Connecticut…a heritage… (revised & updated)

I am a former resident of the State of Connecticut. It is a state with a very unique heritage.  Many great names, (though sadly, a few are defunct or merely names owned by foreign conglomerates).  However, there is a lot of firearm history in the Connecticut River Valley, many great names including Colt, Marlin, Winchester.

Connecticut firearm manufacturers:

Colt Firearms (Hartford, CT)
Marlin Firearms (North Haven, CT)
O.F. Mossberg and Sons (North Haven, CT)
Sturm, Ruger and Company (Southport, CT)
Remington Arms Company / Union Metallic Cartridge Company ( Bridgeport, CT)
Winchester Ammunition (New Haven, CT)
Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Smith & Wesson (is just over the board in Springfield, Mass)

Even the NSSF is in Connecticut
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) (Newton, CT)

A recent post on Say Uncle encouraged me to revise, update and re-publish this post. He inquired why companies like Remington endure in such anti-gun states as New York. It’s hard to grasp the answer.  Yes, there is a fair amount of undertaking to relocate a factory. But this is done all the time.  And infact many companies have moved their factories (Ruger moved a lot of production to Arizona and New Hampshire), but some still retain their corporate headquarters in Connecticut.

I think in order to understand this reticence in departing Connecticut one must look at the history.  Let’s start with Eli Whitney, sure he is most famed for the invention of the cotton gin, but he was instrumental in the firearm industry.  Standardizing parts for mass assembly.  Prior it was common for one maker to construct an entire rifle, fitting each part. Eli Whitney structured his business around the parts, being made to an exacting specification so that they could fit together with any production units. Beyond the immediate tangible benefits in production, there is an added advantage in that field repairs are much easier when you can salvage parts from two broken muskets to fashion a single working one.

First contract of Eli Whitney as a firearms manufacturer, 1786. Signed by Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury. (Courtesy of Wikipedia/WikiCommons)

The first pistol factory in the U.S. was constructed in Connecticut (and a couple others followed within the same year or so.

“In 1810, Oliver Bidwell built the first pistol factory in the United States on the Pameacha River in Middletown, winning a contract with the United States War Department for handmade pistols.”

“By 1904, Connecticut’s firearms industry was producing four-fifths of the ammunition and more than one-fourth of the total value of all firearms manufactured by nongovernment factories in the US.”

Think about 80% of all ammunition came from Connecticut.  And 25% of all firearms.  That’s why I advocate that there is really no place in the nation, and perhaps no place in the world that has quite the firearm history an legacy as the Connecticut River Valley. (Note, Italy with it’s very long firearm history, probably has the best competing argument. )

In fact, Connecticut has born the nickname “the arsenal of democracy.”

Yes, it’s very bittersweet when you compare the history with the present day status of the region. 


UPDATE: Great photos of a few Connecticut River Valley firearm manufacturing facilities courtesy of the Boston Globe.


4 down, 2 permanently…but…

4 men enter a Harlem store. The NY Times article notes that the business had been robbed several times before, despite the fact that his shop is around the corner from a police precinct.

The owner, 72 yr old Charles Augusto Jr. fired 3 shots with the Winchester 12 gauge pump action shotgun (with a pistol grip handle). Normally, the NY Times would describe this as an assault shotgun. But even the NYT had trouble finding a way to spin this negatively.

The first shot took down the gunman in the front. While his subsequent blasts hit the other three accomplices.

But the next tidbit is what really ruffled my feathers. [The shooter] was 29 and had been arrested for gun possession in Queens last year.  (He was also the nephew of a police officer.) What I want to know is WHY are we releasing criminals with prior gun possession charges back onto the streets in less than a year.

Perhaps it’s to give NYC Mayor Bloomberg something to wine about. Of course, it’s his type of mentality that results in the next statement.

“A law enforcement official said that the district attorney was considering a possible misdemeanor weapons charge against Mr. Augusto, indicating that he did not have a permit for the shotgun.”

PS – Dear NY Times, why do you waste time giving us the boo-hoo’s of the family of the criminals.  These men died, but they died in the act of committing a crime.

.45 ACP – sighted!

This past week I saw something that I have not seen in over 6+ months. In fact, something I had not seen since the year 2008.

