Winchester M70s now assembled in Portugal?


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jim in Anchorage
December 11, 2013, 02:56 AM
Whats the deal with that? I just found out. Whats so hard about assembly of a BA rifle that it's best to pack up the parts, send them 3000 miles away and have the finished product shipped back?

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Palehorseman
December 11, 2013, 04:22 AM
Tis the name of the game today.

eastbank
December 11, 2013, 04:47 AM
shipping may be 40-50 dollars and maybe 20-30 dollars to assemble it and other 40-50 to ship it back. these figures may be higher or lower,there just to make a point. what they get out of this is less labor related costs, no unions,no federal or loca taxesl , no health insurance. this is not something new, i have a japanese made browning bss double barrel that was assembled in portugal in the mid 70,s. eastbank.

jim in Anchorage
December 11, 2013, 04:55 AM
I just find it remarkable it's Portugal. Are they a 3rd world country with super low wages? And BA rifles? It's not a car. Anyone with a half days training should be able to put one together in 10 minutes.

Mp7
December 11, 2013, 05:04 AM
Portugal is in the EU.

It´s the US that has no health insurance,
and so on.

Could be other market factors. Does one know how well the model sells in the rest of the world?

jim in Anchorage
December 11, 2013, 05:45 AM
Goverment health insurance makes a gun cheaper for the end user? I am not going to go there as I do not want to see this thread locked.

Vincent Price
December 11, 2013, 05:46 AM
I don't really get it either. Portugal has two problems competing worldwide. It has the Euro which makes labour there expensive and compared to other European countries it has a very low productivity which makes manufacturing there slow and therefore expensive again.

It only makes sense if they want to push into the European market I suppose.

Ash
December 11, 2013, 05:50 AM
Portugal is in bad financial shape with high unemployment and among the lowest wages in the EU as a prize for socialism. As a result, the skilled labor required to barrel and head space a rifle (the Portuguese assembled arms for FN and Hk for decades) is considerably cheaper than here. As mentioned, Portugal has been an assembly location for FN for a long time, and since FN ownes the Winchester license for the present, assembling and finishing there may make a bunch of sense. It isn't all that expensive to ship bulk parts on a ship, probably on the order of a buck per assembled rifle going over, and probably not much more than that coming back. The savings in assembly could be substantial. Even were the savings nil in the labor department, FN may have the open capacity in Portugal and so does not need to waste time building infrastructure here to accommodate said assembly. If such open capacity exists, it could even be financially and strategically important to assemble there at a small loss. Keeping skilled workers busy is better than losing them.

HexHead
December 11, 2013, 06:54 AM
FN/Browning has been assembling HiPowers there for decades. Perhaps with the decline in HiPower production, they needed to send another product there to keep the factory running?

I had both a full Begian made and an "Assembled in Portugal" one at the same time, and there was absolutely no difference in quality. If anything, the Portugese one was more nicely finished.

eastbank
December 11, 2013, 07:09 AM
i see no problem with that pratice as long as it means firearms are held to a affordable price with quality. and who here realy thinks its cheaper to assemble in the USA compared to portugal? i would like to go back to the late 40,s and 50,s and get firearms made completly in the good old USA, but i,m afraid those days are only a memory. eastbank.

T.R.
December 11, 2013, 08:11 AM
I've visited Portugal twice with my wife. Great climate like northern California, excellent food & wine, plus we even enjoy their local music. I didn't observe any place that looked like a 3rd World Country at all.

Portugal and Spain are neighbors but language and customs are much different. Fine cutlery is made in Spain; their steel is famous.

TR

Laphroaig
December 11, 2013, 08:52 AM
I didn't know that either. One of my sons recently bought a Featherweight, 270 WSM, that apparently was assembled there. Its a beautiful rifle, and shoots very well. In fact, I like it so much I thought about getting one for myself.

I think that they make several other models there already so the infrastructure is in place. I still can't believe the economics alone can justify all the extra shipping and handling involved?

