Comments made by Ruger President and CEO Christopher J. Killoy during the company’s Feb. 18 quarterly earnings conference call reveal a variety of details on the firm’s upcoming resumption of Marlin and the herculean effort to do so. Ruger purchased nearly all the famed manufacturer’s assets for $28.3 million in November, during Remington Outdoor bankruptcy proceedings.
Volume involved and its location presented the first challenge. “Marlin is a phenomenal opportunity, but it's also a phenomenal undertaking for us,” Killoy explained to an investor on the call. “[W]e had over 100 tractor-trailer loads from three of—three of their former locations, from the Remington folks, that we moved, primarily into our Mayodan [North Carolina] facility and an adjacent warehouse. We moved the woodworking equipment up to our facility in New Hampshire.”
Another hurdle is a byproduct of Remington Outdoors’ lack of finances before it was sold off in parts. “We inherited a lot of equipment that needs some additional maintenance and additional work,” Killoy said. “We're going through that with a lot of technicians and maintenance folks right now. We're fortunate to have some great mechanical engineers going through, again on a park-by-park basis. We did hire a handful of folks from Remington who are familiar with some of those products. And that's helped us.”
While that work is underway, Ruger is, “…in the process of evaluating these assets, reviewing the product designs, and determining the best manufacturing process for each component part,” he said, “We have started to establish manufacturing cells that will produce the Marlin rifles and plan on shipping the first Ruger-made Marlin lever-action rifles from our Mayodan facility in late 2021. Like many of you, I've been a fan of Marlin products for as long as I can remember. We have heard from hundreds of the Marlin faithful and countless firearms consumers who are excited, as excited as we are, to have this legendary brand as part of Ruger.”
Centerfire lever-action rifles are the initial focus, specifically models 1894, 1895 and 336. If everything goes as planned, the popular line of .22 rimfire Model 60 semi-autos could be next, “But there’s still a lot of work ahead,” Killoy cautioned.