November 15th, 2007

Remington Releases AR-15 Clone

As we predicted some months ago in the Daily Bulletin, Remington Arms has released an AR-15 platform rifle. The new gun, called the R-15 VTR™ Modular Repeating Rifle, is based on Bushmaster parts and engineering. Remington Arms and Bushmaster Firearms are both owned by parent Cerberus, a large holding company. We felt it was only a matter of time before Bushmasters were rebranded with the Remington name. Well that time has come.

Remington AR15 R-15

The new R-15 VTR™ is available in two calibers, .223 Rem and .204 Ruger. Three models will be offered, all flat-tops. There is a 22″-barrel rifle, plus two shorter-barreled carbines, one with collapsible stock. It appears that the carbines have 18″ barrels, but specs won’t be released until December 1st. Perhaps to avoid the “politically incorrect” black rifle image, all three models come draped in Advantage MAX-1 HD camouflage. From a technical standpoint, the R-15 VTR™ is hardly innovative, though these “RemMaster” AR-clones feature a new trigger assembly engineered by Remington. Remington’s R-15s ship with a 5-round magazine, but all AR15 mags, including 20- and 30-rounders, will fit the new rifles. MSRP is $999 for the 22″ R-15, and we expect the first units to ship before the end of January.

Remington R-15

CLICK HERE for LARGE PHOTO

CLICK HERE for Remington’s R-15 VTR™ SNEAK PREVIEW

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November 15th, 2007

Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge on Sale

We’ve used this Lyman gauge, and believe that it is the best product of its kind on the market currently. It is accurate and repeatable, and easy to use (with a bit of practice). Using modern electronic strain gauge technology, the Lyman tool measures pull weights from 0 to 12 pounds, with accuracy of ± 0.10 ounces (one-tenth of an ounce.). The battery-powered gauge is equipped with a large, easy-to-read LCD display and is push-button operated for zero, clear, and averaging functions. We’ve tested this gauge back to back with conventional coil spring trigger scales made by other manufacturers. The Lyman electronic gauge is faster, and in our opinion, significantly more repeatable. Some of the metal spring gauges tend to “stick” in a position, which requires multiple attempts to avoid a reading that is slightly high or low. The Lyman is more fool-proof to operate by contrast.

Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge

Now through the end of November, MidwayUSA has the Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge on sale for $41.99, item 220725, Lyman product #7832248. This includes a vinyl storage case, but you have to purchase the required 9-volt battery separately.

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November 15th, 2007

Ruger Wins Award, But Faces Major Challenges

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) was presented with the “Firearms Manufacturer of the Year” award by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers. This award, presented at the Association’s Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada on November 7, recognizes Ruger’s efforts to provide innovative products, quality customer service, and profitability for distributors of Ruger products. In presenting the award, Mike Brown, Chairman of the NASGW Board of Directors, praised Ruger for its business ethics and “promoting an American-made culture in our market.”

Ruger’s Wall Street Woes
This is a welcome achievement for Ruger which otherwise has stumbled recently. In recent weeks, Ruger’s stock price has been soundly hammered, with the company losing over half of its book value. On Wall Street, optimism about Ruger’s future has been replaced by pessimism. We understand why…

Ruger Stock Price

In one firearms product area after another, Ruger has “missed the boat” giving up market share to competitors. Unlike Savage Arms, Ruger has done nothing noteworthy to supply the growing market for precision target and varmint rifles. In the thriving cowboy action market, Ruger is still the dominant pistol maker, but it failed to develop lever actions and suitable shotguns, giving up the lever action market to Uberti and Marlin, and the cowboy shotgun market to Stoeger, a Beretta company. Ruger failed to recognize the popularity of AR-platform rifles and has nothing to offer in that segment, despite the fact that ARs and AR accessories are “driving the rifle market” at present. Ruger recently launched a new 9mm pistol, the SR9, but it may be a case of “too little, too late”, in its effort to compete with Glock and Smith & Wesson. S&W’s new M&P pistols have been very successful, winning major law enforcement contracts.

Hopefully, Ruger’s executives have “seen the writing on the wall” and the company will listen to shooters, enhance the quality and durability of its products, and roll out improved rifles and shotguns that better match the current preferences of hunters, target shooters, and shotgunners. Thankfully, at least not ALL Ruger execs have their heads in the sand: Chris Killoy, VP of Sales and Marketing for Ruger, states: “There are many changes taking place at Ruger — changes that will allow us to do business more efficiently and will benefit the many independent distributors that help bring our products to market. These changes reflect the desires and needs of our customers.”

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