[Status] Freedom Munitions Bankruptcy

It’s no secret that Freedom Munitions and its parent company, Howell Munitions, and Technology based in Lewiston, Idaho, have faced substantial difficulties over the course of the last 2 years.

In case you’ve missed the story so far, Howell, primarily a manufacturer of ammunition, components, and loading equipment, went through several rounds of layoffs and consolidations both in 2017 and this year, hinting at greater problems within the company.

Freedom Munitions Logo

On June 12 of this year, along with its subsidiaries and brands — including Freedom Munitions, X-Treme Bullets, RangeTime Training Ammunitions, Ammo Load Worldwide Inc., and Howell Machine — Howell Manufacturing and Technology filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Background

The move came after reports indicated company founder David Howell was apparently forced out as president earlier this year, and one of Howell Munitions’ creditors, Zions First National Bank, appointed a chief restructuring officer to deal with the company’s credit issues and to transition its business model.

Howell subsequently regained control and the bank-appointed CRO was let go, reports indicated at the time. Shortly thereafter, Howell filed for bankruptcy protection in Nevada, according to court documents, and the company has continued with its restructuring efforts in the aftermath.

The bankruptcy filing indicates Howell intends to remain in business, and Freedom Munitions’ website is still up and accepting orders for ammunition as of press time.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the company reiterated it is focused on remaining in business:

“Freedom Munitions will continue to manufacture ammunition, ship orders and provide the best service we possibly can. We are still here and plan on maintaining a steady path of manufacturing cost-effective ammunition and moving towards a positive future.”

Customer Complaints

Freedom Munitions has struggled with inventory, customer service, and quality control issues, as reported in posts on its own Facebook page, and in other online forums and media.

Ammunition availability and order fulfillment continue to be a challenge for customers, according to these sources. Another common complaint involved a frequent need for ammunition returns amid issues with squibs.

In fact, Pew Pew Tactical’s own David Lane has experienced a problem with ammunition he ordered from Freedom Munitions earlier this year, and the issue has yet to be resolved, he reported.

David’s report:

For Mother’s Day 2017 I bought my mum an S&W Airweight .38 Spl revolver, being the awesome son that I am I have since invited her to the range with me on several occasions to make sure that she actually practices with her firearm.

At the time I had personally gone through several boxes of Freedom Munitions 9mm ammo with no problems, so I bought her 4 boxes of their new manufacture, brass cased, .38 Spl ammo for her to use as training/plinking rounds.

Her second time to the range with her S&W Airweight I also brought along my new RIA 1911 in .45 ACP. My mother, excited to try my new pistol, decided to shoot my 1911 before getting some trigger time on her S&W – that decision is probably what saved the day.

My mum is almost 65 years on this earth and her hands get tired, the kick of .45 ACP tired her out more than she excepted and she only shot 3 out of the 5 shots in her S&W Airweight using the Freedom Munitions ammo. Her hands tired, she handed the gun off to me for me to finish it off.

The first shot I fired out of it that day was a squib.

Thankfully, since it was I that fired the shot and not my inexperienced mother – I recognized it for what it was and immediately set to unloading the last live round from the cylinder and calling over an RSO so that I could secure a mallet and rod to get the slug out.

Due to that incident, I lost all faith in Freedom Munition ammo. After contacting FM to return the remaining ammo, they agreed to take the ammo back and issue a refund. They sent me a pre-paid packing label and I dropped the ammo off with UPS to send back.

Example of a squib, Action Gunner

I was told that the refund would take 6 to 8 weeks, fairly normal – right?

Wrong.

During that 6 to 8 weeks, week 7 in fact, Freedom Munitions declared bankruptcy. Week 8 passed, and then week 9, and on week 10 after being told I was going to be issued a full refund – I got a package from a lawyer’s office I had never heard of.

Instead of the $50 refund, Freedom Munitions promised me, I got 40 pages of bankruptcy paperwork from their lawyers.

