Remington Closes Ilion, New York, Factory

This year marks the end of the legendary Ilion, New York, Remington factory, the longest-operating gun-manufacturing plant in the country. Effective March 4, 2024, RemArms—the owner of Remington Arms—closed the factory and relocated all gunmaking operations to LaGrange, Georgia.

Started 207 years ago, Remington is synonymous with the Leatherstocking region of New York. In 1823 Eliphalet Remington opened the factory in central New York, and at one time it employed 1,000 workers. As recently as a few years ago there were still 700 working at the plant. By the time the closing announcement was made, this past November, the number had dwindled to fewer than 300. The factory struggled to remain open as the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. As recently as two years ago Remington assured the Ilion community that not only would the factory remain, but it also would add staff. Despite making that announcement, however, production of different firearms models was shifted to the company’s new manufacturing facility in Georgia.

The hulking Ilion factory has played a major role in America’s firearms history. Covering nearly 1 million square feet, it produced some of the most popular and important guns, including Parker Brothers shotguns after Remington acquired the company, in 1934. (Production of new Parkers ceased in 1942.) Prior to it closing, the factory’s production focused solely on Model 870 shotguns and Model 700 rifles.

Remington Arms has struggled for some time. In 2020 it filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Troubles for the company intensified after the Sandy Hook mass shooting, in Newtown, Connecticut, which had involved one of its parent company’s Bushmaster rifles. Cerberus Capital, a large investment firm, sold the company, citing stricter gun laws and a settlement with victims’ families for $73 million. Despite relative silence from RemArms, the decision to relocate seems to be politically motivated as it invests in Georgia, a more gun-friendly state. At the same time, the Ilion factory may simply have been too outdated and ill-suited to meet modern manufacturing practices.

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