The longest-operating gun manufacturing plant in the country will close its doors in March after 195 years of making Remington guns. RemArms, the reimagined brand offshoot of the Remington every hunter and shooter has known for two centuries, announced the change in a letter to union leaders Thursday, reports the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
“I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC has decided to close its entire operations at 14 Hoefler Avenue, Ilion, NY 13357,” the letter reads. “The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024. The Company did not arrive at this decision lightly.”
The decision is noteworthy for Remington fans, but not altogether surprising given the recent turmoil at Big Green. The Remington Outdoor Company filed for bankruptcy in July 2020, laying off 585 employees without severance benefits and halting operations in Ilion. In fall 2020, an investment firm named The Roundhill Group purchased the manufacturing plant, along with a second Remington facility in Tennessee that made handgun barrels, and renamed the company RemArms. (Meanwhile Ruger bought Marlin, which had been under Remington ownership since late 2007. Remington Ammunition is now a separate company from RemArms firearms.)
OL visited the Ilion plant in 2019. Model 870 shotgun receivers wait to be hand-buffed (left); an Ilion employee matches stock and forend wood for walnut-stocked 870s. Andrew McKean
In May 2021, 230 RemArms employees returned to the Ilion plant to continue operations. The company was focused on mass-producing Model 870 shotguns and Model 700 rifles, and restocking shelves before hunting season rolled around, director of product management Adam Ballard told Field and Stream at the time. (Outdoor Life has since tested the RemArms 870 Fieldmaster, which has replaced the RemArms 870 Express.)
Around 300 employees clocked in at the Ilion plant every day, making it the largest employer in rural Herkimer County, New York. Many of those employees are represented by the United Mine Workers of America. The UMWA negotiated on behalf of the employees during the 2020 bankruptcy, resulting layoffs, and acquisition. UMWA international president Cecil E. Roberts released a statement in response to the news.
“It is extremely disappointing to hear that RemArms LLC is closing its Ilion plant,” he wrote on Thursday. “The workers in Ilion enabled RemArms to rise from the ashes of the Remington Arms bankruptcy in 2020-21. Without these workers and their dedication to producing the best firearms in the world, this company simply would not exist … This announcement by the company is a slap in the face to all of them. The timing adds insult to injury for those affected. Merry Christmas from RemArms.”
A RemArms representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An auto-reply email to Outdoor Life stated, in part, “RemArms is excited to expand our facilities in Georgia, a state that not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry.”
An employee at the Ilion plan inspects the bore of a VersaMax barrel in 2019 (left); buffing 870 actions. Andrew McKean
The statement was part of a November 2021 press release from Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s office announcing that RemArms would be moving its global headquarters to LaGrange, Georgia, and building an advanced manufacturing facility there, as well.
Eliphalet Remington II founded Remington as a rifle barrel manufacturer in 1816; the Ilion plant became operational in 1828 and produced thousands of firearms for the Union Army in the Civil War. The company also produced some of the nation’s first commercially available typewriters in Ilion from 1874 to 1886, although it is unclear whether they were manufactured in the same plant.
“The Ilion facility and its workforce truly remain a valued asset to the company,” then-Remington CEO James Marcotuli told shooting editor John B. Snow in 2016, during the gunmaker’s 200th anniversary. “There’s a ton of experience and knowledge there. We’ve been producing Remington products in Ilion since 1816. In that time, we’ve produced more than six million Model 700s, nearly four million Model 1100s, and 11 million Model 870s.”
A clarification was made on Dec. 1, 2023: A previous version of this article mislocated the word “shotgun” when referring to Model 870s and Model 700s. It has been updated to reflect the appropriate category of firearm for those models.
The post RemArms to Close Historic Remington Gun Plant in Ilion, New York appeared first on Outdoor Life.
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