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Ruger Re-Energizing Marlin Enthusiasts

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Firearm sales have cooled since the historic collision of COVID-19 and social unrest, but comments made by Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy on Aug. 4, 2022, indicate the trend is the opposite for new Marlins. When asked during the company’s quarterly investor’s teleconference, he explained, “…every call, somebody is asking, ‘Can we get more Marlins?’”

Ruger acquired Marlin in 2020 and—rather than simply restarting the machinery it inherited to hurriedly fill orders—has taken a deliberate and calculated approach to resurrecting the legendary brand. “I know there’s a lot of customers out there who want to see a higher volume of production from us, be we’re not going to sacrifice quality,” Killoy told one caller. “We had to get it right coming out of the gate.” He later reemphasized, “ . . . we’re really focused on quality, not quantity.”

Honoring the legacy of a 152-year-old legendary gunmaker is no easy task, but Ruger’s remains squarely focused on that mission while it resurrects a brand that languished under old management. The Ruger name appears nowhere on new Marlins, for example, a decision Killoy previously stated is, ” . . . to maintain the Marlin brand. We’re very proud of the Marlin brand and its history.”

Even the artwork is returning from the ashes of that bankruptcy fire sale. The familiar cowboy-on-horseback logo, with lever-action rifle at the ready has returned.

Marlin’s Connecticut factory earned an enviable reputation for making guns that perform, and the craftsmen in two states building the new guns are following that tradition, according to Killoy. “The production itself of the rifles takes place down in Mayodan, N.C.,” Killoy said. “But for example, our woodworking facility in New Hampshire makes the stocks for those guns. And all of them have been focused on delivering exceptional quality.”

The Marlin 1895 SBL and the 1895 Trapper are being produced. More in the 1895 line are planned. “And later this year, you’ll likely start to see things in the 336 and 1894 family, all those are centerfire lever-action rifles, and they’re all part of our product plan going forward,” Killoy said.

Article by GUY J. SAGI

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