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The Guns of Remington Arms

By: Friedrich Seiltgen

Remington Arms was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington II in Ilion, New York. As the only son, he followed in the footsteps of his father and worked in the family blacksmithing business. It seems Eliphalet thought he could build a better gun than buy one, so during the winter months, he built himself a flintlock rifle to use in a local shooting match.

While he placed second, shooting enthusiasts were impressed with his new rifle and started placing orders.  So many orders that Eliphalet was now in the firearms business! When the Erie canal was completed in 1825, the local economy started booming, and in 1828, Remington moved operations, building a factory on a 100-acre plot near what would become the city of Ilion. Remington expanded his business with his three sons, and the company became E. Remington and Sons.

Remington is one of the oldest firearms manufacturers in the world and the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles. Over the course of its 204-year existence, Remington has produced single shot, pump action, bolt action, semi auto, and full auto rifles, break open, semi auto, and pump action shotguns, and handguns like the 1895 New Army cap & ball pistol, Model 95 Derringer.

In 1918, Remington was awarded a government contract to produce 1911 pistols for the WWI. The contract was canceled a year later as the war ended with a total of 22,000 Remington 1911s produced.  In 2010, the company resurrected the 1911 with the Remington 1911 R1.

Remington has production facilities all over the United States. Its original, historic plant is in Ilion, its headquarters is in Madison, NC., ammunition manufacturing is in Lonoke, AR, manufacturing in Mayfield, KY, and its DPMS & Bushmaster AR-15 division in Huntsville, AL.

Remington died from a heart attack while overseeing munitions manufactured early in the Civil War. His son Philo Remington grew up in the business and took over in 1861 upon his father’s death.  He expanded the operation during the Civil War to include typewriters and sewing machines.

Remington rifles used during the 1871 revolution are shown on the flag of Guatemala and represent the will to defend Guatemala’s interests.

Here is a list of some of Remington’s most notable firearm productions:

Pistols

1875 Single Action Army revolver – Based on the 1858 cap and ball pistol, the 1875 took Remington into the cartridge revolver market. The SAA was a competitor to the Colt Peacemaker.

1911 – approximately 22,000 Remington – UMC  1911 pistols were produced.

Rifles

700 - the 700 has been in production since 1963.  It’s a bolt action rifle that’s an improvement on the 721 rifle. It is produced in 7 different calibers, and in the 70s, the rifle was produced in a left handed version. The 700 is also the basis for the U.S. Army M24 and U.S. Marine Corps M40 Sniper rifles.

Rolling Block Carbine – designed in 1864, this breech-loading rifle was produced from 1867 to 1918.  The rolling block was wildly popular and saw military service in countries all over the world. In the hands of civilians, it was a formidable Buffalo Hunting rifle.

Shotguns

870 - The 870 is a pump action shotgun produced in multiple calibers. Produced since 1951, the 870 was a replacement for the Remington model 31 (got one of those, too!). As of today, the 870 has reached a total production of more than 11 million units. The 870 comes in hundreds of variations, finishes, and calibers of 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 gauges. The 870 has made its way into the armory of thousands of law enforcement agencies and hundreds of foreign countries.

As a police officer, I had several weapons I was trained to use. In addition to the issued Sig Sauer 226 pistol, we trained on the Colt AR-15, the Heckler & Koch MP-5, and the Remington 870 Police model. Of all these weapons, my favorite was the good old 870.  As our rangemaster would say, “The 870 packs a lot of horsepower.”

When I first began my journey in law enforcement, we were issued plain old Remington police model 870s with wooden stocks and bead sights. About 10 years later, the department decided to upgrade.  Based on the Scattergun Technologies (now owned by Wilson combat), the department refinished all our old shotguns and bought some new ones for the increasing manpower. These guns were equipped with a Polymer stock, new sling, a sidesaddle shell holder that held an additional six rounds on the receiver, ghost ring sights, and a forend with flashlight! Now armed with the modernized 870, the rangemaster went about training officers to use slug rounds!

While on patrol, I armed myself with the 870 constantly when sent to dangerous calls. Most of the young officers were fans of the AR-15. While I also enjoy the AR, sometimes Old School is the way to go! The 870 provided different options to the user. When used against an automotive windshield, our issued .223 rounds could actually skip off the windshield at certain angles. With its distinctive sound, the mere act of chambering a round in the 870 is always an attention getter.

Many agencies use the 870 as a less-lethal weapon during riots, utilizing rubber buckshot or slugs -- ouch!  Our issued 00 tactical buckshot could put eight pellets into an evil doer, and when equipped with slug rounds, the 870 could be used to breach doors and gain building entry. The need for breaching capabilities was apparent after the Virginia Tech shootings. Officers were on scene quickly, but slowed in their entry by doors that were padlocked and chained by the perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho. An 870 with a frangible breach round takes care of that quickly. After seeing that, I went and learned everything I could about the art of shotgun breaching. I had two schools in my district, as well as three more schools in the neighboring district. I was not going to be slowed in my response if some psycho came into my district intent on shooting up a school.  I took these incidents personally. I swore to do a job, and I was going to do it.

Whether its hunting, shooting clays, or home defense, the 870 is a formidable weapon. It is rugged, well built, and with modern upgrades, it looks great for its age! It is the workhorse of law enforcement and my personal favorite.

1100 - the 1100 is a gas operated semi-automatic chambered in 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 calibers. The 1100 is the best-selling autoloader in the U.S. states.

1187 – the 1187 was introduced in 1987 and is an improved version of the 1100.  Several SWAT teams use the 1187, and a suppressed version was seen in the Coen Brothers movie ”No Country for Old Men”

The Future of Remington

In 2012, the Sandy Hook School shooting took place. Families of the victims sued Remington for wrongful death, as they were the manufacturers of the Bushmaster AR-15 used by shooter Adam Lanza.  The suit was thrown out in 2016, as it should have been citing immunity under the PLCAA, or Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. But in 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court disregarded the law and gave the families the OK to sue Remington under Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Law!

Remington’s future is in the hands of the courts now. In July 2020, Remington filed for bankruptcy a second time, despite overall gun sales soaring 145 % in June. It has sought chapter 11 protection and is trying to sell its various entities. In 2018 Remington filed for chapter 11, wrote off $775 million in debt and transferred ownership to several investors, including JPMorgan Chase! The firearms division could also be separately sold, and Remington secured a $65 million bid for its ammunition business. A private equity firm, JJE Holdings, submitted the bid to the bankruptcy court for the northern district of Alabama.  Critics of the sale are crying foul! Families of students slain in the Sandy Hook shooting who are suing Remington because a Bushmaster AR-15 was used in the shooting are angry, as they have been left out of the reorganization, even though they were included in the first bankruptcy.

In March 2020, Remington’s Ilion plant was shut down by the New York Gov. Mario Cuomo due to the Wuhan Virus! Remington attempted to stay open building ventilators, but was not included in the War on Wuhan. Only time will tell what happens to Remington now. Perhaps a conservative billionaire will purchase the whole company! Are you listening, President Trump?!

That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article Ideas. And as always – “Let’s be careful out there!”

Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department.   He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, Active Shooter Response, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida.  His writing has appeared in The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Homeland Security Today and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International.  Contact him at polizei22@msn.com

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