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uv_halo 02-25-2013 04:44 PM

First Strike Round Intellectual Property
 
I'm posting this for reference as a lot of folks are unaware how First Strike Rounds came about. Here's a summary:

Tom Kaye and Gary Gibson develop the "Perfect Circle" paintball and Tom spins off a company around it (Perfect Circle Paintball). The paintball was designed to be nearly spherical (Later patents admit that they were as good as +/- .002" roundness), in the hopes of improving accuracy. The patent applies to the design of the round (generally spherical, a sealing joint at the equator) and the material/manufacture (a photodegradable pre-stressed polystyrene that can handle loading, chambering and firing but, still break on target). It doesn't catch on in paintball (cost vs performance) but, it's used extensively in the less lethal and, movie F/X industries.

Later on, Perfect Circle Paintball developed a spin-stabilized round (patents here and here) by using the polystyrene shell they had already developed and, a weighted section in the nose (to put the center of gravity forward of the center of pressure), a fill portion in the back, and a skirt with spin inducing fins. This round coincided with the development of the XM303 'projectile launcher' developed by Airgun Designs and, Gun F/X (of Pro Team Products). Ultimately, the launcher and the rounds were designated as the FN 303 launcher and ammunition.

Ultimately, Gary Gibson of Perfect Circle Paintball appears at PB Extravaganza in 2009 at the Tiberius Arms booth, and he's pitching the new First Strike Rounds. By this point, they have already applied for a patent and he reveals that the rounds will be made by Perfect Circle Paintball but, marketed by Tiberius Arms.

The patent describes key design features of the round:
  • Hemispherical front, tapered skirt (9degrees), A wall that closes the hemisphere from the tail section.
  • At least three, but preferably 16 Fins that have a height that is longer at the tail than at the equator, so that they are not wider than the equator.
  • The fins angled in such a way to cause the projectile to spin (interestingly, unlike the FN303 patents, the angle is not defined here).
  • A fill that is heavy enough and located far enough forward to keep the center of gravity forward of the center of pressure (good for stability).

Nightstar 02-25-2013 05:43 PM

Pretty much a styrene Foster slug with paint fill. I like the product but I hate the patent.

uv_halo 02-25-2013 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nightstar (Post 2635524)
Pretty much a styrene Foster slug with paint fill. I like the product but I hate the patent.

Not quite. They are similar in that the hollow back end of a foster slug pushes the center of gravity forward, much the same as the First Strike round. But, if one were to simply copy the shape of the Foster slug and fill it with paint, the center of gravity would be behind the center of pressure.

This product required a fair amount of knowledge of external ballistics and aerodynamics and, plastic manufacturing techniques, and, devising a method of aligning the polymer molecules so that they break under the right circumstances. As for the fins on a foster slug:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Contrary to popular belief, these fins actually impart no spin onto the slug as it travels through the air. The actual purpose of the fins is to minimize the friction on both the barrel and projectile and allow the slug to safely be swaged down when fired through a choke, although accuracy will suffer and choke wear will be progressively accelerated when fired through any gauge choked tighter than open.


Nightstar 02-25-2013 10:16 PM

I understand there are some differences still it's a derivative work, the bastard lovechild of a paintball and a foster slug. I'm not trying to denigrate Tom's work I just see it as an obvious adaptation of existing technology. That and I'm opposed to the notion of ownership of an idea.

Regarding spin stabilization vs fin stabilization, the jury is still out. All I know is FSR maintain velocity better and yield tighter groupings which is enough to get my $.

uv_halo 02-26-2013 02:11 PM

the concept of "intellectual property" is philosophical in nature and, enough people believe/ed in it to build a legal framework to support it.

The way I see it, AGD needed a certain level of pre-requisite knowledge, obtained through prior ballistics, aerodynamics research, and their previously developed polystyrene, and then apply it to the challenge of making a frangible, round that is safe for recreational use. According to Tom, Perfect Circle Paintball fired thousands of rounds in their testing to get it right (fin angle, number of fins, location of center of gravity, denser fill). In my opinion, it would be pretty crappy for them to do all that research and experiment for some tool to simply make a mold of the round and then start producing them for less (because they didn't have to do the research.

I like to call it 'fin, spin-stabilization' but, technically, I believe it to be 'spin stabilization' since the round relies upon gyroscopic principles to maintain orientation rather than the fins themselves (like fins on a missile or rocket).

Nightstar 02-26-2013 04:01 PM

I don't want to get into a debate regarding "intellectual property" (really I do but I know political discussions are frowned upon) I just find the notion morally reprehensible when followed to it's logical conclusion.

I think the FSR work more like darts than bullets. I'm not saying the fins don't impart some spin, just that if spin isn't imparted prior to leaving the barrel it can't favorably effect accuracy or range. I'd like to see some actual testing regarding spin rate and effect. I'm sure Tom has done the work but I haven't found his results.

JasonSaastad 02-26-2013 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nightstar (Post 2636626)
I don't want to get into a debate regarding "intellectual property" (really I do but I know political discussions are frowned upon) I just find the notion morally reprehensible when followed to it's logical conclusion.

I think the FSR work more like darts than bullets. I'm not saying the fins don't impart some spin, just that if spin isn't imparted prior to leaving the barrel it can't favorably effect accuracy or range. I'd like to see some actual testing regarding spin rate and effect. I'm sure Tom has done the work but I haven't found his results.

I think the guys from PunkWorks have done some testing on them.

uv_halo 02-26-2013 04:38 PM

The fins do cause the rounds to spin once they leave the barrel, punkworks shows it in their High Speed Video. I've seen but cannot share additional video from another independent source that shows that the Rifled LAPCO barrel does impart a spin on a round before it leaves the barrel.

Assuming that out of a smoothbore barrel that they ultimately reach their optimal RPM downrange, they will maintain the orientation they have as they stabilize. While this is not ideal it would help keep the round from tumbling. This lag in stabilization may be a contributor to the spread on these rounds even in an indoor facility from bench-locked marker. The manufacturer also claims that the spinning helps prevent/reduce random vortices from forming behind the round and pulling it off the intended trajectory.

I have several reasons why I think a rifled barrel that successfully applies a pre-spin could improve the accuracy and/or range of these rounds but, I'm waiting for performance testing to confirm it.


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