July 9th, 2019

Big News — Savage Arms Sold Off by Vista Outdoor

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Big news for the shooting community! Just six years after it acquired Savage Arms, outdoor industry mega-corp Vista Outdoor is selling off Savage Arms. The firearms-maker will be acquired by a private investment group led by Savage’s current management. When the sale is complete, Vista Outdoor, parent company of dozens of outdoor brands such as Bushnell, Bell Helmets, CCI, Camelback, Federal, RCBS, and Weaver, will no longer produce firearms of any kind. The sell-back to the Savage management group will include Stevens Arms*, which primarily produces shotguns.

There were multiple reasons given for the sale, which include:
1. Cutting costs, reducing corporate debt, and consolidating operations at Vista Outdoor.
2. Focusing more on the ammunition brands Alliant, CCI, Speer, and Federal.
3. Giving Vista Outdoor’s “ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner”.

In addition, we suspect that, given the current political climate and media antagonism towards gun-makers, Vista Outdoor’s leadership deemed that owning Savage was bad for the company’s overall image. The potential profits from Savage were simply not worth the negative press as well as the potential liabilities from gun-related lawsuits.

By the Numbers: Vista Outdoor acquired Savage Arms (and Stevens) in July 2013 for $315 million. The July 2019 sell-off of Savage Arms (and Stevens) for $170 million represents a $145 million loss for Vista Outdoor. That’s not a good business model.

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Founded in 1894, Massachusetts-based Savage Arms is one of America’s oldest gun-makers. While it has produced a wide variety of firearms over the past 125 years, Savage is now best known for its affordable bolt-action hunting rifles that feature barrels attached by a barrel-nut. In recent years, Savage has also moved aggressively into the “black rifle” market producing its MSR series of AR-platform rifles in a variety of chamberings. Savage also produces a popular semi-auto Rimfire rifle, the Savage A17/A22 series.

Savage Arms Management Sale Vista Outdoor divestiture sell-off buy-out

Here is the official Press Release covering Vista Outdoor’s sale of Savage Arms to a group of investors headed by Al Kasper, Savage’s President and CEO (emphasis added):

Vista Outdoor Announces Sale of Savage Brand
Vista Outdoor Inc. (“Vista Outdoor”) (NYSE: VSTO) announced today that it has completed the sale of the legal entity operating its Savage Arms and Stevens firearms brands to a financial buyer for a total purchase price of $170 million, comprised of $158 million paid at closing and $12 million to be paid upon maturity of a five-year seller note issued by the buyer to Vista Outdoor in connection with the transaction.

The sale is part of Vista Outdoor’s previously announced transformation plan, which outlined the intent to reshape the company’s portfolio by cutting costs, consolidating leadership, paying down debt, and divesting certain brands, including both its eyewear brands and firearms brands, in order to pursue growth in product categories where the company believes it can be market leaders. As the company now looks forward, the focus is on ammunition, hunting and shooting accessories, hydration bottles and packs, outdoor cooking products, and cycling/ski helmets and accessories.

“Divesting our Savage brand was a key aspect of our transformation plan,” said Chris Metz, CEO of Vista Outdoor. “While it was a difficult decision to sell such an iconic brand, I remain confident that this was the correct choice to help Vista Outdoor grow in those categories where we can have leadership positions. Savage is a fantastic business, and it deserves to continue to evolve into other firearms categories. At this time, however, we simply do not have the resources to transform Savage into the full-service firearms company that it deserves to be and, therefore, we determined the brand would be better off with a different owner. We’re excited to see Savage reach its full potential under new ownership.”

Savage was acquired by Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, in 2013. ATK’s sporting business – which included Savage, Bushnell, Federal and CCI Ammunition, and dozens of other hunt/shoot accessories brands, spun off in 2015 to become Vista Outdoor.

“The Savage acquisition helped create Vista Outdoor, and we’re grateful for all the success the brand brought to our company over the past six years,” said Metz. “However, this divestiture now gives our ammunition brands flexibility to work with any industry partner to create the best products and meet our consumers’ needs.”

At closing, Vista Outdoor received gross proceeds from the divestiture of $158 million. Vista Outdoor will use the net after-tax proceeds of the sale to repay outstanding indebtedness.

