Remington Down

Remington was once known as Big Green.  They were huge and they were moving.  Winchester had dropped the Model 70 and Savage wasn’t even an option…  Brownings and Sakos were for the rich and famous.   The Model 700 was dominant as the bolt action for the Every Day Man.   The only shotgun worth having was the 870 for serious field use.  Remington rifles were known for accuracy and quality.   The shotgun for rugged durability.   There was no question about this.  These were Remington’s halcyon days.

Now we’ve had yet another recall on Remington 700 and 7 triggers.  Remington only original pistol design the 51 was brought back and it’s looking like a major flop.  Remington’s acquisition of Marlin has been regarded as a death knell for Marlin as a brand as the quality control of those storied lever action rifles has fallen through the floor. The ACR rifle which was the great promise of freeing us all from the doldrums of   AR-15’ness has fallen flat on it’s face from a lack of the Barrel Conversions as promised to change lengths and calibers.  We were supposed to have had them a long time ago, and here we are in 2014 and we still don’t have what what promised.  You know, the whole major selling point of the ACR other than “it’s not an AR-15”.  I’ve even seen and heard other guys talk about the Remington 1911 in tones of disappointment and regret.  Even Remington brand ammunition is pretty much my least favorite ammo out there.  In fact, I’d rather shoot steel cased Wolf stuff through my guns.  A common theme in the remarks about any Remington product is “I’ll never buy another Remington again”.

It would seem that Remington is caught in a Huey Tuck of unfortunate failures, and doesn’t have the altitude to pull out of it.  What can Remington do to prevent the impending doom of crashing through the tree tops?

First off, Remington needs to concentrate on quality control.  Every gun that goes out there door needs to be individually inspected by a Gun Smith, not just a packaging clerk in the shipping department.   And that needs it’s own QC there too.  The actions, triggers, extraction and ejection, everything.   If it’s not perfect – don’t just ship the bloody thing!

Second.  There is no valid reason that there are not a plethora of barrel kit options for the ACR platform.  None.  Zero.  Any reason you think you have, is just as excuse.  Get them out there and get it out at a decent price.  Have barrel options for 12 to 20 inches in all applicable calibers.   Just do it.  You have a whole mess of people waiting for those and a whole lot of other people that would be buying the ACR if they were actually available.  ACR Barrel Kits are now Vaporware on the same level as the fabled Glock Carbine.

Thirdly.  Just drop the R51 pistol.  Continual production and sales of this lemon is putting Remington at risk.  A gun that can fire out of battery is a gun that is waiting to Frag its owner and cause serious bodily harm.  That’s a mountain of liability that you do not need right now.  Someone is going to get hurt and they are going to go after you tooth and nail for producing this thing.  And with all the videos on YouTube showing that this is a known and documented issue – you guys are already in trouble on this.  It’s just a matter of time before someone files.   It should be recalled and discontinued.  Or recall it and do a radical redesign.  I’m sure there are people at Remington that know how to make the R51 work.  You need to listen to them.  And fire whoever is keeping them quiet.

Fourth.  Get rid of the Corporate Yes-Men and start telling people in the upstairs offices “No”.  Because not all the ideas have been good ones.   Like the 887 Shotgun.  That’s a terrible gun.  It’s no improvement over the 870, and it feels cheap and wrong.  What’s the advantage?  No, don’t answer that, I don’t need to hear the propaganda.  That was just a bad idea.

Fifth.  Marlin.  You guys really stomped all over the Marlin name.  The quality control has been the worst I’ve ever seen.  In the production and in the Warranty department.  Absolutely the worse.  Quality Control there was an absolute joke.  We had new guns come in that we couldn’t even get the actions to cycle and we would have returns come back from warranty service missing parts in areas that were unrelated to what they were sent in for.  I don’t know how they managed to fail so hard.  Who is working in the Marlin department?  Chimps?  I know things have gotten better.  But that’s a low hurdle to mark down as an achievement.   When Rossi is making a better Lever Action – that’s just sad.

Take a look at Taylor’s and Wild West Guns and look at how they are making some guns that people are wanting… How come you do not have anything like that?  Where is your take down?  What year is this now?  Where are your winged and adjustable aperture sights?

I don’t know guys… Can Remington be redeemed?  Or have they fallen too far now?

