The History of Federal Premium Ammunition

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The History of Federal Premium Ammunition

Federal Premium Ammunition is a brand that falls under Vista Outdoor Inc, a publicly traded company that produces a wide range of outdoor sports and recreation products.

As part of Vista Outdoor Brands, Federal Premium Ammunition has a reputation for producing top-quality ammunition for hunters, shooters, law enforcement, and military personnel.

Over the years, Federal Ammunition has consistently demonstrated a commitment to innovation, continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible with ammunition. This focus on innovation has resulted in numerous popular Federal ammo calibers that have become favorites among hunters and shooters.

In addition, Federal Premium Ammunition has become known for its unique and effective marketing strategies, helping the brand to stand out in a crowded market.

In this article, we will explore each of these areas in more detail, providing an in-depth look at what makes Federal Premium Ammunition such a respected and sought-after brand.

Humble Beginnings

Founded in 1922 by Charles L. Horn in Anoka, Minnesota, Federal Premium Ammunition is a leading manufacturer of ammunition for firearms, including rifles, shotguns, and handguns.

In its early years, Federal Premium Ammunition focused primarily on producing shotshells for hunting and sporting purposes but has since become one of the most trusted and innovative names in the ammunition industry.

Throughout the 20th century, Federal Premium Ammunition continued to innovate and grow, developing new technologies and manufacturing processes to improve its products' accuracy, reliability, and performance.

In the 1970s, the company introduced the Hydra-Shok bullet, which is still widely used by law enforcement agencies today. In 1985, Federal Premium Ammunition was acquired by Alliant Techsystems (ATK), which later became Vista Outdoor in 2015.

Today, Federal Premium Ammunition continues to push the boundaries of ammunition technology, developing new products that are designed to meet the specific needs of hunters, shooters, and law enforcement professionals.

Vista Outdoor Inc.

Vista Outdoor Inc. is a publicly traded company that designs, develops, and produces a wide range of products for outdoor and shooting sports enthusiasts.

The company's products include ammunition, firearms, outdoor recreation equipment, and a variety of accessories and gear for hunting, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Vista Outdoor operates through a number of subsidiaries, including Federal Premium Ammunition, CCI, Speer, and others.

Vista Outdoor was formed in 2015 as a spin-off from Alliant Techsystems (ATK), a defense and aerospace company that had a large presence in the ammunition and shooting sports industries.

The new company was created to focus specifically on the outdoor and shooting sports markets, and it quickly acquired a number of well-known brands in the industry.

Today, Vista Outdoor is one of the largest companies in the outdoor and shooting sports markets, with a wide range of products and brands under its umbrella.

The company is headquartered in Anoka, Minnesota, and has manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and offices throughout the United States and around the world.

In addition to its focus on producing high-quality products for outdoor and shooting sports enthusiasts, Vista Outdoor is also committed to sustainability and responsible manufacturing practices.

The company has set ambitious goals for reducing its environmental impact, and it works closely with its suppliers and partners to ensure that its products are produced in a responsible and ethical manner.

What brands does Vista Outdoor Inc own?

Federal Premium Ammunition is a subsidiary of Vista Outdoor Inc., which is a publicly traded company that owns a number of well-known brands in the outdoor and shooting sports industries.

Some of the brands owned by Vista Outdoor that are related to ammunition and shooting sports include:

  • CCI: CCI is a leading manufacturer of rimfire ammunition, including .22 LR, .22 Magnum, and .17 HMR cartridges.

  • Speer: Speer produces a wide range of ammunition, including handgun, rifle, and shotshell loads for hunting, self-defense, and law enforcement applications.

  • Remington: Vista Outdoor acquired the assets of Remington Outdoor Company, including the Remington ammunition brand, in 2020. Remington produces a wide range of ammunition for rifles, shotguns, and handguns.

  • American Eagle: American Eagle is a popular brand of ammunition that offers high-quality range and training loads for a variety of calibers.

  • Blazer: Blazer produces affordable, high-quality ammunition for target shooting and training.

  • Estate: Estate produces a wide range of shotshells for hunting and sporting applications, as well as affordable options for target shooting.

  • Independence: Independence is a brand of ammunition that is specifically designed for high-volume shooting, such as during competitions or training exercises.

These are just a few examples of the brands owned by Vista Outdoor that are related to ammunition and shooting sports.

