updated 12/18/2006 5:31:00 PM ET 2006-12-18T22:31:00

Long associated with the likes of Dirty Harry and real-life police officers, Smith & Wesson is now taking aim at a new market: hunters.

In a $100 million deal announced Monday, the Springfield gun maker said it is buying Thompson/Center Arms, a privately held Rochester, N.H.-based company that specializes in muzzleloaders and rimfire rifles.

The move lets Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. target the $1.1 billion long gun market, which is about 80 percent larger than the country’s handgun market, Chief Executive Mike Golden said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Golden said Smith & Wesson firearms already account for about 47 percent of national revolver sales and moving the company into the production of long guns was natural.

The purchase increases Smith & Wesson’s net sale expectations for the 2008 fiscal year by $70 million, to about $320 million.

The company’s shares rose 9 cents to close at $10.36 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where they have traded in a range of $3.50 to $14.85 over the last 52 weeks.

Hollywood helped make Smith & Wesson famous by putting its .44 Magnum in the hands of Inspector Harry Callahan in a series of “Dirty Harry” movies. But Golden said he doesn’t expect a tough marketing transition now that the company is trying to sell guns to hunters.

Golden said surveys conducted by the company show that many people think Smith & Wesson makes rifles, even though they just began manufacturing them in March.

“People already think we’re in the market,” Golden said. “Our products have such a wide appeal, and we believe we can have a similar success with long guns that we’ve had with handguns.”

Under the deal, which is expected to close early next month, Smith & Wesson will purchase Thompson/Center’s New Hampshire facility and will continue producing rifles under its own name.

Gregg Ritz, Thompson/Center’s president and CEO who will become president of Smith & Wesson’s hunting line, said the purchase will help the rifle maker expand its product line.

He said Thompson/Center’s line “fits nicely into the Smith & Wesson portfolio of pistols, revolvers, shotguns and future hunting rifles.”

“There is absolutely no overlap in our product lines,” he said.

Smith & Wesson used to make parts for Remington rifles during its 154-year history but has been out of the long gun business for about 30 years, Golden said. The company introduced a line of tactical rifles in March but marketed them to law enforcement agencies and competitive target shooters.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 3.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.99%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.69%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.83%
Cash Back Cards 17.80%
Rewards Cards 17.18%
Source: Bankrate.com