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Winchester Announces Lake City Expansion

The move comes amid pressure for the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant to end civilian ammo sales

Olin Winchester, the contractor currently running the government-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, has announced that it will soon begin construction to expand the facility and produce more ammunition. The decision comes amid pressure for Lake City to stop selling military-surplus ammunition — including .223 Remington and 5.56mm NATO rounds for AR-15s, 7.62mm NATO rounds for AR-10s, and even .50-caliber rounds — to civilians after a New York Times investigation found that Lake-City-produced ammunition had been recovered in at least 12 mass shootings, including the Aurora, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Buffalo, and Uvalde shootings.

According to Winchester, the new facility at Lake City is slated to produce ammunition for the Army’s Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program, a contract which Sig Sauer won in 2022 to produce a new machine gun and rifle for the Army that use special 6.8x51mm ammunition designed to penetrate body armor from greater distances. Sig Sauer markets to civilians lower-pressure versions of this ammunition as the “.277 Fury” for hunting and range practice as well as a semi-automatic version of one NGSW rifle — the MCX-Spear — in various calibers, including the 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO. Further, Sig Sauer also notes that new MCX-Spear models will be “coming soon in 277 SIG Fury.”


In other words, the Lake City expansion could mean more military-grade ammunition being sold to civilians — despite a coalition of 20 state attorneys general urging the White House to investigate Lake City and “take action to ensure that military-grade and military-subsidized ammunition stays out of civilian hands.”

In its press release, Winchester states that it will “manage all aspects of the construction process” for the Lake City expansion, “which is projected to start in the second quarter of 2024.” Winchester Ammunition’s president said a “dedicated team of Winchester experts have been working on this project in collaboration with the U.S. Government and other industry stakeholders to design a state-of-the-art, small caliber ammunition manufacturing facility.”

Further, Winchester notes that it is “the largest supplier of small caliber ammunition to the U.S. military, providing advanced small caliber capabilities to the American Warfighter with manufacturing and engineering expertise. The Winchester legacy in support of the U.S. military runs deep, dating back to the early 1900s” — a legacy that the company uses to market its ammunition to civilians, as noted in this report.