The company also owns a number of other brands in the outdoor and shooting sports industries, including firearms, optics, and accessories.

The Innovation of Federal Premium Ammunition

Federal Premium Ammunition has a long history of innovation in the ammunition industry.

The company has been at the forefront of developing new technologies and manufacturing processes to improve the accuracy, reliability, and performance of its products.

Here are a few examples of the innovations that Federal Premium has introduced over the years:

  • Syntech: In 2016, Federal Premium introduced Syntech ammunition, which uses a polymer-coated bullet to reduce friction and heat buildup in the barrel.

    This results in less fouling, less barrel wear, and more consistent accuracy. Syntech is particularly popular among competitive shooters and those who shoot frequently, as it helps to extend the life of their firearms.

  • Fusion: Federal Premium's Fusion line of ammunition uses a special bonding process to join the bullet's jacket to its core, ensuring maximum weight retention and deep penetration.

    This makes it a popular choice for big game hunting, as the bullets are able to penetrate deeply and deliver maximum energy to the target.

  • Terminal Ascent: Terminal Ascent ammunition is designed for long-range hunting, and uses a combination of a bonded bullet, a polymer tip, and a boat-tail design to deliver high accuracy and terminal performance.

    The bullet expands reliably and penetrates deeply, making it effective for hunting a wide range of game.

  • Hydra-Shok: Hydra-Shok was introduced in the 1980s and quickly became one of the most popular self-defense rounds on the market.

    The bullet's unique design includes a center-post that helps to control expansion, ensuring that the bullet penetrates deeply and delivers maximum stopping power.

  • Black Cloud: Black Cloud is a line of shotshells designed specifically for waterfowl hunting.

    The shells use a special blend of steel shot and a unique wad design to deliver consistent patterns and increased energy transfer, making them effective at longer ranges.

These are just a few examples of the many innovations that Federal Premium has introduced over the years.

The company is committed to using the latest technologies and materials to produce ammunition that meets the specific needs of hunters, shooters, and law enforcement professionals.

What are the most popular calibers of Federal Premium Ammunition?

Federal Premium Ammunition produces a wide range of calibers for rifles, shotguns, and handguns, but some of the most popular calibers in their lineup are:

  • 9mm Luger: This is a widely used caliber for handguns, and Federal Premium offers several options for self-defense and target shooting.

  • 223 Remington: This is a popular caliber for rifles, especially for AR-15 style firearms, and Federal Premium offers a wide range of options for both hunting and target shooting.

  • 308 Winchester: This is a popular caliber for hunting and long-range shooting, and Federal Premium offers several options for big game hunting and precision shooting.

  • 12-gauge: This is the most popular shotgun gauge, and Federal Premium offers a wide range of shotshells for hunting, sporting, and self-defense purposes.

  • 270 Winchester: This is a popular caliber for big game hunting, and Federal Premium offers several options for hunters looking to take down animals like elk, moose, and bear.

Of course, the popularity of specific calibers can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of shooting or hunting being done, regional preferences, and personal preference.

However, these calibers are some of the most widely used and well-regarded in the Federal Premium Ammunition lineup.

Ammunition Depot is proud to carry Federal's full line of assorted ammunition.

So whether you're searching for handgun, rifle, or shotgun ammo, you can trust Federal Premium to provide the precision you need and Ammunition Depot to carry it at a price that won't break the bank.

See the products list below to view some of our favorite calibers and Top Picks from Federal Ammunition and Vista Outdoors.

Shop all Federal Premium Ammunition

Federal Handgun Ammunition

CASE DESIGN: There are two basic pistol cartridge designs. Cartridges used in revolvers or single-shot pistols are generally rimmed, which means the case head has a rim that extends beyond the case wall.

Common revolver calibers are 38 Special, 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum. Semi-automatic handguns generally utilize a rimless cartridge, which features a head that does not extend beyond the diameter of the case walls.

An extractor groove is cut into the base to enable the firearm’s extractor to grip the cartridge. Common semi-automatic calibers include 9mm Luger, 40 S&W and 45 Auto.

TARGET BULLETS: Ammunition loaded with full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets is often referred to as ball ammunition. It’s designed to feed reliably in semi-automatic handguns, but the bullets do not expand when they hit targets.

Syntech ammunition uses a polymer jacket to completely encapsulate the lead core, for cleaner, cooler shooting with less splash back on hard targets. Wadcutters and semi-wadcutters are designed to cut clean holes in paper targets.

