Had a tour of the Sturm Ruger pistol plant in Prescott, AZ


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hang fire
April 22, 2013, 03:36 PM
Wife’s younger brother is the chief manufacturing engineer at the Sturm Ruger pistol plant in Prescott, AZ. He treated us to a tour of the plant, and I was most impressed.

He explained each step of the production process, the speed of the fully automated CNC tooling, which makes the pistol’s production possible, is amazing and something to behold. He led us through for just one pistol, whereas a completed gun is boxed for shipment every 30 seconds, and it was just one of the many different models made in the plant. All CF pistol barrel rifling is broach cut while fully submerged in an oil bath, and watching it was like zip, done. Watching round steel billets transformed into slides and barrels at such speed, was hard to follow.

They are months behind for filling outstanding orders, and have had to stop taking new orders for three months to fill existing orders. Every day over 40,000 rounds of ammunition is fired, just for the proof testing of guns being shipped.

There are over 800 employees in the plant working two long shifts and they are adding new space and machine tooling to increase production even further.

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arizona98tj
April 22, 2013, 04:00 PM
Did you know which pistols are produced there?

hang fire
April 22, 2013, 04:15 PM
As I understand it, all of the Ruger semi-automatic pistols are.

anothernewb
April 22, 2013, 04:16 PM
the SR1911 and the SR22 are made there for sure. I suspect much of the auto pistol lines are made there.

Potatohead
April 22, 2013, 08:40 PM
very interesting...dont they know their is an ammo shortage? :)

hang fire
April 22, 2013, 08:44 PM
LOL, that was my thought when he said 40,000 per day.

2zulu1
April 22, 2013, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the heads up. Are there tours open for the public or does one need an inside contact?

brickeyee
April 22, 2013, 09:39 PM
Modern manufacturing is a wonder to watch.

Armybrat
April 22, 2013, 10:24 PM
My SR45 says Prescott, Arizona.

CmdrSlander
April 22, 2013, 10:28 PM
Wife’s younger brother is the chief manufacturing engineer at the Sturm Ruger pistol plant in Prescott, AZ. He treated us to a tour of the plant, and I was most impressed.

He explained each step of the production process, the speed of the fully automated CNC tooling, which makes the pistol’s production possible, is amazing and something to behold. He led us through for just one pistol, whereas a completed gun is boxed for shipment every 30 seconds, and it was just one of the many different models made in the plant. All CF pistol barrel rifling is broach cut while fully submerged in an oil bath, and watching it was like zip, done. Watching round steel billets transformed into slides and barrels at such speed, was hard to follow.

They are months behind for filling outstanding orders, and have had to stop taking new orders for three months to fill existing orders. Every day over 40,000 rounds of ammunition is fired, just for the proof testing of guns being shipped.

There are over 800 employees in the plant working two long shifts and they are adding new space and machine tooling to increase production even further.

That bit worries me. They are investing all this money to meet an unnaturally inflated demand that will inevitably collapse. They're going to be in trouble if they play this wrong.

hang fire
April 23, 2013, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the heads up. Are there tours open for the public or does one need an inside contact?
I honestly do not know.

MrInquisitor
April 23, 2013, 12:47 AM
Is there any handwork at all besides the final assembly?
What kind of CNC machinery? Brand? Axis number?

Stringfellow
April 23, 2013, 01:12 AM
Very cool.

Back in the mid 90s, I was in environmental work in Connecticut and worked on cleaning up some of the old Remington facilities. They were massive complexes and a sight to see.

9mmepiphany
April 23, 2013, 01:15 AM
When I was at Gunsite for the 1911 Centennial class, a Ruger rep conducted a presentation of the SR1911. At that time, he mentioned that they were not set up for public tours of their factory

slamfirev10
April 23, 2013, 02:04 AM
very cool 1st hand report, thanks

hang fire
April 23, 2013, 02:18 AM
Is there any handwork at all besides the final assembly?
What kind of CNC machinery? Brand? Axis number?
I really don't know, and if did, could not divulge possible proprietary information after signing confidentiality form.

bds
April 23, 2013, 05:08 AM
There are over 800 employees in the plant working two long shifts and they are adding new space and machine tooling to increase production even further.
That bit worries me. They are investing all this money to meet an unnaturally inflated demand that will inevitably collapse. They're going to be in trouble if they play this wrong.
I don't think so.

Now that SR45 is out and it is one of very few California compliant 45 pistol, it will undoubtedly be very popular especially at the price point of $425 - $450 retail. 45ACP is an attractive caliber for many and SR45 would be an obvious choice for SD/HD for many that's priced lower than almost all other 45ACP.

