Dan Z. for TTAG
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While lots of calibers of ammunition are slowly returning to many store shelves, primers haven’t really reappeared in any meaningful numbers since The Time Before. The two major players in the market, Olin (Winchester) and Vista Outdoor (Remington, CCI and Federal) have maxxed out their production with most of the output going to loaded ammunition.

This seems like a very good time to add a third producer and more capacity. Good news: investors are doing just that, starting up a new company in the great state of Texas dedicated to making primers by the truckload.

This new company doesn’t appear to be vaporware. It’s very real and they have money behind them. Expansion Industries, with a hundred million in capital, has secured a location and is advertising for staff to run the production lines it has planned to open later this year. In fact, they’re holding a job fair to staff the facility at the end of this month.

Expansion purchased the old Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant located 12 miles west of Texarkana, Texas that made all sorts of things that go boom for the military from World War II through the Vietnam War.

John Richardson over at No Lawyers – Only Guns & Money blog put it all together in a report that’s great news for America’s gun owners and reloaders.

The Texarkana Gazette wrote about the new employer . . .

Expansion Industries, an ammunition manufacturing company whose corporate offices are based out of Carrollton, Texas, is preparing to open a manufacturing facility here.

They have begun preparation work on the East Campus of TexAmericas Center, purchasing the main G Line of the former Lone Star Army Ammunition plant, and have begun preparing the site for operations.

Recently, they also have begun a recruiting drive, advertising an on-site job fair they have coming up Jan. 29. They plan on employing more than 400 by 2023 and have plans beyond that.

The facility will specialize in the production of primers, a key component in ammunition manufacturing, for the small arms industry.

“We have invested $100 million into the site so far,” said Richard A. Smissen, owner, Expansion Industries. “This is all about supply and demand. There is serious demand in the industry for this product and right now, for various reasons, the supply chain is falling woefully short. So we are getting ready to do our part to help out with that issue.”

Smissen describes the new facility as state-of-the-art, featuring a high level of automation. He said the site at the former Lone Star Army Ammunition plant is uniquely situated for what they will be doing.

There you have it. Four hundred jobs expected by next year when they ramp up to full-scale production. Can we get a hallelujah?

 

 

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60 COMMENTS

  1. hopefully we little reloads will get to see some of them and they wont go just to the ammo manufacturers.

    I haven’t been able to find primers for almost 2 years!

    • Even if they sell exclusively to manufacturers, that means more stock will be available from Olin and Vista. All good news for us reloaders.

    • Downunder prices on primers have doubled since early 2020. A brick of 1000 Winchester small rifle primers now costs more than $120.

        • And that was several months a go. I will have check for more recent prices.

          Probably pre-covid stock being sold at replacement cost price plus markup.

  2. But will they work in a Dillon? Or RCBS ? I’ve had 2 different European primers that caused me to get a hand primer. They won’t flow down the Dillon primer tube. And one of those slips one in sideways occasionally -3-5 per 100 in the hand primer. So I do hope they flow as smooth as CCI, Win or Federal Primers.

    • Yeah, Lee only recommends using certain primers, even for their hand primer. That’s why I prime on a different press. Hornady, maybe? The orange one.

      • With the 12 & 20ga reloaders, a Lee turret press I’ve left mounted and the Dillon, I’ve run out of room. At least with the hand primer I can watch a TV show and prime. But it does add time and an extra Step. Good thing a buddy and I got 1000sands-ez-ez es of the cheap euro primers and the fiochii’s were cheap also. Enough that even with hazmat shipping it was under 3 cents a primer. Had bought a brick of Win large pistol for $26 before it all started to climb. At least I’m getting 209a’s for $40 now. I had really cut back on shotgun for a while.

    • I hope that they are close to Winchester’s line of primers sort of the ” Goldilocks ” brand… not too hard like CCI, not too soft like Federal, generally. Or all over the place like Tula and Fiocchi, I really hated both of those.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

      There are old ammo plants all across America, from the war efforts.

      Lots of buildings engineered to handle explosive manufacturing with lightweight blowout walls and roofs, for example…

  3. That’s great news. Mostly it’s the 209s for shotshells I’m wanting. I’ll wonder where these will fall in the heat range. Some reloaders don’t think it matters much but I’m not in that camp. Hopefully they’ll be close to either the Winchester or the Federal 209a. I don’t care which so long as it’s a known.

    • It does matter.
      When I had a black powder revolver I found the harder the hammer hit the primer the more velocity I gained, and that’s using the same primer. It’s kinda like the old caps we had for our cap gunms, the harder I hit the cap( with a hammer) the louder the crack.

      • We found that out in the early days of converting Lee-Enfields to .223. The standard No4 firing pin was hitting the primers over a large area and causing them to flash like Magnum primers. Big primer flash equaled faster powder burn which resulted in pressure signs. Yellow box Norinco .223 would often result in pierced primers.

        The fix was to slim down the tip of the firing pin and install a bushing into the bolt face to accommodate the smaller firing pin. 25 years later, still no problems.

    • Michael – my local club has been getting pull down primers, powder and shot that are suppose to be from Federal’s disassembled. Gotta get it while it’s in. My last 2000 209a’s were “reman”. But I doubt the gun-broker crowd are gonna let em go for what we pay. They all went bang so far.

  4. HURRY UP IS THE RIGHT ANSWER! Prototype production up front please, as fast as you can.
    Lets see I need shotgun, small and larger rifle and pistol. Did I leave anything out? I don’t care if they work in a Dillon tube or not just so they work in the cartridges.

