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Federal American Eagle Ammo Review: Amazing Target Rounds

Federal American Eagle Ammo Review

I remember heading to the range for the first time with my brand-new Glock 17 and several 50-round boxes of American Eagle 9mm Luger 115 grain tucked away in my range bag. It was a lovely Hoosier summer day (read: hotter than the blue blazes), but it was a great day of breaking in a new pistol and target shooting.

Federal Premium has always put out high-quality rifle and handgun ammunition. And when you open a box of their rimfire, shotshell, or centerfire ammo, you know it’s going to go bang when you pull the trigger.

Federal American Eagle ammo is no exception to this rule and is one of Federal’s ammo lines aimed at shooters who want to save money but still spend time at the range.

However, some shooters wonder if Federal American Eagle is a good choice for their firearm (spoiler: it is) and want to know more about the brand before they invest in a case or two. Ok, fair enough!

In this Federal American Eagle ammo review, we will examine what Federal American Eagle can offer you and explain why this ammo is a great investment if you love plinking or simply blasting through a few mags at the range.

Federal American Eagle Ammo Overview

The Federal Cartridge and Machine Company was founded in 1916 by two brothers, Harry and Louis Sherman. The company initially produced shotshell ammo; however, the end of World War I led to the closure of the ammunition plant in 1920.

Two years later, Charles Horn took control and re-founded the company as the Federal Cartridge Corporation. Since then, Federal has become one of the primary ammunition manufacturers for the U.S. Military, law enforcement, and civilian shooters across the USA.

Federal American Eagle ammunition as we know it today was released in 1961 with the bold red and yellow packaging sporting America’s favorite bird, the Bald Eagle. From the beginning, Federal American Eagle ammo was marketed toward civilian shooters for target practice. It is Federal Ammunition’s bargain brand that is perfect for any shooter on virtually any budget.

Federal American Eagle 45 ACP Ammo

However, just because American Eagle ammo is a bargain brand of ammunition doesn’t mean that Federal skimped on quality. It’s quite the opposite, in fact, as American Eagle ammo is still produced under Federal’s stringent quality control standards and offers hobbyist and weekend shooters a brand of ammo that is reliable, accurate, and clean burning.

For well over 60 years, Federal American Eagle ammo was loaded with full metal jacket bullets. These are perfect for plinking and target practice. However, in late 2015, Federal Ammunition released the Syntech brand of ammo under the American Eagle line.

Syntech ammo is loaded with a total polymer jacket (TPJ) bullet; essentially, the projectiles are completely encapsulated in a polymer coating. Federal claims this ammo is safer for use when shooting at indoor ranges, as the polymer keeps most of the bullet fragments close to the target if you’re shooting at steel baffles or targets.

Furthermore, the polymer jacket should (in theory) cause less barrel wear and tear on your barrel compared to traditional FMJ bullets, as there is no metal-on-metal contact.

Regardless of whether you like FMJ bullets or the new Syntech bullets, Federal American Eagle ammo is a great choice for those who are on a budget or simply want to go shooting on the weekends and not spend a whole lot of money on ammo.

Our Federal American Eagle Ammo Review

When you’re looking for budget ammo, you’ve got a lot of choices in today’s market. Blazer Brass, Wolf, Tula, Winchester white box, PMC, and Remington UMC are all great options that will serve you well.

Although some of these brands might save you a few cents per round, the high-quality level of American Eagle cannot be overstated. This ammo burns clean, is accurate, and is very reliable in my hands. I never worry about packing a few boxes into my range bag.

My personal favorite handgun ammunition from American Eagle is their 230-grain FMJ 45 ACP loads, as well as the classic 9mm Luger 115-grain ammo. Both of these run flawlessly in my 9mm Glocks and 1911, and I can’t recall any malfunctions making for a bad day at the range.

Federal American Eagle 9mm Ammo

I would be remiss saying that American Eagle ammo never malfunctions because I’m sure that it has. Furthermore, it’s possible that your handgun or rifle simply doesn’t like American Eagle ammo. But in my experience, I’ve never had any problem with it across multiple firearms like my Ruger 10-22, Sig Sauer P226, different 1911's, and AR-15 carbines.

But if you’re worried that your firearm might not like American Eagle, it’s easy to get a box or two and test it out before you commit to a large bulk ammo order since accessibility is so high for this brand.

Another huge benefit to shooting American Eagle ammo is the brass cases. If you handload as I do, you’ll know that Federal brass cases are very reliable and can survive multiple reloads before they split or crack. The Boxer primers are easy to pop out and replace with your preferred brand (it will be CCI or Winchester primers for me!)

The only downside to this ammo that I can find is their lack of a self-defense hollow point load. However, Federal Premium has numerous JHP options like the Hydra-Shok and HST, to handle all your self-defense needs.

If you can tell, I’m a fan of American Eagle ammo, and I make no apologies for it. And trust me, after you give this ammo a try, I have no doubt you’ll be a fan, too!

What’s It Best For?

Federal American Eagle is best used for target practice and plinking. It’s inexpensive enough to buy in bulk for punching holes in paper instead of your wallet. Furthermore, I’ve found that Federal American Eagle shoots a bit cleaner than other bulk brands like Blazer Brass or Wolf.

The classic full metal jacket bullets are accurate enough for target work but should not be considered match-grade rounds.

American Eagle ammo is also extremely reliable, in my experience. I can’t recall any malfunctions off hand, but this is not to say that it will never happen. Regardless, I always have a pleasant experience at the range when I’m shooting these rounds and don’t spend half my time there clearing jams.


