Lake City Ammunition Plant
Lake City Ammunition Plant (courtesy US Army)
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Olin Corporation, better knows as Winchester Ammunition, has taken over operation of the US Army’s Lake City Ammunition Plant east of Kansas City, Missouri. The plant turns out billions of rounds of small arms ammunition each year and has been in existence since 1941. It’s been operated by a variety of companies during that time including Olin from 1985 to 2000.

Last September, the Army awarded Olin a new 7-year $28 million contract to operate and modernize the plant beginning October 1, 2020 after a one-year handover period from Northrop Grumman.

Here’s Olin’s press release:

Olin Corporation (NYSE: OLN) announced that effective today, its ammunition division, Olin Winchester, LLC (“Winchester”), assumed full management and operational control of the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri. The U.S. Army selected Winchester to operate and manage the Lake City Plant in September 2019. The contract has an initial term of seven years and may be extended by the U.S. Army for up to three additional years. Winchester is now the world’s largest small arms ammunition manufacturer.

Winchester Logo

“Winchester employees have built a reputation with the U.S. Army that is unrivaled and for the past year we have been preparing for this significant transition,” said Brett Flaugher, President of Winchester.  “We were selected to manage the Lake City Plant because of our industry-leading capabilities and track record.  For decades, we have successfully demonstrated those capabilities in quality, innovation and on-time delivery, and through our partnership with the U.S. Army in developing solutions that service the U.S. Warfighter.  Our team is fully prepared and 100% committed to the safe, reliable and efficient operation of the Lake City Plant.”

Winchester is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Currently in its 154th year of operation and 90th year as part of Olin, Winchester is a premier developer and manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition for sale to domestic and international militaries, law enforcement agencies, and commercial distributors and retailers.  Winchester has been providing ammunition to the U.S. Military since World War I and is currently the U.S. Army’s largest supplier of small-caliber ammunition outside of the Lake City plant.


The Lake City Plant, which began production in 1941, provides small-caliber military ammunition for both training and combat purposes. Winchester previously operated the Lake City Plant from 1985-2000. The plant, encompassing nearly 4,000 acres, also serves as a national test center for ammunition performance and weapons firing.

For information regarding Winchester’s Lake City operations visit

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    • Tom, it is a bit of a drive from Missouri to the coast, but good God at the hunting. Trophy whitetail, ducks, turkey, pheasants. I miss going there every November. If we didn’t see 500 greenheads from the blind it was a slow morning. Afternoons were spent in a deer stand.

    • Not sure why you would want to work there. It’s a factory full of lead and explosive chemicals.

      God bless the people who do.

    • I was thinking similar thoughts, Tom – it would be nice to work there for a few months, or a year. I’m too old to be thinking of a “career”, but it would be great to see how all that stuff happens in an assembly line.

      I should note that I’ve been in many plants, from paper mill, to bottling plants, automotive assembly, plastics, steel mills, and the list goes on. An ammo plant is surely among the cleanest plants you can ever walk through. I can’t imagine dust is allowed to accumulate anywhere, because, how could you be certain that it isn’t explosive/flammable? Probably food grade clean, if not better!

    • Thanks to the difficulty in acquiring bullets I still have plenty of primers. But I see in my email that my new casting stuff has arrived from Midway so primers may become the bottleneck.

    • “Primers. For the love of God. Primers.”

      I’ve suggested it before, JWT, you need to start producing primers.

      The chemistry is nothing special, and the rest it is thin-metal stampings. And you know of plenty of ex-military that can run the production lines.

      (And you’re plenty smart enough to do it safely…)

      Get going and make another fortune!

        • “You left out the Federal government.”

          The licensing?

          You know people…

        • Seriously, Geoff, there’s a reason almost no one does this business. The regulatory hurdles are massive, constant, and the margins are tiny.
          That makes no financial sense.

    • Even these days, primers are relatively cheap, when you can find them.

      The lesson here is that at $30 per thousand there is no reason to not have 3-5 years worth on hand at all times.

  1. How about making the primers the primary goal because nobody can build ammo until someone starts producing enough primers.

  2. It’s hard to keep up with who runs Lake City, last time I checked, it was Vista Outdoors (Federal) …. it’s like musical chairs. I wonder what impact these changes have on the actual operations at the plant. Each time this happens, do they come in and clean out the existing managers and supervisors and appoint new ones?

    • “I wonder what impact these changes have on the actual operations at the plant.”

      I’ve worked for industrial companies that have changed hands several times while I worked there. Little to no change for the working stiffs.

      They were smart enough to leave well enough alone, and keep making the owners money…

    • Lake City’s operations haven’t…. exactly… changed hands until now. The contract was originally to ATK (Federal’s then-owner). ATK merged with Orbital Sciences, and the Vista spinoff of Federal’s non-government side happened. And then Northrop Grumman bought the lot, so it’s been them who’s running it. It was all still the ‘Federal’ contract but a lot happened corporate-wise in the meantime.

  3. 4,000 acres. Holy crap, that’s over 6 square miles! I understand that includes rifle ranges and a lot of separate buildings for powder and such, but man, that’s a lot of real estate.

    As for the current primer crisis, I don’t expect relief anytime soon. You know the ammo manufacturers are begging for the same thing, with bigger checkbooks.

  4. I’ve made it a point to buy lake city ammo (especially in bulk) for the last several years. I’ve been purposely avoiding winchester white box. Guess it will be all the same now.

    • WWB?
      That stuff is filthy.
      All my practice ammo is (order of preference, first being favorite), SIG Sauer Elite Perf (assorted calibers), Hornady XTP (50AE) & Hornady Black Rifle (308Win), Prvi Partisan (7.65 Para).
      I value my time/money, want hassle free range/training sessions with consistent ammo, and minimal filth to remove from firearms after shooting.


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