Coupled with all this was a dirty mess in Denver. In January 1998, samples taken from groundwater monitoring wells on a corner of the Redfield property indicated pollutants were likely moving offsite and into the surrounding neighborhood. That didn’t sit well with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the company was charged. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back—the company was disbanded, its assets sold off and a new company, RRS Inc., set up to service existing warranties. The Denver facility sits vacant today.
In the fall of 1998, Blount International purchased Redfield’s operating assets, which consisted of inventory, machinery and equipment, trademarks, sales literature and patents. Blount, the parent company at the time of Federal Ammunition, moved Redfield manufacturing and distribution to Onalaska, Wis., and distributed Redfield-branded products through its Simmons and Weaver optics dealers.
Four years later, in the fall of 2002, Meade Instruments Corp. purchased all common stock of Simmons, which included the rights to market Simmons, Redfield and Weaver products. At the time it seemed like a good marriage; after all, Meade is a major player in the astronomical optics market; everyone in the outdoor press assumed the company would leverage its expertise to produce and market sport optics.
In fact Meade planned—even advertised—a new-from-the-ground-up Redfield riflescope made in California that used components from a similar Simmons product (made overseas). I saw a prototype, and so did a lot of writers. Mark Keefe IV, Editor in Chief of American Rifleman, had airline tickets in hand to visit Meade’s facility … then the whole project came unraveled. The scope was never produced and everyone in the outdoor press who wrote about it was left holding the bag.
So were American hunters who wanted a new Redfield scope.
Fast forward to April 2008: Meade divests all interests in the sport optics business. ATK, now the parent of Federal Ammunition and a host of other companies, purchases from Meade the rights to Weaver products, and Leupold & Stevens purchases the intellectual property of Redfield.
Finally, after a decade in the wilderness, a venerable name in American field sports has a new lease on life. New Redfield Revolution series riflescopes are being produced by Leupold & Stevens at its Beaverton, Ore., facility.
Now, given recent history, American hunters have a right to be skeptical. But last August I visited Leupold’s factory and saw Redfield scopes coming off the line with my own eyes. I can attest to this project’s viability. And I can attest to the fact that they are, indeed, American-made.
There are four scopes in the current Revolution line: a 2X-7X-33mm, 3X-9X-40mm, 3X-9X-50mm and a 4X-14X-50mm. All are available with either a “4-Plex” or an “Accu-Range” reticle (an original Redfield design). Prices run from $129.99-$219.99. In Oregon, I had the opportunity to test them all, and for the money the quality is surprisingly good—quarter-minute click adjustments, bright images, very good resolution. You can expect a complete technical review of them later this year in “Hardware.”
In the meantime, they are on dealer shelves now, awaiting American hunters’ fervent attention. And I’d say, given the present state of the economy, an American-made scope for $129 should have no trouble finding old-timers and newcomers alike who will once again ride for the Redfield brand.