  5. If they can get prices sane I will buy a couple cases on principle.

    Also I am shocked they got environmental permits for this from the other stuff I have reas.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

      “i’ll get my hammer.”

      As kid in 1968 or so, I did that once to a whole roll of caps for my cowboy cap gun.

      Once. (Cue, Joe Piscapo in ‘Johnny Dangerously’)

      So, I dug up dad’s hammer and went to the front sidewalk. It was loud, and my ears rang for about an hour.

      Just once was enough.

      I liked the smell of the smoke of those old caps…

      • Me and my best friend at the ripe old age of 6 got all the caps we could and cut them open and put the powder into a pile. I then hit them with a rock, on a concrete sidewalk. At six, I was not smart but adventurous. I remember the flash and my left thumb having a burning feeling. When I looked, the explosion had blown two warts that I had on my “thumb knuckle” off. I went inside and was treated to iodine, a band aid and a lecture by my grandmother about stupidity. The warts never came back but I never did that again. Walter? He ran for the hills as soon as the rock connected with the little mound of cap powder…..
        Back in the 70’s those caps were powerful!

        • Sweet momories of Cap Guns and recess!
          Watching our brother’s running around playing Cowboy 🤠 and Indians!
          Sometimes even the Catholic Nuns would join in.

          If I could find a Cap Gun, I would get one!
          You are never too old to have fun!

  6. Good, now let’s hope Olin doesn’t try to coerce a duopoly by threatening retaliation to any retailer that sells this new brand of components.

    • I could see direct to market beong viable these days as well as small players who are Willing to catch that ire. That says nothing of indy ammo makers.

      Biden would probably have the ttc turn a blind eye though, wouldn’t he?

      • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

        Hell, they can just send a semi full to a regional gun show… 😉

        • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

          The more I think about that, the better it sounds.

          Advertise bulk semi-tractor trailer loads, hook up, and drive off.

          Their customers will literally beat a path to their door…

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

      “…et’s hope Olin doesn’t try to coerce a duopoly by threatening retaliation…”

      No coercion necessary, all they have to do is sell theirs cheaper than the start-up, and they put them out of business.

      Either way, we will win, as it should be… 🙂

      • ” all they have to do is sell theirs cheaper than the start-up, and they put them out of business ”

        This only works if Olin can meet the demand. Apparently they can’t or else they would have already done it.

        • Major manufactures are just catching up(some) and some, like LC were 2 1/2 years behind before their distributors shut off the order switch last year. And that was just the civilian market ammo. A large government contract and we’re all screwed again. Last fall I heard of the local Cabela’s got a pallet of pistol & rifle primers in. No Limit and $70 a thou- gone in a few hours if that. Now how much of that went on G.B. for $120 a brick by that evening? Can’t blame the manufactures for that.

    • Remington’s distributor downunder has been engaging in less than ethical behavior over the rifle trigger recalls. Any magazine that mentions the trigger recall will lose their advertising.

  7. And not a single primer will be out there doors until late 2023 at best.

    And unless they can make over 30 million primers PER DAY it will not make any impact.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

      “…not a single primer will be out there doors until late 2023 at best.”

      The larger players are now on notice their gravy train is about to pull into the station.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the big boys try and squeeze them out of business by slashing prices beforehand.

      I don’t care, this means ammo prices are finally about to take a *major* drop…

  8. I haven’t set up my reloading equipment since I moved, but I really could use some large rifle primers. And brass. I can’t find brass in .45-70.

    • Sometimes can find a random bag in a Bass Pro/Cabelas in the Florida-North Carolina stretch but I have only seen 2 of them in 3 years.

  9. Hallelujah and amen, brother Boch! That’s the best news I’ve heard in a month of Sundays. Now, if somebody would do the same for powder. Primers and powder are pretty much pure unobtainium these days, and I’m short of both. No problem getting brass or bullets, but my press can’t run without primers and powder.

    • Hogden is probably going to have shortages for a while because Mulwex decided to rework their product lines and manufacturing processes.

      Hogden sources some of their range from Mulwex (owned now by Thales) in Australia.

  10. Not holding my breath until I see the outcome / output of the company. The political landscape is more volatile and explosive than ever. The ATF. Keeps pushing their unlawful political policy on the books with absolutely no reason or fallout to them. We are slowly facing a bad mojo and there seems to be no slowdown or stoppage.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an apparently brain-damaged mentally-ill demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine" PR

      It’s gonna squeeze the major players hard, and about time.

      Quite frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t build it in northern Mexico.

      Labor to run it would be a whole lot cheaper. Direct access to the copper mines for brass, etc…

  11. $100 million invested in the factory, and they hired the neighbor’s nephew with a harbor freight welder to make the sign on their gate.

  12. This is the best news I’m a reloader and like the rest primers we need. Our government now is corrupted until we get a new president things will stay the same. It is ridiculous for what the sporting stores are charging for 1000 primers.I will most definitely buy my primers from you. Thank you sir for bailing us out of this mess .

  13. Two thoughts:

    1. It’s on Fantasy Island and will never get started, or

    2. If legit, they are in it to make money. Vista Outdoors will offer them double or triple their price and buy their entire production output, to prevent reloaders from getting them. Vista is only interested in selling high profit loaded factory ammo.

  14. Great more primers for the horders to buy up and never use, “just in case shit hits the fan” like you really have a chance!

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