Laphroaig

jim in Anchorage
December 11, 2013, 09:02 AM
Well I need to get a quick note in here before the thread is locked [as it will be it's to political] I have no problem with FN moving the Winchester brand to SC. I fully understand the state tax advantages going to a SE state out of a NE state.
But really is saving a few pennies going over seas worth it? Winchester/FN are going to save nothing compared to the damage to their reps for being a fully American gun.

skoro
December 11, 2013, 09:16 AM
Nothing against FN for making the decision they deem best for their business. I'll just say that I'm glad both of my Model 70s are from 2008, when they were built in the good ol' USA. That said, I wouldn't expect the quality to suffer on the new ones made in Portugal.

Art Eatman
December 11, 2013, 11:03 AM
Hard to tell from outside what the reasoning is, but I'd bet real money that it's an economic decision and not at all political. And the politics of Portugal are irrelevant.

We export grains and plastics. So we import some guns--and ammo. The real issue in this international trade is that of quality vs. price. As long as the banger is worth the buck, it's as fair a deal as one could find. :)

It looks like, from some posts above, "So far, so good."

sage5907
December 11, 2013, 01:07 PM
Just be glad that FN bought Winchester instead of the chinese! Hopefully some of that old world craftsmanship will continue in their products. U.S companies can't stay in business when they focus on quality rather than the profit margin. Big business is all about the profit margin.

Paladin7
December 11, 2013, 01:28 PM
I can tell you from direct business advisory experience with Fortune 500 Clients that these decisions are made to cut costs/increase profit margin while producing a product that the market wants. It's pretty simple...

If you think about the process FN is taking to make/acquire parts, ship them overseas, have them assembled, go through QC, and ship the finished product back, in order to get it to market, you really have to wonder what is going on in the US business environment that may have caused this.

Believe me, if you want companies to invest in the US, there needs to be a favorable reason to do so...i.e. no/very low taxes and a dramatically reduced regulatory environment.

Government is the problem here. How you vote matters...I only support candidates who believe in the free market and show it by their voting records. Socialists/Leftists and RINO Crony Capitalists hurt us all. The Market just responds...

jmr40
December 11, 2013, 02:15 PM
My SWAG. The factory in SC is set up to produce military equipment. Sending the sporting rifle production to that facility took up space they really needed for the factory's primary use. Winchester took up a very small part of the factory floor space and they have never been able to produce the number of rifles they could sell.

Just guessing really, but I'd bet it has as much to do with model 70's not having enough room in the SC plant as it does economics. I'd expect to finally see a lot more 70's on shelves. And in a lot more chamberings and configurations that they have never been able to offer.

FiveInADime
December 12, 2013, 08:46 AM
I think it would be awesome if they could bring back something like the "Ranger" sub-model to sell with a plain hardwood stock in the $500 range. If they could start to offer lower end models for competitive prices again, I'll take the trade off of having the parts assembled in Portugal. How many of us gladly buy German optics to put on fine rifles? The companies profits are going to Belgium, anyhow.

waffentomas
December 12, 2013, 10:59 AM
The 'Winchester' name is just a trademark anymore, it doesn't really mean what it used to. Most 'Winchester' base model shotguns are now made in Turkey.

If you buy the rights to the trademark, you can slap it on anything.

Even 'Winchester' ammo is just ammo made by Olin.

True 'Winchester' made in USA type products are becoming collectors items. The old M1 Carbines, with the 'Winchester' roll mark on the receiver, are increasing in value because of this stuff.

Always make sure you know where an item is made before you buy it.

Heck, I've seen handguns from a reputable (foreign) mfr. come across the counter made in China(!?).

nathan
December 12, 2013, 11:12 AM
It is production cost, period. More money to make and less hassle and taxation, thats the end game...

john843
December 12, 2013, 05:39 PM
I spoke with the firearms buyer for Bass pro and was told that the move was to eliminate what is apparently a huge backlog for Mod. 70s. That and to be able to increase production going forward in a facility much more suitable. I guess we can all speculate as to cost-cutting, but it seems that being able to dedicate a larger portion of a facility they already own in Portugal may make more sense.

Laphroaig
December 12, 2013, 07:40 PM
Even 'Winchester' ammo is just ammo made by Olin

I think that Winchester and Olin Chemical have been associated with each other since the early 1900's. In fact. Olin owned Winchester for many years.

