Vista Outdoor, one of the largest bullet makers in the United States, is getting even bigger with the acquisition of an iconic brand.

The parent company of Lewiston’s CCI/Speer ammunition operations purchased a portion of what used to be the Remington Outdoor Company in an auction held as part of that company’s bankruptcy.

For $81.4 million, Vista is getting parts of Remington’s ammunition and accessories businesses that come with an ammunition plant in Lonoke, Ark., according to a news release from Vista Outdoor.

Sierra Bullets Inc., of Missouri, won the bid for another part of Remington’s ammunition business, according to several media reports.

Remington is being added to the Vista Outdoor portfolio that also includes Federal Ammunition, near Minneapolis, as well as many outdoor gear brands such as Camp Chef, Giro bicycle and ski helmets, and Camelbak.

Even before the Remington purchase, ammunition represented a large share of the company’s revenue. Sales in its shooting sports category were $334 million in the most recent quarter that ended June 28, compared with $145 million for outdoor products.

Rescuing Remington’s ammunition business from bankruptcy has a number of benefits, such as saving hundreds of jobs at the more than 200-year-old company and providing a way to make the operations more profitable, said Vista Outdoor’s CEO Chris Metz in the news release.

“We look at this acquisition as a means of better serving millions of consumers with the products they love from one of the country’s original and best-known brands,” Metz said. “The Remington brand is beloved by hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts everywhere, and we look forward to restoring it to greatness by leveraging Vista Outdoor’s scale, manufacturing infrastructure (and) distribution channels.”

Remington is in bankruptcy at a time when it is facing a lawsuit filed by some families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims over the marketing of the Bushmaster rifle, which was used in the 2012 killing of 20 children and six adult staffers at the school, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The firearms portions of Remington are going to other businesses such as Sturm Ruger & Co., Roundhill Group LLC and Franklin Armory in Nevada, which is getting the Bushmaster brand, according to media reports.

Sportsman’s Warehouse reportedly is getting the Tapco brand of gun parts and accessories.

The choice by Vista to expand follows a dramatic financial turnaround. The company made $40.5 million in its most recent quarter, earnings that followed four consecutive fiscal years of losses.

The company started losing money after President Donald Trump was elected and gun owners no longer feared new restrictions being imposed on weapons and ammunition as they did when President Barack Obama was in office.

Much of the heightened demand for Vista Outdoor’s products comes from two places.

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled renewed interest in outdoor adventures.

“We believe the structural change is not a three- or six-month (change) … but the beginning of a new norm and a way of life,” Metz said in a conference call for stock market analysts about the company’s performance in August.

Vista also is benefiting from civil unrest caused by racial tensions in the United States.

“Continued uncertainty drove sales in our shooting sports categories,” he said. “We are seeing a whole new refreshed desire for self-sufficiency and personal protection with our consumers.

Williams may be contacted at william@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

“The Remington brand is beloved by hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts everywhere, and we look forward to restoring it to greatness by leveraging Vista Outdoor’s scale, manufacturing infrastructure (and) distribution channels.”

Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz