Marlin Reborn: Ruger Resurrects A Legend
[Editor's Note: This is an extensive, in-depth article on how Ruger has brought back to life Marlin's lever action rifles starting with the Model 1895 SBL in .45-70 Gov’t — in stainless steel, no less!}
Two industry heavyweights are now under the same management, in fact, under the same roof. If the track records of both hold true, the collaboration will be a success. But those responsible for the new Marlins are taking nothing for granted.
I like it when Chicken-Little predictions about new technology eclipsing old ways are proven wrong. Nothing tickles me more than the fact that 90-plus percent of readers still opt to keep receiving print copies of American Rifleman two decades after know-it-alls cried that print was dying, if not already dead.
A close second would have to be what I witnessed recently at Ruger’s Mayodan, N.C., factory, to wit, a new generation of Marlin lever-action rifles coming off the assembly line. But for a few small features, they look much like the ones cherished by riflemen for more than a century.
For those who don’t follow shooting-industry news, it’s true that Ruger acquired Marlin brand rights, intellectual property (IP) and hard assets during the Remington Outdoor Corp. (ROC) bankruptcy auction in September 2020. And so any doubts that lever-actions still matter look flimsier than ever.
The gloom surrounding ROC’s demise parted a bit when a federal bankruptcy court announced an auction to liquidate the conglomerate’s considerable holdings. Up for grabs were Remington firearms, Remington ammunition, Marlin, Barnes Bullets, Dakota Arms and other once-plum brands. Questions loomed, however, about the value of those spoils: Were those product lines still relevant and potentially profitable? Could they be revived? America’s top shooting-industry execs were soon kicking the tires.
Among them was Sturm, Ruger & Co. CEO Chris Killoy, who said, “It’s a great fit for both companies and customer bases—two American firearms brands known for delivering great value. We’ve heard from countless [gun folks]—retailers, distributors, writers and collectors—who are delighted.” In short order, he briefed his board of directors, then enlisted top staffers to create a mock profit/loss analysis.
One key player was Mickey Wilson, VP at Mayodan. “Two of us went to visit Remington and take a look for a couple hours,” he noted. “They had ceased operations, and only management and maintenance people were on-site. On such a short trip, it was hard to see the breadth of what was involved. We were there to sniff out if this was a starter, but honestly, I believe Chris was convinced that the iconic brand and its IP alone would be worth the cost.” Ultimately, Ruger topped the bidding at $28.3 million.
“I’ve been a fan of Marlin guns for as long as I can remember,” Killoy said. “The history played a role, but the opportunity alone was the driving factor [in our acquisition].” Read entire article here.