Federal Cartridge

Federal Cartridge
Type Ammunition manufacturer
Industry Ammunition
Founded 1922
Headquarters Anoka, MN, USA
Products Shotshell, centerfire, rimfire ammunition
Employees 1,000
Website Federal Cartridge

Federal Cartridge is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems, located in Edina, Minnesota. With a work force of nearly 1,000 in Anoka, Minnesota, Federal manufactures a complete line of shotshell, centerfire, and rimfire ammunition and components.



On April 27, 1922, Charles L. Horn took control of a small plant in Anoka, Minnesota and founded Federal Cartridge Corporation. Horn launched an innovative distribution plan that involved merchandising Federal products in grocery stores, barbers shops, and filling stations. The plan helped Federal achieve local and national recognition in an industry entrenched with older and larger ammunitions companies. In 1941, Federal earned an $87 million contract from the U.S. government (Approx. $1.3 billion in 2010) to build and operate the $30 million Twin City Ordnance Plant (TCOP). Federal's TCOP plant was awarded Army-Navy "E" for excellence of production of war materials. Federal's production was said to have played a major role in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. On December 31, 1977, after 55 years of service, Charles Horn retired from Federal Cartridge Corporation. William B. Horn, son of Charles, expanded Federal's advertising and marketing programs, increasing the company's visibility. Federal introduced plastic shells as a more durable, water-impervious alternative to paper shells. Federal also owned a company called Hoffman Engineering. In 1985, Federal was sold to a group of private investors including Kelso & Company, BancBoston Capital and members of the management team. The two companies were united under the name Federal-Hoffman, Inc and taken private during the sale. However, in 1988, Pentair Inc., a diversified manufacturer based in Minnesota, agreed to acquire FC Holdings Inc., the holding company for Federal-Hoffman Inc., for $175 million USD in cash and the assumption of debt. Federal-Hoffman have since split and Federal is currently owned by ATK.

Federal in Sports

Federal's UltraMatch Rimfire ammunition helped American shooters win gold and silver medals in the 1992 Olympics Games. In the 1996 Olympic Games, shooters brought home gold, silver and bronze medals shooting Federal's Gold Medal International paper shells. Later that year, Federal was named "Ammunition of the Year" by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence and "Manufacturer of the Year" by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers.

Early in 2003, Federal ceased production of UltraMatch rimfire ammunition. Reasons cited by Federal employees included production difficulties and "lack of sales".

Defense Ammunition Types

Currently, the company makes several major brands of defense ammunition: Hydrashok, Expanding Full Metal Jacket, and HST. Hydrashok has been popular among American law enforcement agencies for many years now while the newer HST ammunition is a bold design that has shown in testing to expand reliably to more than twice the original bullet diameter. Alliant TechSystems (ATK), which owns Federal and Speer has conducted many Wound Ballistic Workshops in various police agencies around the country using Winchester SXT, Speer Gold Dot, and the HST. The Speer Gold Dot was the only "bonded" bullet used in several workshops. Testing is completed in 10% ordnance gelatin, and consists of shots in bare gelatin, gelatin covered in FBI specification Heavy Clothing, steel, wallboard, plywood, and the toughest challenge of all- laminated automobile safety glass. The HST performed incredibly well in all categories, with consistent and adequate expansion, penetration and weight retention, with very few (if any) core-jacket separations. The Winchester SXT had many core-jacket separations in several categories including with all rounds fired through auto glass. Speer's Gold Dot performance was parallel to the HST's. HST, being new and with such promising test results, is difficult to obtain anywhere but in law enforcement circles and actual, reliable data on "street" performance is still pending. Also relatively new is the Expanding Full Metal Jacket, EFMJ, ammunition which uses a lead core and polymer tip completely encased by a copper jacket. The idea behind this being that it is guaranteed to feed reliably in autoloaders (a problem for some hollowpoints and firearms) and, because there is no "hollow" that can be filled, things like heavy clothing, glass, or drywall will not prevent the ammunition from expanding. This gives the EFMJ ammunition a very reliable rate of expansion at the potential drawback of a lighter bullet which moderately reduces the energy it carries. EFMJ is also marketed as an alternative to hollow point ammunition in locales where such ammunition is illegal for civilian carry. The State of New Jersey is one such locale.


External links

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