The gun world wouldn't be much without these top ammo makers.
You can't have get much use out of a gun without ammo. And that can't happen without the ammunition companies that produce the millions upon millions of rounds that feed them every year in the field for hunting; at at the range for practice, fun, and competition; and for law enforcement and the battlefield.
Here are some of the most prolific ammunition manufacturers in the world.
Remington, CCI, and Federal Premium Ammunition
As of last year, three of the biggest ammo makers in the U.S. are now owned by the same company. Vista Outdoor, which already owned Federal Premium and CCI (as well as Speer), purchased Remington Ammunition when Big Green was broken up for sale after two rapid bankruptcies.
Remington and Federal manufacture a host of ammo varieties, both centerfire and rimfire, and for all applications, including a number of high quality defensive hollow point handgun ammunition under the Federal brand. CCI is one of the most prominent rimfire ammo makers in the world.
Remington has been making ammo since 1888 when ownership of E. Remington & Sons was sold by the Remington family to Marcellus Hartley and Partners, which owned the Union Metallic Cartridge company in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Winchester Repeating Arms company. The name was changed to Remington Arms Company and Union became the Remington ammunition plant.
Federal has been cranking out handgun, rifle, and shotgun rounds since Federal Cartridge was founded in 1922 in Anoka, Minnesota. Today they make everything from plinking and practice ammo to high quality hunting and defensive ammunition.
CCI (Cascade Cartridge Inc) manufactures rimfire ammo and centerfire ammo under the Speer brand, as well as primers for reloaders, in Lewiston, Idaho. The company was founded by Dick Speer (brother of Vernon Speer, who founded Speer Bullets) in the early 1950s. CCI made the first mini-mag rimfire ammo in 1963 and developed the famous high-velocity .22LR Stinger ammo in 1975, both greatly enhancing the capabilities of the fairly ancient .22LR round.
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Winchester Ammo began with one cartridge, the .44 Henry rimfire, one of the earliest metallic cartridges made for Henry 1866 rifles, which was the first successful repeating rifle. Ever since, Winchester has been a leading designer of rifle ammo and has been responsible for creating an array of landmark cartridges, including the .30-30, the best selling hunting cartridge in history, as well as the .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO, currently one of the most popular hunting cartridges in the world and a cartridge widely used by various militaries.
Today, Winchester Ammo is owned by the Olin Corporation, which itself began as the Western Cartridge Company in the 1800s. It bought the ammo branch of the company, which was sold separately from the firearms branch, which at the time was known as U.S. Repeating Arms, and now, Winchester Repeating Arms. Currently, Winchester focuses on shotshells (especially for competition use) and cowboy action loads for revolvers and lever guns.
This high-end ammo company has some interesting roots. It was founded by Joyce Hornady, who got started in the ammo business in the'40s when he teamed up with Vernon Speer to make bullet jackets from sent brass rimfire cases. After WWII, Hornady bought up surplus manufacturing equipment from the U.S. government, like Waterbury-Farrell transfer presses which are still in use today. Hornady began manufacturing rifle and pistol ammo in 1964.
Today, Hornady makes target ammo, hunting ammo, and self-defense rounds. The company made a splash in 1990 with the Hornady XTP and has been the primary developer of innovative loads like the .17 HMR. The company also revolutionized lever action rifle ammo with its LEVERevolution line, allowing the platform to use Spitzer bullets with tubular magazines. It also produces a range of reloading equipment and components.
Hornady has worked closely with Ruger to develop a new line of Ruger cartridges including the .480 Ruger, .204 Ruger, and .375 Ruger.
While Cor-Bon is a smaller ammo company, it has been an important innovator of defensive ammunition and bullets since the company was founded by Peter Pi, Sr. in 1982 with the goal of creating rounds that solved the problem of unreliably expanding hollow point ammunition being made at the time.
Cor-Bon produces several ammo lines for defense, competition, and hunting and the innovative Glaser Safety Slug category includes the Powerball, Safety Slug Blue, and Safety Slug Silver lines. The Blue and Silver Safety Slugs were designed to cause significant damage while minimizing the chances of over penetration by using bullets filled with small shot pellets suspended in a polymer.
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Fiocchi Munizioni has a long history in the ammo business. It was founded in Lecco, Italy in 1876 by Giulio Fiocchi, an accountant by trade, who took over an ammo production plant already based int eh town that produced small-caliber ammunition right around the time breech loading firearms began replacing muzzleloaders. By the early 1890s Fiocchi was producing complete metallic cartridges and stopped producing black powder.
Fiocchi has been around for the entire history of metallic cartridges and has made everything from pinfire ammo and shotshells to rimfire and centerfire rounds. Today, they are known for making rare cartridges for collectors and enthusiasts and high quality shotshells.