Lower velocity rounds also can utilize plain lead round nose bullets that have no jacket.

HUNTING BULLETS: Most hunting handgun bullets are designed to expand and deliver maximum energy to the animal to ensure clean kills.

Jacketed hollow points and soft points are popular hunting bullets in magnum calibers.

PERSONAL DEFENSE: It is important to carry a quality bullet that is designed to neutralize a threat as quickly as possible.

While a simple jacketed hollow point in common defensive calibers can be effective, bullets like HST, Hydra-Shok Deep and Punch deliver much more consistent, reliable results.

Federal Rifle Ammunition

IGNITION SYSTEM: The two main types of rifle cartridges are rimfire and centerfire. Rimfire cartridges have primer mix located in the rim of the case.

It is ignited when the firing pin strikes the rim and creates a small spark. The most common rimfire cartridges are 22 Long Rifle and 17 HMR. Centerfire cartridges have a primer which contains primer mix and a metal anvil inside of a small cup.

The primer is placed in the center of the case head and is ignited when the firing pin strikes the center of the primer cup, forming a spark between the cup and the anvil. Most centerfire cartridges can be reloaded.

CASE: The case is generally made of brass, contains all of the components and fits within the chamber of a firearm. Different calibers have different shapes and sizes of cases.

Some cases have a neck to accommodate a bullet with a much smaller diameter than the body of the cartridge.

Others have straight walls. The case must fit the chamber because of the extreme pressures created by the burning of the powder pushes the case out against the chamber.

It is this pressure from expanding gases that pushes the bullet down the barrel. The caliber of the cartridge is stamped on the head of the case and must be matched to the cartridge stamped on the gun barrel.

BULLETS: There is a wide array of bullet types, and they all perform differently. It is important to match the bullet to the application.

Accuracy and precision of a bullet are important to consider, but in a hunting bullet it is equally important to consider a bullet's terminal performance, or what a bullet does when it hits and travels through a target.

Factors important to terminal performance include penetration (how deep a bullet travels into a target), expansion (how much a bullet mushrooms to increase energy transfer to the target) and weight retention (how well the bullet stays intact).

Target bullets are designed to be accurate and/or inexpensive, but they generally don’t expand reliably for use on game.

The full metal jacket (FMJ) is designed for military and target applications, and the jacket that extends from the point to base gives it a flat trajectory but poor expansion.

Hunting bullets are generally built to expand on impact. This creates a larger wound channel in the animal and transfers more energy, damaging even more tissue.

Soft points are often used on medium game because the lead nose and tapered jacket are designed to expand as much as twice their original diameter on relatively light, thin-skinned animals.

These are often considered the standard deer bullet and can be found in Federal’s Power-Shok line. Federal’s Fusion bullet offers a jacket that is molecularly fused to the core, increasing weight retention.

All-copper monolithic bullets are generally designed for medium or larger game, and have high weight retention, but generally don’t expand as much as soft points. Their hollow point design peels back with hydrostatic pressure in game animals to expand the frontal diameter and penetrate deeply. Trophy Copper is an example. Trophy Bonded Bear Claw is perhaps the most famous bonded bullet. Bonding means the jacket and the core are joined together chemically, similar to welding.

This helps keep the bullet together and reduce separation. While this bullet is a soft point, the solid limits how far the jacket can peel and mushroom, improving penetration on large and dangerous game.

Federal Shotgun Ammunition

Federal loads eight gauges of shotshells: 10, 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410—in addition to specialty loads like 24 and 32 gauge.

Shells can range in length from 1 3/4 to 3 1/2inches and in payload weight from 3/8 ounce to 2 1/2 ounces. They are loaded with lead, steel, bismuth and tungsten alloy shot, as well as slugs and buckshot.

All shotshells share a few common traits. The head and primer are similar in all shells. The hull and base wad are paper or plastic. The wad design and powder vary with the type of shotshell and its intended use.

LEAD SHOT: Pellets and buckshot are formed by pouring melted lead through a sieve or they are swaged (formed in a die).

Traditional wads for lead shot are molded from flexible, low-density polyethylene plastic and have a cushion section on the bottom. The cushion helps reduce the number of deformed pellets and the amount of felt recoil.

STEEL SHOT: These pellets are made by cutting steel wire into short lengths which are formed and ground. Premium steel shot is coated with a rust inhibitor.

