Valmore Joseph Forgett, Jr.


It is with great regret that we must announce the passing of Valmore Joseph Forgett, Jr.  Val passed away on November 25th ,2002  after a long battle with the blood disorder Meylodisplastic Syndrome (MDS) at the age of 72.


Val was born on July 31st in Worchester, MA and grew up in Teaneck, NJ.  He graduated from Clemson University in 1956 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and served in the United States Army, stationed at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, MD.


As the founder of Navy Arms Company in 1956, Val has long been known as the “Father of the replica firearms industry”.  It is well known that Val was the first person to produce authentic replica black powder revolvers and percussion military rifles, traveling to Italy’s famed Gardone Valley to work with such gun makers as Aldo Uberti, Davide Pedersoli and Luciano Amadi.  What is not as well known is that he, along with Bill Ruger, pioneered the use of investment cast parts in firearms.  His life’s work and vision has resulted in an entire category of the firearms industry that had not previously existed.  These contributions were recognized in 1977 by the Italian Government, who Kinghted him as a Cavaliere.


Val’s contributions to the arms industry and shooting sports are too numerous to mention.  Some of these include his founding and Chairmanship of the U.S. International Muzzleloading team.  As Chairman he led the U.S. to five consecutive world championship victories.  Val also served as President of the National Firearms Museum, helping to make it the world-class facility it is today.  As an International Shooting Union (ISU) Olympic shooting judge, Val was Chairman of Shooting Events for the 1984 International Games for the Disabled and served as a shooting official at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA.


An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Val was the first person in the 20th Century to successfully take the African “Big Five” with a muzzleloading rifle, a feat recognized and honored by Safari Club International.


Among the dozens of organizations he belonged to include the American Society of Arms Collectors and Arms and Armour Club of New York.


Val is survived by his wife, Eleanor Siefert Forgett, his three children, Diana Forgett Thomas, Susan Forgett Rheam, , Valmore Joseph Forgett, III and four grandchildren.  Navy Arms will continue to operate under Val Forgett, III as President.  Val II has served as Navy Arms Director of Marketing and Sales and shares his father’s vision to produce the highest quality replica firearms available.


Notice of a memorial service will be provided shortly.