Federal Ammunition - 100th Anniversary

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Federal Ammunition opened its doors on April 27, 1922. Odds were against the fledgling factory, but the support of shooters like you and the tireless work of their dedicated workforce carried them through 100 years and transformed Federal into the world’s leading ammunition manufacturer. 

The 1920s: From Bankruptcy To Boom

While the company we know today as Federal Ammunition came into being in 1922, the story begins several years earlier. On September 15, 1916, brothers Harry and Louis Sherman formed the Federal Cartridge and Machine Company. 

The brothers ventured north with a wealth of technical knowledge and patents to launch a new company. They secured funding from several businessmen to establish the new ammunition plant on 31 acres of land in Anoka, Minn.

The Anoka Union newspaper described the project as a “massive munitions plant” where “all kinds of cartridges will be made.” A few months after construction on the plant was finished, the corporation was reorganized as the Federal Cartridge Co., with plans to manufacture shotshells for foreign and domestic military contracts. The end of World War I upended that plan.

federal ammo factory

Because of ongoing conflicts with investors, the Sherman brothers left the company in early 1917, and only a small quantity of shotshells were ever made by the factory’s 20 employees before it closed. 

The Federal Cartridge Company building sat idle for two years, much to the disappointment of Anoka residents who had anxiously awaited the jobs and the economic benefits the ammunition factory would have brought to the city. And that might have been the end of the factory and Federal Ammunition, if not for the intervention of a 34-year-old businessman from Minneapolis named Charles Horn.