The Lewiston Tribune recently awarded Vista Outdoors (parent company of CCI and Federal Ammunition) Vice President Marty Zacha the Business Person of the Year award. In the following business profile, Zacha gave his insider’s opinion on future rimfire prices and production. As the largest producer of rimfire ammo in the US, Vista Outdoors is comprised of CCI, Federal Premium, Independence, Blazer, and many other shooting sports companies.
Vista Outdoors Makes Huge Investment to Ramp Up Ammo Production
Vista has just begun work on a $70 million dollar expansion plan to increase rimfire and primer production. Zacha explained that they are expanding their primer production lines as well as ordering a substantial amount of new equipment for faster, more efficient production of ammunition and components. Vista will also be rearranging their manufacturing structure, as rimfire production facilities will be expanded and consolidated and centerfire ammunition production will also be housed under one roof.
When asked about how the election has affected the market, Zacha explained, “There’s been a few order cancellations. Not a lot, but a few. If you go into a gun store…you see a lot of guns on the shelf, where a few years ago you wouldn’t have seen that. It was harder to find what you really wanted.” Many others in the firearms industry could testify to the dropping demand for ammunition, firearms, and gear. “Historically in the ammunition market, when things start to go soft, which we’re starting to see right now because of the election,” Marty replied, “it becomes a price war.” Prices have been dropping steadily since November, and great deals on ammo have been easier to find.
Vista’s Plan for Future Rimfire Production
But what happens when demand for rimfire ammunition drops amid Vista’s huge investment to increase production? Zacha answered, “If the market changes, the rimfire equipment can be switched to manufacture power loads that drive fasteners into steel and concrete in construction and stunners for the meat processing industry.” This would mean CCI, Federal, and Blazer can switch production over to non-ammunition products and keep the doors open. He also added that plans for continuing the upgrade process have not changed, but also stated that a substantial market shift could halt the expansion.
What This Means for Future Rimfire Prices
Prices are dropping and supply is swelling, which is good for the shooting community. Plinkers can enjoy a day at the range for much less and not have to worry about the lack of ammo on the shelves. It has been a long four years as popular calibers like .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum have been scarce and pricey. But, with the lower demand it should start being more plentiful and less expensive. And, if Vista’s investment project can increase production, we may see even more rimfire ammunition available.
On a less optimistic note, if demand for rimfire drops, Vista’s production will have to focus on non-ammunition products. Zacha mentioned the manufacture of power loads for the construction and meat processing industries. Large construction projects (such as a border wall) may increase the need for power loads, and also increase their profitability. If that happens, rimfire ammunition will slow, and prices may rise. We’ll have to wait and see what 2017 brings!
What do you think of Vista’s expansion and Marty Zacha’s words? Let us know in the comments.
Read More on Vista Outdoors’ Website.