Who is Federal Ammunition?
Background & Company Information
Federal easily makes its way into the upper echelon of ammunition manufacturers. The American manufacturing company and its Lake City partner is perennially among the most well-known brands despite having more than a century less history than some of its competitors. Federal’s product portfolio is diverse, but what sets Federal apart from many makers is their commitment to utilizing the same best practices across the board, without concern as to whether they make more money from the brand line relative to others.
This is evident when you shoot all of their ammunition from their self-branded Federal Premium and the associated lines (including the venerable “Power-Shok” and Hi-Shok” hunting products) or their American Eagle brand. These are two vastly different products, catering to vastly different customer types and built for different purposes - this is a perfect example of how Federal creates a harmony in manufacturing technique which ultimately leads to excellent customer satisfaction.
This quality is also obvious when you factor in the massive contracts Federal receives from the military year-in, and year-out and having seemingly been the only vendor for that contract that anyone can really remember. Their famed Lake City facility (which is military owned, and contractor operated) is controlled by the Federal Premium company currently through a contract with Orbital ATK (formerly Alliant Techsystems). It has been controlled/operated by massive companies in the past including Remington Arms and Olin, a Winchester affiliated cartridge company. The famous military Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) facility is in Independence, Missouri – by name, a fitting location for a production facility for the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Beginning of Federal Ammunition
Charles Horn founded Federal in 1922. The company was headquartered in Anoka, Minnesota where Mr. Horn restructured an existing small production facility. His aggressive marketing of the brand led to a well-integrated national retail footprint and helped establish the proliferation of sport shooting and the national appetite for “all-things-guns” in America. The company is an outspoken proponent of wildlife conservation and management and as early as the 1930’s, the Federal Cartridge company started raising both awareness and massive financial backing for improvements in the conservation efforts on a national and federal (governmental) level.
Federal is remembered for innovation and initiatives in the shooting sports and firearms/ammunition industry including, but not limited to the following:
- In 1960 they introduced the soon to be standardized color coding of shotgun shells to differentiate size/gauge to increase shooting safety
- In 1973 Federal develops and markets steel based shotshells, a major win from a conservation perspective related to waterfowl/watershed hunting and a new line of thinking from a sustainability perspective for the industry.
Federal has been very innovative in the industry and is remembered for many more improvements and technological advances than just these, but as far as the broader shooting community is concerned, these have been major improvements and introductions to shooters that clearly transcend the brand name.
Who Owns Federal?
The company has been headed by Horn family members throughout the years, but eventually became a subsidiary of public corporations and has had a number of prestigious, high profile owners/parent companies over the past several decades.
In 1988 Pentair Corporation, a conglomerate in the manufacturing sector purchased the Federal-Hoffman company (then headed by William B. Horn) and later divested the company assets to concentrate on the core portfolio of the Federal Cartridge lines. A couple of brief stints as part of private equity holdings and as major aerospace company holdings, namely with the Alliant Techsystems company until 2015; control of the Federal name has changed hand more than a few times.
Alliant Techsystems experienced exceptional growth and determined it made good sense to divest of the consumer-oriented brands and spin off the Vista-Outdoor brand in 2015 after an M&A action and name change to Orbital ATK, a more specific aerospace play, which eventually was acquired by Northrup Grummon. The Orbital ATK heritage is still clear in the investment and technology portfolio of the Federal Premium Company, as it is known today as the flagship firearms industry brand for the Vista Outdoor brand, a publicly traded company (NYSE: VSTO).
Federal’s Portfolio of Popular Ammo Brands
Other massive ammunition producers including Speer and CCI, American Eagle, Estate Cartridge, and several other gun related brands including Savage/Stephens and Bushnell (optics) are part of the current Vista outdoor brand ecosystem.
Federal as an ammunition company has been quite fruitful, with many loyalists that prefer to shoot only Federal branded products. Their current lineup includes major brand/line names that shooters know and love:
- American Eagle
- Gold Medal
- Premium (which includes the “Centerfire Rifle”; “Safari”; and “Varmint & Predator” lines on the rifle side and the “Centerfire Handgun” and “Personal Defense” lines on the pistol side. It also includes several rimfire and shotshell “Premium” lines)
- Black Cloud
- Prairie Storm
- And the Standard “Federal” product
Federal Premium also has several other brands and product variations, which continue to sell through at a high rate year after year. Federal produces nearly two billion rounds of ammunition in the civilian market alone year over year. Of course, that does not include their major contribution towards munitions for the United States Armed Forces each year.