“Reducing our debt is a key part of turning around our business,” said Metz. “Selling Savage and further reducing our overall leverage will improve our financial flexibility and better position the company for long-term growth. We’ve now rebuilt the company’s foundation to provide a more stable base upon which to grow. We have a portfolio of brands that all have the potential to be strong, market leaders in their respective categories and I’m proud of my team’s efforts in reshaping the portfolio over the course of the past year.”


*American firearms manufacturer J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company, now part of Savage Arms, introduced the .22 Long Rifle cartridge in 1887. Savage Arms was founded in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, New York. Within 20 years Savage was producing rifles, handguns, and ammunition. Savage introduced the first hammerless lever-action rifle, the Model 1895, derived from Arthur Savage’s Model 1892 rifle that he had designed for Colt.

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, News 6 Comments »
September 9th, 2018

“REMAGE” Remake — Converting Remington to Barrel Nut System

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, some stocks may require minor inletting. Also, if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert- It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
May 13th, 2017

Tikka TECH — Criterion Pre-Fit Barrels Coming Soon for Tikka T3

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3 owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, will soon be offering Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

The new Tikka T3 pre-fit barrels will be sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Criterion tells us: “The Solid Accuracy barrel nut and wrench design has been finalized, the prototype barrels tested and the barrel nuts are now going through production (with an expected ETA of 2-3 weeks). All orders for these pre-fits barrels are currently heading out to the shop floor for production. Orders placed this week can expect a conservative estimated lead time of 14-16 weeks.”

The accuracy has been impressive with Solid Accuracy’s test rifle, which features a Tikka T3 action mounted in a KRG X-Ray chassis. This prototype rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The group below was shot with a stout load of H4350 and Sierra 140 grain MatchKings seated .009″ in the lands.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

The folks at Criterion are excited about the Tikka pre-fit project: “We’re looking forward to getting these barrels out the door and on to some custom rifle builds.” One of Criterion’s staffers was so impressed with the initial test results that he is building his own T3 project, with a Criterion pre-fit of course…

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Tactical 4 Comments »
November 22nd, 2016

Pre-Fit DIY Barrel System for Remington-Type Actions

Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut

Need a new barrel for your Rem-actioned hunting or tactical rifle? Here’s a great DIY option for riflemen. McRee’s Precision offers complete, no-gunsmithing re-barreling kits for Remington and Rem-clone actions. These feature a high-quality, pre-chambered “PRE-FIT” stainless barrel from Criterion, a Savage-style barrel nut, a recoil lug, and a special barrel-nut wrench. With this system you can easily re-barrel your favorite Remington rifle yourself in less than an hour. You don’t need to pay gunsmithing fees, or wait weeks (or months) for a busy smith to do the job. And the price is under $500.00. McRee’s Precision even offers a Half-MOA Accuracy Guarantee with its pre-fitted barrel kits. NOTE: Check MrReesPrecision.net on Thanksgiving for a Holiday Special Price (probably 10% Off).

McRee’s Precision Remington DIY Barrel Kit includes Criterion Pre-Fit Stainless Barrel, Barrel Nut, Recoil Lug, Thread Protector, and Barrel Nut Wrench:
Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut
The stainless steel Barrel Nut is set up for 1 1/16 x 16 barrel threads, while the stainless steel recoil lug has a 1/8 inch removable locator pin and is set up for 1.0625 dia barrel threads. Barrel Kit Specifications.

McRee’s Precision sells Rem-action Pre-Fit barrel packages (complete with barrel nut, recoil lug, and wrench) starting at $499.52 (get a Holiday Discount on that price commencing 11/24/2016). Choose from five chamberings: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .308 Win, and .300 Win Mag. These Pre-Fit barrel kits are “100% complete and ready-to-install”. All you need to do is remove your current barrel, place the recoil lug, spin on the new tube, follow the instructions for setting head-space, then torque the barrel nut against the lug. NOTE: You may require a barrel vise and action wrench to remove the original barrel. Minor inletting changes may be needed forward of the action.

The folks at McRee’s Precision say their Pre-Fit system offers many advantages: “Remington Pre-Fitted Barrel Kits have become popular over the years. If Savage can do it, why not for our Remingtons? Our [Criterion-supplied] barrels are spec’d to the McRee standard of performance. There are several places to get the tools required to remove your factory barrel correctly. Once you have your barrel removed all you have to do is follow the normal Savage procedure to install your new barrel. We recommend that you contact your local gunsmith for the install. Feel free to call us with any questions.”