Ruger sells millions of firearms each year and is currently the largest firearms seller in the US - http://www.gunsandammo.com/2012/08/21/growth-industry-ruger-approaching-record-gun-sales/

All the reviews I have seen/read of SR45 have been positive (http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SR45.htm) (along with other Ruger firearms like SR1911) and I am actually looking to buy one myself and many of my family/friends/neighbors/coworkers want one too. My bet is that Ruger will probably continue to grow and expand their manufacturing plants for years to come.

tarosean
April 23, 2013, 07:48 AM
That bit worries me. They are investing all this money to meet an unnaturally inflated demand that will inevitably collapse. They're going to be in trouble if they play this wrong.

Ruger outsells everyone else in the market and has been the leader for some time. They sold 1.25million firearms from 4/11 -4/12 to do a challenge to benefit the NRA. If they need to expand its not because of the bubble/panic..

OilyPablo
April 23, 2013, 08:43 AM
That bit worries me. They are investing all this money to meet an unnaturally inflated demand that will inevitably collapse. They're going to be in trouble if they play this wrong.

Don't worry so much.

Ruger has been growing for much longer than this latest banic. He said adding, not doubling or tripling so they buy 3 or 5 machines, add 100,000 sq ft (or whatever) - they can easily afford that and more. Sturm Ruger is a public company - look at the numbers. This is the free market (more of less) - well it's gov/capitalism swapping spit - Ruger can take the risk and reap the reward.

Old Fuff
April 23, 2013, 12:39 PM
Sturm-Ruger is something rare in today's manufacturing environment, in that they are debt free. Not only that but they have a substantial amount of cash assets that are available to fund expansion. Given this, they would be foolish not to expand into growing market demand.

tekarra
April 23, 2013, 09:05 PM
That would be a very interesting tour indeed, I envy you.

MagnumDweeb
April 23, 2013, 09:29 PM
I love Ruger, made in America.

Catpop
April 23, 2013, 09:42 PM
Well said brother, I own a dozen and love them all.

Bush Pilot
April 23, 2013, 10:29 PM
Did you ask them when my gun was going to repaired and sent back?

460Kodiak
April 24, 2013, 09:55 AM
Thanks for the heads up. Are there tours open for the public or does one need an inside contact?

I looked into a tour last year as business, and vacation afterward came up for me in the neighborhood. I checked their website and they do not offer public tours. I was disappointed but as it turns out, wouldn't have had the time anyway.

That's really cool that you got to go! That may warrant a "thank you six pack". You are lucky. I'd love to see the entire process of building a gun in a large production facility.

Potatohead
April 25, 2013, 08:49 PM
Did you ask them when my gun was going to repaired and sent back?

now thats funny right there..i dont care who you are..

hang fire
April 26, 2013, 01:20 AM
Bush Pilot
Member Did you ask them when my gun was going to repaired and sent back?


Nope, but saw a post mortem being done on one, maybe it was yours. (;>)

RainDodger
April 26, 2013, 04:38 PM
Very cool indeed. I was very negative towards anything Ruger and then I discovered the .30-'06 Model 77 I picked up in trade is probably the most accurate .30-'06 I've owned... it is still in the safe.

Then, it inexplicably multiplied and I discovered a new SR22 in there too! It has digested any and all .22LR cartridges I've been able to feed it... it also remains in the safe.

So... I guess I've gone to the dark side and become a Ruger guy.

I envy your factory tour also!

Ken70
April 26, 2013, 10:16 PM
Two shifts? How about three shifts, working seven days or maybe part of Saturday. My father did 20 years at GM working 58 hour weeks. I was doing 56 hours a week for the three years I was at Ford. Ford was three shifts, seven days a week for most of 30 years at that plant. GM was two ten hour shifts a day, two shifts, eight hours on Saturday.

Instead of screwing around with getting more machinery in a couple of years, just use the stuff you have longer each week.

Jim K
April 26, 2013, 10:35 PM
Bill Ruger was a very conservative businessman. I don't mean politically, but in company management. Unless the company has changed a lot, they are not going to go in the hole to cover a temporary demand.

In fact, most gun companies operate that way, which is why the current shortage. Companies will put on extra shifts rather than going into big expansion projects. Excess workforce can be let go or reduced by attrition, but extra machinery and new buildings are a long term anchor around the corporate neck.

Jim

loose noose
April 27, 2013, 01:17 PM
That Ruger plant is right off Ruger road just north of Prescott off Hwy 89. I went there for a job interview about 15 years ago, however I never did accept the job offer. Just didn't want to pick-up all my belongings and move. Kind of sorry I didn't now though. Lets see I've got an old 3 screw .22/.22magnum, a .44 Mag Carbine, a 10-22, 3 screw .44 Magnum revolver, a Mark I .22. Plus I would dearly love to get my hands on a 22/45 Mark III, however they are no where to be seen around these parts. I do envy you in regards to having the tour, I was escorted back to an office for my interview, never got to see the workings though.:D

armoredman
April 27, 2013, 01:53 PM
When I was at a local gun shop, (gonna be THE LGS for me from now on), and a delivery guy dropped in with some Ruger LC-9s. He commented, being so close, (about 100 miles away), that sometimes he gets guns in that were made less than four days ago, and sold right after that.

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