Wyoming is turning into the place to be if you are a part of the firearms industry. Sheridan County just announced the lease of land in the Sheridan Airport Business Park to a start-up ammunition manufacturer, Absaroka Valley Ammunition. Construction on the facility is set to start in August 2022, with production slated to start in April 2023.
Absaroka Valley Ammunition, or AVA, is a new company founded within the last year with the goal of manufacturing, assembly, and selling small arms ammunition. AVA is looking to make its mark on the industry with plans to produce roughly three million rounds of primarily 9mm ammunition but is looking to expand in future years.
“We’re going to be starting with some pistol calibers, specifically 9 mm, that’s the most popular pistol caliber in the world,” said Absaroka co-founder Jim Weaver. “We’ll also be producing 5.56 mm NATO rounds. Those are also the most popular rifle rounds fired in the world.”
According to Sheridan County officials and AVA, the company will start small with 15-25 employees but have plans to grow to employ over 200 people in the near future. The initial plans for the facility include a 15,000 square foot manufacturing plant in addition to the 3,800 square foot office structure attached. These plans leave plenty of space for future expansions.
Co-founded by Weaver and Dr. Michael Strahan, AVA is following suit of other firearms and ammunition companies, such as Weatherby, that call Wyoming home, mostly in part to Wyoming’s gun-friendly way of life. Wyoming is one of the most gun-friendly states in America. More guns are owned, per capita, in Wyoming than any other state, yet it has one of the lowest levels of gun violence in America.
“We’ve got a pretty good balance here,” said Charlie Korabek, Chief Operations Officer with AVA. “Jim and I are both former military guys. I’m retired Air Force. Jim is retired Navy. Together, we have over 40 years of service. Jim specialized in ammunition bullets. I’ve been an avid reloader for the last 40 years.”
According to Sheridan County Commissioner Terry Cram, who told Sheridan Media’s Public Pulse program, the lease price is low as there is a lot of work to be done in the Business Park, especially the expansion of payment, installation of culverts, and basic infrastructure that will need to be installed along with the building. The practice isn’t uncommon, Cram said. In fact, the low rent price is part of the deal for budding companies so they can focus on creating products.
Though ammunition production isn’t set to begin until April 2023, the reception that they’ve received has been positive. Korabek stated that the company has received a great response from the community by bringing the company to the local economy. They hope to bring additional jobs and work with the community to build generational wealth in the area.
With the logo statement of “When precision matters” and the phrase “Exceeding Your Expectations” on the company’s website, they certainly are setting the bar high. The expansion of ammunition options and production fits right into the Wyoming flavor and will be exciting to see how things progress for AVA.