5 (More) Federal Loads to Consider


Federal Cartridge Company offers plenty of good loads. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t cover all of the solid options in our first article on the topic.

Here are a few more of the author’s favorite Federal loads. You can’t go wrong with these first-class offerings.

1. Federal Premium Hammer Down

The lever-action rifle is alive and well, and is popular with those hunting game at medium distances.

The old .30-30 WCF has taken its share of game and will continue to do so. However, there was room for improvement in the loads.

Using a flat-tipped bullet is vital, as the nose of one cartridge cannot bump the primer on another or there could be a detonation in the magazine.

Federal’s modern soft point is loaded in a polished nickel-plated casing that helps with feed reliability. The bullet is designed specifically for each caliber.

I used my old .30-30 with a Williams aperture sight and standard front post.

This rifle is capable of 4 MOA at 100 yards, it did a little better with the accurate Hammer Down load.

At 2,371 fps, standard deviation was quite low averaging 15 fps. That is match-grade standard for velocity variation.

While available in several calibers, I like the .30-30 Winchester the best and appreciate this new loading.

Federal Hammer Down Ammo
Hammer Down loads proved accurate and reliable.

2. Federal .224 Valkyrie American Eagle

.224 Valkyrie is an improved .223 cartridge built to tackle and defeat wind drift and drop. The bullets feature a sleek, thin jacket and a polymer-tipped bullet.

There are a good number of loads, all affordable and accurate. For varmints or predators, the load has promise.

I used a Wilson Combat rifle topped with a Leupold scope for this testing. The results were stunning.

Few groups were over 0.9 inches and a few were hugging 0.5 inches at 100 yards. Wilson Combat and Federal are a good combination.

Since the .224 offers the efficient use of a heavy bullet, the 90-grain MatchKing load is my favorite for serious use.

However, my all-around favorite load is the inexpensive, but very accurate, American Eagle.

A FMJ bullet punches paper just fine and allows for plenty of practice.

Federal American Eagle ammo and AR-15
Federal American Eagle is an excellent all-around loading.

3. Federal Syntech

The Syntech handgun loading uses a polymer-coated bullet for zero lead emission and a clean barrel after firing several hundreds of cartridges.

Synetch also helps eliminate splash-back from metal targets. Accuracy is good and the powder burn is clean.

While I like the .40 S&W and .45 ACP versions, I have fired more 9mm Luger than any other. Federal also offers a 9mm PCC Synetch for use in 9mm carbines.

This is a neat trick, as a lot of 9mm carbines are used in competition. This is a good load, clean-burning and well-suited to competition use.

Federal Syntech Ammo and SIG 1911
The author has fired perhaps 12,000 rounds of Syntech with excellent results.

4. Federal .308 Tactical Tip MatchKing

The 168-grain .308 Winchester has proven very accurate. It is usually the most accurate loading in my best shooting rifles.

I have the Springfield Victor and also a Savage Model 11 Scout I treasure. The Federal load offers excellent performance in both rifles.

The tipped MatchKing is a relatively new introduction, even more accurate than the previous loadings.

If I had to stock up only one loading for use in both my .308 rifles, this would be it.

Accuracy is good and the tipped loading seems more accurate in the better class of rifles.

The addition of an acetal resin-tip crown reduces drag and produces a good ballistic coefficient.

Federal .308 Ammo Federal Loads
The TMK bullet has proven accurate at all ranges and feed-reliable in a variety of rifles.

5. Federal .38 Special 129-Grain Hydra-Shok +P

Federal offers several defense loads in .38 Special. My favorite, and one I have deployed for a decade, is the 129-grain Hydra-Shok +P.

This load is nipping at the heels of 1,000 fps and offers good accuracy. While powerful, it isn’t too much for lightweight revolvers.

My old Colt revolvers are loaded with this modern loading.

Federal .38 Special Ammo and Colt revolvers
Federal’s .38 Special Hydra-Shok is a proven load with much to recommend.

Conclusion: Federal Loads

Federal is an ammunition manufacturer with a ton of different loadings, but if you choose any of these options, you are sure to have good results.

If you want to read about some more amazing loads, click here for our first post on the 5 Best Federal loads.

What are your favorite Federal Loads? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!

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