Tag Archives: Sandy Hook remington

Everything old is new again: Black Rifle Edition

The ArmaLite-branded AR-10 and AR-15 disappeared from the marketplace by 1962 as the company sold its rights and patents concerning the designs to Colt’s Manufacturing Company and the limited manufacturing license with the Dutch Artillerie Inrichtingen (A.I.). firm expired. After that, Colt was the only all-up maker of completed ARs until the late 1970s when other companies started to come on line.

When I say “other companies” I am talking about now-classic black rifle makers Bushmaster, DPMS, and Olympic Arms, all of which faded out in 2020.

Well, for two out of three of those, the demise was short-lived and they are now back for 2021, under new ownership.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Looks like the 870 may be Back in Production, After a Brief Hiatus

Remington had been involved in shotguns for over a century, marketing various single and double-barreled models in the 19th Century before moving into the pump-action game in 1908 with the Remington Repeating Shotgun, a bottom-ejector based on two of John Browning’s “magazine gun” patents. Then came the Model 31, which clocked in for riot gun use with Uncle Sam, among others, in addition to its use by sportsmen from coast to coast.

To replace the Model 31, a team that included L. Ray Crittendon, Phillip Haskell, Ellis Hailston, and G.E. Pinckney, worked across the late 1940s to craft Remington’s new Model 870AP Wingmaster, which debuted in 1950.

An easy take-down, side-ejecting, bottom-loading pump-action shotgun with dual (rather than single) action arms on the slide, the 870 had a receiver that was machined from a solid block of steel and marketed at first in just a 2.75-inch chamber with choices of 12-, 16- and 20-gauge, retailing for $69.95 on a standard-grade and $79.95 for a more deluxe model.

Remaining in constant production for 70 years, some 11 million Model 870s were produced by Big Green, making it one of the most popular shotguns in firearms history.

Then came the big bankruptcy last year, and Remington’s flagship factory in Ilion New York was shuttered on October 26, 2020, with 585 unionized employees laid off just two months shy of Christmas– with zero benefits or severance.

Oof.

Now, with the factory acquired by a new holding group and under the RemArms banner, a deal with the union has reopened the Ilion works this week, and reportedly over 200 furloughed workers have been called back. Their first order of business: make more 870s.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Bushmaster Resurrected

Founded in 1978 in Windham, Maine, from the remnants of the even older Gwinn Arms company (see the Arm Pistol), Bushmaster was one of the first makers of AR-style firearms outside of Colt. Its line included the lightweight Carbon-15, the massive .50-cal BA50, the seriously weird M17S Bullpup rifle, the XM-10, the XM-15 rifles, and others. Importantly, the firm was one of the first to market flattop optics-ready ARs and AR pistols, beating many of its competitors to the punch.

The BA-50, one of Bushmaster’s more interesting products

Then the Cerebrus Group/Freedom Group came along and upset the whole apple cart. They closed the Maine factory, moved operations to North Carolina and later Alabama under Remington’s umbrella, and just generally traded the company’s rep in for poorly QC’d guns without further innovation. Then, in 2019, Remington snuffed the brand out to try to exit the black rifle verse under legal pressure.

Well, Bushmaster is back, now owned by Franklin Armory, so stay tuned.

And in the biggest gun news of the year…

Poor old Remington. The ghosts of the Freedom Group have come home to roost and you deserved better.

Founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, the company (for now) has locations in Alabama (where I did an extensive tour of their mega factory in Huntsville), Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Utah, South Dakota, and North Carolina. Once upon a time I even worked for Remington, doing articles for their 1816 lifestyle blog for a couple of years.

The current company grew several times between 2005 and 2007 when the Freedom Group, an offshoot of Cerberus Capital Management, aimed to buy up a ton of smaller companies under the FG umbrella, cut costs (see= mega factory), then (try to) sell the reinvented 80-foot gorilla for lots of profit.

This saw Remington gobble up AR-15 makers Panther Arms, DPMS, and Bushmaster; suppressor maker AAC, Para-Ordnance pistols, premium rifle maker Dakota Arms, accessory maker TAPCO (the horror), lever-gun icon Marlin (which came with budget shotgun/rifle brands H&R and New England Firearms), shotgun maker Parker, and precision barrel company Stormlake. They even bought innovative designs from other companies such as the Masada rifle for Magpul, which they marketed (poorly) as the Adaptive Combat Rifle, or ACR.

The thing is, somehow they ran it all incredibly poorly and filed bankruptcy three times since 2015. While the first two saw the company emerge after restructuring more or less intact, this latest go-round will not go as smoothly. 

In short, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Vista Outdoors (Federal/CCI), Palmetto State Armory, Franklin Armory, Sierra bullets, and others are all fighting over the scraps, with the courts to decide who ultimately goes home with the choicest parts of the carcass.

More in my column at Guns.com.