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April 13th, 2010

ATK Acquires Blackhawk Products Group

ATK buys BlackhawkAlliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) has acquired Blackhawk Industries Products Group Unlimited, LLC, a major player in the lucrative tactical products and security accessories market. The acquisition of Blackhawk, combined with the recent purchase of Eagle Industries, strengthens ATK’s position in tactical equipment for domestic and international military, law enforcement, security, and sport enthusiast markets.

“The acquisition of Blackhawk supports our strategy of expanding into adjacent lanes while leveraging ATK’s existing core competencies,” said Mark DeYoung, President and CEO. “Blackhawk provides ATK with a leading tactical systems brand, an expanded portfolio of quality products, and additional design and development expertise[.] This acquisition significantly increases our presence and our potential in the growing domestic and international security markets.”

Blackhawk TacticalBlackhawk was founded in 1993 by former Navy SEAL Mike Noell. It all started with a failed pack in a mine field in Iraq that inspired Noell to create his own line of gear. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, Blackhawk is a leading US manufacturer of tactical gear, body armor, law enforcement duty gear, holsters, hydration systems, protective gloves and gear, apparel and footwear, knives, illumination tools, breaching tools, hunting gear, and recoil reducing stocks. The company operates manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Montana, and Idaho. Blackhawk is one of the most widely recognized brands for tactical, military, and law enforcement equipment. Blackhawk and ATK’s existing tactical accessories business will become a division of ATK’s Security and Sporting Group.

ATK is a global aerospace and defense company with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues in excess of $4.8 billion. ATK operates the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, while the ATK Security and Sporting Group now includes the following major brands: Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, CCI, Champion, Eagle Industries, Federal, RCBS, Speer, and Weaver Optics.

ATK stock price

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March 25th, 2010

Is Military Fired Brass Being Reduced to Scrap Metal Again?

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, has revealed that once-fired military brass is being converted into scrap metal rather than being sold in reloadable condition with revenues going to the U.S. Treasury. The destruction or mutilation of once-fired brass runs contrary to the efforts of Congressional leaders to ensure that fired military brass be resold rather than destroyed. Marbut claims that once-fired brass is now being destroyed as the result of “sweetheart side deals with installation commanders that [are] being aggressively promoted by ATK.”

Military Cartridge Brass

According to Marbut, ATK/Alliant Techsystems has encouraged military base commanders to sell their used cartridge brass directly to ATK. The brass is then demilled and rendered down to scrap metal for use in ATK’s future new cartridge production. Marbut states: “ATK even provides portable equipment to demil tons of cartridge cases at the military installations, destroying the brass for reloading purposes. Because the destroyed cartridge case brass is not suitable for reloading, it cannot command a price driven by auction for the highest-value use of reloading. Military installation commanders sell the Alliant-destroyed brass to ATK at a private, non-auction, special price. Commanders are willing to accept the reduced price because the sale proceeds go to the commanders’ discretionary accounts and not back to the U.S. Treasury via Government Liquidations.”

As a result of this reported arrangement between military commanders and ATK, Marbut believes, millions of used military cartridge cases, which otherwise could enter the commercial market for surplus brass, are being destroyed rather than sold at auction for fair value. In a time when there are still acute shortages of reloading components, this reduces the supply of reloadable brass, while depriving the U.S. Treasury of sales proceeds. Marbut calls for Congressional action to stop the “sweetheart deals” and ensure that “expended military brass of civilian-usable calibers generated domestically goes through the public auction process.” Marbut believes that “will benefit the U.S. Treasury, America’s gun owners, and the adequacy of the ammunition marketplace.”

CLICK HERE to read full story: Military Cartridge Brass Destruction 2010 – Round 2

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February 6th, 2010

DeYoung Named ATK President & CEO

Mark Deyoung ATKMark DeYoung has been named the new President and CEO of Alliant Techsystems (ATK). Prior to his promotion to ATK’s top leadership position, DeYoung served as President of ATK’s Armament Systems Group, which makes commercial ammunition, tactical accessories, and medium-caliber gun systems. DeYoung has lead the way in ATK’s modernization efforts, helping the company adopt “lean manufacturing” methods. Under DeYoung’s guidance, ATK has become the largest producer of ammunition in the world. ATK’s Armament Systems Group will have a projected $2.1 BILLION in revenue this year, up from $600 million in 2003.

