Foundries and Polymer Factories

Deep River Plastics

Everyone knows that Ruger and Smith & Wesson make guns. But, did you know they also had their own foundries and other workshops for working raw materials? Sure, anyone with the funds for a CNC machine can mill a receiver, but if you have the capability to mold your own polymer or pour your own steel, you give yourself a broader range of options when designing firearms.

Pine Tree Castings

Pine Tree Castings is a division of Sturm, Ruger & Co. that uses an investment casting process to produce a range of consumer goods made of various iron and steel alloys. Obviously, Ruger can use this foundry to produce parts for its own firearms. However, the foundry accepts work from other companies that provide medical, marine, sports and food service products. This gives Ruger a small degree of diversification to help buffer it against downturns in the gun world.

The below video is one part of a series produced by Ruger on how its gun parts are made at Pine Tree Castings:

Deep River Plastics

Smith & Wesson may be best known for its metal wheelguns. However, since the start of Glock‘s takeover of the law enforcement market the company has been heavily involved in the development and manufacturing of firearms that use significant amounts of polymer. It makes since, then, that the Smith & Wesson parent company, American Outdoor Brands, would have its own polymer manufacturer.

Deep River Plastics describes itself as a full-service contract manufacturer with capabilities that include injection molding, tooling and rapid prototyping. While the company undoubtedly provides its services to Smith & Wesson, the company also provides its services to others including companies that need parts made from high-performance, semi-exotic polymers that offer high heat and chemical resistance.

While some shooters may not understand the importance of having these kinds of manufacturing capabilities available, they can be a huge competitive advantage. I’ve seen small companies struggle to find casting and injection molding companies that have the expertise and capacity to take on new jobs. Having a foundry or injection molding company gives a company like Ruger or Smith & Wesson a huge competitive advantage in bringing new guns to market.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Sasquatch

    Good to know.

  • ostiariusalpha
    • Major Tom

      Deja vu

    • AC97

      Lol, what a clown.

      Until I’m told otherwise, this article was written specifically to annoy him.

      • 22winmag

        Good blogs going down the tubes should annoy just about anyone.

        Even Canadian-based blogs such as TFB.

    • PK

      This had to be a friendly jab at him.

      Every single article, some snide remark about how it’s not about guns… even when it is, they’re not the right kind? Strange to visit this blog and hate it so much.

      • 22winmag

        Love this blog, but the avalanche of stories about knives, flashlights, Jihad Bentleys, crew served weapons, and yes, GENERALIZED INDUSTRIAL SCALE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES are killing it.

        • Klaus Von Schmitto

          Generalized manufacturing processes to make guns.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Nah. A paper factory.

      • noob

        for targets by the ream

    • Jai S.

      This is the best thing I’ve seen all day. I love trolling the folks from the “this isn’t exactly firearms!” camp.

      • 22winmag

        CNN isn’t exactly news. There is plenty of opportunity to troll those who still claim it is. Wanna volunteer?

        • Jai S.

          I don’t see what CNN has to do with this.

          • Phillip Cooper

            The same thing CNN has to do with news.

            Absolutely nothing.

          • Jai S.

            Quite an agenda you got there.

            To name a few: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and to a lesser extent The BBC and NPR are all pretty biased and frequently push a narrative. This is nothing new. Historically newspapers have been used to promote the views of their owners. In fact most of the publications at the beginning of the US’s founding were created for that purpose. Journalism was not as bad as it is today, but it has certainly been worse.

            You can only have enough faith in a piece of journalism as you do in the owners of the platform and the specific journalist.

            The internet makes this much easier to find good reporting and commentary. Bad publications become obvious, and the objective gain a following. CNN and Fox News are so blatantly bad because we have the ability to fact check for ourselves.

          • Phillip Cooper

            You said in half a page what I said in one sentence. Good job.

          • Jai S.

            Not at all. This topic is complicated and has nuance. Ignoring the details of a subject, and pushing a narrative is exactly the problem with entities like CNN. Publishing a statement “CNN has nothing to do with news” is ignoring the details and pushing a narrative.

            Typing out in the comments of a blog “CNN has nothing to do with news!”does not promote good journalism. The discussion has to involve at least some general examples of what CNN publishes that excludes it from being good journalism. It also needs to include good journalism actually is.

            You and I are in agreement that CNN is garbage! We are both pretty passionate on this subject. If we want to promote good journalism we need to talk about what that means.

  • Duro Sig

    so I guess that’s the reason why SW no longer makes any steel, or aluminum framed semi auto’s anymore…shame.

    • Matt

      It’s all about the margins

    • Flounder

      Their 1911s? Last I checked their standard was steel, and they made aluminium and scandium framed 1911s.

      I can’t think of any modern guns ie compete directly with glock that has a metal frame… The Sigs are the only ones i can think of and they are aluminium… I know I am forgetting something but the point is kinda made.

      There really is no market for steel framed double stack guns today. The sig’s are almost all aluminium except for some almost custom guns but that is a different market they are appealing to.

      Which means that The beretta M9 is probably the last successful steel framed “modern” gun. I think it is because people are confident in their polymer guns and the weight in the frame doesn’t help you. It just makes it harder to carry, eliminating a lot of potential buyers.

      • Kjk

        M9 isn’t steel. It’s aluminum

        • AC97

          That, and they didn’t mention the CZ 75, for instance.

  • noob

    soooo… how does hi-point cast their slides and bolt groups?

    • roguetechie

      Out of crapass zamack which you can do on a stovetop if you absolutely have to…

  • Destro Yakisoba

    I was told years ago that Ruger makes significantly more money from it’s casting business than the firearms biz. Not sure if that is true or not.

  • 22winmag

    Cryptic indeed!

  • SIG SAUER uses a company called MOLD PRO from NH for their P320 frames.

  • RazorHawk

    Only big companies can afford the capital investment in these kinds of manufacturing operations.

    The beauty of CNC machining is even small companies can make guns like the Ar-15 without having to fork so much money on machinery.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      As soon as you want to make something besides an AR-15, that starts to fall apart.

      • RazorHawk

        You can still make other guns on those same cnc machines. As long as its aluminium and you have the specs.

  • Denny

    Very good article; guns are not just ‘shooting’. They must start somewhere, somehow.

    Those companies who want to succeed, must invest huge amount of cash and know-how; no other way forward.

  • John McPherson

    Pine Tree at one time made casting for military rockets which I think is why Bill supported so much gun control such as hicap bans. Those military contracts were money makers and he wanted more.