G. McMillan and Co. Inc. – McMillan Gunworks – Harris Gunworks
By: Kelly D. McMillan
We continue to receive phone calls from people who own a G. McMillan and Co. Inc. a McMillan Gunworks, a Harris-McMillan Gunworks or a Harris Gunworks rifle because at one time during the G. McMillan era, the company was owned by my father, Gale.
People still assume that we are responsible for the maintenance and warranties of these rifles. As a result, we have decided to provide a brief history on each of the businesses mentioned above.
History of the McMillan Businesses
Gale McMillan started McMillan Fiberglass Stocks (MFS) in 1973. For the next 11 years, he and his son Kelly made fiberglass stocks while Gale built rifles on the side. The demand for rifles grew to the point that in 1984, Gale formed G. McMillan and Co. Inc. a completely separate business from MFS. Kelly continued to run the fiberglass stock company, while Gale devoted most of his time to building rifles. Gale designed and built his own actions, made his own in-house barrels and used McMillan Fiberglass Stocks. The rifle company became so successful that it was growing at a faster pace than Gale was comfortable with. In 1986, Gale decided that in order for G. McMillan and Co. to continue its growth, he would have to sell the business.
In 1987, Gale sold G. McMillan and Co. to Wes Harris. Gale made a three-year commitment to work with the new company, but as time went on found he could no longer control either the quality of the product or the direction of the business. It became clear early on that the company wasn’t in keeping with the McMillan standards, so Gale officially retired in 1990.
Around this same time, Harris decided that G. McMillan and Co. was too cumbersome of a name so he began to use McMillan Gunworks. Even though he only had the right to use the “G. McMillan and Co. Inc” name, Harris disregarded any of our objections to the use of McMillan in any form other than what he was entitled to use. Shortly thereafter, Harris and McMillan became embroiled in a legal action that took four years to settle. As a result, Harris was ordered to transition away from using the McMillan name. After the transition, Harris only sold rifles under the Harris Gunwork label. Sometime around 2000, Harris Gunworks closed its doors.
Shortly after Gale’s retirement, Kelly began to receive phone calls from customers who were aware of the decaying quality of rifles produced by Harris. They all had the same question; “Where can we get a rifle like your Dad used to make?” Due the demand for fine high quality accurate rifles, Kelly and his brother Rock decided to start McMillan Brothers Rifle Company. Rock owned McMillan Machine, which specialized in firearms related machining, including making actions. With Kelly still running the fiberglass stock company and providing the marketing and sales expertise and with Rock being the engineer with the technical experience, they figured if anyone could build a rifle like their father Gale, it would be the two people who had been Gale’s apprentices their entire lives.
In 1991, Kelly and Rock incorporated as McMillan Brothers Rifle Company and used the trade name McBROS.
One of the challenges they faced was separating themselves and their rifles from the legacy of Wes Harris and G. McMillan. To help achieve this separation, they decided to design their receivers to be significantly different so they would not be confused with the G. McMillan/Harris Gunworks receivers. They made sure none of their parts were interchangeable with the G. McMillan/Harris actions and the appearance of the new action was unique.
McMillan Brothers continued to manufacture and sell primarily custom rifles from its inception through 2007. At that time, Rock turned over the reigns of the company to Kelly. Kelly changed the name to McMillan Firearms Manufacturing LLC (MFM) because it seemed to better represent the vision of the new business model. Along with the name change was the decision to switch from building exclusively custom rifles to making two complete lines of rifles, hunting and tactical.
With McMillan’s contacts in the Special Forces community, they increased their presence in the U.S. Military and foreign markets as well. Having a complete line of hunting rifles made to custom standards but held in inventory and available for immediate delivery, allowed MFM to reach a portion of the market they had not been able to in the past.
Today, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing LLC. and McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Inc. are still separate companies and owned by Kelly McMillan. Even though they are separate companies, they both operate under the umbrella company McMillan Group International LLC. McMillan Group International was formed to act as a parent company to represent all of the McMillan family owned businesses in marketing and advertising payroll and healthcare concerns, where having all companies act as one could be a distinct financial advantage.
In summary, neither McMillan Brothers nor McMillan Firearms have any connection to G. McMillan and Co., McMillan Gunworks, Harris/McMillanGunworks or Harris Gunworks. We do not have access to their records, we have no idea when a certain rifle was made, and we can’t tell you what the value of the rifle might be. We won’t fix one if it needs repair and the parts from our rifles won’t fit on any of their rifles.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion.