U.S. Repeating Arms Company

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U.S. Repeating Arms Company
Founded1981 (1981)
Defunct1989 (1989) (bankruptcy)
FateTaken over by Fabrique Nationale Herstal
Area served
ProductsRifles, shotguns

The U.S. Repeating Arms Company (USRAC) was an American manufacturer of firearms. It was established in 1981 and operated as an independent company until 1989, when it went bankrupt and was taken over by Fabrique Nationale Herstal. The company traced its origins to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which was famous for making Winchester rifles.


In 1866, Oliver Winchester reorganized the New Haven Arms Company and changed its name to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. In 1931, the Western Cartridge Company (forerunner of the Olin Corporation) purchased Winchester Repeating Arms and subsequently merged with it to form the Winchester-Western Company.

In 1981, the U.S. Repeating Arms Company was established by Winchester employees to purchase the rights to manufacture Winchester-branded rifles and shotguns in New Haven, Connecticut, under license from Olin. Production of ammunition and cartridge components under the Winchester Ammunition Inc. name was retained by Olin and not licensed to USRAC.

In 1989, after the bankruptcy of USRAC, it was taken over by Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN), a Belgium-based international group producing firearms.

In early 2006, it was announced that the factory in New Haven would close.[1] Production of several Winchester rifles would cease worldwide, while some models would be continued at factories outside the United States.[1] This later changed, as according to the FN website, Winchester-branded guns are still being produced by FN in both the U.S. and Belgium.

Factory in Newhallville[edit]

The former factory in Newhallville

Industrial activity in Newhallville was reduced drastically after 1965 when Winchester, at that time the largest employer in New Haven, decided to move its main production line to East Alton, Illinois.[2] After a machinists' strike in the late 1970s, the factory was sold to U.S. Repeating Arms.[3] The neighborhood's long history of arms production finally ended completely in 2006, when the U.S. Repeating Arms factory closed, laying off 186 workers.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Repeating Arms Company To Close New Haven Facility
  2. ^ Bowie, Nicholas (Spring 2009). "Poison Ivy: The Problem of Tax Exemption in a Deindustrializing City, Yale and New Haven, 1967-1973". Foundations. 3 (2): 61–90. SSRN 3142124.
  3. ^ Associated Press, 'Gun that Won the West' becoming just part of history, USA Today, January 18, 2006
  4. ^ Tess Wheelwright, The Last Good-Bye, The New Haven Independent, March 30, 2006, and Paul Bass, The Earth Moves On Winchester, The New Haven Independent, August 11, 2009
  5. ^ Out With A Bang: The Loss of the Classic Winchester Is Loaded With Symbolism, Washington Post, January 21, 2006

External links[edit]