We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
That's King Buck on the 1959 Federal Duck Stamp. A great champion, and the prize of avid sportsman John Olin's Nilo Kennels.
In 1931 the Olin chemical and ammo company bought the bankrupt Winchester Repeating Arms company, and still owns the trademark for the firearms and makes the ammo.
The story of Winchester is the sad story of manufacturing and unions in the Northeast. From the Wiki:
By the 60's the cost of skilled labor was making it increasingly difficult profitably to produce Winchester's classic designs, incorporating as they did considerable hand-work. In particular, Winchester's flagship Model 12 pump shotgun and Model 70 bolt-action rifle with their machined forgings could no longer compete in price with Remington's cast-and-stamped 870 and 721. Accordingly S. K. Janson formed a new Winchester design group to advance the use of "modern" engineering design methods and manufacturing principles in gun design. The result was a new line of guns which replaced most of the older products in 1963-64. Unfortunately the reaction of the shooting press and public was overwhelmingly negative: the popular verdict was that Winchester had sacrificed quality to the "cheapness experts," and market share continued to decline as Winchester was no longer considered to be a prestige brand. Gun collectors consider "post-64" Winchesters to be both less desirable and less valuable than their predecessors.
Labor costs continued to rise, and a prolonged and bitter strike in 1979-80 convinced Olin that firearms could no longer be produced profitably in New Haven. Therefore in December 1980 the plant was sold to its employees, incorporated as the U.S. Repeating Arms Company, together with a licence to make Winchester arms. Olin retained the Winchester ammunition business.
From 1981 until 2006, Winchester guns were made by the U.S. Repeating Arms Company. When U.S. Repeating Arms went bankrupt in 1989 it was acquired by a French holding company, then sold to an arms making cartel sponsored by the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns gun makers Fabrique National (FN) and Browning.
On January 16, 2006 U.S. Repeating Arms announced it was closing the New Haven, Connecticut, plant where Winchester rifles and shotguns were produced for 140 years. Along with the closing of the plant, the Model 94 rifle (the descendant of the original Winchester rifle), Model 70 rifle and Model 1300 shotgun would be discontinued.
On August 15, 2006, Olin Corporation, owner of the Winchester trademarks, announced that it had entered into a new license agreement with Browning to make Winchester brand rifles and shotguns, though not at the closed Winchester plant in New Haven. Browning, based in Morgan, Utah, and the former licensee, U.S. Repeating Arms Company, are both subsidiaries of FN Herstal. In 2008 FN Herstal announced that it would produce Model 70 rifles at its plant in Columbia, SC.
It's interesting to read the histories of companies. Here's the history of the Olin Corp, which still makes Winchester ammo. I had the pleasure of meeting some good folks from the company recently.
Back around 1961 - 62, I was 16 - 17 years old, I got a Browning BL-22, a nice little lever action .22 rifle. I figured this is nice, Browning is a qualty brand, Morgan, UT, made in the USA, perfect. Even back then I was all USA, buy American, the way I was brought up. Stamped right on the barrel, "Made in Japan", I was bewildered and pissed. I forgave them after a while because it was such a nice piece. Over the years I sold it when I got away from hunting, etc. A couple of years ago I thought it would be nice to get another .22 for fun and spotted a nice lever action pretty comparable to the Browning, made by the venerable Henry Repeating Arms Co. I'm glad I bought it, the price is right and at least it's made in the USA in, of all places, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Had a Henry Golden Boy a few years ago, very nice gun.I heard Henry is doing so well they opened a new plant in N. Datoka or Montana, somehow all those taxes and union rules in New York probably didn't help.
I went by the site of the old plant today, and they were getting ready to open the new parking garage that now occupies the space where the main building used to be. I understand that the Winchester factory employed around 130,000 people in its heyday; that is more than the pop of New Haven, these days.
BTW, it probably hurt almost as much when they moved the museum to Olin HQ; it was a fascinating look at American history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Winchester's neighbors Remington, High Standard, Marlin all have moved; High Standard is in Texas making beautiful target pistols; Marlin is in North Haven, where they have produced a successor to the Model 1894, with top eject, and it can accommodate a scope!