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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.

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