My, how quickly attitudes change.
For as long as I've been writing in this space, Remington has been the world's most maligned firearms brand. Now, it is the world's hottest brand.
Since Remington was sold and its assets divided among new owners, every Remington is now a limited edition. Remington's plant in Ilion, N.Y., closed, so there will be no new guns bearing the Ilion, N.Y., stamp. All Ilion-stamped guns are now collectible.
One year ago you could buy a used Remington 700 bolt-action rifle in any configuration for a decent price, excluding highly desirable calibers that were no longer in production. Those included 7mm-08 Rem., 22-250 Rem., 308 Win. and 280 Rem., and of course, all of the .22-caliber centerfires.
On Tuesday, a Model 700 BDL in 7mm-08 in what appeared to be about 90% condition sold on an internet gun auction site for $1,347. That gun had noticeable dings and finish marring, and it was also missing its front sight hood. The spike is apparent throughout Remington's rifle catalog, including the more spartan ADL and SPS models.
Remington shotgun prices are unaffected, with prices holding steady and maybe even slightly declining. Model 1100 12- and 20-gauge shotguns in good condition still run about $500. Exceptions are those in new condition, with box and paperwork. Their prices have soared and are now around $1,300-$1,500.
Model 1100s in 28-gauge and .410 bore have always been expensive. Now they are even more expensive. An 1100 in 16-gauge, in 90% or better condition from any era, has been practically untouchable for many years. A modern 1100 16-gauge "new in the box" on the same internet site currently sits at $2,258 with 22 bids, and with six days remaining in the auction. Compare that with an 1100 20-gauge LT model new in the box sitting at $1,300 with 16 bids and four days remaining in the auction.
This is all really funny to me because Remington seems to be universally hated on every firearms forum I visit. I also encounter it in the retail world, most recently last summer when a clerk at a big retailer scoffed, "I wouldn't own a Remington" while I held one in my hands.
"What are you doing selling it, then?" I asked. Grumble, grumble, grumble was the reply.
The rifle was a Model 700 5-R Stainless Cerakoted in 6.5 Creedmoor with an H-S Precision stock. It's a custom rifle, and the shooting media universally gave it glowing reviews. I couldn't stand it. I told the guy that I would come back tomorrow and buy it from somebody that has some sense. And I did.
Remington-made Marlin lever-action rifles are the most curious beneficiaries of all this recent goodwill. From the moment Remington acquired Marlin, firearms forums torched the "Remlin" leverguns. The guns didn't feed right. Wood-to-metal finish was terrible. Sights were installed canted on the barrels. Internal components were prone to break. Any Marlin rifle with an MR-prefix serial number was to be avoided at all costs.
The run of Remington-produced Marlins was relatively short. Ruger acquired all of Marlin's rights in Remington's bankruptcy divestment, and now MR-prefix rifles are very limited editions. Their value has gone up quite a bit over the last few months, and an MR-prefix levergun is actually now in higher demand than the JM-stamped models that Marlin built in its New Haven, Conn., factory. That's because the number of JM rifles far exceeds the number of MR guns.
Curiously, the levergun community is excited about Ruger acquiring Marlin. The forums are optimistic that Ruger will build a high-quality product and perhaps transfer Ruger's tradition of chambering bolt-action and falling-block rifles in obscure cartridges to Marlin leverguns. I have been begging Henry Rifles to chamber its Big Boy leverguns in 375 Win. If Ruger brings back the Marlin 375, I will be thrilled.
Some people are worried Ruger has no history building lever-action rifles and does not understand the design. Like Remington, Ruger might experience some quality control issues with its initial output, but also like Remington, they'll correct them quickly. Frankly, I'm not sure those issues ever existed with the Remlins. My Model 336 in 35 Rem. wears serial number MR00009C. Only eight were built before that one, and there's not a thing wrong with mine.
If you own a Remington rifle or a Remington-made Marlin, congratulations. You have an appreciating asset.