Federal Premium Ammunition Brings Back Popular Loads
courtesy Federal Premium
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After a brief hiatus, Federal Ammunition has reintroduced a bunch of centerfire rifle rounds loaded with bullets from Barnes and Nosler, plus expanded options from Sierra, Berger and more.

In 1977, Federal Ammunition created its Premium line of centerfire rifle ammunition. In doing so, the company did something that was unheard of at the time.

Rather than just load its own bullets into its centerfire rifle and handgun cartridges, Federal began using the top projectiles from companies across the industry and loading them to its own extremely tight specifications. For example, Federal’s initial 1977 loads were manufactured using Nosler Partition and the Sierra boat-tail hollow point bullets.

The move produced handloader-level accuracy, performance and quality from factory ammunition, changing the United States-based company–and the industry–forever.

The number of new products and variety of Federal Premium items swelled over the next four decades, but like catalogs of product offerings from any company, that number increased and decreased as the market ebbed and flowed. For example, some products from Barnes and Nosler were eventually discontinued.

Federal Premium Ammunition Brings Back Popular Loads barnes bullets
Barnes bullets (image thetruthaboutguns.com)

Today, many products loaded with industry-partner projectiles are still active and selling strong. In fact, Federal has recently pledged to not only continue but also expand and elevate those lines of Premium ammunition.

Evidence of this is Federal’s reintroduction of a complete line of its Premium Nosler AccuBond loads produced and delivered in 2018. In that same year, Federal announced new loads from its latest industry partner, Berger, loaded for competition shooters. Those products were received with an outstanding response from consumers worldwide. Target shooting was changed for the better.

Federal Premium Ammunition Brings Back Popular Loads
courtesy Federal Premium

In 2019, Federal will reintroduce a complete lineup of its Premium Barnes Triple-Shock X (TSX) offerings and launch new hunting loads using Berger Hybrid Hunter bullets. In addition, it will offer several new options from Sierra and even new loads in its Varmint & Predator product line using Hornady V-Max bullets.

The direction to load the best projectiles in the industry has been the company’s heart and soul–and one of the reasons for its longstanding success. Federal is dedicated to reinvigorate the entire product category now and into the future.

The Nosler AccuBond and Barnes TSX were popular loads loved by shooting sports customers for many years. Various business reasons led to the discontinuation for most of these products in 2012 and 2013. The few remaining Barnes TSX loads were discontinued in 2017. But now Federal is now bringing back full product lines using these bullets, plus additional calibers or loads not offered in the past.

These offerings will be back in virtually the same form as before. Customers have been asking for them as they were. However, Federal took the opportunity to improve the loads with more advanced powders and components where applicable. For example, they gave them Premium nickel-plated cases. However, these loads will typically keep to the same velocities and accuracy specifications as before.

The company also added some new calibers to these reintroduced product lines. Barnes TSX now has 6.5 Creedmoor and .224 Valkyrie. For AccuBond, they added 6.5 Creedmoor and .338 Lapua Magnum.

Over the last three years, Federal Ammo has greatly expanded cataloged products loaded with Barnes, Berger, Nosler and Sierra.

In 2017, they introduced Berger BT Target in .223 Rem.; Berger Hybrid OTM in 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor; and Berger Juggernaut OTM in .308 Win.

Federal Premium Ammunition Brings Back Popular Loads
Courtesy Federal Premium

In 2018, they reintroduced Nosler AccuBond in 17 calibers ranging from .243 Win all the way to .338 Lapua Magnum. Federal also added Nosler Ballistic Tip in .224 Valkyrie; added Sierra MatchKing in .224 Valkyrie and 6.5 Creedmoor; and expanded Berger Hybrid OTM to include 6mm Creedmoor.

In 2019, they’ll deliver Barnes TSX in 17 loads ranging from .223 Rem. to .300 Win. Magnum; launch Berger Hybrid Hunter in 10 calibers from .243 Win. to .300 WSM; add Berger Hybrid OTM in .224 Valkyrie, .300 Win Mag and .300 Norma Magnum; and expand Sierra MatchKing to include 6mm Creedmoor.

Although many bullets perform well, there is a different application for almost every product being offered by Federal. Not to mention personal preference and differences in how each individual gun will shoot various loads.

From their Anoka, Minnesota factory, Federal is striving to meet the needs of hunters and competitive shooters with rifle ammo that makes sense, no matter what their preference.

You may know Federal for their self-defense handgun ammo, their turkey shotgun shells, or even their muzzleloader primers, but it’s the Premium collaborations that might be the most impactful offerings, and now they’re back.

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  1. Too little too late…have developed my own pet loads with premium bullets and brass…handloading allows one to control every aspect of producing their own custom loaded ammunition…

    • It also allows you to spend an inordinate amount of time on a hobby for more and more diminishing returns of precision.

      • “It also allows you to spend an inordinate amount of time on a hobby for more and more diminishing returns of precision.”

        That has to be one the most ludicrous statements ever written…

        • Bought up a number of those factory rounds made with Nosler Partitions at my LGS. For $10 a box no less.
          And now also have a stash of Partitions any reloader would envy. Nothing beats being able to load your own. And not just because you can tailor your rounds to your gun. As Mastercard put it some years ago, that money under the mattress feeling when you have components to load ammo for the next eternity is “Priceless”.

    • My understanding for the discontinuation of the Barnes bullets had to do with Remington’s acquisition of Barnes. Someone may be able to correct me, but I believe it created some industry relational issues.

  2. Premium ammunition simply means tighter control over production tolerances. Making cartridges with less variability certainly helps accuracy. But it’s not a substitute for working up loads tailored to your own gun. The best made factory load won’t shoot well if your gun doesn’t “like” it.

  3. Cost?
    I won some “premium” 30-06 in target event years back. It was almost $4 a round. I’ll stick with my 1/2 moa reloads.

  4. I got into reloading in 83-84 after ETS from the army. It saved money, but took a lot of time. High quality factory loads looked to be a viable option. When I started shooting matches forget reloading. I could spend two days reloading what I would shoot in an afternoon of practice. My time is worth something. Anyway, I shoot premium loads from Federal, Winchester and Remington in my hunting rifles. That includes .308, 30-06, 7mm Magnum, .270, etc. They tend to be as accurate as any of my handloads. Pistol ammo I just buy by the case. As well as 5.56 and 7.62 NATO. No disrespect to handloaders. It can be an interesting hobby. I just wasn’t interested in the minutiae.

  5. I’ve had good luck with Federal Premium in the past and haven’t been able to beat it by much reloading. Sometimes I have time, sometimes I have money.

  6. Hey! It could be 6.5mm Creedmoore. Could someone tell me what that cartridge does that many others don’t? Answer. Nothing. Just sells rifles to the uninitiated. When Remington announced the 8mm Magnum Elmer Keith stood up and asked, “What’s it good for?” It died right there. Jeff Cooper said the reason for new calibers is to sell new rifles. Still true today. Don’t need new calibers. Need smarter rifles.

    • Four calibers can meet every North American requirement:. 22LR for small game and plinking; .243 Winchester for varmint and medium sized game. 30-06 for North American big game and the pistol round of your choice. You can get an AR-10 chambered in .243 so you even have that aspect of shooting covered.


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