November Soapbox – Early History, Part 2

NAA 1976 Article

The attached article is another I found in my files of old stuff.  The one thing the article makes very clear is that there was no legal transition from Rocky Mountain Arms to North American Arms.  It’s my understanding that RMA simply went caput, but clearly Dick Casull survived and took much of his engineering – specifically for the smallest and biggest single-action revolvers – with him.  Coincidentally, last month I heard from a lady who acted as Dick’s caretaker during his final days.  Now charged with sorting out his “stuff”, she said she had several RMA stock certificates and asked if me if I felt they were of any value.  I told her that I thought the historical value of the certificates was priceless (to some), but that I felt certain they had no $$$ value.

Upon the dissolution of RMA, my understanding is that Dick Casull then formed a partnership with a fellow named Wayne Baker.  Wayne is a colorful old rascal who I last saw at last year’s SHOT (or possibly the year before).  I don’t recall the basis of Dick and Wayne’s acquaintance.  Dick’s skills were clearly engineering and product development.  Wayne, I assume, brought to the partnership some business skills and probably whatever capital was necessary.  Dick and Wayne ran this new business –  then called North American Arms – on a shoestring and depended on suppliers to help fund their business.  One of their primary suppliers was a firm run by a fellow named Frank Talley who was building a pretty successful business manufacturing highly-engineered and precisely-machined electro-mechanical assemblies (bomb racks, missile launchers, etc.) for defense/aerospace customers.  As well as having a fleet of the highest-tech NC machines as well as his own investment casting facility, Talley Manufacturing could/did become a critical supplier to NAA.  It’s my understanding that Dick and Wayne were not successful with running the NAA business and ultimately gave the business to Frank Talley in lieu of satisfying the growing obligations  to Talley that NAA had incurred.  “Frank, you now own a gun company”, which he ran showing it little time, attention &/or resources, and the business muddled along with modest success for several years.

In the meantime, Dick and Wayne regrouped and moved themselves and their business interests to the Star Valley of Wyoming and once again attempted to bring to market both the biggest and smallest frame single-action revolvers, this time calling their business Freedom Arms, located in a town of the same name.

More to follow; stay tuned …

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