Levi-Strauss. Harley-Davidson. Coca-Cola. Remington Arms. All iconic American brands. But when it comes to arms and ammunition, nothing is quite as iconic as Remington.
The Beginning of Remington Ammunition
Eliphalet Remington founded E. Remington & Sons in 1816 in Ilion, New York. He began with a simple idea that has driven countless American entrepreneurs: Sure, there was no shortage of flintlock rifles on the market. However, Remington believed he could do it better. To that end, he built himself a flintlock rifle for a shooting competition. At the age of 23, Remington didn’t win gold, but he did take the silver.
A funny thing happened for a man who had just came in second place. So many of his fellow competitors wanted to buy his rifle that he found himself officially in the gunsmithing business. Remington already had significant experience gunsmithing. His father was a blacksmith and the younger Remington learned how to make rifle barrels after visiting a plant.
Remington is, of course, alive and well today. More than that, it’s the oldest firearms manufacturer in the United States. They’re currently the only company manufacturing both firearms and ammunition in the country. The original plant in Ilion, New York, is still standing and still turning out some of the highest-quality goods of any kind America has to offer. There is also a retail store and a museum standing on that site for those looking to learn more about Remington’s history.
The Remington rifle business was officially born, and has grown into what is now the oldest manufacturer of firearms in the United States. They are an iconic gun brand that is the only company in the nation to produce both firearms and ammunition domestically, the largest producer of rifles and shotguns in the U.S., and the largest developer and adopter of cartridges in the world.
E. Remington & Sons innovated and expanded throughout the 19th Century, eventually relocating closer to the Erie Canal, where a portion of the Ilion firearms plant still exists today. The company incorporated in 1865, introduced their famous rolling block rifle, and branched out into the manufacture of typewriters in 1873, which they sold in 1886. And in 1888, Marcellus Hartley and partners acquired E. Remington & Sons, reorganized the business, and renamed it Remington Arms Company.
In 1912, Remington Arms merged with the Union Metallic Cartridge Company to form Remington UMC. Not many years later, they constructed a new plant in Ilion, New York, which continues to operate to this day. During WWI, Remington had contracts to produce M1907-15 Berthier rifles for France, Enfield rifles for Britain, and 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles for Russia. They also developed and manufactured M1917 Enfield rifles as well as the Pedersen Device, an innovation for the M1917 that allowed it to fire short .30 caliber rifle cartridges in semi-automatic mode.
The company actually came close to going under during the First World War. A large number of Remington rifles were ordered by the Russian Imperial government for the war effort. The Czar’s court, however, was broke and had no way of paying for the arms. To that end, they kept delaying payment on the basis of faulty manufacturing. Finally, when the Communists seized power in Russia, they repudiated the contract entirely, leaving Remington high and dry. The United States government eventually stepped up and purchased the firearms.
Expanding the Remington Catalog
Expanding their product line in the 1920s with diverse items of interest to a wider audience, they started producing and selling cash registers and cutlery like pocket knives, hunting knives, and household utensils. Remington started selling clothing with company logo patches at this time, which grew into their popular line of clothing and accessories for hunting and casual wear. This line was eventually discontinued in 1995. The reason for this diversification was the excess manufacturing capacity Remington grew into during the war. Rather than let the factories sit idle or sell them, Remington found a way to keep the factories running.
During the Great Depression, Remington was purchased by another iconic American company – DuPont. Interestingly, the biggest money maker for DuPont at that time was not plastics but rather an improved form of gunpowder. This made the purchase of America’s leading ammunition company a natural fit. In 1936, at the nadir of the Great Depression, Remington had another company milestone: They went international with the purchase of Brazilian ammunition manufacturer Fabrica Nacional de Cartuchos e Municoes.
While DuPont acquired a controlling interest, it wasn’t until 1980 that it completely acquired the company, making Remington a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company. DuPont eventually sold the company for $300 million in December 1981.
In 1940, the U.S. government requested Remington to establish an ordinance plant. They located the plant in Independence, Missouri, and called it Lake City. Remington opened a total of five plants in the early years of WWII, where they manufactured their iconic M1903 Springfield bolt action rifle chambered for the .30-06.
Remington Shotguns and Other Firearms
A decade later, Remington introduced one of the most popular shotguns ever made – the Remington Model 870 “Wingmaster,” a 12 gauge pump action shotgun. They expanded into other markets during the 50s by acquiring the Mall Tool Company and adding power equipment to their product line, including chainsaws and other electric, pneumatic and gas powered tools. Through the 1960s, Remington introduced the plastic shotgun shell, the Model 1100 autoloading shotgun, and the Model 700 bolt action rifle.
By the 90s, their focus was on their core community of firearms enthusiasts. Remington recently returned to manufacturing handguns with their M1911 clone chambered in .45 ACP, and their R-15 and R-25 rifles inspired by the AR-15. They have broadened their markets to include a television series, products for domestic security and their Model 887 Nitro Mag series of shotguns. However, the focus on firearms owners who demand quality continues, with an emphasis on duck hunters and three-gun shooters.
Remington ammunition and firearms are as iconic as the brand is American. And curiously enough, Remington rifles are present in the national flag of Guatemala.
Remington Ammo in the 21st Century
Remington continued its diversification in the 21st Century, when it turned an eye toward surveillance and security as well as firearms and ammunition. License plate tracking technology and other surveillance tools were unveiled by the company. At the same time, Remington founded a new subsidiary, Spartan Gunworks, for the purpose of making a high-quality shotgun available at a price point just about anyone could afford, showing that they were still keeping the focus on quality firearms.
A private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, purchased Remington in 2007. This included a lot of assumed debt, as the company did not turn a profit between the years 2003 and 2005. The company was then renamed, appropriately, the Freedom Group – which was renamed once again to the Remington Outdoor Company in 2015.
After several years of profitability during the Obama Administration, the company filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. Like many firearms and ammunition manufacturers, it saw a downturn in overall sales and profitability after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
Where is Remington ammunition made?
Remington ammunition is made in the Remington plant in Lonoke, Arkansas. The company owns other facilities, most notably in Ilion, New York, but these plants manufacture firearms, not ammunition.
What is Remington UMC ammo?
Remington UMC ammo is Remington’s economy brand of commercial ammo. It’s manufactured in Lonoke, Arkansas and specializes in ammo for practice, hunting, and self defense. UMC ammo can be found in rimfire and centerfire handgun and rifle cartridges.
What is the best Remington ammunition for hunting turkey?
Remington offers several ammunitions for turkey hunting. Remington Premier High-Velocity Magnum Turkey Loads offer “rifle-like” distances with perfected shot patterns, while the brand’s Nitro Turkey loads feature extra-hard lead shot to maximize impact. The company also offers Premier TSS, which has the highest density shot available in a turkey load. Remington offers shotshells for turkey in 10 gauge, 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore.
Is Remington ammo waterproof?
Remington ammo features a waterproof seal at the neck between the casing and the bullet, as well as at the primer pocket. This ensures added reliability regardless of the weather conditions.
What year did Remington buy out Peters Cartridge Company?
Remington Arms bought the Peters Cartridge Company in 1934. Remington used the Peters facilities to expand their ammunition manufacturing during World War II. The plant was used until 1944 then sold to Columbia Records.