 16 to this second position translates the second end 17 of the cross member 18 toward the handle 16 and concurrently positions the rail clips 22 on the first and second body halves toward the rail 12 and provides for a gripping action of the two rail clips 22 to the rail 12 and a resulting compressive frictional engagement of the device 10 on the rail 12.
 Means to adjust the distance of travel of the translating member 20 is provided by rotating the cross member 18 further into or out of its threaded engagement 21 with cooperating threads of the cam 24 and thereby positioning the second end 17 of the cross member 18 closer to or further away from the axis of the rail 12. This adjustment provides a means to adjust the compressive force of the gripping engagement of the two opposing rail clamps 22 which is most preferred to allow adapting the device 10 for imperfections in the rail or to increase the compressive force for a heavy scope 13 or the like which might need a more forceful grip of the rail 12.
 Also shown in FIG. 4 is a means to engage the device 10 to a component to be mounted to the fire arm such as a scope 13 shown in FIG. 1. Currently threaded members 19 provide the means for the device 10 to engage with the component to be in a registered engagement with the rail 12 of the firearm. Although those skilled in the art will realize other means to engage components for mounting can be employed and are anticipated.
 The device 10 can be seen in FIGS. 5-8 and is operationally engaged to the NATO rail projections 15 which are similar to that of the Picatinny rail. This mode of mounting the device 10 performs in a similar fashion as the mode for the Picatinny rail. This NATO rail mode of the device 10 employs the two length adjustable cross members 18 which will translate the first body half 30 and second body half 32 toward and away from each other and provide means to grip or disengage the rail clamps 22 to grip or dismount from the NATO rail projections 15.
 In the second mode of the device 10, adapted to grip smooth NATO rail projections 15 above the narrow base, there is a forward projecting Picatinny style rail 17 engaged to one body half. This configuration of the device 10 thus allows the engagement of a Picatinny rail 17 to a firearm having a NATO rail to provide a means to employ components 13 adapted to fit on the Picatinny rail 17 upon a firearm having only a NATO rail with smooth projections 15.
 As noted, mounting of the device on either type of rail 12 employs rotating levers 16 to translate the cross members 18 and move the two body halves towards each other. These levers 16 have a means for locking them in the engaged position to prevent the device 10 from becoming unintentionally dismounted from the rail and projections 15 under which they engage. A sliding locking pin 40 is biased by a spring 42 into a locked engagement with the cam 24 and must be translated out of engagement with the cam 24 to allow the handle 16 to rotate in order to loosen the grip of the device 10 as noted above.
 While all of the fundamental characteristics and features of the disclosed clamping apparatus for a firearm rail have been described herein, with reference to particular embodiments thereof, a latitude of modification, various changes and substitutions are intended in the foregoing disclosure and it will be apparent that in some instance, some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth.
 It should be understood that such substitutions, modifications, and variations may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Consequently, all such modifications and variations are included within the scope of the invention as defined herein.