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.