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CCI Ammunition is Retaining Its Title as Rimfire King

CCI Ammunition

Exciting changes mean CCI Ammunition looks, shoots, and serves customers better than ever before.

The historic industry leader--the long-standing king--in American rimfire ammunition is CCI. The iconic company has been in business for 75 years, and it now offers more than 90 cataloged items, far more than any competitor.

It utilizes a state-of-the art production facility, and a dedicated and highly experienced workforce, to create a huge variety of product options that have created unparalleled brand loyalty from millions of shooters and hunters.

Just like you'd be unsurprised to see a Remington or Winchester in the gun cases of seasoned sportsmen, finding some CCI Maxi-Mag in the ammo can of a target shooter isn't uncommon. Their 17 HMR ammo is a favorite for varmint hunters.

The king recently received a new look to its logo and complete packaging upgrades that will keep CCI ammo even further ahead of the pack.

In the Beginning

Though CCI was formally established in 1951 as Cascade Cartridges, Inc. by Dick Speer, a machinist at Boeing, the origins of the company date to the end of World War II. His younger brother, Vernon, had founded Speer Bullets, and his success convinced the older brother that there was a future in selling reloading components.

But a critical shortage of the brass needed for cases derailed the original plan. He decided, instead, to enter the component primer business, and his non-corrosive, non-mercuric formulas for sporting cartridge primers caught on, laying the foundation for all that was to come.

To handle the new business, Speer bought a 17-acre chicken ranch next to a gun club just a mile south of his brother's bullet works. The farmhouse doubled as an office and warehouse, and production began in a renovated chicken coop. He quickly erected modern labs and manufacturing buildings, gaining the room to expand the product line. When the gun club moved, Speer bought the adjoining property for future expansion.

CCI Ammunition

The CCI plant still occupies that property today. Currently, three facilities encompass 400 acres in Lewiston, Idaho, with more than 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space operated by 1,100 employees. They run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long.

The CCI Customer

CCI's unmatched quality has created a legion of devoted customers. This kind of brand loyalty can't be bought; it has to be earned through years of excellence and innovation. CCI's customers--hunters, shooters, plinkers, reloaders-- know that the name on the box stands for quality and performance.

"We know how committed our customers are to us because of the constant interaction we have with them," says Jason Vanderbrink, CCI president. "We frequently see messages like 'I've been using your product for five decades, and never once have I had an issue.' That kind of customer feedback is invaluable and keeps us striving to continually improve our products."

CCI also uses a metric known as Net Promoter Score (NPS) to track customer loyalty. "NPS is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm's customer relationships," said Vanderbrink. "It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research, and it shows us that CCI clearly outdistances the competition in this key area."

Dressed to Impress

CCI has never been a company to stand still, and moving forward, customers will see a new, more modern logo, a new packaging design, and a host of new products.

"To update the current and extremely recognizable CCI logo, we incorporated several subtle design elements that impart a more modern, stylized look without departing from the established brand identity," said ammunition president Jason Vanderbrink. "Rather than the current three simple capital letters, we are moving to slighter thicker letters in an italic font."

That new logo came out of the realization that the customer base was changing. "The CCI logo was solid, but it no longer reflected the changing demographics of our customer base," Vanderbrink said. "We have a lot of new customers, many of whom are younger and more active. We felt the new logo should reflect that change."

The progressing customer base has also spurred changes to the packaging. With the old packaging, a customer had to pick up the box and read the fine print to see what they had. No more.

"Now we've got some animation and some character to it," Vanderbrink said. "They'll see product name graphics, such as CCI Stinger or Green Tag icons, which quickly and clearly identify them. The new packaging helps CCI really stand out."

Core Competency

A modern logo and updated packaging are important components of CCI's continued success. But the real drivers of success are the company's commitment to innovation, variety and terminal performance.

As examples of innovation, look no further than the CCI's VNT and Clean-22 ammunition. The VNT bullet, such as loaded in CCI's new product 17 Mach 2, vastly expands the range and performance of the magnum rimfire ammo platform for varmint hunters and target shooters. The loads feature a Speer bullet with a thin jacket and polymer tip that work together to offer flat trajectories, superb long-range accuracy and explosive terminal performance on impact. Clean-22 uses an exclusive polymer bullet coating that greatly reduces copper and lead fouling in the barrel.

CCI Ammunition

The variety found throughout CCI's deep product line is due to two factors: the manufacturer's unrelenting quest to create new, useful products for shooters and hunters and the willingness to listen to the wants and needs of its customers. That's why the line includes a wide range of ammunition for plinkers, target and pistol match competition shooters, small game and varmint hunters, and more.

Copper-22, for example, is a result of CCI responding to customer requests for 22 Long Rifle ammo with lead-free bullets that will reliably cycle in semi-automatics. And when customers asked for a quieter .22 round, CCI responded with Quiet-22 Semi-Auto, which cuts the noise level of 22 LR rounds by 75 percent while cycling flawlessly through semi-auto rifles and handguns. It's become a nearly unbeatable handgun ammunition.

Terminal performance just might be the most important of CCI's core competencies. Without that, nothing else matters. Several new products recently released illustrate CCI's continued commitment to terminal performance.

Centerfire handgun shotshells have long proven themselves as highly practical options for close-range pests. CCI Big 4 loads extend the range and capabilities of these downsized shotshells, thanks to a payload of No. 4 lead shot.

Whether it's plinking or small game hunting, shooters can get the most from suppressed 22-caliber firearms with CCI Suppressor ammunition. The specialized load produces a subsonic velocity that further reduces noise, yet the hollow-point bullet expands reliably for excellent terminal performance.

Many years ago, Mini-Mag was one of CCI's first 22 LR offerings, and it's still one of the most popular, offering unbeatable accuracy, high standard velocities, flat trajectories and superior reliability. Today, the CCI Mini-Mag Segmented Hollow Point combines all of what made the original a favorite; but it has a bullet engineered to split into three equal-size parts on impact, creating three distinct wound channels that quickly take down small game and varmints. The high velocity is still there, but it does the job it's supposed to.

The Stinger, on the other hand, is the fastest 32 grain 22 LR ammo with lethal varmint accuracy. It has a tear-drop cavity for complete disruption, and stacks up against any other similar caliber.

Driving Forces

CCI's position as an industry leader rests on its total commitment to creating new, innovative products. But the ability to think outside the box is what really makes CCI special. "Thinking outside the box is part of CCI's DNA," Vanderbrink said. "It all started with a pair of brothers who believed, even when they were working in a renovated chicken coop, that they that could build a better product. At CCI, we still believe that. It's the driving force behind all we do."

In addition to innovative rimfire cartridges, being an industry leader in the United States for manufacturing time-tested core products that built the company, such the as our highly trusted primers, is a business driver for CCI.

However, the main driving force is the quality of the workforce. "Our employees are passionate about what they design and build," he said. "You see that commitment to quality reflected in everything they do, and the consumer sees it in every box that goes out the door."

NEXT: LONG-RANGE ACCURACY IN A BONDED HUNTING BULLET: FEDERAL'S EDGE TLR

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CCI Ammunition is Retaining Its Title as Rimfire King