This is a pyrotechnic article very similar to the rifle light with parachute. It has attained much popularity by reason of the fact that its efficiency in functioning is very high. Also, its ease of transportation, convenience in firing, and large production in manufacture make this one of the most valued in use.
Figure 155 shows a six-star rifle light with case partially removed. The star rifle light is very similar to the parachute rifle light, differing mainly in that there is no parachute to hold the lights suspended in the air when burning.
Fig. 154. - Star rifle light.
Fig. 155. - Sectional view of six-star rifle light.
The figure shows the arrangement of stars in the case. Two of the six occupy positions immediately adjacent to and behind the two rows of stars shown in the picture. Again, the star rifle light differs from the parachute rifle light, in that the stars are not connected one to another, and when expelled from the case take their own direction. Consequently a chain of stars in the form of a caterpillar, where the stars are connected, is not used in this type of light.
The rifle-light star is fired from the rifle in a similar manner to that of the parachute rifle light. An expelling charge 178 after the light has reached the desired height blows the stars out of the container, lighting them at the same time. These stars travel through the air much in the manner of meteors, and during their flight flame brilliantly. They can be readily seen at a distance, as they burn with intense light for a period ranging from 6 to 10 seconds, depending upon the number of stars. The star rifle light measures 1 3/4 inches in diameter. The stars are made with white, green, or red compositions. Consequently a variety of signals is possible with the use of this type of pyrotechnic article.
Fig. 156. - Sectional view of three-star rifle light.
Fig. 157. - Sectional drawing of three-star rifle light.
2. Wood plug.
3. Shell nail.
4. Time fuse.
6. Detonating-cap plate.
7. Detonating cap.
8. Protecting disk.
9. Protecting disk.
10. Expelling charge.
11. Expelling disk.
12. Light case.
13. Bottom disk.
14. Top disk.
15. Light composition.
16. Wet prime.
17. Quick match.
18. Packing wad.
19. Cork cap.
20. Identification cap. 21. Blank cartridge.
*22. Protecting band for cartridge.
*23. Cartridge tape.
*24. Directions label.
*25. Packing carton.
*26. Tearing cord.
*27. Directions label.
*28. Shipping carton.
*29. Identification label.
The shell for the star rifle light is a tin cylinder with a soldered lap seam 1 3/4 inches in diameter by 3 5/8 inches long. The size of the shell is unchanged whether a one-, three-, or six-star signal is assembled. Several of the parts are identical with those used in the parachute rifle light described in the previous chapter. These are the wood plug, detonating cap, protecting disk, and fuse.
The expelling charge in the star rifle light, irrespective of the number of stars, consists of ten one-inch quick matches, placed in the bottom of the shell and resting on the wood plug. The quick match used is similar to that previously described. Through the center of the wood plug, as shown in the description of the parachute rifle light, is a time fuse which functions in the same manner in the star rifle light as in the parachute rifle light. Since the star rifle light does not require so heavy an expelling charge as the parachute rifle light, the quick matches supply the necessary power to drive the signal out of the case when the latter has reached the desired height, and also supply a flame which readily ignites the fuse attached to each of the lights.
* Not shown.
In the one- and three-star rifle light the expelling disk is made of cotton felt 1/8 inch thick and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. This disk rests upon the quick match. It is upon this disk that the stars rest, the disk being forcibly expelled by means of the explosion of the matches, thus expelling the lights from the shell. In order that there may be a free access of the flame from the burning matches into the compartment occupied by the lights, thus causing ignition of the fuses of the lights, perforations are made in the expelling disk. In the one-star light there is a 3/8-inch-diameter hole in the center, in the three-star light there are three 3/8-inch-diameter holes spaced equally distant. When the six-star light is assembled this propelling disk is of strawboard 3 3/8 inches in diameter, and the holes cut through the disk are similarly arranged to those of the three-star-light.
The light case may be made of black hardware paper or aluminum. When made of hardware paper it is rolled in a similar manner to that described under the parachute rifle light, a single thickness of black hardware paper 12 by 20 inches being rolled to an internal diameter of 1 1/2 inches. This tube is then cut into lengths of 1 5/8 inches which is deemed the proper length for the light case. It is the custom to use the paper case where colored stars are used, the aluminum case being used for the white light or white stars, the reason being that the burning of the case, where the latter is of cardboard, does not materially effect the color of the lights, whereas the burning of the case when made of aluminum is noticeable. One-star white light, however, is usually assembled in a light case of cardboard.
For the three-star white light the case is made of expanded aluminum, 3/4 inch in diameter by 1 1/2 inches long. One end of the case is open and is provided with four projections, which can be seen in figure 158.
The bottom of the case is crimped over, leaving an opening approximately 5/8 inch in diameter. The crimping serves as a bottom to hold a disk.
Referring again to figure 158, a hole is shown close to the bottom for the purpose of inserting a quick match which rests on top of the disk. In the six-star white light also the case is of aluminum. This case, however, has not a crimped bottom, as does the case previously described, but has a solid bottom. The case is 3/4 inch in diameter and 3/4 inch long. The open end is likewise provided with four small projections which serve the same purpose as outlined in the description of the case previously mentioned.
Fig. 158. - Successive stages of loading three-star light case.
For the red or green lights paper cases are used. In the one-star light the paper tube is 1 1/2 inches long. For the three-star red or green lights the case is made of black hardware or Kraft paper 11/16 inch inside diameter and 15/8 inches long, and for the six-star red or green light a similar case is used, with the exception that it is only 3/4 inch long.
This is used only for the one-and three-star white lights. For the one star it consists of a 1 1/2-inch-diameter disk of strawboard with a 7/8-inch hole in the center. For the three-star light it is simply a solid strawboard disk, 11/16 inch diameter.
This wrapper is used only for the one-star white light. It is identical with that used in the rifle light with parachute, being a piece of muslin 1 1/2 by 8 inches, pasted around the bottom of the light case with 1/2 inch projecting and pasted over the bottom disk.
This, too, is used only in the one-star white light and does not differ from that used in the parachute light. It consists of a 1 5/8-inch-diameter piece, 30-pound Kraft paper, and is pasted over the bottom disk and edge of muslin wrapper, covering the hole in the center of the bottom disk.
It is to be noted that in the stars no first-fire composition is used, for the stars are designed to burn as meteors. For the one-star white light the composition consists of -
This is made up in practice by weighing 15 pounds of barium nitrate, 5 1/2 pounds of flake aluminum and 1 1/2 pounds of powdered aluminum, mixing by hand and screening twice through a 24-mesh sieve. Twelve ounces of castor oil are then added to the batch and mixed well, the whole passing twice through a 12-mesh sieve. This composition burns from 10 to 12 seconds. After assembling the bottom-disk muslin wrapper and outer disk, the composition is loaded into the case in the following manner:
A small quantity of wet prime is dropped on the bottom disk and the case is filled with the white-light composition. A wood plunger and mallet then tamp this material down and the case is again filled with composition, until it is packed to within 1/8 inch of the top. This is the hand operation that some manufacturers hold gives the best result. The three-star-white-light composition is the same as the one-star light, but the loading of the case differs in that the light case when assembled has a quick match 1 1/2 inches long inserted through the side hole. A small quantity of wet prime is dropped on the bottom disk and the composition is loaded with mallet and plunger, similarly to those used in loading the one-star light. The candlepower of the three-star light is the same as that of the one star, but it burns only from 8 to 10 seconds. In the six-star light the composition and method of loading are quite similar to those of the three-star light, but it burns only from 6 to 8 seconds.
Fig. 159. - Filling light case.