Among Federal’s most recent innovative products is the Fusion line, that offers an electrochemically bonded projectile in a reasonably priced cartridge that ensures higher retained projectile weight and excellent expansion across the Fusion line’s caliber portfolio. This round represents a way forward that can lessen the expensive baseline costs associated with mechanically bonded projectiles.
Federal Self-Defense Ammo
Federal also has some obvious winners in their Law enforcement and consumer personal protection lines where the Hydra Shok and HST have offered exceptional performance for the sector across a lot of different testbeds and demographics.
The robust shotshell portfolio including the innovative, high payload weight, Black Cloud line continues upon the traditional Federal motions at play. With regards to this in the hunting and conservation spectrum, Federal figures that a more effective, better performing ammunition leads to a better conservation effort by individuals and contributes to better national habits in maintaining a comfortable wildlife population for future hunters to enjoy.
Federal Premium as a company, has a storied past, despite being the younger sibling of so many of its competitors in the ammunition game. The company, their legacy and their future, however lie in this innovative, market driven culture that Federal has been aggressively pursuing since they started in 1922.
In Stock Federal Calibers for Sale Today!
50 Rounds of .45 ACP Ammo by Federal Syntech - 230gr Total Synthetic JacketIt has been two months and an additional 400+ rounds since last review. Zero issues, clean burns, and little carbon build up. Have shot steel challenge and USPSA with ammo. Bargain rating lower just because I can get 230gr without syntech a lot cheaper. Will have to wait long term to see if cost difference = improved gun wear.(Posted on 05/21/2019)
5250 Rounds of .22 LR Ammo by Federal Champion - 36gr CPHPFire around 400 rounds each range visit with no issues in the GSM 1911...have 3 10rd clips and rapid fire these bad boys with no FTF and cleaning is a breeze with little residue. A great all purpose round for the money. Have tried other brands, some good, some not so good, but this Brand is the preferred when available.(Posted on 05/15/2019)
1000 Rounds of 9mm Ammo by Federal American Eagle - 115gr FMJI used to shoot Blazer Brass. It’s good ammo, but I find this cleaner. Love it for my PX4 Storm Compact and Scorpion Evo3 Carbine.(Posted on 05/15/2019)
1000 Rounds of 9mm Ammo by Federal American Eagle - 124gr FMJI've shot over 1,500 rounds through a wc compact with absolutely no issues. Have ordered twice, will order again, on time, good price, good product!(Posted on 05/13/2019)
200 Rounds of 30-06 Springfield Ammo by Federal - 168gr HPBT MatchKingBest shot of my life was made with this ammo. Almost 500 yards dropped a very nice Mule Dear with a perfect hit thru the heart and lungs. The buck did not take a step but dropped in place. Best ammo I've ever used for long range open country hunting. Sighted my rifle with federal 168 BT ammo years ago. Still go to the range and am dead on years later. One word: Consistent!(Posted on 05/13/2019)
1000 Rounds of 9mm Ammo by Federal Champion Aluminum - 115gr FMJI took a chance on this product. I have never shot aluminum cases before and hand load everything. I went to Frontsight for a course and found that this is the cleanest shooting ammo I have ever run. I ran 400 rounds between cleaning and never had a problem in the HKVP9 I took.(Posted on 04/27/2019)
1000 Rounds of 5.56x45 XM193 Ammo by Federal - 55gr FMJBTI got these to break in my new rifle and my AUG loved them. Cleaned the entire case and never had a single issue. I will say the ammo left my fingers dirty after loading 3 or 4 mags, but that's to be expected. The value and reliability was great and I have already picked up another case. As long as it's in stock, this will be my go-to.(Posted on 04/14/2019)
5 Rounds of 12ga Ammo by Federal Premium Vital-Shok - 3" 000 BuckThe 3" 000 Federal Vital-Shok is a monster load. Its over powered. I shot just short of a ground target. The 3" 000 left a crater in the ground. The 3" 000 Magnum loads are the new 10ga round.(Posted on 04/10/2019)
20 Rounds of .40 S&W Ammo by Federal Guard Dog - 135gr EFMJSuperb ammo. Ran just fine in all of my guns. I highly recommend. Great alternative to standard JHP rounds.(Posted on 04/09/2019)
1000 Rounds of 9mm Ammo by Federal American Eagle - 124gr FMJI've bought a few cases of Federal 124 grain.....love it. Never an issue. Shoots great out of numerous firearms. Will continue to buy. The only complaint is from the mailman because of the weight of the box. Dudes at the range always want to try/buy a box. I always tell them, bulkammo.com buddy....(Posted on 04/06/2019)