Laphroaig

MAKster
December 12, 2013, 08:00 PM
Olin bought Winchester in 1931 and made both ammo and firearms. In 1980 they spun off the firearms manufacturing to a group of their own employees under the name U.S. Repeating Arms Company. Olin still owned the rights to the Winchester name and licensed it to USRAC. In 1989, FN Herstal bought USRAC. When the New Haven plant closed in 2006, FN started manufacturing the Winchester firearms at various plants in Portugal, South Carolina, Belgium and Japan.

joed
December 12, 2013, 10:01 PM
What's going to happen to the younger guys when they want a new rifle? Seems like every day something new comes along to cheapen the rifles. The Remingtons and Winchesters I own were all made in the US. Good luck on the new stuff.

H&Hhunter
December 13, 2013, 12:18 AM
Well I'll say it.

The last of the New Haven M-70's were JUNK. Quality control had started to severely slip towards the end. South Carolina guns are hit or miss I only hope that the quality gets better in Portugal. Japanese built Browning rifles are not bad at all.

I'm all for keeping it American but good heavens BUILD a decent product please..

jim in Anchorage
December 13, 2013, 02:22 AM
H&H-I am afraid you are right about the late new Haven guns. I bought, in 2006, one of the very last new Haven guns a coyote in .223 WSSM.
First thing I notice at the range is the trigger pull is very heavy. Crisp with no creep or over travel, but heavy. OK I can fix that. First shot-a heavy bolt lift. So I look at the fired case a bulge just ahead of the web. I do not expect a oversize chamber on a BN gun I just spent $700 on.

Unplesant news #3- I am scattering shots all over the paper. Ever the optimist I figure it's the heavy trigger. So go home to ajust it and discover the guard screws are just hand tight. I needed no tools just my fingers to unscrew them out.
I was NOT pleased with any of this but by then new Haven Winchester had shut off the lights and I had no recourse.

JohnBT
December 13, 2013, 08:48 AM
"Winchester/FN are going to save nothing compared to the damage to their reps for being a fully American gun. "

Fully American? One or two models maybe, but Winchesters in general have been made overseas for many years.

www.winchesterguns.com/customerservice/qna/detail.asp?id=287

"a more consistent pattern emerged in the early 1990s. Since then Winchester rifles and shotguns have been produced at associated factories in many locations around the world. "

My 2003 Winchester SX-2 Waterfowl was Made in Belgium. Great gun.

So I say what damage. To long-time Browning firearm lovers, there's a sweet sound to FN and made in Belgium. A lot sweeter even than Made in America. If FN was good enough for Mr. Browning, etc.

If my 10-year-old BHP is any indication, it appears the facility in Portugal does great work, too.

SlamFire1
December 13, 2013, 12:44 PM
I understand the hourly wage in Pakistan (at least for garmet workers) is 23 cents per hour. How many shirts in your closet were made in Pakistan?

This wiki link shows Portugal to have the lowest average month salary in the EU, or at least, close to the lowest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_in_Europe_by_monthly_average_wage

I have heard people talk about the end of manufacturing in American. At least till that time when Americans will work on an assembly line for 22 cents per hour. No phone, no lights, not a single luxury, but cheap labor. As long as energy is cheap and transportation quick and secure, and the self destructive attitude of Americans to buy cheapest regardless of where it is made, expect every brand name, including your rifles, shotguns, pistols, to be made overseas.

You can see, people have gotten used to it, even promoting it as a quality standard. Won’t be long till your barrel is proudly stamped “Not made in America”!

H&Hhunter
December 13, 2013, 01:55 PM
You can see, people have gotten used to it, even promoting it as a quality standard. Won’t be long till your barrel is proudly stamped “Not made in America”!

Unfortunately we are mostly there already. And it's not the fault of the American worker. Rather, it is the endemic plague that is globalization. The robber barons and child worker slave masters of the 19th century haven't gone anywhere. They are still here in full force, they just practice their abuses on labor overseas and out of sight and out of mind of the average 1st world consumer.

In fact we hold these modern day robber barons to the highest esteem in our society. There is no respect for those who produce in America only for the rock stars of business and money.

JohnBT
December 13, 2013, 03:46 PM
"even promoting it as a quality standard"

Since when is stating a fact some sort of promotion? Sheesh.