Product Tip from Ed LongRange. We welcome readers’ submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
September 25th, 2016

Shilen Actions, Barreled Actions, and Complete Rifles

Shilen Actions Complete rifles barrel nut Savage Remage

Did you know that Shilen Rifles Inc. offers barreled actions and complete rifles? And that Shilen offers a Savage-style, barrel-nut system for its Rem-clone actions? After several years of development, Shilen now offers custom actions ($950.00), barreled custom actions with triggers ($1500.00), and complete rifles ($3200.00 and up).

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

The new Shilen custom actions are CNC-milled from high-grade stainless steel. Two types are offered — the multi-shot DGR (Repeater) or the single-shot DGV (Varminter) action. Both actions will be offered in most common bolt faces and both right-hand and left-hand actions are immediately available. The DGR and DGV actions have a 1.350″ diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300″ pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob. These actions feature a footprint similar to the Remington Model 700. Both DGR and DGV actions will accept many aftermarket components crafted for Rem-700 style actions, including triggers and bottom metal.

Barreled Actions with Barrel-Nut System for Easy Barrel Exchanges
Along with the stand-alone DGR and DGV actions, Shilen is offering barreled action assemblies, chambered and ready to drop into Rem 700-inletted stocks. The actions are fitted with Shilen match-grade barrels and Shilen triggers. The barrels feature a 1-1/16″x20 barrel thread and are attached to the action by a barrel nut. This Savage-style barrel nut system simplifies headspacing, allowing easy swapping from one barrel to another. With the simple barrel-exchange procedure, you can shoot multiple chamberings with a single action/rifle. For example, shooters can change from a .223 Remington to a .204 Ruger or a .22-250 to a 6mm BR in a matter of minutes.

Complete Rifles with McMillan Stocks
With Shilen’s complete rifles, buyers can choose their chambering, and select barrel and stock configuration. Shooters can choose between a sporter weight wood stock or a variety of McMillan fiberglass stocks. With all complete rifles, the entire package is delivered in a quality gun case and Shilen even includes table mat, cleaning rod, bore guide, jag, bore brush, and cleaning patches. For more info, call (972) 875-5318 or email comments@shilen.com.

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
December 8th, 2014

McRee’s Pre-Fit Barrel Option for Rems and Rem Clones — $412.50

Need a new barrel for your Remington-actioned hunting or tactical rifle? McRee’s Precision has you covered. McRee’s is now offering complete, no-gunsmithing re-barreling kits for Remington and Rem-clone actions. These feature a high-quality, pre-chambered “PRE-FIT” stainless barrel from Criterion, a Savage-style barrel nut, a recoil lug, and a special barrel-nut wrench. With this system you can easily re-barrel your favorite Remington rifle yourself in less than an hour. You don’t need to pay gunsmithing fees, or wait weeks (or months) for a busy smith to do the job.

McRee’s Precision Remington DIY Barrel Kit includes Criterion Pre-Fit Stainless Barrel, Barrel Nut, Recoil Lug, and Barrel Nut Wrench:
Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut
CLICK HERE for Barrel Specifications PDF Sheet

Right now McRee’s Precision is offering Rem-action Pre-Fit barrel packages (complete with barrel nut, recoil lug, and wrench) starting at just $412.50 (On Sale). Choose from four chamberings: .243 Win, .260 Rem, .308 Win, and .300 Win Mag. These Pre-Fit barrel kits are “100% complete and ready-to-install”. All you need to do is remove your current barrel, place the recoil lug, spin on the new tube, follow the instructions for setting head-space, then torque the barrel nut against the lug. NOTE: You may require a barrel vise and action wrench to remove the original barrel. Minor inletting changes may be needed forward of the action.

Mcree Precision Mcrees Savage Remington pre-fitted pre-chambered pre-fit barrel system kit nut

The folks at McRee’s Precision say their Pre-Fit system offers many advantages: “Remington Pre-Fitted Barrel Kits have become popular over the years. If Savage can do it, why not for our Remingtons? Our [Criterion-supplied] barrels are spec’d to the McRee standard of performance. We require a minimum of 0.5 MOA with good factory ammo and 0.2 MOA with quality handloads. There are several places to get the tools required to remove your factory barrel correctly. Once you have your barrel removed all you have to do is follow the normal Savage procedure to install your new barrel. We recommend that you contact your local gunsmith for the install. Feel free to call us with any questions.”

