Custom Rifle Ammo
Make precision personal with our wide selection of custom rifle loads.
30 Super Carry
Hits like a 9mm Luger. Carries like a 380 Auto. Designed exclusively for defense.
High Over All
More reloads and better patterns for the most elite trap, skeet and sporting clays shooters.
Varmint & Predator
Get the most of rimfire with loads that offer both accuracy and violent expansion on impact.
There’s never been a muzzleloading system like this. See all the benefits that set FireStick apart to provide the most convenient, safe and consistent performance ever.
Hydra-Shok® Component Bullets
The bullet that’s defined self-defense for a generation is now available as a component.
Federal X Stone Glacier
Two great brands have finally come together. Don't miss your chance to own exclusive Federal-branded Stone Glacier apparel.
Model 2020 Waypoint Special Edition
We worked with engineers from Springfield Armory to create Custom Shop loads specifically designed for the utmost performance from the new Model 2020 Waypoint rifle.
As demand for ammunition demand hit peak levels in recent years, the perennial urban legend that shortages are caused by manufacturers’ reluctance to expand production capacity reared its head on cue. However, at least in Federal’s case, nothing could be further from the truth.
The original Federal plant totaled about 20,000 square feet, and that figure remained relatively stable through the end of World War II. But projects between 1949 and 1953 added more than 100,000 square feet, with another 200,000 square feet added in 1967 and 1968.
Major building sprees in the late 1970s and early 1990s brought the total to more than 850,000 square feet, with enough on the drawing board to take Federal to more than a million in 2022.
Filling that space with production capacity has meant acquiring bigger, faster machinery to feed what often seems infinitely growing consumer, law enforcement, and military demand for ammo.
Sometimes, the key to increased production is not buying new machines but making use of what you already have. Joe Lueck and Pete Schreck of Federal’s Capital Implementation department recently thought to bring rusty old loading machines out of sheds and get them back into production. On the face of it, the efforts seemed impractical: If past management had retired old loaders, surely their life had been used up, right?
Not so fast. These old machines were made at a time when removing every ounce of excess weight wasn’t part of the program. Heavy steel castings can last almost forever if not abused, and the Yankee craftsmen of the old-line Connecticut machine manufacturers made precision tools, even if they worked in fractions of an inch rather than thousandths.
Federal’s Joe Lueck and Pete Schreck faced skepticism when they proposed refurbishing pre-World War II loading machines, but the old loaders have more than proven their worth. They dragged this old press out of a shed, pressure-washed the residue of pigeon nests, sandblasted the rust, junked worn parts, fabricated new bushings and slides, and gave the machine a gray and orange paint job.
A similar press is hard at work in the factory, producing thousands of rounds of 9mm ammunition. Properly maintained, these presses can produce almost indefinitely, and Federal is putting them back to productive use.
These in-line presses were on their way to the scrap heap when rescued in the nick of time for rebuilding. Repainted, with dies, feeders, and electrical controls installed, they will take their place on the factory floor.
With electrical and hydraulic lines and safety guards erected, a similar press turns out 6.5 Creedmoor ammo all day long. Federal has been able to crank up production by better utilization of material and human resources.
The first job after digging the machines out of their resting places was to remove generations of pigeon nests and droppings with a vigorous steam-cleaning. This also blasts away hardened grease and dirt, leaving a clean, if rusty, machine. The team then used a variety of techniques to remove rust and restore the shine of old steel parts and repair the pitting caused by pigeons.
Machines were retired for a reason, and generally it was the accumulated wear from loading millions of rounds of ammunition. The original machine makers took that into account, however, using brass guides and bushings at critical wear points.
A skilled machinist can remake those items, a job that’s made a lot easier if there’s documentation. A recent job restoring a Standard Knapp turret press went a lot faster when Lueck and Schreck dug in the Federal archives and discovered blueprints made by a Chrysler plant in Evansville, Ind., during World War II.
In short order, they were able to fabricate a variety of brass parts that restored the old press to smooth, precise operation. Once it’s made a few million more rounds, some future machinist can make more replacement parts and keep it going. The oldest machines were originally intended to be run by leather belts pulled by a jackshaft in the factory. Those were generally replaced by electric motors during World War II or in the 1950s. Sometimes the old motors still work, but often a new motor is required.
After that, they paint the refurbished machine: battleship gray for stationary parts, orange for moving parts. They add connections for any electronic sensors and protective guards where necessary. Lueck and Shcreck get a great sense of accomplishment when an old loading press, once no more than a pigeon roost, returns to the factory floor and begins pouring out loaded ammo.
“It was headed for the scrapyard, and now it’s producing thousands of rounds a day,” Pete says. “That makes you feel pretty good.”
It takes about three months of on-and-off work to get a press production-ready, but the cost of both labor and materials is recovered in less than a month. Management has taken notice, and sheds and storage areas around Federal are being scoured for machines that once have been no more than fodder for the scrap man.
Not every old machine at Federal became a pigeon perch. Many have worked continuously since the earliest days. The best place to find them is in the paper shotshell department.
Federal is the last maker of paper shotshells in the United States. Plastic shells have every possible advantage when it comes to ease and speed of production, but there’s just something about paper shells that shotgunners, especially competition shooters, still love.
If you want to see the oldest machines in the Federal plant, visit the paper shotshell line, the last one operating at scale in the world. There’s no substitute for visually inspecting the paper tubes, just as was done in the 1920s.
The paper tubes are then impregnated with liquid wax in a huge kettle. This is hot work. Excess wax drains from a huge basket to be used again and again. Paper hulls are a lot harder to make, but trap and skeet shooters love them.
They’re made almost exactly as they were in 1922 and on some of the same machines. It all starts with paper strips being fed through winders that make them into base wads.
The hulls themselves are wound into tubes about 6 inches long that are cured to remove humidity and impregnated with wax in a big, hot kettle. Then they are visually inspected and cut to proper length for shell production.
It’s a hot, demanding job, but the shooter who insists on Gold Medal Paper shells when shoot-offs get intense appreciates the results.
In this time of unprecedented demand for its products, Federal is using everything from presses from the 1920s to modern loaders that crank out 500 rounds of 9mm at a time to integrated shotshell loaders from the 2000s that can take in components at one end and pour out boxed shotshells at the other. If a machine can contribute, it’s pressed into use and runs all day, every day to satisfy customers’ unending demand for the highest quality ammunition.