5 (More) Federal Loads to Consider

Federal Ammo and Bolt-Action Rifle

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!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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