Minnesota's Federal Ammunition on Wednesday is celebrating the company's centennial, saluting its first 100 years in operation.
Founded April 27, 1922, the date Charles L. Horn took control of a fledgling shotgun shell manufacturer from Louie and Harry Sherman, the Federal Cartridge Corporation began with a 9,000 sq. ft. facility. After pushing to make it a household name by marketing its shells in everyday locations such as filling stations, grocery stores, and even barbershops, Federal eventually made its way into Sears and Montgomery Ward.
Along the way it acquired the American Cartridge Company of Kansas City and, after moving its line to Minnesota, rebranded it as American Eagle.
Wartime Service and expansion
By World War II, Federal went federal, winning a contract to establish and run the Army's Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
By the 1970s, William B. Horn introduced Federal's Premium series centerfire cartridges, later adding self-defense products like Hydra-Shok and Hi-Shok loads, and is currently owned by Vista Outdoors, a company that includes other well-known ammunition brands including Blazer, CCI and Speer.
Just getting warmed up
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. The emphasis, says the company, is to be self-sustaining as much as possible.
"We don’t just buy parts and put them together, or have other companies load stuff for us," said Jason Vanderbrink, President of Federal, CCI, Speer and Remington. "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."
Check out the below tour of Federal's Anoka plant-- it has 16 different firearms ranges inside-- and for more on Federal's 100th-anniversary events, check out the company's dedicated website.