Maynard Arms Company was established in 1987 by Mr. Brian Maynard. He was born and raised in a small New England town, Lebanon, NH. As a child, Maynard enjoyed, among other things, hunting and fishing with his father Gordon and his older brother Bruce. Maynard had a fascination with firearms and enjoyed shooting .22 caliber semi-auto rifles more than anything. He would be the first to admit that he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if it were ten feet in front of him. But he sure did have a lot of fun trying. Eventually he would carry his dad’s 20 gage bolt action rifle on hunts with his father and his brother and experienced his dad’s first kill of a deer at age 9. Unfortunately, Maynard’s world came to an abrupt halt at the age of 10 when his witnessed his father suffer a massive heart right before his eyes. This was clearly the most devastating thing that could have happened to Maynard and, suffice it to say, changed his life forever.
1976: At the age of 19, Maynard moved to Southern California where he started developing his career in the machinist trade. Serving his apprenticeship under Mr. Andy Marhefka at a die making company in Commerce, Ca, Maynard’s career path was quite unique. Due to the companies immediate need for a precision die finisher, Mr. Marhefka took Maynard under his wing and commenced to teach him everything he knew about the fine art of precision machining, grinding and lapping of carbide tooling for the Aerospace industry. Unlike most other apprentices of his time, Maynard was allowed the inimitable experience of acquiring some of the most complex knowledge of geometry, trigonometry and geometric tolerances necessary for precision applications that would otherwise take years to acquire. In essence, Maynard was given the rare opportunity to develop his skills in reverse. Starting with the most difficult of procedures, the rest was gravy.
From there Maynard proceeded to develop a variety of skills by being very aggressive in his desire to learn all he could learn in the trade. Moving on from job to job and taking positions that would expand his horizons even further, allowed Maynard the benefit of becoming very marketable in the trade. By the age of 21, Maynard had already held a position as Tool Room Manager, solely responsible for repair and modification to all in-house deep draw dies for a large stainless steel food handling manufacturing firm in Santa Fe Springs, CA.
1984: Maynard got his start in the firearms trade at AMT (Arcadia Machine and Tool, Inc.), a firearms manufacturing company located in Covina, California. He was responding to a local newspaper ad for a Tool Room Machinist position. He had no idea that he was about to venture into the world of gun making and that this new position would be the beginning of what he himself terms as a “nitch beyond comparison.” The ad did not state the name of the company. Nor was there a sign on the building when he arrived for the interview. This, he learned in the interview, was a security decision for obvious reasons. During the interview process, Brian looked around and noticed numerous pictures of a man wielding a gun and having bagged some pretty impressive trophy’s. Cape Buffalo, Elk, Grizzly Bear, Antelope and even a catfish that was almost as long as the man holding it, was tall. Greg Market, the General Manager for AMT that interviewed Maynard for the job asked if he had any idea what it was the company manufactured. Maynard answered in a questioning tone, guns? Of course the reply was yes. The man in the pictures turned out to be none other than Harry Sanford himself.
AMT was looking for a Tool Room machinist that would help in the design and development of tooling required for their new product line, the .22LR caliber Lightning pistol and rifle. Maynard, of course, took the position and in 3 months time, had proven his capabilities so well that he was promoted to a newly developed position as AMT’s Tool Room Supervisor. This put Maynard directly in the driver’s seat where he would be able to learn the new products inside and out as well as give him the opportunity to show the company what he was made of. With the help of Greg Market, his supervisor and Larry Grossman, AMT’s engineer, Maynard learned all about semi-automatic firearms and how they work. He was fascinated mostly with the disconnector systems and how they function.
Maynard learned that semi-automatic firearms are simply nothing more than a machine or mechanism that operates just like any other machine or mechanism does. Action causing reaction. This was captivating material to Maynard and he enjoyed every bit of information he was receiving. With this newly acquired information accompanied with his experience as a machinist, Maynard was now able to take things a step further.
1985: When Sudden Impact, Clint Eastwood’s then latest movie in the Dirty Harry series came out, it starred Clint and one of the most beautiful .44 Auto Mag pistols ever produced. Maynard, being an Eastwood fan and now an AMT employee, went to see the movie. This inspired Maynard to design and build the “Baby Automag”. Because he couldn’t afford an original Auto Mag, what better idea than to make a .22 version using the parts and tooling he had at his disposal.
