Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Save Big Green

Remington has been circling the drain for several years now. They ruined the ACR, then bungled the release of their R51 which was about six years late to the single-stack-9mm party anyway. I couldn't understand what Big Green was thinking, but it all became clear when a friend shared a link on my Facetube page. Yep, Remington is absorbing Para into it's own lineup. I think this is a good first step.

In my opinion, the reason Remington has been in trouble is that it refused to change with the times. Contrast this with Ruger, who has completely changed their lineup in the last couple years--even listening to consumers and making significant changes to existing products in a relatively short time (like the LC9 becoming the LC9s, and the revised LCP). Remington has lived off the 870 and 700 since time began. This was enough because until the early 2000s, the biggest group of firearms consumers were hunters and clay busters. Then, suddenly, self-defense and competition exploded in popularity. And Remington kept making the same two guns for a consumer who bought their 870 and 700 back in 1970 and shoots them twice a year. With the exception of the Versamax, Remington has been making the same guns since 1950.

Then Remington acquired Bushmaster, as well as the rights to the Magpul Masada which would become the Bushmaster ACR. Remington then, shall we say "economized" the ACR into a lame piston AR that costs more than a piston AR from a better manufacturer. As Magpul designed it, the Masada was totally modular and could even be changed to accept AK magazines through the use of a modular lower receiver. Throw in the badly bungled R51, and as of last year, Big Green was on borrowed time. To add insult to injury, Remington started a web series starring some blonde girl who is painful to watch. And all she does is go hunting, which is also painful to watch.

Then I hear that Para is being absorbed into the Remington lineup. This may be the first sign that someone on the board of directors may have heard about USPSA/IPSC or 3-Gun Nation---and they may want to sell some guns. So bravo, Remington. Here's your roadmap to success from here on out.

Next, absorb Bushmaster and become the next BCM. Increase the quality of all your components and focus on selling AR15 parts. Hardly anyone buys a complete AR15 anymore. They're too easy to build, and you can build a high quality one for the same money or less than a WalMart Bushmaster carbine. Sell uppers, lowers, and milspec M16 bolts built with NO MIM or cast parts. Fix the ACR and make it the rifle Magpul promised us.

While you're streamlining, FIX YOUR FINISHES! I have a friend with an R1 and after less than a year, the bluing is largely gone. I had the same problem with my Para LTC. Put a quality finish on, or sub it out to Cerakote. Put more attention on doublestack .40 and 9mm 1911s with an eye to USPSA/IPSC Limited class. Price them to compete with CZ's excellent Tac Sport--around $1200. Make them reliable, nicely finished, and maybe even throw in a full-length dust cover for weight. Undercut STI and get some market share.

Cancel the trainwreck web series you have and find some up-and-coming USPSA and 3-Gun Nation stars. Sponsor a winning team with ACR rifles, Remington doublestack 1911s, and Versamax shotguns.

Let that system go to work for a while. Make some capital. Then develop a plastic doublestack line, again with an eye to competition and defense. You could probably get away with making a Glock 19 sized one for carry, then a 5" barreled model for competition.

I hope Remington can pull this off, but I have a feeling that accountants and lawyers wishing to play it "safe" will ruin everything and they'll go bankrupt anyway.


James said...

The handguns are just the tip of the iceberg on finishes, my old 870 had something called "matte blue" finish, which is marketing speak for porous black rust catalyst. Most of my parkerized guns start to show some spots of rust after sitting for six months or so in humidity, the 870 rusted in about a week if it wasn't sopping wet with oil. Truly the Lancia Beta of shotguns.

A shame, because it was very intuitive to shoot clays with.

The Flatland Gun Nut said...

Big Green has had QC issues--serious ones--since the early 2000s. I hope they turn things around, much like Ruger. Remington is losing Fanboy steam. Why buy a $700 rifle, spend $1000 on custom smithing, and then get out-shot by a $800 Savage package rifle with a fancy chassis?

I hope they went with something better on the Versamax or they're going to be in the deepest of deep feces.

James said...

Well, they used an M2 and some tracing paper for a lot of it. So there's hope that bit works.