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Federal Ammunition Celebrates 100 Years

The iconic ammo maker reaches the century mark with plans for 100 more.

Federal Ammunition Celebrates 100 Years

Iconic hunting brand Federal Ammunition celebrates its 100-year anniversary on April 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Federal Ammunition)

Federal Ammunition turns 100 years old today, but the iconic hunting brand has already started celebrating.

As part of the celebration, Federal, which was first incorporated on April 27, 1922, is showcasing articles, images, videos, giveaways and more on its website:

"For months we've been counting down to Federal Ammunition's 100-year anniversary," said Brian Anderson, Federal's Director of Marketing, in a news release. "Now that the big day has finally arrived, we're celebrating with a site takeover of, sharing the stories, products and special moments that made Federal the world's leading ammunition manufacturer.”

Federal Ammo Logos
Federal Ammunition has produced many well-known ammo brands in its 100-year history. (Courtesy of Federal Ammunition)

Federal Ammunition will be uploading content monthly in 2022 that focuses on its rich history. Also available is a 244-page book, "Federal Ammunition: The First Hundred Years."

“Initially, the site will feature exclusive videos that take viewers on a tour of the iconic plant, commemorate the anniversary and much more,” Anderson said. "There's also an interactive timeline that highlights some of the most influential and interesting moments in company history. Visitors can scroll through a slideshow of vintage posters, enter to win big prizes, and learn the full story of Federal's earliest years. Look for more articles, seldom-seen photography and other exclusive content added regularly throughout Federal's centennial year.”

Federal President Jason Vanderbrink added: “The entire staff of 1,500 hard-working Americans in Anoka, Minnesota is extremely proud to celebrate a full century of continuous and successful operation. We appreciate those who came before us to make this possible and look forward to taking Federal into its next century.”

Here's more info from Federal on its 100-year anniversary:

Federal – The First 100 Years

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.

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.

Federal Ammunition Turn 100
Workers load shotshell boxes during Federal Ammunition's early days. (Courtesy of Federal Ammunition)

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.

Federal Ammo History
Federal Ammunition plants in 2021 (top) and in the early days (bottom), when the company was named Federal Cartridge Company. (Courtesy of Federal Ammunition)

“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.”

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