Inside Ruger’s New Mayodan North Carolina Plant

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Ruger American Rimfire Site Adjustment

If you are hunting critters, or just plinking, you’ll respect what the American Rimfire can do.

Ruger knows the rimfire market. There’s a lot to say about Ruger’s latest addition to the rimfire line. They run off of the 10/22 magazine and are tack drivers.  The rifles are lightweight, indestructible and inexpensive. That last part is hard to wrap your head around, considering that they’re made in the US. But that’s at the heart of Ruger’s mission. Ruger makes affordable guns.That’s easy to see. But they also fight to preserve American manufacturing. They’ve just opened a new plant in Mayodan, North Carolina and are ramping up production in an area that’s been decimated by the decline of the textile industry.

Forgive me if I get a little patriotic here, but this hits close to home. I come from this part of the country. I’ve watched the textiles mills shut down. I live in a rural part of Virginia, just two hours north of Ruger’s new plant. The economy here has been headed south for decades. We have high unemployment, empty sprawl and little hope. We have a lot in common with Mayodan. Or we used to.

When Ruger went to Mayodan, they saw opportunity. When the textile industry pulled out, it left the entire infrastructure intact. Ruger found a state that needed economic development. Rockingham County was full of underemployed (or unemployed) skilled workers. Ruger bought the empty shell of a yarn-dying facility that had closed up shop in the 90s and retrofitted it for the production of firearms.

Ruger Factory

This is the line where American Rimfires are made.

This is a part of the country that still uses firearms to put food on the table. These men and women know guns. Ruger and its product line were welcomed with open enthusiasm, and the community seems to see the new plant as an opportunity and not the political albatross gun makers are made out to be by politicians in the northeast.

The factory is pretty impressive. From the outside, it looks like the rural south. You have to know where you’re going to find the nondescript brick building tucked in the rolling Appalachian foothills. Yet the inside would defy the rest of the country’s preconceptions of the south. It is sterile and efficient, a model of lean manufacturing. Ruger currently has one line dedicated to the production of the American Rimfires that is about the size of a long grocery store isle. Teams of workers move between CNC machines and assembly, handling all aspects of production. Every rifle is test fired on a range just a few feet over and immediately brought back, packed up and loaded. At the current pace, this one line can put out 400 rifles a day.

All of the American Rifle’s milling, bluing, cold hammer forging of barrels, function testing…it all happens here, on the line in Mayodan. And there’s a lot of room for expansion, and it is a true expansion, not a relocation. Ruger’s line in New Hampshire has no little for expansion. Its Arizona facilities are getting tight, too. Each new gun Ruger introduces brings a new interest to the existing product lines, so very little drops from production. So when Ruger was considering how to move forward, they new they would have to add more floor space. The North Carolina facility had everything they needed intact, and they closed on the building on Labor Day of 2013, and had the first gun off the line two months later.

Ruger Factory

The Mayodan American Rifles sell really well in the State of North Carolina.

The American Rimfire

I’m a Ruger fan. I’ve owned a couple of 10/22s in my time, and I consider the Take-down to be the pinnacle of affordable automatic rimfire rifles. When Ruger announced the American Rimfire, I wasn’t sure that I saw the point. I own an American Rifle, too, and I respect it for what it is, but I wasn’t sure why we needed another bolt-action rimfire.

The answer came to me easily enough. The American Rimfire line is a bit larger than the 10/22 (with an overall length of 41 inches). It runs off of the same magazines, which means either 10 or 25 rounds. As a bolt action, it is inherently more reliable. Slower, but more reliable. And the American Rifle is a tack driver.

My take on the American Rimfire series is this: they are serious fun guns for people who want affordable accuracy. The 10/22 may be one of the best all-around rimfires ever made, but it is small. I’ve never gotten good gas mileage out of my 10/22. Running the bolt on the American Rimfire makes me slow down a bit. I’m a bit more likely to feed it match grade ammo and call my shots down to the inch.

Ruger American Rimfire

The rear sight on the American Rimfire should be familiar to Ruger fans.

We’ll have a full review of the American Rimfire up shortly. I liked the American Rimfire so much that I bought it and had it threaded. Running this rifle with a Silencerco Sparrow is the quietest rimfire platform I’ve ever shot.

The Mayodan factory is clearly a good thing for Ruger. They’ve got something cooking there that they wouldn’t let us see. It is frustrating, but understandable.  Ruger’s philosophy is actually prudent. They keep a seriously tight lid on things until they’re just about ready to ship. Why run reviews or news here, and Ruger is weeks away, or months, or years (as is the case with some companies)? Ruger has assured us that we’ll have the news on what’s coming, and the gun soon after.

