The Second Coming of Remington Arms

By Randy Wakeman

Remington Ilion plant
Ilion, NY plant. Photo courtesy of Remington Arms.

There is a certain ebb and flow to the trajectory of firearms companies that has affected essentially all major brands. Savage Arms reportedly was losing $25 million a year in 1988, filing for bankruptcy in February of that year. Olin-Winchester left the firearms business in 1980. Colt, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Ruger and others have all had their special moments, both Kodak and senior. So has Remington.

Founded by Eliphalet Remington in 1816 as E. Remington and Sons, the Remington family sold the business in 1888 and the modern Remington Arms Company began. DuPont invested in Remington during the Depression, then bought the Company completely in 1980.

In 1993, DuPont quit the firearms manufacturing business. Few companies have offered products that have totally dominated their respective industries in the way that the Remington Model 870 (1951), Remington 700 (1962) and Remington Model 1100 (1963) have done. It is a staggering accomplishment, with something like 21,000,000 million units sold and counting.

It has been a very long time since my Great Grandfather, George Chamberlain Wakeman, purchased his Remington Model 11 shotgun and since my Dad bought a Model 11-48 shotgun for my Mom. Both guns still function well today.

In times past, I have been harshly critical of some Remington products; completely honest, but nevertheless critical. The offending products, the 105 Cti, Model 887 NitroMag and a few others, are now gone. Remington has also been the subject of a great deal of outdoor media controversy; some deservedly so, but a goodly portion of which has been unreasonable.

Over the last year, Remington is easily the most improved firearms manufacturer. It has been a dramatic turnaround that has shown up in the quality of product I have reviewed. These include the V3 autoloading shotgun, the latest Model 700 Stainless Steel Mountain rifle, the new RM380 pocket pistol and a pair of Model 870 Wingmaster pump shotguns that are clearly better than ever.

The Remington V3 breaks new ground as the softest shooting shotgun on the market in its weight class. It has a super clean gas system that runs four times longer between cleanings than conventional gas operated autoloaders. Like all Remington firearms, the V3 is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime written warranty.

The Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloading rifle has catapulted Remington into position as the industry leader in high performance muzzleloaders. The Model 700 Stainless Mountain rifle is not only extremely accurate, it also has the best Remington trigger I have ever used.

In the RM380 pocket pistol, Remington took the very expensive ($1195 in 2009) and obscure Rohrbaugh pistol, substantially improved the design and made it available to the masses for an affordable $350. The RM380 is Remington's new Huntsville, Alabama facility's first product.

Much of this has happened over the last year under Jim "Marco" Marcotuli, who has put in place unprecedented levels of quality control and testing. There were 1.3 million rounds of ammo expended in testing the revamped R51 pistol, for example. It is aerospace level R&D, analysis and data collection, which should surprise no one, as Marcotuli spent fifteen years at Lockheed Martin.

There is perpetual pressure from marketing and consumers for new products. Right now, that has been set aside in favor of more rigorous testing prior to the launch of any product.

2016 marked Remington's 200th Anniversary and the Remington brand has a rich legacy. This legacy includes Remington as a vital supplier to the U.S. Military, from the 1858 Army revolver of the Civil War to the Model 1903A3 rifle and 1911 pistol of WW I fame, the M24 sniper rifle adopted in 1988 and today's M4 carbine. Model 870 police shotguns remain a fixture in law enforcement across the United States.

Those involved in the manufacturing of products from diverse materials will readily appreciate that there are only a few ways to get it right, yet millions of ways to get it wrong. From the testing and evaluation of just one product, no general conclusion can be made. However, when evaluating multiple products, sometimes multiple examples of multiple products, trends become apparent. Right now, it is obvious Remington firearms and ammunition are on a clear uptick in quality, consistency, performance and desirability.

Those with a sense of history will appreciate this. Many Americans prefer to exercise their uniquely American gun rights with American built products, rather than being dependent on foreign entities that have no Second Amendment protection, no American values and may be operating in unstable, unreliable and hostile environments.

The over 3500 Remington employees work every day with a sense of pride, purpose and the cultural heritage of America. The positive results of their efforts during Remington's 200th Anniversary year is becoming increasingly apparent and it could not have come at a more appropriate time.

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Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.