Sellier & Bellot Factory Tour with Larry Vickers

Sellier & Bellot is a big name in the ammunition industry. They are the oldest continually operating ammo manufacturer in the world, cranking out rounds since 1825. Their state-of-the-art facility in Vlasim, Czech Republic produces three million rounds per day and is the region’s largest employer.

Sellier & Bellot Ammunition Factory
(Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

In the video linked below, Larry Vickers tours the plant with S&B’s Mike Fisher. The two met at SHOT Show, prompting Larry’s visit.

Larry Vickers and Mike Fisher of Sellier & Bellot
Left: Mike Fisher shows Larry Vickers the raw materials bay of the Sellier & Bellot factory. Right: Larry checks out the machinery on the shop floor. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

Modern Techniques from Top to Bottom

Larry notes that Sellier & Bellot has a very modern facility. Mike responds that it’s “a great combination of old-world craftsmanship [and] history…and then modern manufacturing techniques.” Parent company CBC Group has invested over 200 million dollars into S&B since 2009, resulting in the plant’s cutting-edge technology and high output.

Sellier & Bellot factory machinery
Sellier & Bellot turns out 3 million rounds of ammunition per day. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

All S&B products are manufactured onsite. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we start with raw materials, and we produce everything in-house,” Mike says, “including the primers. We feel [that] differentiates us from a lot of the other companies in the business. It’s a real tier-1 type operation that makes their own primers. That’s the most challenging part of ammunition production.”

Sellier & Bellot ammunition factory
Sellier & Bellot makes everything in-house. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

Military, Police, and Civilian Markets

S&B mostly produces centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges with a few shotshell and rimfire offerings. The company primarily offers 71 calibers with occasional contracts for others. Unsurprisingly, the most popular centerfire cartridges are 9x19mm and 5.56 NATO. Mike notes that the American law enforcement agencies are moving back to 9mm, and the civilian market is following.

ammunition production line
Sellier & Bellot generally produces 71 different calibers, with occasional contracts for others. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

About 60 percent of S&B’s production sells on the civilian market, with the rest going to military and law enforcement agencies in 70 countries around the world. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, significantly increasing S&B’s business globally, especially on the military side.

Sellier & Bellot ammunition plant
Sellier & Bellot supplies 70 militaries around the world. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

High Volume and High Quality

Larry observes that modern manufacturers modify their equipment to meet their specific needs, which Mike confirms. S&B does the same with its tooling, dies, and machinery. “The general process is similar from manufacturer to manufacturer, but everyone does it just a little bit differently.” He says that S&B generally focuses on high volume and very high-quality law enforcement and military calibers, “so we’ve tailored all our machinery in-house to meet those needs.”

ammunition production line
Sellier & Bellot’s machinery is fine-tuned to their needs. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

Quality control is built into the entire manufacturing process. There is human and electronic monitoring all along the line. Mike specifically mentions weights and measurements and optical inspection.

Quality control
Human and electronic quality control processes are integral to the production process. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

Producing 3 million rounds per day means the shipping apparatus is constantly busy. The streamlined and automated rack and picking system can hold up to 3,500 pallets of finished product. The shippers themselves can dispatch up to 50 pallets every hour.

Sellier & Bellot shipping department
The factory’s shipping department can dispatch up to 50 pallets of ammo every hour. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

Giving Back

The tour’s final stop is the 200-acre game preserve on S&B’s 370-acre property. The preserve predates the plant, having been established in the early 1700s. The company diligently maintains the preserve and its herds of red stag and fallow deer. Mike says they occasionally hunt the preserve, taking a few animals each year to control the herd size. The animals and range are otherwise protected.

Game preserve deer
Sellier & Bellot maintains a 200-acre game preserve on their factory grounds. (Vickers Tactical YouTube Channel)

All-in-all, Sellier & Bellot looks to be a world-class company with the requisite manufacturing capabilities you’d expect from an industry leader. We’ve always been pleased with S&B products. Hopefully, they will be in the American market for a long time to come.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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