In 1956 a gentleman named Rudolph Koppe, who had immigrated from Germany, took on a couple new firearm lines: Baikal & Vostok Firearms from Russia.These firearms were from Tula and Tzhevsk in the Soviet Union, both of which had been gunsmithing centers for over five centuries.To the best of my knowledge this was the first quantity of firearms in North America from the communist country and I believe Ruko had exclusive rights to North America but because the U.S. would not allow Russian imports, it was basically Canada.For the next 25 years +, Ruko imported shotguns, 22 rifles and 22 target rifles and pistols from Baikal & from Vostok.
I’ve talked about Cooey firearms before but I’m not sure whether I have really driven home how much the Cooey firearm, especially the 22 rifle, dominated the Canadian Firearms landscape.Many shooters now find room in our budget for a new Browning T Bolt or a Ruger 10/22 or something in a CZ 457 series or Anschutz Target Rifle, but my question is this: will you ever find the excitement or early murmurs of adulthood that came with your first outing with Dad, Grandad or your big brother and a Cooey?
One of the first really commercially successful commemorative firearms I believe was the Winchester Model 94 30-30 Winchester Centennial Commemorative rifle offered for sale in 1966 to celebrate Winchester gun company’s 100 years. The lever was offered in 20” carbine or 26” rifle. Approximately 102,000 were built.
The C.I.L. Dominion line offers a cornucopia of cartridges for the novice or advanced collector. Anyone interested in firearms, military, hunting or sport shooting is a potential cartridge collector. The calibers, the various headstamps, the various projectiles, all tell a story. C.I.L. & Dominion have loaded hundreds of different shotshells, rimfires & centerfires calibers and gauges.
As you get older I think you pay more attention to the past. Lately in some of the estate collections and miscellaneous purchases I’ve noticed an increase in older Dominion Cartridge Co. boxes and ammo, many before the C.I.L. oval logo appeared on the boxes.
The range of calibers loaded by this iconic company is quite amazing. Dominion Cartridge and later C.I.L. enjoyed a lot of protection before Canada entered into free trade. Winchester and Remington did have manufacturing facilities in Canada, due to the duty imposed on non-Canadian companies. C.I.L. enjoyed government and police contracts under this tariff program.
The 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s saw The Canadian Industries Limited Ammunition Company on every shelf in gunshops, hardware stores and general stores. I grew up in a general store that was connected to our house. We had groceries, nails, nuts & bolts, clothing, boots, china and of course ammunition. We carried only C.I.L. ammunition. Shotgun shells were Canuck Maxium and Imperial good, better, best.