After months of painstakingly designing and redesigning, Maynard finally turned out a scaled down version Auto Mag pistol in .22LR. Hence the name “Baby Automag”. He eventually would make ten of these prototypes and the company would produce 1000 production pieces. The original “XP-02” appeared as the cover story in the June ’85 issue of Guns & Ammo magazine as well as the ’96 annual edition of the same magazine.
1987 – Maynard Arms Co is reborn: Maynard was approached by a local businessman who knew of Maynard’s talents and wanted asked him to help replicate the .500 Linebaugh. This is a conversion of the famous Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk wheel gun to a .50 caliber powerhouse, using the .348 Winchester brass for the case. Maynard took the man up on the offer, tooled up and built 10 of these guns using 17-4 stainless steel for the cylinders. Most of the money was used to purchase the machinery necessary to produce the conversion. Thus, Maynard Arms was reborn. Maynard gave notice at AMT and soon found himself owner/operator of his own company. His little machine shop was operating from his own one car garage starting with nothing more than a Bridgeport knee mill. Maynard eventually bought a lathe and all other machinery he needed to successfully operate his new business. He was now a full fledged job shop machine shop bidding on anything he could to bring the money in to feed his family. Maynard stayed in touch with AMT and felt he owed it all to Greg Market and Harry Sanford.
1989: Maynard moved his shop from Whittier, Ca, a suburb fifteen miles east of Los Angeles, to a little tourist town in the San Gabriel mountains called Big Bear Lake. He had been there many times and wanted very much for his family to have more of a small town atmosphere in a mountainous setting. This was a good move due to the fact that the air was much cleaner and healthier for his second son who had an asthma condition.
Maynard was still very much in contact with Roger Renner since the Baby Automag story and was actually doing business with Renner from time to time since Renner was now working for Supreme Grip, a rubber and wooden grip manufacturing company located near Pasadena, CA. When Maynard told Renner of his new “wheel gun” project, Renner advised Maynard he should take the project a step further. He went on to explain to Maynard a concept he had of incorporating a triangular shaped shroud with a port system for the single action he was already in the middle of converting. Renner drew up a sketch and Maynard immediately went to work on the project. This system was very unique in that it allowed the user to adjust the barrel to cylinder gap to a very close measure. It also completely housed the ejector rod which, as wheel gun owner’s know, can and will fall off under recoil. There is a gas port at the end of the shroud/barrel assembly with a conical shaped chamber which allows the gases to be vented in an upward direction and takes the muzzle jump to an almost non-existent level. The front sight bridges the gas port, completing the concept. This project has been on hold for some time now but Maynard plans on introducing it as early as the middle of next year.
1990: AMT was suddenly in need of a Service Manager when their current Service Manager had been accepted into the California Highway Patrol academy and would be leaving shortly. AMT called and offered Maynard the job and due to the fact that business just wasn’t what he needed to support his family, he accepted the job and moved back to the San Gabriel valley. After three months, Maynard was able to reduce the current six month backlog of guns needing repair, to a mere two day turn around. He received many calls requesting repair of original Auto Mag pistols and because AMT would no longer service the original Auto Mag pistols, Maynard started repairing them on his own time and produced quite a following since, quite literally, he was the only one doing the work.
1991: Maynard received a call from Eric Kincel, a writer for Gun World magazine, who was looking for someone to do some custom modifications to one of his Auto Mags. The two soon became very good friends and worked on many projects together. One of which was the .40 KMP. This was one of Eric’s ideas that consisted of taking a .45 Win Mag cartridge case and necking it down to accept a .400” bullet. The geometric configuration took some ingenuity on Maynard’s part but when the project was completed, the end product was a complete success and debuted in the Sept 1991 issue of Gun World magazine as a wildcat round.
1995: Maynard left AMT to go to work for Claridge Hi-Tech in Northridge, Ca. as general manager and to design and implement a full-auto disconnect system for their popular 9mm Hi-Tech carbine rifle. However, as much as he enjoyed venturing into the world of full-automatic firearms for high end law enforcement applications, Maynard found the company to be very unstable. Joe Claridge was originally the investor for the gun which was designed and manufactured by Gontz, Inc. However, Gontz mismanaged the funds and Claridge was forced to take the company over with little to no money left. Maynard soon thereafter resigned from the company and decided to move his family to Oregon.
