Federal Premium Ammunition: A 100-Year Legacy

posted on April 27, 2022
Federal Premium 100th Anniversary logo red white blue text on image noting "A CENTURY OF AUTHORITY, 1922, 2022, 100

The United States was blooming, it was a time of economic prosperity and American sport shooting was on the uptick. And just as the 1920s were beginning to roar, Anoka, Minn., businessman Charles Lily Horn managed to acquire control of the abandoned Federal Cartridge and Machine Co.

vintage photo factory building brick black and white gray color outdoors grass trees

Horn was not your average businessman, he was a philanthropist with a penchant for conservation. Before graduating from the University of Minnesota with a law degree in 1912, he spent time studying the University’s forestry and agriculture programs—his love for the outdoors began early in life and his entrepreneurial mindset rests within the foundation of one of the greatest ammunition companies ever created.

black and white image of man in suit sitting at table office

Horn was well-liked by many he worked alongside, and he used his skills to begin a business framework that bolstered sustainable growth, from catalog contracts to big government deals, Federal Cartridge Co. (FCC) was off to the races. Though commercial ammunition production remained with shotshells, it was in 1924 that FCC tooled up and began production of rimfire ammunition.

vintage photo men working factory boxes cart loading sales ammunition manufacturing sears

A close relationship with Franklin Olin progressed, leading to Olin’s control of FCC in 1932. In 1937, Federal teamed up with industry leaders to lobby Congress to pass a self-imposed excise tax on ammunition and firearms. Known as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, this tax has raised billions of dollars to help preserve wildlife habitat, and is still in effect today.

Horn maintained his presidency within FCC until 1974, turning it into a major market player. During the 55 years of Horn at the helm, FCC went from a fledgling shotshell maker to a major producer, supplying billions of rounds of ammunition to the U.S. Federal Government. Horn commercially introduced FCC handgun and rifle ammunition in 1963 and soon after introduced colored shotshells to the market.

factory vintage manufacturing Federal Cartridge Company

Horn was not only a philanthropist, he was a well-esteemed steward of conservation. His personal efforts are not forgotten. Today FCC, now Federal Premium, is owned and operated by Vista Outdoor and maintains a workforce of nearly 1,500 that produces millions of rounds of centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammunition 24 hours per day, seven days a week within its 700,000-square foot facility.

The Centennial

“It started a century ago with our founder, Charles Horn, and we’re proud to carry on that legacy today,” Vista Outdoor Ammunition Brands President Jason Vanderbrink said, “Federal is stronger than ever, and we’re looking forward to serving shooters for the next 100 years.” The Federal Premium factory, from start to finish, utilizes vertical integration for the transformation of raw material into final product in a factory that is self-sustaining and focused on quality control. As Vanderbrink noted, “We do it all on site, and every day our manufacturing facilities consume tons of plastic beads, lead, brass strips, copper, steel, and chemicals. These materials are used to build our own bullets, pellets, cases, primer parts, primers, shotshell hulls, shotshell heads, and more. The consumer benefits because we have complete quality control, and our seasoned operators have decades of experience.”

aerial photography factory facility federal premium buildings ammunition plant


In celebrating its 100th year of business, Federal Premium is extending its centennial celebration to consumers by offering special retrograde packaging, a vestige from yesteryear that is packed with performance from the modern era. Whether it is pistol, rifle or shotshell ammunition you seek, Federal Premium offers a vintage-packaged load for today’s shooters.

side-by-side comparison boxes retangular ammunition packaging vintage Federal Premium .45 ACP

Two, limited-edition .45 ACP loads feature boxes that were designed to honor the classic Federal products, one emulating 1960s-era Monark Match product packaging with the other reminiscent of the Hydra-Shok load that was unveiled in the 1980s. Though commemorative and collectible, the loads offer all the same features and performance as their modern Federal equivalents. The Federal Monark Match features a 230-grain, full-metal jacket bullet and the Hydra-Shok provides a 230-grain, Hydra-Shok, jacketed hollow-point bullet.

blue packaging box ammunition rectangular Federal ammo rifle cartridges

For centerfire rifle aficionados, the commemorative rifle packaging, circa 1963, will be available in limited quantities with loads that feature the performance of their modern Federal Power-Shok equivalents. Chamberings offered in the 100-year anniversary packaging include: .30-30 Win., .30-’06 Sprg. and .45-70 Gov’t.

Last, but certainly not least, shotshell collectors and clay-busting enthusiasts will find 100-year commemorative artwork is available from Federal Premium as well. Given that shotshell production created the brand we’ve all come to know and love today, it’s heartwarming to know that Federal Premium has four retro offerings, all of which are made for 12-gauge shotguns, come in 25-count boxes and are provided with No.8 lead shot.

row lineup boxes four ammunition containers packaging retro vintage old school 12 gauge shotshells

“If you are a collector of hunting products or a fan of Federal Ammunition, you will want to make sure to add some anniversary-edition shotshell packages to your collection,” said Rick Stoeckel, Federal’s product director of shotshell ammunition. “Not only do these classic designs point back to the rich history of Federal Ammunition, but they will also look great on any display shelf or can be taken to the trap range.”

Direct To You

The aforementioned special-edition packaging is only available for purchase on the Federal Premium website, which is the most exciting part of Federal’s latest web offerings. In case you missed it, in early December 2021 a press release from Vista Outdoor notified the industry of an all-new approach to ammunition sales—a monthly subscription service.

screenshot website federal premium ammunition subscription service explaination signup

That’s right, Federal Premium announced a subscription service to run congruent with its robust eCommerce capabilities. Consumers have the ability to subscribe and receive up to five boxes of ammunition, delivered to their doorstep, every single month. Though a 12-month commitment is found in the fine print, this new approach to delivery comes as a stopgap to an ongoing shelf-shortage debacle. So, if you’re an everyday shooter, five boxes may not be enough, but at minimum, the five-box allowance serves as a little security in times of despair. And, for many others, the home-delivered subscription is a welcomed convenience.

That’s Not All

Further celebrations are emblazoned throughout 104 pages of Federal Celebrating A Century Of Ammo, 1922-2022. The single-issue commemorative magazine will be available from more than 14,700 stores throughout the lower 48. The dynamic, full-color magazine will sell fast, so get yourself a copy today.

magazine cover special edition Federal Premium 100th anniversary tribute book on table

For more information, visit federalpremium.com.


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