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!
5 Rounds of 12ga Ammo by Federal - 1 1/4 ounce Rifled SlugUsed on the Mossberg 930 semi-auto, worked great! Noticeable added recoil over the standard 2 3/4" , 1.0 oz slug...(Posted on 07/16/2019)
5 Rounds of 12ga Ammo by Federal - 1 1/4 ounce Rifled SlugUsed on the Mossberg 930 semi-auto on in indoor range. Potent round! Noticeable added recoil over more standard 2 3/4" 1.0 oz slugs. They work great!(Posted on 07/16/2019)
5250 Rounds of .22 LR Ammo by Federal Champion - 36gr CPHPNo FTF, no more residue than most brands I’ve used, very reasonable price, and bulkammo.com did the usual great job of filling my order quickly and reliably.(Posted on 07/04/2019)
200 Rounds of .410 Ammo by Federal - 000 BuckI use this ammo in a Mossberg pump instead of a Taurus Judge. Over 50 rounds so far, and no FTF's using this ammo. Though I don't know for a fact, I would assume that the muzzle velocity is somewhat higher from a pump action with a 20" barrel vs a Judge with a 3"-6" barrel. My wife and daughters are more comfortable with a .410 than a 12ga, so this is a perfect choice for them. Recommended!(Posted on 06/26/2019)
250 Rounds of 12ga Ammo by Federal LE w/ FliteControl Wad - 00 BuckThis ammo runs great in my Beretta 1301 and of course in my pump shottys. I prefer to spend a little more and get the 8 pellet version as it patterns even better. At 15 yards to 25 yards I can keep 8 pellets in an 8"circle but that 9th pellet starts to fly out a little. But whether 8 or 9 pellet nothing else comes close to patterning consistently across a wide range of shotguns.(Posted on 06/19/2019)
500 Rounds of 5.56x45 Ammo by Federal American Eagle - 55gr FMJBTEnjoyed shooting this stuff, thanks. Great price and quick shipping!(Posted on 06/14/2019)
25 Rounds of 20ga Ammo by Federal - 7/8 ounce #8 shotThis is the best thing ever I'm surprised it isn't out of stock love it to death comes in 24 hours and is the best working ammo ever.(Posted on 06/13/2019)
1000 Rounds of .223 Ammo by Federal American Eagle - 55gr FMJGood, clean ammo that is reliable. Have ordered several thousand rounds from Bulk Ammo and have never been disappointed.(Posted on 06/12/2019)
500 Rounds of .22 LR Ammo by Federal Game Shok - 40gr CPRNI was using this ammo in my Ruger 10/22, and it was very accurate at 50 yards, and still somewhat accurate at 100 yards. I was shooting a basic Ruger 10/22 Carbine, with a Primary Arms ACSS 6x Scope. Two Ruger factory 10rd rotary magazines, and one Butler Creek 25rd magazine. The ammo was reasonably priced, accuracy was good, but my 10/22 did not cycle it well. I will try some other brands of 22lr, to see what it likes best. I may even keep this handy and use it to hunt with, as I liked the accuracy.(Posted on 06/03/2019)
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)