Wads for steel shot are molded from high-density polyethylene, with thick sidewalls to prevent the pellets from contacting the shotgun bore surface.

Steel shot ammunition requires large charges of special slow-burning powders to give the large shot column a gentler start but a faster exit from the muzzle.

TUNGSTEN SUPER SHOT: These pellets are made of tungsten-alloy that’s 56 percent denser than lead. This allows hunters to use smaller shot without sacrificing downrange energy, increasing pellet counts and improving pattern density.

BISMUTH SHOT: Bismuth pellets are almost as dense as lead, 9.6 g/cc, for lethality at longer ranges than steel payloads. The material meets non-toxic requirements, is more affordable than tungsten, and safe and effective for use in all shotguns.

FLITESTOPPER SHOT: Available in all-steel pellets for waterfowl and upland birds, and lead pellets for upland birds and turkeys. The pellet is ringed by a raised cutting edge for more lethal wound channels and even edge to edge patterns.

Federal Ammunition Mobile Applications

The Federal Ammunition Ballistic App is a mobile application designed to help hunters and shooters make more accurate and informed decisions about their ammunition choices.

All mobile applications include a variety of features to help users better understand the ballistics of their ammunition and are available for both iOS and Android devices and is free to download.

Popular applications and features include:

  • Ballistic calculator: The app includes a sophisticated ballistics calculator that can help users calculate bullet drop, wind drift, and other factors that can impact the trajectory of a bullet.

    Users can input their specific cartridge and firearm information, as well as atmospheric conditions like temperature and altitude, to get more accurate results.
  • Range finder: The app includes a range finder that uses the camera on a user's phone to measure distances to targets. This can be particularly useful for long-range shooting.

  • Product catalog: The app includes a complete catalog of Federal Premium Ammunition products, with detailed information about each product's features and benefits.

  • Shot placement tracker: The app includes a feature that allows users to track the placement of their shots on a target, which can be helpful for identifying patterns and making adjustments.

  • Hunt planner: The app includes a hunt planner that can help users choose the right ammunition for their hunting needs based on factors like game species, distance, and shot placement.

Overall, the Federal Ammunition Ballistic App is a powerful tool for hunters and shooters who want to make more informed decisions about their ammunition choices.

It's designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, with a wealth of information and features to help users get the most out of their shooting experiences.


Marketing & Promoting Federal Ammo

Federal Premium Ammunition is known for its innovative and effective marketing campaigns, which have helped to establish the brand as a leader in the ammunition industry.

The company's marketing efforts focus on a few key strategies:

  • Sponsorships and partnerships: Federal Premium has established partnerships with a number of well-known organizations and individuals in the hunting and shooting sports communities.

    For example, the company is a sponsor of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Quality Deer Management Association, and it has partnered with well-known hunters and shooters like Julie Golob and Jim Shockey.

    These partnerships help to raise awareness of the brand and its products among target audiences.

  • Social media: Federal Premium has a strong social media presence, with active accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

    The company uses these channels to share content related to hunting and shooting, promote its products, and engage with customers and fans.

  • Product demonstrations: Federal Premium frequently hosts product demonstrations and events to showcase its latest products and technologies.

    These events are often held in partnership with retailers or shooting ranges, and give customers a chance to try out new products and learn more about the company's offerings.

  • Print and digital advertising: Federal Premium uses a mix of print and digital advertising to reach potential customers.

    The company's print ads can be found in a variety of outdoor and shooting sports publications, while its digital ads are targeted to specific audiences based on their interests and browsing habits.

  • Packaging and point-of-sale displays: Federal Premium's packaging and point-of-sale displays are designed to be eye-catching and informative, with clear information about the product's features and benefits.

    The company also offers in-store displays and signage to help retailers promote its products and educate customers.

    Overall, Federal Premium's marketing efforts are designed to raise awareness of the brand and its products, educate customers about the benefits of its technologies, and build a loyal customer base among hunters and shooters.

Final Thoughts

From precision accuracy to superior terminal ballistics, Federal Ammunition aims to deliver outstanding results in every shooting scenario.

So whether you're looking to improve your shooting skills, bag that trophy buck, or defend your home and family, Federal Ammo has the caliber of ammunition you're looking for.

Pick up your box or case of Federal Premium at Ammunition Depot today and experience the difference for yourself!

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