Prior to SHOT Show 2023, Federal issued a press release detailing a number of new cartridges being produced. Alongside several sat two new loads of Number 1 buckshot. These No. 1 loads were in the premium line of Federal ammo, and for many shotgun nerds, this meant the possibility of the return of No. 1 loads with Federal’s FLITECONTROL wads. That’s a shotgun geek’s favorite option for defensive buckshot.
Why Number 1?
Number 1 is the smallest pellet capable of consistently getting through twelve inches of properly calibrated ballistic gel. A 2.75-inch No.1 shell can hold 16 pellets, and it’s the most efficient loading possible for a defensive shotgun by grainage alone. The Federal FLITECONTROL No. 1 loads were the bee knees for defensive shotgun loads. When you have 16 pellets stacked atop each other in a FLITECONTROL wad, it’s a devastating round.
Sadly, Federal discontinued those loads years ago. This left us with the 00 buckshot load, which is still pretty great, but not the best possible IMHO. If you want to chase the highest performance from your defensive shotguns, No. 1 FLITECONTROL is the way to go. When these new loads were revealed, I tossed Federal on my list of stops.
Sadly after talking to the fellas at Federal last week, this isn’t the case. They’re producing two new Number 1 loads, but they aren’t Flitecontrol. These loads are aimed at the hunting market, not the defensive shotgun market. These rounds don’t include the Flitecontrol wad.
My question is, well, why not? To which they graciously answered…they simply weren’t getting the performance they desired from the Number 1 Flitecontrol load. They didn’t think it was up to their standards. Their logic is that even a slight inconsistency when shot from a minority of guns isn’t worth the risk. If the load didn’t consistently pattern to FLITECONTROL standards, then it wasn’t up to par.
Cue the sad violin noise. Luckily, those same fine folks at Federal advised that Number 1 FLITECONTROL isn’t dead. They’re working on it and are hopeful they can get it up to their standards. So it’s not back, buts it’s not entirely dead. Not yet.