Federal American Eagle 5.56x45 Ammo

Honestly, there are not a lot of bad things to say about this ammo other than there are no jacketed hollow point (JHP) offerings. As American Eagle ammo is primarily loaded with full metal jacket (FMJ) lead core bullets, they are not ideal for self-defense.

If you’re looking for self-defense ammo, you would want something along the lines of Federal HST JHP ammo, as these rounds will expand when they encounter soft tissue and limit over-penetration. An FMJ round will punch right through an attacker and could potentially hit an innocent bystander or family member.

Therefore, I would not recommend using Federal American Eagle ammo in a self-defense situation unless you have no other option.

Pros and Cons

As much as we love ammo, we understand that no manufacturer is perfect. Here are some of the pros and cons of Federal American Eagle ammo you should be aware of.


  • Inexpensive
  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Clean shooting


  • Not the best for self-defense pistol ammo (no hollow point offerings)


Federal Ammunition comes in a wide variety of calibers, loads, and bullet types. Their American Eagle ammunition is no exception, and below I have reviewed several of their most popular factory loads.

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Review

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Cartridge Specifications

If you need some inexpensive 5.56 NATO ammo to break in your new AR-15 or just want to go plinking at the range, American Eagle XM193 5.56 ammo will do the trick for you. Loaded with a 55-grain full metal jacket, this ammo is perfect for target practice or popping soda cans off your grandfather’s old fence post out in the country.

This stuff is reliable, accurate, and the brass cases are amazing for reloading.

My only critique is that the muzzle velocity is slightly below NATO spec. Federal lists their muzzle velocity at 3,165 fps which is about 100 fps slower than NATO ammo. However, this is likely done for safety to ensure that your AR-15 carbine makes it home safe and doesn’t need to go to the gunsmith for repairs!

Federal American Eagle 9mm Review

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Cartridge Specifications

Although my Glock 26 is typically loaded with Speer Gold Dots or Federal Hydra-Shok when it’s resting in my CCW holster, at the range, I’m loading it with American Eagle 9mm ammo.

Federal loads this ammo with the typical full metal jacket projectiles you’ve come to expect for 9mm: 115-grain, 124-grain, and 147-grain bullets. These standard lead core bullets work great for punching holes in paper and do their best to replicate the recoil impulse and feel of your self-defense ammo.

These rounds have always been reliable for me, and when I’m not shooting my own handloads, I’ve always got a few boxes in my range bag.

Federal American Eagle 45 ACP Review

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Cartridge Specifications

When I want to load up my Kimber TLE Custom 2 1911, I never hesitate to grab a box of 230-grain FMJ American Eagle ammo. This stuff always seems to cycle my John Moses Browning masterpiece and makes for an enjoyable range session.

At the time of writing, only the classic 230-grain FMJ bullet is available, but hopefully, in the future, Federal might add 200-gr or 185-gr options for those who prefer a light recoil 45 ACP experience.

Federal American Eagle 22LR Review

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Cartridge Specifications

If you’re looking for some high-quality rimfire ammo, then look no further than American Eagle 22 LR. Loaded with three different projectiles to cover all your target shooting and varmint hunting needs, this 22 LR ammo really hits the mark in terms of quality and performance.

Federal currently loads their American Eagle 22LR ammo with 40-grain lead round nose, 38-grain copper-plated hollow point, and 45-grain copper-plated round nose bullets.

Their 45-grain CPRN bullets are specifically designed for use with a suppressor and are loaded to subsonic velocities. This means a hearing-safe shooting experience so long as you have the suppressor attached.

Ballistics for Federal American Eagle Ammo

Below you’ll find the ballistic tables for the ammunition reviews above. This ballistics data was taken from Federal’s website, so performance might vary slightly in your handgun or rifle depending on barrel length. And if you haven’t done so already, make sure to read our ammunition reviews above!

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Ballistics

Federal American Eagle 5.56 Ballistics table

Federal American Eagle 9mm Ballistics

Federal American Eagle 9mm Ballistics table

Federal American Eagle 45 ACP Ballistics

Federal American Eagle 45 ACP Ballistics table

Federal American Eagle 22LR Ballistics

Federal American Eagle 22 LR Ballistics table

Parting Shots

Federal American Eagle ammo is a great option if you’re looking for a low-cost FMJ round that is reliable, high-quality, and American-made. No matter if you need rifle, rimfire, or handgun ammo, American Eagle has you covered.

Federal Premium Ammunition has always put out a spectacular product that shooters love, respect, and gladly carry into the woods or for EDC.

If you’re ready to stock up on some Federal ammunition, we have tons of it in stock and ready to ship to your door. Make sure your ammo supplies never run dry of Federal Ammo, and we’ll see you out on the range!

Frequently Asked Questions

I've taken the time to gather and answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding Federal American Eagle ammo below.

Is Federal American Eagle worth buying?

Yes, Federal American Eagle ammo is definitely worth buying as it burns slightly cleaner than other brands and offers shooters exceptional value for plinking, target shooting, and general range work.

What is the range of Federal American Eagle ammo?

Effective range for rifle and pistol ammo will be largely connected to which cartridge you’re shooting. Federal American Eagle ammo will have an effective range found with typical target shooting ammo for the cartridge you’re using.

Chris Dwulet
Written by
Chris Dwulet

Ammunition Reviews