At the rate they’re expanding, Ruger has room to grow. The new factory has 220,00 square feet of floor space. There are currently about 100 folks working the new plant, and they have room to 400 to 500 more. Growth is inevitable. And all of it—from the sourcing of springs, polymers, and steel, to the milling and cold hammer forging of the barrels—feeds a sustainable economic model that benefits all of us.

Ruger Factory

If anything is wrong with the gun, the adjustments can be made quickly.

Ruger Factory

Stacks of blued barrels are returned to the line.

Ruger Factory

The bolts, after bluing, have that deep rich sheen.

Ruger Factory

The only robot in the Mayodan plant lifts barrels for cold hammer forging.

Ruger Factory

Ruger’s drilling machine bores a pilot hole for the hammer forge to follow.

Ruger Factory

The barrel blank before and after drilling.

Ruger Factory

The mandrel and hammer for the forge.

Ruger Factory

After rifling, the barrels return to the line.

Ruger Factory

A rack of finished bolts is ready to be blued.

Ruger Factory

The receiver from start to finish.

Ruger Factory

The bolts are machined from billets, too.

Ruger Factory

Rimifires packed and ready for shipping.

Ruger Factory

The test range is built from shipping containers and is right beside the production line.

Ruger Factory

The test range is used for function and accuracy testing of every single rifle that comes off the line.

Ruger Factory

There are bins of magazines in the range just waiting for rounds.

American Rimfire

Scope mounts can be added on the milled slots, or a rail can be screwed in on top.

A scope really lets you push the limits of the platform.

A scope really lets you push the limits of the platform.

American Rimfire

The rifle shoots to point of aim with predictable reliability.

 

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • sailor eddie February 8, 2016, 8:27 pm

    Once again, for everyone’s information , the great state of Maine has also legalized fireworks.Some cities still ban them.

  • sailor eddie February 8, 2016, 7:53 pm

    For everyone’s information, the great state of Maine is now a constitutional carry state.You do not need a license or permit to purchase,open carry or concealed carry a firearm.This went Into effect on Oct.15,2015 thanks to Republican and Democrat coming together to pass legislation that the people of Maine wanted.It passed overwhelmingly even though out of state liberals ( Bloomburg ) spent millions trying to stop it.When it comes to gun control we Mainers use both hands, it is very effective.

    • Duke June 23, 2017, 9:02 pm

      NH is the same way naw too no need for a permit

  • sailor eddie February 8, 2016, 7:52 pm

    For everyone’s information, the great state of Maine is now a constitutional carry state.You do not need a license or permit to purchase,open carry or concealed carry a firearm.This went Into effect on Oct.15,2015 thanks to Republican and Democrat coming together to pass legislation that the people of Maine wanted.It passed overwhelmingly even though out of state liberals ( Bloomburg ) spent millions trying to stop it.When it comes to gun control we Mainers use both hands, it is very effective.

    • Paul Helinski February 8, 2016, 8:10 pm

      Yea just don’t get caught with fireworks.

      • Sailoreddie February 8, 2016, 8:20 pm

        By the way fireworks are legal in Maine

  • Dorenda June 28, 2015, 9:48 am

    Can The public take a tour of the Mayadan plant?

  • ralph pitsch March 2, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Isee 22 rimfire !!! I was tolled that the AR556 8500 was to be made here

  • R...A.Pitsch February 3, 2015, 3:30 pm

    I ordered a AR 556 MOD. 8500 about 3wks ago and my sport shop say’s his whole sale supplier hasn’t recived any PENNA.

  • Eric October 25, 2014, 10:11 am

    Live in NC and would like to get a factory tour. Anyone know how to arrange.

  • ce overbey sr June 10, 2014, 7:54 pm

    thank you ruger for coming to north Carolina. I have several of ur guns, and they are great.\
    reiterate, thank you. usa made.

  • UncleNat June 10, 2014, 10:29 am

    As a native North Carolinian I welcome Ruger into my home state with open arms. I carried a Ruger Single-Six as a boy running my trapline and its still the most accurate pistol I own–even with the old fixed sights! I now carry a LC-9 and cant wait to get a 10-22 with my state’s name on it. Ruger Rocks!

  • JC Brown June 10, 2014, 12:26 am

    I like the closed-breech .22. I want one of these. No bells, no whistles, just Ruger.

  • Dave Bientz June 9, 2014, 4:00 pm

    Ruger was born the same year I was (1949). Loved them since age 15!

    • Lloyd June 9, 2014, 10:51 pm

      1949 was a very good year, humm, same year I came to exist. Very good to hear of Ruger making all american products maybe they can compete with Henry’s claim. I always loved their products and own several of them, for the price you just cant find a finer gun. I will support anyone making all American made products and I strongly urge you do also, my fellow American’s

  • Hal Campbell June 9, 2014, 1:51 pm

    Ruger needs to make a version of the 10/22 in .22 Magnum! It will sell like hot cakes for years to come. Thanks for reading!

    Hal Campbell
    Benefactor Life Member NRA

    • Scott March 17, 2017, 11:10 am

      They made a version of 10-22 in magnum for a very short while, as well as 17hmr I believe. For whatever reason, it didn’t take off. I would like to get into magnum, but too costly for my taste. May as well shoot cemterfire when paying that price.

  • JamesH June 9, 2014, 1:07 pm

    I have a Ruger Mini-14 (.223 Rem) I bought in 1986. Of all my guns, this one is among my favorites. I have two .22LR rifles, a Marlin Model 60 my Dad gave me and an AR-15 Chiappa upper on an Anderson Mfg lower. They are good rimfire rifles in the .22LR but I started looking around for a .22WMR. The first one I found I like the most is the Ruger 10/22 WMR. It is a really nice looking rifle and if it is of the same quality and my Mini, it has to be a great rifle in between the .22LR and the .223. Unfortunately Ruger no longer makes the rifle in .22 WMR and I wonder why. There are many answers but I do not know what to believe. That is a mute point since there are no new ones to be had and the ones for sale are very expensive. I finally purchased a Remington 597 .22WMR. I have to say I am very satisfied with the rifle. I only wish I could have had a new Ruger because of not only the quality but also for the variety of upgrades and configurations. If Ruger makes them again, I will probably buy one even though I have the Remington.

  • Mike Rubner June 9, 2014, 11:06 am

    I love Rugers products and the fact they are made in the USA. I have over 200,000 rounds through my 20 ga. red label that I bought back in the early 1980’s. When the stock cracked Ruger fixed it for free anyhow. It was WAY out of warranty and not their problem. I have a 12, 20, 28 and .410 tubes, a 30-06 in M77 a .270 Ruger american, a 44 Redhawk, a .357 security six, a LCP and a LCR. I also have Colt’s Smiths, Sp;ringfield Armory and several custom guns. I just love the fit, finish, quality and attention to customer service I get from Ruger.

  • William Tackett June 9, 2014, 10:01 am

    One more reason to love Ruger!

  • Tom Lennington June 9, 2014, 9:51 am

    Ruger needs to offer a left hand version of this rifle. They offer a great selection of centerfire rifles in left hand versions, but ignore the .22 lr…The most popular cartridge in the world!

  • Richard Laffey June 9, 2014, 6:47 am

    I wish they would come to Maine!

    • John pepper June 9, 2014, 7:38 am

      Maybe they would have if Maine was pro gun/pro2A, but with the politicians there vastly either (D) or voting on said principals, Ruger was smart to select a state that is (R) and still supports gun rights. Understanding there are great woodsman/women in Maine, they are seemingly outnumbered by the leeches, liberals and democrats at the voting stations during elections.

      • Jason June 9, 2014, 11:51 am

        You are oh so right, my friend. So very right.

      • Ken June 17, 2014, 10:21 am

        Love you name-callers! Ruger went there for economics. Everyone under or unemployed, and, most importantly, a “right-to-work” state, they couldn’t find cheaper labor and a (R) government that would give it all to entice a business. Remember, the “Right-to-work” laws initiated in former slave states, then spread … Obviously, you don’t figure yourself as being one of those slaves… do you? Learn your laws of economics. Consumers create jobs through demand, not businesses. Businesses are the net result of demand. Let’s see… which party went all out for subsidizing Wal Mart and other big retailers… whilst Wal Mart and the like tickled cheap Chinese products under our noses… running factories, and every Mom and Pop store out of business?

        • Charles Blackburn July 14, 2014, 12:21 pm

          Dear Ken, your rant is just that. North Carolina is Well to protect from big labor. Unions destroy the incentive to produce. Yep make sure if your Union you dont produce more or better product then your Union Brethren, or be threaten with bodily harm. And dont say it doesnt happened Ive seen it. They rob your pay and do nothing but see that the whiny, sniveling Union member has job security. They squelch those that care to excel. Please stay in your gun free north like a good Little Lemming.

        • Mike November 22, 2014, 2:39 pm

          Ken
          I keep hearing this line from the Left, consumers CREATE jobs by demand… how can one demand/create something that does not exist? and please explain how they then go about creating the actual job? this is one of the most silly ideas just on the face of it… you must have capital to create anything.. your side wants to destroy capital.. please try to look objectively at what you are saying

          • Ed Fimbres January 8, 2015, 3:26 am

            Yep, Apple, Intel, Google and Facebook were created by the comsumer. Remember “you didn’t build that”. Right?

      • JJW January 4, 2016, 7:41 am

        NH is slowley being ate up by liberals just like maine I wonder how much longer Ruger will stay in NH

        • Richard McEnroe April 17, 2016, 4:35 pm

          When they’re ready, TX will welcome them with open arms, wallets and holsters!

  • LORIN June 9, 2014, 6:34 am

    NICE

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