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It was less than two years ago when Freedom Group hired Scott Blackwell as the president of marketing and sales. Since then, things haven’t exactly been going well for Big Green. From the ongoing quality control issues with their firearms to the mixed reviews that the brand new Remington R51 is seeing, Remington’s image could be better. Yesterday afternoon a confidential email from Freedom Group head honcho George Kollitides to his team announced that Scott Blackwell will be moving on and resigning from his position. Sources say that he was actually fired during a meeting, and that it was sudden and unexpected. The timing leaves much to the imagination, especially with the head of marketing being replaced so soon after SHOT Show and the R51 launch. Make the jump for the text of the email . . .

It is with sadness that I announce the departure of Scott Blackwell, President of Remignton Outdoor Company. Since 2006, I have relied on Scott as an advisor [sic], business partner and friend. His loyalty and dedication to our Company and its people are unrivaled.

As President, Scott has overseen sales, marketing and the P&L’s as well as working hand-in-hand with me to develop our strategy.

The mark of a great leader is the people they recruit, develop and grow. Fortunately, Scott is such a person; he is leaving behind a world-class team, and both Scott and I are confident they will rise to the challenge. In fact, I believe this is why Scott has decided now is the time to pursue other opportunities. He is confident in the team he has put in place and wants to see them flourish.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, Scott’s direct reports will report to me.

Please join me in wishing Scott all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him for his deep loyalty and long service to our Company.

There was no immediate announcement for a replacement.

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  1. I would be happier if their head of manufacturing or quality control were being replaced. This just means that somebody new will be applying lipstick to the pig.

    • My thought as well. The problem with their sales isn’t going to be solved by a new marketing executive.

    • Agreed. A marketing dude isn’t responsible for people out behind the machines who can’t build a decent firearm.

      • With the wrong organisational culture, marketing can force products to be released when they aren’t ready (which can in turn lead to slipping of engineering standards for later rounds of products). That’s so well known that there is even a saying, “Never make an engineering decision for accounting reasons”, though that brings out a tension with yet another side of a business (most firms have three main areas that have to work together properly without the tail of any wagging the dog of any other: marketing, operations and finance).

      • Marketing won’t fix it but don’t blame those doing the work. They don’t get to set standards or designs; they follow direction. Management decides on budget cutting cheap parts, lack of testing, production rates that lead to errors and shortcuts.

        Those behind the machines are doing what is expected of them. The problem is, as it always is when you’re getting poor quality on a consistent basis, management. I have found that employees almost always live up to the expectations set by their managers. Remington’s managers don’t have high standards.

    • Whoever decided that a concealed carry gun that can be put together wrong with no way to be sure without firing a round. Things were looking good until that little fact came out. A gun that can’t be trusted to fire when your life is on the line is useless, double so for a gun that’s meant to be carried and not just as a range toy.

  2. I can’t blame him. Even a great salesman can’t sell a steaming pile of cow dung if it stinks bad enough, and the R51 has so many problems an African dung beetle would be ashamed to shoot one.

    • Any good salesman can sell you the steaming pile, it takes the great ones to get you to want to pay extra for the smell.

    • The key to my R51 was shooting it, figuring out it was a pile, and then selling it before the word could get around to the rest of the world. That thing is sitting #1 on the worst guns I’ve ever owned.

  3. I finally got to see a R51 for the first time over the weekend at a gun show. The trigger on it was really nice and it had a decent weight and feel to it. The grip safety, however, was way too heavy. Not heavy like a P7 squeeze cock, but considerably heavier than the XD grip safety (which is how a grip safety SHOULD function). Another thing that really bothered me was when I went to rack the slide it got stuck open every single time. It was at a gun show so the mag was out and there was a zip tie over the slide. Everytime I tried to rack the slide back it would go about halfway, get caught on the zip tie, and then would remain open when I let the slide go. I had to manipulate the slide lock while trying to pull the slide back to get it to release. I have never seen a gun do that without a mag in it, and it really bugged me. It might have been reassembled improperly.

  4. You fire the coach when the team ain’t winning ball games. When you are President of Sales and get canned/resign right after the biggest SALES event of the year, it means just one thing. The guys didn’t book business anywhere near expectations. Expectations that were set by said el presidente of sales. Highly recommend two movies for insight. The Godfather – nothing personal just business. Glengarry Glen Ross – a thousand great quotes –
    quotessalesman quotes –

  5. I was slightly excited, then I reread, marketing and my brain was like Jeff your a dumb Ass marketing not manufacturing. For the record I have owned Marlins, Remingtons and H&Rs prior to Ceribus (sp?) and the only piece of crap I ever had prior issues was the old Remington viper 22lr since the merger its been a whole stew pot of crap.

    • I’ve been a Remington fan for quite a while, but the next next bolt action I buy will be a Savage.

      Something about voting with dollars….

    • That would be Cerberus, the three-headed dog with a serpent’s tail, a mane of snakes, and a lion’s claws that guards the gates of Hades. He prevents any souls from escaping.

  6. It’s what happens “at corporate” when a multi based conglomerate make the choices for “unknown” reasons instead of just making firearms.

    For example, since a good part of Winchesters are now made in Japan, I’m sure John Wayne would be proud.