22 thoughts on “Remington Down”

  1. Personally, I think what they did to Marlin is borderline criminal. There is a definite market for mid range quality (between Rossi on the low end and Winchester/Uberti on the higher end) pistol caliber lever actions that is, unfortunately, going unserviced thanks to Marington’s canning of anyone who had a clue as to how to put together an 1894 with any kind of QC in any kind of volume. Talk about vaporware…when was the last time you saw a new 1894 in any caliber in a gun store? In the bolt action line, I am looking more and more at the Savage and even the Ruger product lines as an alternative to Remington after a brief period owning a 700 SPS police. For what I paid, I didn’t get nearly enough rifle.

  2. I’ve never really felt the need to comment before but every criticism you leveled at Remington is justified and then some. The 700 was never a high end rifle, but the depths to which it has plummeted are ridiculous (early 2013 rifles were the worst offenders). I work with them daily and I’ve seen chatter in the chambers, off axis chamber reaming, poorly installed extractors, base screws off center, and rear bridges polished to an astonishing cant. I can’t speak much on the trigger recall, though. I’ve been through hundreds, maybe thousands, of X-mark Pros and I’ve never seen one unsafe. Erratic as hell, yes, but never unsafe.

  3. Remington does have some very nice high end stuff (700 w/5R rifling, Tracking Point contract) and I think their Versa Max shotgun is a great system (now I’m not going off of first hand experience as they are well out of my price range) but I do agree that they have lost their way and may not dig their way out of the hole they put themselves in. A few years ago the CNBC “expose” hurt them some and now another recall on their trigger (which is crap anyway…) to go along with the R51 abortion isn’t helping them any. Remington Defense doesn’t want to share with their civilian sales and that’s where the ACR accessories are hiding out (and I heard the R15 is pretty decent as well). The caliber conversions are very few but only on the Defense side. I ended up getting rid of my ACR as I didn’t want to pay a grand for a conversion kit from the only guy that makes them part-time off the ACR forum and also the accuracy just can’t compete with an AR and if the barrel nut isn’t super tight then it’s just spit balling. Cool idea, poor execution.

  4. While Remington has been a go to brand for generations, current products lack the care and pride of earlier products. I have seen the same with Smith & Wesson back during the day when Bangor Punta were running the show. S& W finally got free of B. PUTAS AND MADE A COME BACK. Yes when management decide to play pimps for profit, by whoring out the good name of a company that took over a century to build for fast bucks and lose sight of the fact if Ferarri made the AMC Pacer and VW made a Testarosa. I guess I would buy a VW because the Italians would charge fifty times the value of junk based on name.
    Remington needs to get new people in there who want to make firearms for Americans.
    Not screw consumers in favor of government contracts. Colt did this, look how long it took to regain their name.

  5. I have three words for you:
    Cerebus Capital Management.
    An investment firm that doesn’t understand or like firearms. I’ve worked at companies run by people who didn’t understand the business and looked at them as cash cows. It’s not pretty.

    1. Colt still hasn’t regained their name. The name has regained some altitude, but nothing like it used to be. I would still have a hard time buying anything that said Colt on it.

      You make a great point about S&W. After S&W signed the Department of Urban Housing agreement, S&W couldn’t get any lower in the eyes of everyone. Sales dropped drastically. That forced the sale of S&W and ownership was brought back to America. Their was an executive level decapitation that happened and new executives were brought in. Guys from Harley, John Deer, and other iconic American brands… And instantly S&W was a completely different company.
      The .500 S&W Magnum wasn’t just a new gun… they brought that out to show everyone that things had changed at S&W.
      They brought out the .460 XVR, the M&P line of pistols and rifles… And they put their own name on the 1911 parts that they were making for another 1911 Maker. S&W today is a very different company than the S&W of the Clinton Era. You got that vibe every time you talked to them, at SHOT, at their offices, or just on the phone with them.

      This is what needs to happen at Remington.

    2. Cerebus Capital Management isn’t really the problem here. I think they get a lot of blame but it’s not justified. Because Cerebus has raised other companies up and made them better… Failing companies turned to winning companies. I think this is pretty much just a direct failure at Remington in the executive offices.
      Remington’s response is to try to hire new Marketing Guys. Check the job listing at NSSF.org. What they need to do instead is to follow S&W’s example.