Product Tip from Ed LongRange. We welcome readers’ submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
January 3rd, 2013

Remington Introduces Affordable Model 783 Bolt Gun

Remington will introduce a new bolt-action rifle at SHOT Show, the Model 783. Remington positions the new model 783 as a mid-level offering between the Model 770 and Model 700 SPS, according to John Fink, Freedom Group Rifle Product Manager. This new rifle was first revealed in an American Rifleman article by Richard Mann, who tested an early production version in September 2012. Mann reports: “The ‘7’ in the model designation comes from the 700 line of rifles, the ‘8’ is kind of a throwback to the affordable but reliable model 788, which was discontinued 20 years ago, and the ‘3’ is for the three in 2013. The suggested retail price is $451, but you can expect street prices to be closer to $400.”

Remington Model 783

Remington is claiming sub-MOA accuracy for the Model 783, as demonstrated by the “teaser” photo sent out to Remington customers earlier this week:

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783Adjustable Trigger with Insert
The rifle features a polymer stock, cylindrical action, and an adjustable trigger with a control insert (as used on the Savage AccuTrigger and Marlin Pro-Fire trigger). Remington’s “CrossFire Trigger System” is pre-set at 3.5 lbs pull weight. According to the reviewer, Remington’s CrossFire Trigger is “similar in appearance to the Savage AccuTrigger and the Marlin Pro-Fire Trigger; it has a center lever that locks the trigger until it is fully depressed.” (We think selecting “CrossFire” as a product title was a dumb move by Rem’s marketing guys.)

Model 783 Has Barrel Nut System
Remington has borrowed a trick from Savage, employing a barrel nut system for fitting barrels to model 783 actions. The model 783’s two-lug bolt features a Sako-style sliding-plate extractor — this is a departure from the system on a Rem 700. Scopes can be mounted with two Model 700-spec front scope bases. However, Remington plans to offer integral scope mounts in the near future.

CLICK for Model 783 Review in American Rifleman | CLICK for Model 783 Photo Gallery

Designed for game hunters, the model 783 will initially be offered in four chamberings: .308 Winchester (short action), .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 7mm Rem. Magnum. Remington says it will roll out more chamberings by the middle of 2013. In addition a compact-stock version with a shorter length of pull will be offered. Barrels are 22″ or 24″ with a “magnum contour”. Model 783 rifles will be produced in the Freedom Group’s Mayfield, Kentucky manufacturing plant.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 23 Comments »
October 13th, 2012

Weatherby Recalls SS Vanguards for Barrel Nut Problem

Weatherby RecallWeatherby has issued an important safety recall of a series of stainless-barreled Vanguard hunting rifles. If you have one of the affected Vanguards, you should stop using your rifle immediately. The problem centers on the barrel nut used to secure the barrel. According to Weatherby: “On some Stainless Steel Vanguard Rifles the barrel nut is not tightened to required torque specifications. The use of the rifle with an improperly torqued barrel nut may lead to failure in a discharge situation which could result in a personal injury.” For additional information, contact the Weatherby Registration Center by calling (888) 770-7138 or sending email to: regcen@realtimeresults.net .

Weatherby Recall

Recall tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink News 7 Comments »
January 17th, 2012

Hands-On Test of New Ruger American Rifle in 30-06

Ruger has introduced a modern bolt-gun, the Ruger American Rifle (RAR), that combines smart featurea of popular rifles made by Tikka, Browning, and Savage. The New Ruger American Rifle features a three-lug bolt with short 70° bolt lift. Dual cocking cams are used to lighten the bolt lifting force so the bolt can be manipulated easily. This rifle uses a barrel nut like a Savage, and it also has a safety trigger similar in appearance to the Savage Accutrigger, though the mechanics of the Ruger trigger are different. Currently the RAR is available in a comfortable yet somewhat flexy synthetic stock, with pillars and a deep channel to free-float the barrel.

ruger american rifle

We liked the beefy action, which has as positive tang safety along with a nice rotary magazine. This gun offers many good features considering the affordable price (under $500.00 without optics). We hope Ruger expands the RAR line-up to include a heavy-barreled varmint version with a longer stiffer stock. The RAR will be offered in both short-action and long-action versions.

Permalink New Product 2 Comments »