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Happy 100th Birthday, Federal!

First 100 Years of Federal
Every round is a promise.

Whether it leaves the muzzle on a hunt, in a match or during a day with friends at a range, it simply needs to perform. It has to hit the mark, make an impact, and in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, go farther—both literally and figuratively. Federal, the world’s largest ammunition manufacturer, has led this charge.

And after a century of doing so, the company’s size and innovation has created a golden age for shooters all over the World.

April 27 marks the 100-year anniversary of Federal Ammunition. Read the brand’s press release.

​​​​​​Humble Origins
It all began humbly in 1922, when Charles L. Horn took control of a three-year-old fledgling ammunition manufacturer. Knowing he faced fierce competition from a pair of established ammo companies, he embarked on a novel strategy. Horn worked to get Federal products—which at the time consisted only of shotshells produced in a 9,000-square-foot factory—onto the shelves of barber shops, gas stations and grocery stores. He also established a contract to sell Federal Ammunition through Montgomery Ward & Co. and Sears. The strategy worked and helped the company grow. In 1941, Federal secured a contract worth $87 million from the U.S. government to build and operate the Twin City Ordnance Plant in Arden Hills, Minnesota, which was a critical contributor to military ammunition and other defense products during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict.

Industrial Powerhouse
The Federal Ammunition factory in Anoka, Minnesota, is now a 700,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility where 1,400 employees work in three shifts, 24/7, to produce millions of rounds of centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammo per day.

The factory is vertically integrated, which means raw materials enter one door and finished product rolls out the other end. Importantly for quality control, the factory is also self-sustaining—all the personnel needed to build quality ammo are on site, including machine operators, plumbers and electricians. There’s a machine shop, equipment maintenance, manufacturing engineering, product development engineering, marketing and sales. And to make sure the ammo performs at that high level, the site also contains 16 test ranges—10 centerfire, one rimfire, and five shotshell.

“We don’t just buy parts and put them together, or have other companies load stuff for us,” Vanderbrink says. “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.”

Ready for The Next Century
Its size and strength. Its technological and logistical advantages. Its branding and reputation. It all comes together to make Federal the industry leader in sporting ammunition, a position the company is eager to maintain and expand upon in the coming decades.

“It started a century ago with our founder, Charles Horn, and we’re proud to carry on that legacy today,” Vanderbrink says. “Federal is stronger than ever, and we’re looking forward to serving shooters for the next 100 years.”