With a talent for all things mechanical, Richard “Dick” Speer started CCI (Cascade Cartridge, Inc.) in 1951, after realizing his brother Vernon’s success with Speer Bullets. Dick’s experience as a machinist at Boeing Aircraft’s Seattle plant gave him the ability to produce quality cases, which began in a small room at his brother’s Speer Bullets plant.
Speer and his partner Arvid Nelson eventually discovered a demand for component primers, which were in short supply after WWII. With the intention of building primers for hobby reloaders, their first shipment was actually to fulfill a military contract. Speer went on to create non-corrosive and non-mercuric sporting cartridges for reloaders.
Rising popularity led speer to purchase a large chicken ranch just a mile from his brother’s plant. With a farmhouse for an office and a renovated chicken coop for a production facility, Speer added manufacturing buildings and expanded the product line. This farm-turned-plant continues to produce ammunition to this day.
By the late 60s, Omark Industries purchased CCI and turned its focus onto sporting ammo and components, making it their in-house source of loads for the powder-actuated tools they manufactured. It was from this that the Stinger – the world’s first hypervelocity .22 Long Rifle ammo – was born.
In the years since, CCI revolutionized and dominated the reloading market, with comprehensive primer improvements like smooth feeding through automated equipment, reduced residue in non-magnum primers, improved primer seating, and better sensitivity. They have also perfected the first hypervelocity .22 Magnum Rimfire cartridge as well as added new rimfire products including the Mini-Mag™ Silhouette, Segmented Hollow Point, and Velocitor™ (the fastest 40-grain .22 LR load on the market).
Instead of relying on century-old technology like other companies, Speer’s innovative approach resulted in high-performance products that have made CCI known as today’s leader in rimfire ammunition.