American Eagle raised the bar in target ammunition with its revolutionary new Syntech lineup. Cloaked in a synthetic jacket that tips conventional range wisdom on its ear, according to American Eagle, Syntech ammo shoots smoother, safer, cooler, and cleaner than anything on the market. To help serious shooters fully appreciate everything Syntech brings to the table, Mike Holm, Senior Product Line Manager for Federal American Eagle Ammunition was put under a hot light and properly interrogated… ahem, questioned.
Q: What is Syntech ammunition? A: American Eagle Syntech features an all-new Total Synthetic Jacket (TSJ) wrapped around a soft lead bullet, plus the high-performance, lead-free Catalyst™ primer and specialized clean-burning powder packed in a reloadable brass case. The combination reduces heat, friction and fouling to keep your gun cleaner, longer while providing the smoothest, most enjoyable shooting experience possible.
Q: How does it keep your gun cleaner? A: Unlike conventional jacketed ammunition that causes metal-on-metal contact between the bullet and bore—decreasing barrel life while producing hard-to-clean fouling—Syntech’s polymer coating lets the bullet glide through the barrel. As a result, barrel life is extended, while lead and copper fouling are a thing of the past.
Q: Metal residue is gone, but what about polymer fouling in the barrel and rifling? A: After firing many thousands of evaluation rounds during exhaustive testing, we’ve noticed no substantial residue from the polymer coating.
Q: Do you need special cleaning products when shooting Syntech? A: No. We’ve fired thousands of Syntech rounds during testing, and no specialized cleaning products have been necessary. Thanks to Syntech’s TSJ jacket, traditional cleaning products such as a brass brush and standard powder solvents should be all that is required to clean your barrel/firearm.
Q: How does the Syntech coating differ from the red moly used decades ago? A: The red molybdenum grease other companies coated their bullets with is completely different than Syntech’s strong and durable polymer, which is neither liquid nor grease.
Q: With less friction and heat, how does the Syntech coating affect bullet velocities versus standard full metal jacket ammunition? A: We designed Syntech to perform at velocities similar to current conventional range loads. However, because the coating reduces barrel friction, we are able to achieve this velocity with a slightly lower powder charge.
Q: Will the coating degrade when my barrel heats up from high-volume shooting? A: We did not experience that issue while firing thousands of rounds during development.
Q: Will there be any Syntech personal defense or rifle rounds available in the future? A: Although Syntech was initially designed as high-performance range ammunition, we will look to create, evaluate and test other products in years to come.
Q: How long has Syntech been in the works? A: It took approximately four years to release this product, including two years of just developing the sophisticated machinery required to reliably mass produce such high-quality bullets. However, Federal Premium® has decades of experience with coated bullets, and we relied on this expertise to develop Syntech and deliver its high-tech features and benefits at an affordable price point.
Q: What exactly is the polymer formula used in Syntech and how is it applied? A: Sorry, we can’t answer this question. It’s a trade secret. However, we can say sophisticated machinery precisely applies the Syntech polymer to meet our rigid specifications—after which the coated bullets undergo an extensive series of quality assurance checks.
Q: What is the cost difference compared to standard FMJ range ammunition? A: While Syntech is competitively priced for the range ammunition market, you might find it retails a bit higher than standard target rounds. However, the benefits Syntech delivers more than offset the slightly increased cost.
Q: How does the Catalyst primer give this new ammunition an edge? A: The all-new, lead-free Catalyst primer used in Syntech rounds is hot, consistent, and provides extremely reliable ignition followed by efficient burning of the propellant. We believe Catalyst is the most state-of-art primer technology available.
Q: How does Syntech ammo appeal to new shooters? A: We know that someone who started shooting a handgun in the past few years generally has different wants and needs than established shooters. New shooters are typically more intimidated when it comes to cleaning their handgun or shooting at indoor ranges. They might also worry about protecting the barrel on their new investment, or be more concerned about safety issues such as splashback when shooting close-up steel targets.
Q: Explain how Syntech reduces splashback. A: Since Syntech lacks a conventional copper jacket and has a soft lead core, it produces significantly less splashback than standard full metal jacket ammunition when fired into steel targets. Testing by Federal Premium engineers revealed Syntech produced much less total recoverable fragment weight than FMJ rounds between 5 and 15 yards of the steel target. And significantly less beyond 15 yards.
Q: Is Federal’s Nyclad bullet similar to the new Syntech product? A: Polymer-based Syntech target ammunition is a totally different product than our nylon-based Nyclad, which was developed primarily for law enforcement purposes. That being said, engineers working on the Syntech project certainly benefited from the years of experience in coated-bullet technology we’ve gained while producing millions of rounds of proven Nyclad ammunition in the past.