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  • Writer's pictureT. Logan Metesh

Historic Testing of Federal Shotshells

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Federal Ammunition is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022, and I recently visited the factory to interview employees, tour the facility, and explore their historic collection of guns, boxes, advertisements, and more.

You can't produce the best quality ammunition without being able to test it, and that's something Federal Ammunition has been doing in Anoka, Minnesota, since the very beginning in 1922. They do it with the firearms that they keep stocked in the "Gun Room" within the depths of the larger plant as a whole.

The genesis of that testing program is a Winchester Model 12 pump shotgun that they have factory inventory log records and check-out information dating back to August 28th, 1937, when the gun was first purchased. This was the first firearm that Federal logged in as a test gun that they were using to make sure that the shotshells they were putting out were of the highest quality.

Door to the Gun Room at the Federal Ammunition plant

They've kept this gun in their inventory for all these years so that they can ensure that no matter the age of your gun, the brand new ammo that you're buying off the shelf from Federal is going to operate exactly as it should.

For everything that it's been through - the countless tens if not hundreds of thousands of rounds that have been fired through it - the gun is in remarkably good condition.

FED.CART.CORP. is stamped into the receiver of this Winchester Model 12

One of the most interesting aspects of this shotgun is found on the right side of the receiver. Someone with individual letter stamps punched in an abbreviation for the Federal Cartridge Corporation into the side of the gun. That creates rock solid provenance that proves almost 100 years of ownership. There's no doubt about it that this gun belonged to Federal and has been helping them churn out top-notch ammo for 100 years in Anoka, Minnesota.

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