I will point out again that the FN guns say Assembled in Portugal, not made there. The two guns I mentioned, my BHP and SX-2, were both made in Belgium. Only the BHP was assembled in Portugal. The manufacturing is the expensive part, not the assembly.

Belgium has high wages. And high expenses and negotiated contracts and all that stuff. Here's an article on the strike they had when Ford closed a plant. Yeah, I noticed it's on the World Socialist Web Site. :) I was looking up wages. A 23-y-old apprentice for a Ford supplier was making $1900/month. That's not even a factory job.

www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/11/genk-n13.html


There is an amazing amount of manufacturing going on in this country. Check out the manufacturers' association sites for hard facts on sales and exports. Not much of it pays a lot and only requires grunt labor. Those jobs aren't coming back.

John
_____________

Update: "Ford to pay $750 million severance to workers at Belgium plant"

www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/19/us-autos-ford-genk-idUSBRE92I12M20130319

TheSwede
December 13, 2013, 07:09 PM
Portugal have very low wages. It isnt really a poor country, its a country with a few very rich people but the blue collars doesnt make many bucks.

burk
December 13, 2013, 09:47 PM
I suspect this has more to do with utilizing and optimizing manufacturing facilities than it does with cost of labor. The Turkish made shotguns (low cost mass produced pumps) are definitely a price point exception. But FN has manufacturing here in the US (in fact most of the M-4s with Colt stamps on them are made by FN), Belgium, Portugal, and Turkey. I suspect they want to keep all of their plants busy. And the reality they have to make a lot of their military production here to meet US contracts, so it only makes since that the hunting guns get made in the European plants.

Ignition Override
December 13, 2013, 11:55 PM
< Deleted by Moderator >

In some EuroZone countries, it can be cheaper for employers to keep too many staff compared to the high costs of laying them off.

H&Hhunter: My only brand-new gun (first gun purchase), an Auto-Ord. M-1 Carbine, suffered a serious failure (bolt jam) in '07. It had a free factory repair. I discovered that excellent reliability and quality are found with a Chinese, Russian, Romanian etc SKS rifles.
My Yugo SKS M59 is also top quality.

eastbank
December 14, 2013, 06:02 AM
i own three pre-fn winchester model 70,s in left hand and i have yet to find any problems with them over the years useing them in the field.. eastbank.

H&Hhunter
December 14, 2013, 10:44 AM
The last three pre-FN Model 70'd I had were all very late models in fact in the last year of production, 2 of them were nightmares. One was a .300 WSM that had extraction and head space issues it was replaced by USRAC and I subsequently got rid of it's replacement as the scope base holes were drilled out of alignment. The next one was a stainless .375 H&H that turns out the chamber and receiver cuts were so out of specs it was not salvageable. By the time I figured it out Winchester was closed down and I had no recourse. I actually cut the receiver in half to prevent anybody from getting killed by trying to use it. The last was another .375H&H that I converted to .458 Lott and it was just fine no issues.

Now my older M-70's form the early to mid 90 were all pretty decent guns. I'm pretty sure the troops in New Haven were in rebellion towards the end.

hardluk1
December 14, 2013, 11:30 AM
For what its worth Winchester is making better rifle now that it has in a generation. Does not they have to be bought! If you gota have made in America there a few left to spend your bucks on.

CraigC
December 14, 2013, 11:44 AM
Too much government regulation and union interference in the US for manufacturing here to be profitable. The government is bloated and out of control and unions have outlived their usefulness. Too many people whining about every little environmental concern. Too many people wanting everything to be cheap, first and foremost. Quality is hardly a concern.

JohnBT
December 14, 2013, 11:44 AM
www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/01/06/winchester-to-move-model-70-production-to-portugal-in-2013/

"Parts for the rifles will still be made in the U.S.A., but will be shipped to Portugal for final assembly and fitting before being shipped back to the U.S.A. for sales and distribution. SX2, SX3, and Model 101 over/under shotguns are already manufactured according to this model, so it must be more efficient than it sounds"
_________

From other sources, right or wrong, I learned that it might cost as little as a dollar to ship a gun across the Atlantic if you are sending an entire container full. I'd like to know the actual cost, but right now I need to finish lunch and get back to patching 97-y-old plaster.

