Federal at 100

Minnesota inventors Louie and Harry Sherman founded a small shotgun shell business in 1920 and, as many small businesses do, it failed to thrive and was circling the drain less than two years later. Then, in April 1922, Charles L. Horn, backed with a little investor cash, bought the concern and named it the Federal Cartridge Corporation.

Trivia: the red-capped hunter on many of Federal’s old shotgun loads was based on the company’s first owner, Charles Horn

Growing from seven employees and a 9,000 sq. ft. facility, Federal soon went small but in a big way– opening relationships with barbershops, garages, and grocery stores for a bit of shelf space to showcase Federal’s shells and BBs, the latter a logical product for any shotgun shell company.

Over the years, they added the American Eagle, Dixie, Reliable, Monark, Favorite, and Hi-Power Oval branding, then expanded to make store-branded shells for Montgomery Ward and Sears.

WWII saw the company open, and run for 40 years, the Twin Cities Ammo Plant for the Army.

Then came more innovation and growth, adding centerfire rifle and handgun loads, introducing color-coded shotgun shells in 1965, and waterways-friendly steel shot in 1973.

In recent years, the company has introduced .327 Federal Magnum, .338 Federal, and .30 Federal Super Carry to the world.

Today, the modern Federal Ammunition factory in Anoka is 700,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. Inside, over 1,400 employees– everybody from engineers and machine workers to plumbers and electricians– work three shifts, around the clock, to produce millions of rounds of centerfire, rimfire, and shotshell ammo per day.

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