View Full Version : Winchester Plant Shutting down!

01-18-2006, 03:17 PM
Winchester's New Haven (Conn.) plant is closing its doors due to sagging sales.
It was just on the noon NBC local affiliate news

01-18-2006, 03:47 PM
With gun sales and usage at an all time high I wonder if “sagging sales" is the whole story. Is it an old plant with EPA concerns or has competitive pressure reared its ugly head? Any way thank gosh they do not produce 5.7 ammo there.
United We Stand!

01-18-2006, 05:11 PM
End of an era as Winchester rifle plant prepares to close

Associated Press Writer

January 17, 2006, 4:52 PM EST

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- U.S. Repeating Arms Co. Inc. said Tuesday it will close its Winchester firearm factory, threatening the future of a rifle that was once called "The Gun that Won the West."

"It's part of who we are as a nation just like it's part of who we are as a city," Mayor John DeStefano said.

The announcement touched off a lobbying effort by city officials and union leaders who hoped to find a buyer for the plant before it closes March 31. If no buyer comes forward, it could spell the end for nearly all commercially produced Winchesters, said Everett Corey, a representative of the International Association of Machinists District 26.

"Winchester would be pretty much defunct," he said. "They're not going to produce them, other than a couple custom-type models."

The company has been plagued by slumping firearm sales. More than 19,000 people worked there during World War II, but the plant employs fewer than 200 now. All will lose their jobs when the plant closes.

The Winchester model 1873 lever action rifle was popular among American frontiersmen at the end of the 19th century for its reliability. John Wayne made the Winchester rifle a signature of his movies and Chuck Connors posed menacingly with his Winchester on the poster for the television series "The Rifleman."

"Marlin made lever-action rifles but nobody ever had a Marlin in films or TV series. They were always Winchesters," said Ned Schwing, a firearms historian.

Perhaps the company's greatest unofficial spokesman was President Teddy Roosevelt, who used the 1895 model on his famous 1909 African safari, which historians credited with boosting the sale of Winchester sporting rifles.

Since the plant opened in 1866, tens of millions of Winchester rifles have been produced, the bulk of which came between the late 1800s and the end of World War II, said firearms historian R.L. Wilson, who has written books about Winchester. More than six million copies of the Winchester Model 94, the company's most popular rifle, have been produced.

"Several generations have worked at this place, a lot of fathers and brothers, sons, uncles and daughters," said Paul DeMennato, facility director at U.S. Repeating Arms.

U.S. Repeating Arms, which is owned by the Herstal Group, a Belgium company, has said for years that it was on the brink of closing the plant.

DeMennato said the company is negotiating the plant's sale. Missouri-based Olin Corp. owns the Winchester brand name. In the late 1970s, after a massive strike by its machinists, Olin sold the plant to U.S. Repeating Arms along with the right to use the Winchester name until next year.

Olin had no immediate word on its plans for the Winchester name. DeMennato said he hopes the name will be sold along with the plant. Nobody at Herstal's headquarters in Belgium could be reached Tuesday afternoon.

Sad news indeed.

01-18-2006, 05:47 PM
Sad to see any gun maker go out of business.

01-18-2006, 05:58 PM
Sad to see a factory that has been making guns since 1866 close its doors. Of course it's FNH that owns the plant and is pulling the plug (they make Win. rifles under licence from Olin). The Win. Mod. 70 and other guns made there may see production shifted to Japan or elsewhere, its not clear to me yet. I suspect that such an old facility is rather ineffecient, and people on other boards have said the strong union at the plant may have influenced FNH to shut it down.

Evan Stevens
01-23-2006, 01:04 PM
Yea that is too bad. I am sure the union ran them out of business. I don't own any Winchesters but I heard they wern't too bad. I found out about the closing at my gunshop on Friday.

01-23-2006, 01:21 PM
Just before this deer season my brother in-law bought his first rifle to go hunting with me his first time.
He picked a model 70 up at Wal-Mart. It was polymer stocked, flat blued in 7MM WSM. It came with mounts and a Simmons scope. Not the best scope mind you but just fine for deer hunting. The whole package out the door with tax was around 380.00. The deal was so sweet I went back to get for my daughter but they had no more. As I have worked at gun shops before I have seen a lot of MOD70’s and this one was no different. A very nice, solid well made rifle that would put food on the table all day long. I really hope Olin buys back the licensing back and reopens the factory.