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Anyone see in todays paper where it talks about discontinuing Winchester Rifles? Section A pg 4, Richmond Times Dispatch. It says that they will be closing a plant in New Haven on March 31 and the only new rifles with the name of Winchester will be the modern, high-end models produced in Belgium, Japan, and Portugal. And that the older models will be scrapped, which icluded the model 94.

Anyone else heard about this
 

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I heard something similar. Going abroad to produce. Didn't hear about discontinuing, but my bet is that they need to move and restructure for a reason.
 

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from rueters news, explains a bit

By Damian Troise

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Connecticut factory that produced the Winchester rifle, celebrated in cowboy movies as the gun frontiersmen used to settle the American West, is shutting down after 140 years in New Haven.

Belgian-based Herstal Group told its 186 workers this week it plans to shutter the U.S. Repeating Arms plant, formerly known as Winchester Rifle Company, on March 31 due to slow sales.

That would end production of the Model 70 bolt-action rifle and the Model 94 lever-action rifle, known as "The Gun that Won the West" because of its use by frontiersmen in the late 19th century.

Newer models carrying the Winchester name still will be produced in Belgium, Japan and Portugal, the company said.

"If this plant does close, it will be the end of an era," said facility director Paul DeMennato, speaking from the New Haven factory, which employed more than 15,000 people during the 1940s and produced millions of guns over the decades.

The Winchester rifle became a symbol of the American West as wielded by movie star John Wayne and was later used on a popular U.S. TV series called, "The Rifleman."

Earlier, President Theodore Roosevelt helped popularize the gun by using it on a much-publicized African safari.

The company met with a prospective buyer late Wednesday, DeMennato said on Thursday, adding it was too early to tell if a sale was a serious possibility.

"Something like this isn't like buying a house," he said.

In the past year the plant dropped production by 50 percent, DeMennato said, noting that a strong international market producing less expensive rifles prompted the company to make the decision to shutter the plant.

The former owner of the factory, Missouri-based Olin Corp., still owns the rights to the Winchester brand name and licenses it to Herstal. That license expires in 2007.

Workers expressed a mix of frustration and anger after hearing the news on Tuesday.

"We've given up a lot, everything to keep this place going," said Mary O'Toole, an assembly worker with 18 years at the company. "You have generation upon generation working here and to see it go under now just doesn't seem right."
 
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