This is the most all-American story you’ll hear all day.
The story of Remington and the guns the company has developed has roots in the early stages of our country, and might just be one of the greatest accomplishments of American entrepreneurism we’ve ever seen
Eliphalet Remington, an American businessman to the core, first decided he could build a better gun in 1816, when he was 23. When he was finished, he took his homemade flintlock rifle to a shooting match—and won second place.
By the time he left the firing line, he had an armful of orders and could consider himself a professional gunsmith. In 1848, his first armory buildings were set in stone.
Soon enough, the War Between the States began in 1861, and although he began an all-out campaign to arm the Federal Army and Navy, Eliphalet did not live to see the war end. He left his company to three heirs who were also dedicated to both armed servicemen and the firearms industry as a whole.
In 1906, Remington produced the revolutionary Model 11, the first American autoloading shotgun.
Eliphalet’s descendants were still running the Remington family business in 1914, when, after having been deeply committed to the war effort during WWI, they decided to try their hands at the sporting goods market. This was not yet Remington’s time to truly reach the hunting community (that dream would come to fruition with the introduction of the Wingmaster). In 1922, however, Remington introduced “Game Load” shot shells, slowly solidifying its appeal to sportsmen.
After the Depression, Remington found itself once again enmeshed in a World War. The U.S. government knew the danger it was facing and decided to “enlist” Remington, even though it was private company, to oversee key munitions manufacturing operations in 1940. Remington also supplied hundreds of thousands of rifles and weapons parts to the war effort.
During this time, the famous M1903 Springfield, a bolt-action repeater fed by a five-round magazine, was still used as a standard issue infantry rifle; it remained in service over a remarkable 71-year stretch from 1903 to 1974. Despite its retirement, the M1903 Springfield still gets some action today in Marine shooting matches.
After the war, in 1950, Remington released its Model 870 “Wingmaster” shotgun, which remains a top seller at over 10,000,000 sold.
At last, in the 1960s, the descendants of Eliphalet Remington’s descendants fully realized their forefathers’ dream of providing a reliable civilian firearm to the American hunting community. In 1962, Remington launched the Model 700, the famous bolt-action that became one of the most popular guns ever designed.
In fact, if you lined up all the Model 700s ever sold (five million and counting) stock to barrel, they would span the Atlantic Ocean from New York to London.
Although it has now accomplished its goal of serving the hunters and sportsmen of America, Remington has not abandoned the military and continues to supply service rifles at home and abroad.
Like putting a cherry on top of its longstanding history, Remington chose to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the 1911 pistol by re-entering the handgun market in 2011 after an 85-year absence.
What’s next for Remington? More gun making, that’s for sure, but also a good amount of innovation and industry-leading development as well.
Here’s to another 200 years of Remington history, which doesn’t seem too farfetched at all.