Tag Archives: Winchester buys 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.

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.