The ATK “family of companies” includes some of the most popular brands in the shooting and reloading market segments: Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, Outers, RCBS, and Speer. With his experience in small arms ammo production, we can expect DeYoung to maintain ATK’s commitment to hunting and recreational shooting. ATK also has very large military and aerospace contracts, but DeYoung is a guy who understands small arms ammo manufacturing. A decade ago, DeYoung was put in charge of ATK’s Lake City Ammunition business, and he headed the commercial ammunition business launched in 2001. In the video below, DeYoung is interviewed at the 2008 SHOT Show by TheStreet.com.

CLICK HERE to WATCH DeYoung ATK Video

ATK video

Jim Shepherd, on the Shooting Wire, noted: “ATK has more than 18,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. Today, it has a President and Chief Executive Officer who may be more knowledgeable about firearms and the firearms industry than any other head of a major corporation in the United States.”

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January 12th, 2010

Alliant Offers FREE 2010 Reloader's Guide (PDF or Print)

You can quickly access loads for Alliant powders via Alliant’s Online Reloading Guide. There you’ll find hundreds of recipes for rifle loads, pistol loads, and shotshell loads. While it’s great to have web-based reloading info when you have a live internet connection, you can also download the Alliant Reloaders’ Guide in PDF format. That way you can archive the guide on your computer, or keep the file on a portable computer for use in the field or workshop.

Alliant Reloaders Guide 2010

CLICK HERE to download ALLIANT RELOADER’S GUIDE (PDF format).

Alliant’s 47-page PDF Reloader’s Guide includes recipes for shotgun, pistol, and rifle. This guide includes important safety instructions, plus reloading data for most popular cartridges. The guide includes Alliant’s new Reloder 17 and Power Pro powders. Unfortunately the listed loads for centerfire rifles only include Speer bullets.

FREE Reloader’s Guide Print Version Offered
You can also CLICK HERE to order a FREE printed version of the 2010 Alliant Powder Reloader’s Guide. Just fill out your name and address. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

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November 17th, 2009

John Shroyer Takes Over ATK as Current CEO Retires

ATK winchester federal cciATK (Alliant Techsystems) (NYSE: ATK), the world’s largest ammo producer, manufactures CCI, Federal, and Speer ammo, plus CCI and Federal primers. ATK is also the parent company of Alliant Powder and ATK runs the Lake City Army ammunition plant. That’s why changes at ATK can affect shooters nationwide.

ATK announced that after more than six years as ATK chairman and CEO, Daniel J. Murphy will retire in March, 2010. The company’s board of directors has appointed General Ronald R. Fogleman to serve as Chairman of the board of directors. The board also elected John L. Shroyer, ATK’s current chief financial officer (CFO), to serve as interim CEO. The appointments are effective immediately.

In related news, ATK announced that second-quarter profit rose 18 percent, helped by stronger sales of ammunition for security forces in Afghanistan. The company said that demand remained strong for ATK’s commercial ammunition brands and products. “I am particularly pleased with the growth of our commercial businesses both in ammunition, aircraft structures and elsewhere across the company,” said John Shroyer, interim CEO, senior vice president and CFO.

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August 31st, 2009

Euro Powder-Maker Shares Technology with ATK (Alliant), Plans Joint Production in USA

Alliant Reloder 17If you have followed our reports on Reloder 17, you’ll know that this Alliant powder, produced in Europe by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie, is a unique propellant that, in many cartridges, can offer 100 fps (or more ) velocity than any other commercial powders. The secret to the extra speed is a proprietary Nitrochemie process that embeds or saturates the kernels with burn-rate controlling compounds. This allows a longer duration, extended energy release. Most conventional extruded powders have surface coatings only. These tend to have a strong “spike” in their energy release but then decrease rapidly in energy output. By sustaining the energy release over a longer period of time (in the barrel), powders such as Reloder 17 promise to deliver higher velocities than could be achieved with other propellants.

Following the release of Reloder 17, sources at Alliant Powder, an Alliant Techsystems (ATK) subsidiary, confirmed that we can expect more powder products using the new Nitrochemie technology. Alliant plans to release both a faster powder (for 223-sized cartridges) and a slower powder (for large magnums).