John

eastbank
December 14, 2013, 01:14 PM
here are my three winchester left hand rifles,300 winichester mag with black recoil pad, 7mm remington mag with black recoil pad and a 270 winchester with red recoil pad. all three rifles will shoot three shot moa groups with the right loads and i might add they were all under 500.00 on close out. eastbank.

dvdcrr
December 14, 2013, 02:16 PM
Glad my kimber is all USA. I went leupold which might have foreign glass i dont know. Mounts are US.
Cheap and makes business sense until a ship sinks or until there is no one left in America with a high enough paying job allowing them to purchase a model 70.

HexHead
December 15, 2013, 09:59 PM
Too much government regulation and union interference in the US for manufacturing here to be profitable. The government is bloated and out of control and unions have outlived their usefulness. Too many people whining about every little environmental concern. Too many people wanting everything to be cheap, first and foremost. Quality is hardly a concern.

Let's also not forget that employing over 50 people will mean you have to provide health insurance to employees under 0bamacare or face a fine, err tax.
We're going to be seeing more of this.

JudgeHolden10
December 15, 2013, 10:43 PM
Let's also not forget that employing over 50 people will mean you have to provide health insurance to employees under 0bamacare or face a fine, err tax.

:scrutiny: Um, Portugal has socialized medicine to a greater degree than the United States does...

I'm not defending Portugal, socialism, the Euro zone, breakfast cereals (bonus points for catching the allusion), etc., but that factor doesn't appear to have dissuaded FN from relocating.

Back on topic: I really like the Winchester 70, but it's hard to justify spending more on one instead of buying a CZ, which is about the same quality for a little less money.

Gaiudo
December 16, 2013, 01:29 AM
Ordered one of the last available M70 Alaskans in .375H&H this week; I'm looking forward to getting one of their Extreme Weather in .308, once the Portugal factory gets up and running. The supply chain from Winchester has been atrocious, here's hoping the changes are for the better.

FWIW, I have two FN-made rifles, and they're the best made Winchesters I've ever shot, with the exception of a sweet little pre-war M70 I picked up a few years ago. If FN keeps doing what they're doing, this transition will be a good thing IMO.

H&Hhunter
December 16, 2013, 04:44 AM
Too much government regulation and union interference in the US for manufacturing here to be profitable. The government is bloated and out of control and unions have outlived their usefulness. Too many people whining about every little environmental concern. Too many people wanting everything to be cheap, first and foremost. Quality is hardly a concern.

Craig,

If you think that the US has to much gov regulation and union interference you've obviously not spent anytime in the EU..

joeschmoe
December 16, 2013, 05:03 AM
Ruger all American model?

joeschmoe
December 16, 2013, 05:09 AM
Too much government regulation and union interference in the US for manufacturing here to be profitable. The government is bloated and out of control and unions have outlived their usefulness. Too many people whining about every little environmental concern. Too many people wanting everything to be cheap, first and foremost. Quality is hardly a concern.
Do you know the worlds leading exporter is Germany? They make our regs, union wages and environmental laws look 3rd world.

DRYHUMOR
December 16, 2013, 06:52 AM
I seem to recall that the wood stocks on the FN 70s was already made in the EU.....

Art Eatman
December 16, 2013, 12:07 PM
As near as I can tell from what I read, medical costs to employers are much lower in Europe than in the US. More broad-based tax-supported systems. That lowers operating costs.

Once regulations on manufacturers are in place, they generally don't change in a manner to raise operating costs. That sorta zeroes out for comparative costs and problems among countries.

Could well be that an assembly plant in Portugal assembles other firearms besides Winchesters. FN has all manner of production contracts besides making its own line of sporting firearms.

Looks like the important thing is that after a period of lesser quality, we now have better quality control and a superior product.

CraigC
December 16, 2013, 01:34 PM
If you think that the US has to much gov regulation and union interference you've obviously not spent anytime in the EU..
I have but I did not go to Italy or anywhere else to get involved in their politics. All I know is why the US has shifted most of its manufacturing overseas. China doesn't have the EPA to enforce every goofy environmentalist notion of how the world should operate. We simply cannot compete with their lack of regulation, lack of environmental laws, powerful labor unions and piss poor low wages and sell everything as cheap as people want to buy it.

jaysouth
December 16, 2013, 10:11 PM
FN opened their assembly plant in Portugal in 1971. They have turned out some very well finished firearms. It was not until the 90s that Browning started stamping "assembled in Portugal" on their HPs. FN HPs made in the same factory and assembled in the same facility as Browning roll marked guns have not ever put the "assembled in portugal" on their guns.

