Published March 20, 2009, 03:14 PM

Remington — America’s oldest gun maker

It is quite likely that nearly every shooting sportsman you know, guns with a Remington. Almost every American sportsman has at least one Remington rifle or shotgun in his gunroom. America’s oldest gun maker began in rural Ithaca, N.Y., when young Eliphalet Remington made his own musket from the metals found on his father’s ranch.

By: Bernie Revering, Becker County Sportsman, DL-Online

It is quite likely that nearly every shooting sportsman you know, guns with a Remington. Almost every American sportsman has at least one Remington rifle or shotgun in his gunroom. America’s oldest gun maker began in rural Ithaca, N.Y., when young Eliphalet Remington made his own musket from the metals found on his father’s ranch. Its fame spread, and the Remingtons were in the business of making barrels, then into complete firearms. Remington’s story is one of success, simply by producing military and sporting firearms made better and designed better than the products of others.

Now into the 21st Century, Remington is again the leader with a great lineup of guns that hunters, target enthusiasts, trap, skeet and sporting clays shooters take into competition or to marsh or game fields.

The old green logos of Remington have recently added such famous old names as Marlin, H&R, and LC Smith, along with the prestigious Parkers.

A decade ago, Remington picked up, lock, stock and barrel and moved its U.S. operations to Madison, N.C. Remington’s principal armory is operating back at Ilion, but ammunition and guns are bring produced world-wide at factories on several continents.

Wait until you see the beautiful over-under shotguns that Remington is importing from northern Italy. And the pleasant surprise is that the prices are very reasonable. Be sure to get one of Remington’s 2009 catalogs.

Remington, like manufacturers of products for consumers, is facing an uncertain future in these troubled economic times. Remington stands by with a tried and true lineup of established models, and has only recently introduced some innovative new firearms for sportsmen. Have a look at them at your favorite gun store. With Remington stamped on the barrel, you can’t go wrong. The improved versions of the 870 slide action and the 1100 semi are still with us, finished and fitted better than ever. Remington green is here to stay!

Dr. H. Albert Hochbaum

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short piece, for this column, on the dedication of Aldo Leopold’s hunting/fishing shack in Wisconsin. The little building is now in the Registry of Famous Buildings, as kept by the U.S. Department of the Interior. No such structure was left behind by H. Albert Hochbaum, one of America’s first waterfowl biologists.

I first met him at the Delta Marsh in southern Manitoba, when he’d come over to Jimmy Robinson’s Sports Afield duck camp. Hauchbaum got the U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries & Wildlife started while he was at a biological laboratory near Jimmy’s. This finally became the present U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — the people who set waterfowl seasons and limits, every September.

This educated biologist saw trends coming and predicted the tragic demise of ducks in the dry years of the dust bowl in the 1930s. One of his many books was “A Canvasback on a Prairie Marsh,” which stated that our own Becker and Mahnomen Counties were the home of three quarters of all of the big canvas back ducks on the North American Continent. The prestigious duck clubs of those days, where we now have Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, must have provided unparalleled duck hunting in those years.

Some years ago now, I took Eldon McLaury, who was a biologist at Tamarac, down to a DU meeting in Fergus Falls. Eldon’s jaw fell, and he stood stark still upon seeing Dr. Hochbaum there, as he knew of the reputation and achievements, the writings too, of one of America’s premier waterfowl specialists. The two of them had a great evening talking of technical topics beyond my comprehension.

I remember the evening well. I hit a big deer near Dunvilla on the midnight trip to DL. My little Chevette was beyond repair.

H. Albert Hochbaum was among the more prominent outdoorsmen I’ve met over the years. Great memories are made from these chance encounters. Jimmy Robinson and his duck camp? Well yes, but that was an entirely different approach to ducks and hunting on Lake Manitoba.

Remington’s Pedersen Device

On March 16, 1915, the vice president of Remington Arms Company received a letter from independent gun designer John D. Pedersen, stating that he had designed a prototype, auto loading military rifle. Remington began a series of negotiations with the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Department, which culminated in a full go ahead for top-secret development. Ordnance officers, Remington executives and a few congressmen were all sworn to secrecy after they’d all seen the performance of the invention, which was an automatic bolt that changed the Springfield M1903 bolt action rifle to auto loading type. This was top secret in 1917 when Pederson was instructed to adapt the device to the British Enfield, which Remington was making in large numbers. Remington received an order for 500,000 such devices.

The Pedersen device replaced the bolt of the rifle, generally the U.S. Springfield, which Remington also produced. The infantryman would remove the bolt and place it in a canvas bag in his kit. Then he’d insert a long black magazine, which held forty pistol-sized cartridges. At each pull of the trigger, the rifle fired off a round. Remington produced 65,000 such devices, ending in 1919, when the order was cancelled. The devices were made at the Bridgeport facility. Not many WWI infantrymen got to see and use the device, which could fill the air with bullets. The ordnance department continued to modify Springfield rifles well into 1920. Remington delivered about 145,000 Springfields and 65,000,000 cartridges. I’ve never seen a Pedersen device. Few people have. Where they are today is anybody’s guess. Probably totally destroyed, perhaps into the Atlantic Ocean. Who knows?

Browning’s 2009 Catalog

The Browning catalog of rifles, handguns, shotguns, clothing, knives and gun safes is available — 240 pages of arms and accessories. You will notice all of the suggested retail prices are listed for each model or its variation. Apparently Browning hasn’t increased suggested retail, while most everyone is aware that guns and parafelalia can be bought for what has become known as street prices. These are 25 to 33 percent below suggested retail.

Almost every Browning firearm is upgraded. There just aren’t any more of the basic “field grade” guns anymore. Even if you’re not in the market for a new gun right now, secure a copy of this beautiful new display of guns with their descriptions. It’s fun to just look, and it doesn’t cost anything!

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