Federal Cartridge Company History


#1

Is there a company history of Federal Cartridge from the centerfire ammo collector’s perspective?
I ask because I see little centerfire ammo from before 1974. I note: company founded in 1922, 1941 contract to build Twin Cities Ordnance Plant, operated Twin Cities plant 1942-45, 50-58, and 66-72. Shotgun shell gauges differentiated by color by 1960, change from paper to plastic shotgun shells in 1965. Dated FC-headstamped 45 Auto begins in '53, same year as TW-headstamped 45 Auto. Dated FC-headstamped 38 Special began in '54. A few tidbits gleaned from Gun Digest annuals: picture of Federal primer box in 1960 issue, first listing of Federal centerfire and rimfire cartridges in 1965 issue including a 38 Special/148-gr match and a 45 Auto/230-gr Match – recall that dated FC 45 Auto production began in '53 and dated FC 38 Special production in '54, reference that there were two each 38 Special (148- and 158-gr) and 45 Auto (230-gr) loads listed in 1966 issue, a note in 1967 issue that Federal Cartridge primers changed from two-leg to three-leg, a much expanded cartridge list in the 1972 issue including 25 Auto, 32 Auto, 380 Auto, 9mm Luger and a 4th 38 Special load.
So, did Federal Cartridge commercial production begin in '64/'65, as Gun Digest’s lists would suggest, or was there earlier commercial production, like 30-06, 223 Remington, 45 Auto and/or 38 Special, the first three previously in production at Twin Cities? If I have my early Federal primers lot numbers correct, the two-leg type have late 1950’s dates. And when did they start selling primers for handloading/reloading?


#2

Federal advertised and produced there first commercial ammunition in 1963. They of course did make some dated .38 and
.45 ammo in the 50s and 60s. Some MONARK brand match ammo has been seen in .38 with 1962 lot numbers. It is interesting
That some of the early centerfire sporting ammo produced, utilized cases produced for Federal by Dominion Cartridge. I have been working with Federal to publish a book on there Centerfire history to include the TW Arsenal, sporting and commercial,
Law enforcement, and military contract production. It will be coming out in sections beginning with the Arsenal first. I have
Completed books for them already on shot shell and rim fire.


#3

Yes, I visited northwoodcollectables.com. You may have noticed my interest in pre-1974 Federal Cartridge ammunition lot numbers. I hope you address those lot numbers and those of their early primers, and I look forward to reading your book. Thank you.


#4

dArtagnan–I believe the first Federal retail catalog was 1962. I have the 1963 catalog which I will send you (and anybody else that wants it) by email attachment.