Browning will not discuss why they so mark their guns. They are not required to do so by any US law. An acquaintance with the BATF suggested it was a misinterpetation of US tarriff laws but not any regulation from BATF.

Jobs always follow wages. The is no conspiricy to deny American workers jobs, just how things work in the real world. China is now outsourcing production to VN and cambodia for lower wages.

jim in Anchorage
December 17, 2013, 03:57 AM
You know, as I read this thread I got to thinking-when was the last time ANY company named Winchester actually designed a gun? Since the last John Browning patient? They have improved many old designs the M70 is just a improved Mauser 98.

Really the only true innovations they ever put on the market where the toggle link levers [Henry, 1866, 1873, 1876] designed By Smith & Wesson and rights purchased by Winchester and of couse the Browning patients 1886. 1892, etc.

The Winchester name has been bought and sold many times. BUT it has always been, prior to 1964 had a priceless rep for a first class, top of the line gun with great attention to fine detail and frankly beautiful lines. See pre war M70 super grade and M71 deluxe.

IF they can recapture the elegance of the pre war guns[doubtful] I will forgive Any foreign manufacture/ assembly and buy them.

TheSwede
December 17, 2013, 07:09 PM
Too much government regulation and union interference in the US for manufacturing here to be profitable. The government is bloated and out of control and unions have outlived their usefulness. Too many people whining about every little environmental concern. Too many people wanting everything to be cheap, first and foremost. Quality is hardly a concern.
And why is that? Why does people want it cheap? I dont think its only becouse they take cheap over quality. Its often becouse they must and have to take cheap before quality. Its only for the good that unions works up the wages than people can afford buying better guns and they'll demand better guns forcing remington to start make better rifles again. Or else brands like Howa/Tikka will sell better in the end.

CypressSniper
December 17, 2013, 09:28 PM
I have been trying to locate and purchase a Model 70 Extreme Weather in 7mm Rem Mag for over a year to no avail. I hope Winchester gets their act together and production does indeed improve. They are literally nowhere to be found. :banghead:

akodo
December 17, 2013, 09:53 PM
It's a business decision to pay $20 to ship an item overseas, have $5 of labor applied, and have it shipped back for $20 (total cost $45) vs having $50 of labor applied in the USA

In theory if this was explained to the customer here, they'd gladly pay the +$5, but there are just too many ways around the 'built in the USA' claim for the consumer to think they are being told the truth. About the only company who has succeeded in getting costumers to agree to pay a little bit more for keeping production in the USA or indeed moving it back has been Reaper Miniature Company, but they were only able to do it with a huge crowd-funding campaign to get cash ahead of the actual investment.

As far as 'American Made' rifles, they still exist. Take a look at the Weatherby Mark V. It originally was made here in the USA, was then moved to West Germany due to not being able to produce enough to meet demand, and then to Japan as labor costs shifted. It is now back to being assembled in the USA, with barrels coming from Brainerd MN.

I think the cheapest Mark V model you'll find will carry a $1500 tag at the gunstore. Thing is, looking at the price tag on the Remington 700 BDLs and Winchester 70s, maybe paying that much isn't so out of line...ESPECIALLY if you want 'made in the USA'

atomd
December 17, 2013, 10:03 PM
People will make things for you as well as you are willing to pay them to make it for you. If your end game is only saving money....you'll probably only end up saving money. With today's technology, training, etc... you can pretty much do anything anywhere....except that government regulations, tariffs, taxes, incentives, etc will get in the way.

TheSwede
December 18, 2013, 05:38 PM
Or what the stockholders think is worth is enought profit to continue production. Many american companies are sold or closed despite making profit, despite low tax, despite low wages just becouse the profit isnt enought for the greed owners.

Kahr33556
December 18, 2013, 08:40 PM
Hope they dont loose quality.
I have a 10 plus year old model 70 best rifle I ever owned.
Mine is back when they were putting the browning boss muzzle break on the winchesters,

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