1995: Maynard was now making reproduction Auto Mag barrels with his own logo and name, as well as custom modification to original barrels such as taking 10 ½” silhouette barrels, shortening them to 8 1/2” and installing full length vent ribs. He was also performing repair work and tuning up of the guns as well.
1996: Being a career machinist, Maynard was always fascinated with titanium. He had experience with the material, and found it had some very unique qualities that could be incorporated into the fabrication of gun barrels. Most of which is the fact that the material disperses heat very quickly, thus allowing the barrel to stay quite cool. With this, Maynard decided to build four proto-type barrels in .22LR caliber. Two were for the AMT Lightning/Ruger Mark II pistol application and the remaining two for the AMT Lightning/Ruger 10/22 rifle application. The project was a complete success and the four barrels were soon shipped to Chuck Karwan, a freelance writer for numerous gun magazines. Maynard placed an ad in Gun List magazine to see what the response would be. However, the response he received was not the response he had anticipated. Much to his surprise, Maynard received a letter via certified mail from Stephen Sanetti, Vice President and General Council for Sturm, Ruger and Co. The letter was ordering Maynard to cease and desist immediately on the barrels. A copy of their lawsuit of AMT which was settled for $2.8 million dollars was attached. Maynard called Mr Sanetti and tried to engender an agreement between their two companies to allow Maynard to continue operations on the barrels with a nominal amount of the profits to be paid to Ruger. Maynard referenced an agreement that was reached between Ruger and AMT to allow AMT to continue production of their Lightning rifles. A second letter was received stating that no agreement would be considered. Maynard discontinued immediately and requested the barrels returned from Karwan.
1998: Maynard was approached by a local firearms import company that was looking for someone to design and produce a semi-auto only mechanism for the Browning 1919 .30 cal. Machine gun. Maynard obtained a class seven FFL (Federal Firearms License) and, on a contracting basis, designed a mechanism that Ed Owens of ATF said was most ingenious in keeping the gun 95% original and cosmetically unaltered. Maynard built the first 250 guns, designated the 1919 A4/A6, per contract and one of the guns appeared in the July ’97 issue of Guns & Ammo magazine. Shortly after perfecting the concept for the .30 caliber, Maynard was approached by the same importer with an idea to apply the same mechanism to the .50 caliber BMG machine gun. As intriguing as it was, Maynard declined the offer due to the immoral and unscrupulous behavior on the importers part. He was a very hard man to work with. In fact, if you read the article, credit for the design was given to the importer. Two weeks later, Maynard was served with a summons to appear in court. He was being sued for breech of contract. This was a frivolous lawsuit that was generated for the sole purpose of removing Maynard from the picture so the importer would have no competition. The contract had never been breeched. However, the importer “owned” the county, the judge and seemingly everyone else in the small community and Maynard was forced to close his doors. He could have fought the decision. However, Maynard decided it would be more cost effective to just settle and walk away.
1999: After being told to cease and desist by Ruger and then being wrongfully sued out of business by an unscrupulous “businessman”, Maynard had a very bad taste in his mouth and decided to get completely out of the business and relocated to another much bigger city in the Metro Portland area. He went to work for a local medical wire manufacturing company as a tool room machinist.
2003: After approximately four years of being completely removed from the world of firearms manufacturing, Maynard received a phone call from a person that needed some work to be done on his .44 Auto Mag pistol. This was an old customer who fought long and hard to find Maynard. After some small talk and a quite lengthy phone conversation, Maynard agreed to repair the gun for his long lost customer and friend. This one repair job was all it took to spark a desire for Maynard to get back into the business.
Maynard Arms Co is still around and is now doing business under a new parent name of ValGor, LTD. This name comes from the first three letters of Maynard’s mom and dad’s first names, Valeda and Gordon. Maynard Arms Co is now a registered trade mark owned by the new ValGor, LTD company and it’s logo is still being etched in all the firearms related products produced by the company. Maynard is now very busy doing what he loves, making Auto Mag barrels and repairing the guns. He also has a few other “irons in the fire” that are soon to be released. No, we can not go into them now. However, stay tuned and you will be pleasantly surprised.