Posted by Marty on 10/8/2020 to Newsletters
IS 2020 THE NEW NORMAL?
Here are just a few notes to myself looking forward to 2024:
1) Stock up on primers, ammo and reloading supplies.
2) Add lots of AR's and carry guns, really doesn't matter which ones, they all bring beyond premium pricing in an election year (same for 2016 and 2020).
3) Masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc., could all be great investments. Who needs gold?
4) Consider overstocking on ALL single shot related product lines because, most likely, delivery times will double to triple just like this year.
5) And most importantly, NEVER, EVER, NEVER attempt to launch anything new during this window of time!
Gosh, that was a fun exercise. Can't wait for 2024!
It looked for a while like our next batch of MGM custom barrels would be 2021 because they were too far behind, BUT Dylan is indeed making small batches (15) for us again, and they should start rolling in anytime.
THOMPSON CENTER BARRELS AND ACCESSORIES
After discussing the nuclear option, there have been some small amounts of parts and pieces trickling in out of Columbia, Missouri. Looks like we might be fully stocked again by February. MAYBE.
REVOLUTION LAMINATE STOCKSETS
Mark, the wood shop foreman, is a miracle worker in terms of making things happen for us. He sent me a shipping schedule yesterday (10/5/20) that has us looking pretty good by the end of October as long as there are no more mandatory shutdowns by the governor of Pennsylvania.
SSK CUSTOM BARRELS
Brian dug deep and has 30 or so barrels in the .308 and .429 bore sizes that should be here by mid-October. The new barrel contour machine is ready. It's just sitting at Lehigh Defense/SSK humming and waiting for barrel blanks to arrive. Looks like the .264 bore size ships to them on 11/6 and then 7 more bore sizes .308, .429, .458, .375, .243, .224, and .358 following very closely behind. Then "KATIE BAR THE DOOR!" Or as our friend Dennis in Missouri says, "HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!" Lehigh Defense/SSK Firearms move to their new facility in Wintersville Ohio is progressing nicely, and perhaps that timing could work perfectly for the arrival of the prepped barrels.
SHARPS GRIPS AND PISTOL BRACES
John Sharps (Sharps Grips) is keeping us well supplied and they are selling very well, BUT and there is always a BUT, the pistol braces came in and went out the same week. More of those will probably be a while. It is a very well received project nonetheless. Check out the videos Eric has done on our YouTube channel.
Please allow me to recap the past year:
10/3-4/2019 in Pennsylvania to discuss this frame project--the first 100 castings from TIC(Thompson Investment Casting) inbound, internal parts machining well under way, plan in place to begin shipping by mid-December.
Thursday 10/10/2019 LAUNCH! Incredible sales response with the first 100 orders by the first weekend.
First week of December Marty gets the first prototype for Texas Pig Hunt. He shoots and scores! I love it when a plan comes together!
Trouble between TIC and S&W permanently ruined the relationship with Lehigh Defense making it clear that it's time to move on to a new casting company.
Months were spent bringing that company up to speed, inspection sample sets (just an opinion here but at thousands of dollars per set there doesn't seem to be much incentive to ever get it right). Eventually, approval was given (August 2020). So how about a production schedule? Say what? What does that mean? You don't need the business?
So by now you've guessed it that the third casting company is well into the mix. Bottom line, more delays. I'll get you dates as soon as I have them.
MY GUARANTEE STILL REMAINS. IF YOU HAVE PREPAID FOR AN ORDER AND WANT A REFUND, JUST LET ME KNOW AND YOU CAN EVEN KEEP YOUR PLACE IN LINE.
These are my opinions and observations that tie us back to the first paragraph:
1) The Firearms Industry is in general a feast or famine industry--fat, dumb and happy for 8 years, 2009-2017, unwise decisions believing it's always going to be this good, so why not buy another company only to see 4 years of downturn and Remington goes up for sale in pieces. I offered an existing business a significant contract for work 2 weeks ago, and they blew me off and said sorry we don't need more business. I guess just like the 2nd casting company.
2) Surprisingly or perhaps not, our single shot centered business is extremely resistant to that feast or famine mode making it fairly consistent in it's day to day operation. This year adding Covid and riots to the election year chaos no doubt made inventory procurement a real challenge.
3) Just to put the SSK-50 delay in perspective, the TC8700 G2 blue/walnut pistol frame assembly that has been in production for 17+ years manufactured by S&W has not had a shipment since the summer of 2019. I have a backorder for 5 units dated 9/12/2019. Very few excuses coming out of Massachusetts, the only one in fact was in November 2019 that they were (and apparently still) looking for a new source of walnut grips. That excuse was given by the previous T/C Brand Manager before she was let go in March, 2020 and still has not been replaced.
4) We have, upon request, only given very few refunds for the SSK-50 project, mostly with guys going in a different direction out of timing necessity. I have taken a few shots on social media for these delays. That's okay. Delays cause frustration, BUT I am choosing to focus on the positive here. In the midst of the most chaos and turmoil most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes, THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR T/C COMMUNITY ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS PROJECT AND STAYING THE COURSE. NOT ONLY DO I THANK YOU FOR THAT BUT I BELIEVE YOU WILL BE HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME.
So is 2020 the new normal? Man I hope not.
Stay safe and shoot straight,