    • Truth be told, my Japanese-made (Mikuro) Brownings are way nicer than any of my American-made Winchesters. Particularly in the wood to metal finish category.

  7. There are two possible reasons for this:

    1) The Sales and Marketing president decided what products they were going to market with and with what pricing and promotion. In other words marketing initiates product development and oversees it.. Basically he screwed up, making the wrong choices in products, that they couldn’t sell

    2) The Accountants decided what products they were going to market and many of the parameters of marketing. They blew it and blamed the sales guy. It wouldn’t be the first time a company gave the sales force a bunch of crap to sell with lousy programs to sell it, and then blamed the sales guys when they couldn’t move it.

    For the record I think Remington still has some good products, but they also have some not so good ones. I believe they make some very nicely finished 1911’s for their market position. But the 770, 783, Versa-max, and 887 have been dogs, and 700 quality has gone down. They have definitely lost a lot of market share in their core products. And if it wasn’t for the barely decent 870 express they’d be on life support.

  8. I bought a versa max and I must say it is one pile of crap. I’ve sent it back twice. Once for extractors breaking and once for bolt face chipping.

  9. I guess we can officially close the Glock 42 vs. Remington R51 debate. Its a damn shame that Remington and Marlin aren’t making better products. I happen to think that some of the minds here at TTAG (such as Dyspeptic Gunsmith) could bring them back in line, but that may not ever happen.

  10. It would seem that the Freedom Group has the brown touch. Everything it touches turns to feces.

    I’ve never been much of a Remington fan, but it will still be painful if they are destroyed. Marlin’s demise is tragic. I would honestly have reservations about buying any firearms made by factories the the Freedom Group is “hands on” with. I haven’t seen any recent Dakota Rifles made under FG ownership but worry their quality has slipped. About the only Freedom Group product I would buy with enthusiasm at this point would be the Barnes TSX bullets.

    How many independent, high quality companies will Freedom Group corrupt? Hopefully their appetite will be satiated soon.

    • “How many independent, high quality companies will Freedom Group corrupt? ”

      Let me see… now where did I put that tinfoil hat? Oh!

      What if that were Freedom Group’s real purpose? I am definitely NOT saying this is the case. I got nothin’. Just sayin’, I’ve seen that sort of stuff before.

  11. Just an editing nitpick, but advisor is not wrong. Advisor and Adviser are used interchangeably (per wikipedia, NYT and AP use Adviser, US Govt and many businesses use Advisor).

  12. Pedantic copy editor quibble:

    Advisor, while less common than adviser, is an accepted alternate spelling of the word. “Remignton,” on the other hand, is clearly an error worthy of sic.

    On topic: The Tracking Point project and the R51 seem to have been met by a resounding “meh…” from the gun-buying public, so if those products were introduced because of Blackwell’s market analysis, it makes sense that he should take the fall. But those are long-term projects; if he’s only been there a year, then he’s either a convenient scapegoat, a burr under the saddle of central management (and thus removed), or just someone who knows when it’s time to jump ship.

  13. If you guys are complaining about Remington’s QA you should see the junk we have to pay a premium for down under. It’s a long running joke that you buy a Remington 700 for the after market bits. If you want a rifle to shoot out-of-the-box, you buy a Savage.

    The good stuff end up in the government contracts. The acceptable stuff is for mainland commercial sale. The QA rejects are exported.

    • That’s pretty sad to read but in my opinion sense freedom group took over these company’s quality has suffered across the board Savage and Ruger make much better products.

  14. In addtion I refuse to buy anything manufactured in NY state. Why should I buy a product that has profits and taxes go to a Communist/Marxist territory?

  15. OMG! A brand new design has growing pains! The company is going DOOOOOWWWWWN!

    It’s a clear indication because hyper popular products like Kel Tec’s PMR-30, PF9, and P3AT, or Ruger’s LCP *never* had *any* problems with the initially released designs. That’s why nobody wants any of those POSes. Right?



    Get a grip. 😛

  16. He was/is a great guy. Remington marketing staff ( ex army) need to learn how to do business. Creating empires is what they are good at!!!!!

  17. A few years ago Remington dropped $3 or $5 million on a new R&D center. At the time the company still had not bought CNC machinery. I commented that they should have saved a little bit to fly around the country and buy some BBQ and beer to visit with their customers to find out what they wanted to buy and spent the rest on new machinery and tools to produce a better product. With their upcoming move out of New York I can only guess that they wish they had spent the money on machinery that can be moved.

    Friends who saw the new handgun at the SHOT Show were extremely disappointed. So far it looks to be a dud. If they can’t sell a gun in the current market you know it has to be bad.

    One other thing. It seems that whenever the market has been down all the manufacturers, not just Remington, come out with some new monster magnum for the very few people who will buy it simply because it is new when the vast majority of customers have no use for it. They just don’t “get it”.

    • “So far it looks to be a dud. If they can’t sell a gun in the current market you know it has to be bad.”

      They’re flying off the shelves and still going for over MSRP on gunbroker.

      So I guess it’s success, then, right?

  18. So basically they pulled a Detroit Lions. Fire the coach, because that’s the issue. /sarc The parallels between Freedom Group and how the Fords run that franchise are astounding.

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