  6. You had me until you mentioned WWG as an example for Remington to emulate. While my 1895M is practically an advertisement for their products to the tune of several hundred dollars worth of work I had them do 14 years ago, they will never touch another rifle of mine. Last time I had it in there, for warranty work on their front sight (their crappy sight hood kept coming off, so I had them pin it), they also took it upon themselves to make major adjustments to the rear sight, also. This is a rifle I count upon to defend my life, yet when I next fired it at the range, it was not even on the paper at 50 yards from a bench rest (glad I checked it before taking it into the field). My brother had them install their big lever and do a trigger job on his 1895G at the same time, and it was returned to him with a big screwdriver scratch beginning at the lever pivot screw, which he didn’t notice until he got it home, of course. I’ll bet the guy thought he was clever handing it back to him with the “good” side showing.

    And that’s to say nothing of the attitude they get when you walk in the door, talking down to customers, etc. I still can’t believe somebody gave those pricks a TV show.

      1. I was there when he noticed the scratch; imagine his disappointment. He bought it used, but it had been in pretty much perfect condition up to that point. Although, I think I was wrong about it starting at the pivot screw now that I think about it. It was at one of the screws on the side of the receiver, because the scratch runs pretty much across it. 8^(

  7. Ogre, I used to correspond with you from time to time when I was living in Japan – last September I moved to Texas after 25 years to start a new business making pistol grips. What you’re saying about Remington applies to far too many companies in this country – I’m kind of shocked at the number of things/services I buy that just don’t work or need extensive improvement, and the response from the companies is just marketing BS. It’s so bad that it put me way behind schedule, and I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t this bad before I left. I don’t know if it’s a problem of “too many MBAs” or if it’s just a third-world “if I say it, it must be true” mentality, but this country has a serious problem if there isn’t a revolution in business thinking soon.

    1. Revolution in Business and Education. Just heard a report that Student Loans as people as a whole in debt to the Government by 1.8 Trillion Dollars. And thing is Education is a Business and the Product is simply a Transcript that they had patronized that business. That’s a very expensive piece of paper that actually means so very little.

  8. This article is more right than even the poster knows. Unfortunately it will only get worse the recent announcement about the Huntsville site. Imagine what happened to the Marlin brand but on a much larger scale. FGI has agreed to move 2000 jobs to Huntsville, and as a whole currently employees 3000 to 4000 across 18 different sites including dpms, Remington, AAC, Tapco, storm lake, Barnes Bullets, Montana Rifle and many more. They have already announced that R&D will be the first to move…

    First goes the brain, or rather the small part willing to move.

  9. I fear what will happen to Savage now that they’re owned by ATK (I am an ATK employee on the defense side of the house). Take a look at Blackhawk (no, I can’t bring myself to add the silly !). Their newer products are heading down hill and they are making a major push toward the Walmart crowd.

    I picked up some CCI Mini Mags recently. They have been my go-to 22LR for years. While sighting in, I noticed that about 10% of the rounds sounded quieter than normal and fell a couple inches low at 50 yds. I can’t trust them any more.

  10. Well…. personally I’d say that the Mosin Nagant is the rifle for the ‘every day man’… but that’s just me.

  11. Pretty sad really. I have a model 700 BDL from the mid 1980’s and a model 788 from the mid 1970’s. Both rifles are solid pieces of work with no real flaws that would not also plague any mass produced rifle of that same time period. Either one will easily outclass anything Big Green produces today outside their custom shop or a few high end, limited production pieces.

    The patient can be saved but not without some fairly radical life saving procedures.

  12. My friend, an avid shooter and excellent shot, bought a new 870 last year for bird hunting, as 870’s always had a rep of being the go-to standard. Almost immediately he started having trouble with shells sticking in the chamber after firing, and the extractor claw would jump over the rim when he tried to open the action. After trying to deal with it himself, he sent the gun into Remington to have them work on it. They supposedly worked on it and sent it back to him, replacing the cheaper extractor with one from their higher end guns. Same problem. They had him send the barrel back so they could work on it. He gets it back, and the area in the chamber where they sanded/drilled to increase the size is covered in rust. He’s pissed and disappointed enough that he writes a nastygram to their customer service department telling them he’s actually considering buying a Benelli like mine, since their QC is CLEARLY not what it used to be. They sent him a new barrel, but that one would do the same thing. I think they’re toast.

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