“To put regular gas in a Ferrari is a capital sin. It’s the same with putting mediocre ammunition in a top gun.”
An accountant is an unlikely ammunition manufacturer. But that’s just what Giulio Fiocchi was before one fateful day way back in 1876.
Back then, Giulio Fiocchi worked for a bank in Milan, Italy. When he was sent to collect on a loan given to a manufacturer of black powder and muskets in Lecco, Giulio researched the situation and determined it was not possible for the borrower to repay. Upon returning to Milan, Giulio was consumed with thoughts of getting into the ammunition manufacturing business. He knew nothing about ammo, but felt like he had tripped over the opportunity of a lifetime. After proposing the idea to his brother Giacomo and convincing the bank to lend them money to purchase the insolvent company, it was official. By the next year, Giulio Fiocchi Enterprises began manufacturing ammunition.
Fiocchi Italy: The Mother Country
Fiocchi Munizioni – Italian for “Fiocchi Ammunition” – was founded at a pivotal point in the history of the firearm. The muzzle-loader was quickly going the way of the dinosaur, replaced by the breech-loader. First, Fiocchi started manufacturing reloadable primer cases. By the early 1890s, however, they moved into the world of complete cartridges with bullets or shot. Black powder was now a thing of the past, except for a small group of niche hobbyists.
At the turn of the century, there was a curious expansion for Fiocchi. The manufacturing of ammunition leftover a significant amount of scrap metal. Tired of simply throwing this out, Fiocchi found a use for the metal – snaps. In fact, Fiocchi became a world leader in the production of clothing snaps (so much so, that when this lucrative side enterprise was sold in the 1980s, it went to one of the biggest garment manufacturers in the world).
What’s more, Fiocchi was an early leader in manufacturing worker welfare. In 1904, Fiocchi built a number of houses in Lecco, available for purchase at prices their workers could afford. These were not the “company towns” of America’s Gilded Age, but respectable housing. Nurses and childcare were likewise provided by Fiocchi for their employees – and still are. The company also employs many third- and fourth-generation employees to this day.
The Fiocchi Catalog
Fiocchi first focused on ammunition for sporting and hunting. But during World War I, they produced ammo for the Italian army. The factory was seized in World War II by the Germans, and as Allied forces closed in around them, the Germans attempted to destroy the factory. Employees resisted and prevailed over the Germans on the ground, but they were unable to protect the factory from bombs being dropped from Allied planes, which eventually destroyed the plant in 1945.
Fiocchi has always been a family affair. The company was founded by two brothers, then bequeathed from founder Giulio to one of his 13 children, Carlo – who was one of seven brothers. After the destruction of their family’s factory, they were faced with the choice of whether to rebuild or to call it a day and move on.
The Fiocchi family rebuilt their factory in 1946, after the close of the Second World War, leveraging a loyal workforce and not taking a dime from the Marshall Plan. This modern rebuild enabled Fiocchi to manufacture the most advanced ammunition available at the time, keeping them abreast of the expansion of the ammunition market during the 50s and 60s. Marketing this new and improved ammo to a broader audience began with partnerships.
Today, Fiocchi still sits on the cutting edge of high-quality ammunition production, all of which has a deserved reputation as some of the best available. The company sells shotgun shells for shotgun competition and competitors at the world-class level, they continually refine and expand their already inclusive line of centerfire ammunition, and they also manufacture NATO spec-certified ammunition. Fiocchi cartridges were even proudly used in Olympic triumphs in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing. But the innovation doesn't end there. Cyalume Chemtracer shotgun shells, the Canned Heat product line, Cowboy Action Line and the Tundra Rifle line are proof of how Fiocchi keeps a finger on the pulse of the ammo market and anticipates future trends.
Fiocchi makes a full line of ammunition, but one thing it is perhaps most known for is the manufacture of rare cartridges for collectors of antique or unusual firearms. An example of this is the .455 Webley. This caliber is so archaic that in its original form, it still utilized black powder as the firing mechanism. While not the standard issue service model for the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy during World War I, it was a popular private arm among those respective services. Originally a large pistol primer, it is now a small pistol primer when manufactured by Fiocchi for antique firearms collectors and enthusiasts.
The History of Fiocchi of America Inc
There’s a strange and circuitous history of Fiocchi in the United States. They shared a factory with Smith & Wesson in Alton, IL in the 1950s. However, the interest between both companies began to conflict, and Fiocchi sold its share. This represented a temporary end to the Fiocchi brand in the United States. However, Carlo Fiocchi, the great grandson of the founder of Fiocchi, came to the United States on his honeymoon in 1980. Unfortunately for Carlo and fortunately for American partisans of the brand, this was to be a working honeymoon. His research led to the 1983 founding of a Fiocchi importation center.
One thing the company didn’t count on was massive demand stateside. Fiocchi were simply unprepared to meet the demands of the American market on an import basis. Carlo convinced Fiocchi president Paolo that building a manufacturing plant in the Ozarks near Springfield was the right step forward for the company. In a strange echo of the company’s origins, the land for the plant was purchased from a farmer who had defaulted on his mortgage. The surrounding community welcomed Fiocchi of America with open arms as they brought good manufacturing jobs to the region. Over 75 percent of the ammunition Fiocchi sells in the United States is also manufactured in the United States. This is how Fiocchi has earned its American slogan “Italian by birth, American by choice.”
Where Is Fiocchi Ammo Made?
While many collectors and everyday hunters and sportsmen use Fiocchi Ammunition for shooting targets, clay or game, Fiocchi is an Italian brand, with its Italian manufacturing hub in the same region (Bologna) that manufactures Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Perhaps Fiocchi could be considered the Ferrari of ammunition, but at a price point nearly anyone can afford. A quick visit to the company’s website will show the sleek and elegant design for which Italian luxury brands are world-famous, along with Fiocchi ammo reviews that are often stellar.
Fiocchi has a strong history, and is clearly committed to continue improving their influence and reputation among American sporting shooters. And after all these years, the Fiocchi family are still firmly in control of this business, an enterprise run with love by a single family for over 140 years, and now on its fourth and fifth generations. All told, 70 family members have shares in a holding company that owns the ammunition manufacturing enterprise.
“My family name is on the frigging box! I cannot sell anything but the best. It’s my Italian sense of pride.”
Where is Fiocchi ammo made?
Fiocchi is an Italian company and its headquarters and main plant are located in Via Santa Barbara in Lecco, Italy. Fiocchi also makes ammo throughout the world, including in Hungary and Great Britain. In the U.S., Fiocchi has a production facility in Ozark, Missouri, where it makes more than 75% of the Fiocchi ammo that’s sold in the U.S.
Who owns Fiocchi Ammunition?
Fiocchi Ammunition is owned, entirely, by private capital holdings of the Fiocchi Family. Currently, Carlo Fiocchi is the head of the company, which has been run by five generations of the family, for over 140 years.
Is Fiocchi ammo quality ammo?
Fiocchi is considered a quality, albeit affordable, ammunition. The company has multiple qualifications and certifications, including the NATO’s Allied Quality Assurance Publications (AQAP), and has contributed to prestigious shooting sports events, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and several World Cups. It truly is a high-quality ammo at an affordable price, with .223 cartridges starting at less than $0.30 a round.
Why is Fiocchi ammo cheap?
Even though Fiocchi is a quality ammunition, it is still affordable at less than $0.30 a round for .223 cartridges. Fiocchi keeps its ammo low priced by manufacturing the ammunition in the country in which it’s sold (the Fiocchi U.S. plant is located in Ozark, Missouri). What’s more, the company is still 100% family owned and operated, which helps reduce the payout to corporate owned ammunition companies.