“Winchester .45 ACP White Box at Walmart”


I was able to pick up 5 boxes of the .45ACP. Which cleaned out my Walmart’s stock. But I had little guilt in lieu of the fact that I have not been able to buy any .45 ACP in over half a year – even checking several Walmarts regularly on a monthly basis in both Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

I also picked up two 100 round boxes of the Federal .223 for $40 each. And a box of the Winchester Supreme Elite .38 Special for $19.95. Which is a really good price for decent personal defense ammunition. This is Winchester’s new bonded  personal defense ammo, which is supposed to ensure expansion by welding the copper jacket to the lead. As I did not have any personal defense ammo for our Ruger GP100 chambered in .357 Magnum.



N.U.G.U.N. Arsenal Update:  With this recent purchase and the 12 boxes of 9mm I picked up in Connecticut; I am finally reaching a point where I am almost comfortable with the state of the family arsenal (ammunition stockpile). I believe it was Michael Bane who commented that the bare minimum stock should be 200 rounds for each caliber you own.  After the past year I am of the opinion that 200 rounds is the bare minimum ONLY for those firearms you do not regularly use.  I nearly ran out of .45ACP, and essentially had to stop shooting my Ruger P-345. (I did keep a reserve of about 100 rounds just in case I needed to have some target on hand.)

I am now of the opinion the 500 rounds is the minimum quantity one should own for a given firearm that they shoot regularly. By regularly, I define it as any firearm you shoot 4 or more times in a year.

N.U.G.U.N. stockpile (arsenal as the media would like to call it).

  • .223 = 1,500+ rnds
  • 9mm = 800+
  • 45 = 600+
    [This had been unacceptably low for the past 6 months.]
  • .22LR = < 10,000 rnds
    [Imagine how the media would spin this. *LOL*]
  • .357 Magnum = 300+
    [I’d still like a little more.]
  • .38 SPL = < 100
    [This is unacceptably low. But I have a fair amount of .357 Magnum. Our revolver takes both so it’s not a major concern. I hope to remedy this over the next few months.]
  • .380 = < 100
    [This is unacceptably low. Worse, this is a cartridge we need for practicing with our LCP. Definitely need to remedy this!]
  • 7.62×39 = < 100
    [But as I don’t actually own a rifle chambered in this, it’s not a biggie.]
  • 7.62x54r = 1,200+
    [Surplus sardine/sealed cans of 440 each.]

While some of those numbers may seem excessively high to those unfamiliar with the shooting hobby.  Let me assure you, it’s really not.  Especially if you engage in any form of competitive shooting. Our small local shooting league’s 6 week series require 300+ rounds of ammo. That doesn’t even include what you might expend during practice.  There are three of these league tourney’s a year, which equates to approx. 1,000 rounds.  Just plinking with friends can easily burn through a few hundred rounds of ammo.  So while the above quantities may seem extreme; they equate to maybe a year’s worth of ammo for the semi-casual recreational shooter.

I also have small quantities of premium personal defense ammo in .45ACP, .38 Special, 9mm, & .380. I don’t really count these in the tallies.  If a non-shooter is trying to fathom the quantities of ammo, thinking “Why would anyone need 1,000 rounds of ammo.”  Understand that such large quantities of ammo are for practice and sporting activities, and do not reflect any form of threat or danger.  Target ammo differs from premium personal defense ammo in both design and cost.  If you asked someone how many rounds of personal defense ammo they have; you’ll likely get a much much lower figure.  One that may seem more reasonable to the conflicted mind.

A good way for the non-shooter trying to understand the gun community, is to think about how many glasses (actual glass) they own.  Then compare it to how many plastic cups they buy from Costco for the 4th of July and other summer BBQs.  You know what I am talking about – those packages of 500 red plastic cups.  Now if someone asked you how many glasses you had, and you replied 500 or even 1,000. They might think that was cooky. But if you explained that you had about dozen or two glasses, but 500 disposable plastic cups. No one would look at you strangely.

Likewise, a recreational shooter may have 500+ rounds of target ammunition, but only a box or two of personal defense ammo (approx 20-50 rnds in a standard box).  It’s really not crazy.  It’d be nice if the media and reporters did a little research to understand the matter.  It’s funny (and sad) when we in the gun community read some article in the newspaper declaring such and such man had an arsenal of more than 1,000 rounds of ammo. Especially when they mentions a 22 caliber rifle.  As .22LR ammunition is commonly sold in 550 round boxes at Walmart for $10-$20.  Two boxes equates to the media’s 1,000+ arsenal.

It’s really just ignorance and lack of due diligent research on the part of the media – or deliberate sensationalism.

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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Lead free ammo from Fiocci (.45ACP) and Winchester (.22LR)

The Firearm Blog has a couple of stories today on new lead free bullet offerings:

Winchester .22LR


Fiocchi .40S&W

It is good to know that we’ll have options…

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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