Remington To Close Historic Ilion Factory

The company operations will move to the LaGrange, Ga., headquarters site established in 2021.

by
posted on December 7, 2023
Historic

RemArms is closing the famed Ilion, N.Y., factory that has made Remington firearms for nearly two centuries. The news came in an official letter from the company addressed to union officials. “I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC (‘the Company’) has decided to close its entire operations at 14 Hoefler Avenue, Ilion, NY 13357 (the ‘Ilion Facility’),” according to a December 1 Utica Observer-Dispatch story. “The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024. The Company did not arrive at this decision lightly.”

RemArms took over control of Remington firearms company after being high bidder for it during the bankruptcy sale of all Remington Outdoor assets—including several other highly prized gun companies—in 2020. Returning the factory to production after it idled during the court case was no easy task, however.

Workers at the Ilion plant were members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Many of them had decades of experience crafting quality firearms. Some of their parents and grandparents worked in the same factory before them.

The new management team had a vested interest in retaining that skill, but it wasn’t until April 2021 before an amicable agreement was reached for 230 former employees to return to the operation. The bargaining terms settled on in the contract helped retain some or all benefits and came with a pay scale both sides agreed upon. It seemed to ensure the company could stay in the historic site without suffering the same fate as its predecessor.

Legendary 870 pump-action shotguns were the first to become available again. Model 700 bolt-actions followed.

Unfortunately, the company was operating on an expansive footprint of 1 million sq-ft., the large space required when operations boomed in 1914 as World War I approached. The machinery was distributed throughout the complex to provide that big workforce elbow room back then. With a mere shadow of that staff today, production was inefficient, even in those areas later upgraded with improved machinery and layout. That fact, the region’s high cost of electricity and New York’s hostile political environment were cited as factors that contributed to the painful decision to move RemArms.

The company operations will move to the LaGrange, Ga., headquarters site established in 2021. It’s also home to RemArms’ modern, state-of-the-art firearm factory that was constructed that year.

The change closes the New York chapter for the nation’s oldest gunmaker, one that began launched the company in 1816, when Eliphalet Remington built a rifle that won matches and gained favor with sportsmen. By 1828, business was booming, and the firm’s gun manufacturing moved to Ilion, NY (the photo above is the factory in 1840). There it operated though two world wars, one Civil War, several bankruptcies, the Great Depression and somehow survived multiple changes in ownership. The storied, nearly 200-year history—in a city that today counts fewer than 8,000 residents—will come to a close next year.

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