ATK and Rheinmetall Nitrochemie Announce Strategic Partnership
Rheinmetall Nitrochemie (RN) is jointly owned by Rheinmetall AG and RUAG of Switzerland. Since 2005, ATK has been a Rheinmetall sales partner. Now ATK and Rheinmetall Nitrochemie plan a much closer relationship, through which RN will share propellant technologies and ATK and RN will produce powders together in US facilities. ATK has agreed to a “strategic partnership” with the Rheinmetall Nitrochemie Group, the propellants division of the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Defence Group.

According to DefenseNews.com, “Under terms of the agreement, propellant technologies will be transferred from Nitrochemie to ATK, and the two companies will target sales in North America and elsewhere. While Rheinmetall will gain access to expanded markets, ATK will receive licenses to manufacture and sell powder and propellant systems developed by the German firm. These products will be marketed to both the U.S. military and other ammunition manufacturers.” Through the strategic partnership, ATK will become the exclusive North American vendor of the new-generation Nitrochemie propellants. The technology transfer positions ATK as the exclusive North American provider of Nitrochemie’s Extruded Impregnated (EI), Extruded Composite Low-sensitivity (ECL), Surface Coated Double Base (SCDB), and R-Type propellants.

Rheinmetall Nitrochemie to Build Powder-Making Facility in the USA
As part of the new, expanded business relationship with ATK, Rheinmetall Nitrochemie will shift some of its actual powder production to the United States. Rheinmetall and ATK revealed “medium-term plans” under which a new, powder-processing plant will be set up in the USA and operated by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie in cooperation with ATK. This will allow Nitrochemie propellants to be sold at more competitive prices, since they will no longer have to be shipped across the Atlantic. No specific date was given for the construction of the new powder factory.

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May 9th, 2009

Job Watch: ATK Seeks Sales Rep in Idaho

ATK Commercial Products is seeking a full-time Sales Representative to work from its Lewiston, Idaho plant. ATK is America’s leading producer of ammunition and also sells a wide variety of shooting products under its many “house brands”: CCI, Champion Target, Federal, Outers, RCBS, Speer, and Weaver. ATK’s Lewiston, Idaho location is seeking an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Sales Rep to add to its staff. Candidates should have at least three years of sales experience and be able to travel up to 50% of the time.

CLICK HERE for more job info and to submit resume.

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April 7th, 2009

Army Extends ATK's Lake City Ammo Plant Contract

Lake City Ammo ATKAlliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army to continue operating the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant for an additional four (4) years. Under the new contract, ATK will continue to supply small-caliber ammunition through September 2013. The contract extension assures an uninterrupted supply of ammunition to the U.S. military beyond ATK’s current 10-year contract. The U.S. Army also awarded ATK $481 million under the new contract for production of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50-caliber ammunition and to continue work to modernize the Lake City facility.

ATK is now the #1 producer of small arms ammunition in the world, manufacturing billions of rounds each year. Lake City is a key source of ATK ammo production. ATK began operating the plant, located in Independence, Missouri, in April 2000 and has increased production from 350 million to more than 1.4 billion rounds annually. The plant has the capability to produce a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, .50-caliber, and 20mm cartridges, as well as ammunition links.

Lake City Ammo ATK

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February 4th, 2009

Ammo Sales Rise in 2008

The general economy may be in a major downturn, but big ammunition producers aren’t complaining — their sales revenues continue to rise. Both Winchester and ATK (Alliant) have reported significant growth in ammo sales through the end of 2008.

Winchester reported that its 4th quarter 2008 sales were $121.4 million compared to $102.7 million for the same period in 2007. The increase reflects a combination of higher selling prices and improved commercial and law enforcement volumes. Higher selling prices and higher volumes offset higher commodity, material, and manufacturing costs, and a less favorable product mix.

ATK also records impressive sales growth in 2008. Third-quarter sales by Alliant Techsystems’ (NYSE:ATK) Armament Systems group rose 15 percent to $438 million, compared to $381 million in the prior-year quarter. The division of ATK produces commercial and military ammunition and gun systems, propellants and advanced energetics. ATK said the strong performance primarily reflects continued growth in commercial ammunition, higher energetics volume, and strong growth within the group’s medium-caliber gun systems and ammunition business.

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