I called FM to ask about this, but they hung up on me. A second call resulted in me being put on hold for 2 hours. A third call ended with the “supervisor” telling me there was nothing he could do and then hanging up on me – again.

Over the next few months, I would get more than 20 more envelopes from Freedom Munition’s lawyers and the bankruptcy court. Over 300 pages of paperwork. I did the math and just in postage, they spent about $70 to send me all of this crap.

Roughly half of the mail I've been sent from Freedom Munitions
Roughly half of the mail I’ve been sent from Freedom Munitions

More than 20 envelopes, hundreds of pages of paperwork, and well over $70 just in postage – because of a $50 refund that they had already promised me.

I haven’t gotten a letter from them lately. I never got my refund. And they’ve hung up on me the last few times I’ve tried to call. No ammo, no refund, and months of snail mail harassment.

They have, effectively, stolen $50 from me. Thanks, Freedom Munitions.

Parting Shots

As the company’s official statement notes, it is attempting to provide “the best service it possibly can,” though many appear to be unhappy with conditions following the bankruptcy filing.

It remains to be seen if the company’s “positive future,” is attainable, though, for Howell Munitions’ creditors and its dissatisfied customers, it may be too late.

The company has not yet responded to our request for comment as of press time, but if further information becomes available, we’ll update our report here.

Looking at other ammo sources?  Check out Best Places to Buy Ammo Online.

9 Leave a Reply

  • Charlie C

    I have been very lucky in the fact that all my ammo from them has performed as it should. However, I am vary wary now because I have around 500 to 800 rounds of their ammo, unfired! One side of me says, you guys gave me great ammo and I will return if you can get out of this fix and the other side says, how many failures to I have sitting in those boxes of unfired rounds? Does not make one happy. But let us just look at another problem that can not be ignored and no alibi will fix it. This company is trying to do business on the west coast where manufacturing cost (not just labor but land, taxes, etc.) are some of the highest in the nation and at the exact same time, the state(s) they are trying to operate in simply HATE, anything that has to do with the firearms community! Ray Charles was blind and now even dead, blind, even he can understand why one firearms company after the other has moved to the SE! In short, if I owned stock in this or similar companies under similar circumstances, I would be trying to dump my stock before I lost it all. On the other hand, if I had a sell order in and I heard that the firearm company I owned stock in just announced a move away from the LEFT coast and to the friendly SE, I would call back my sell order for at least a little while. Who is going to tell these dumb asses to move to business friendly territory?

    3 months ago
    • Wm

      " Simply Hate the firearms industry,,,yeah right,,,genius, ,Yalll need to pull yer head out of that dark place.

      1 month ago
    • Jesse D Skillings

      They don't manufacture on the west coast, they manufacture in Lewiston, Idaho. Very tax and industry friendly. They do business on the west coast as any other online retailer would. They also do business anywhere an online order comes from. They are definitely NOT on the west coast.

      3 months ago
  • Ken

    1st. I will say that I have been extremely happy with FM ammo. I did suspect something was brewing as fulfillment time was extremely slow towards the end. To all of those complaining about them not fulfilling their commitments, I think you need to bone up on the Bankruptcy laws. If ypu have an issue from before the BK, you are now a creditor, as David Lane has found out. I don't like it either, but that is the way it is.

    4 months ago
  • Kevin

    I have shot nothing but freedommunitions ammo for years now and have never had a single problem.

    5 months ago
  • Travis

    I feel obligated to share my experience. I didnt see all the bad news before i bought 100 9mm 147gr reman as a test to see if it was better then what i was shooting for competition. Needless to say i was scared to shoot it. But i did. All 100 went bang. It arrived quickly and packaged decently. It was super soft and liked it a lot. Guess im the odd one that had a good experience. Granted a very small sample size. Unfortunately with the bad rep they have im going back to my usual supplier. If something were to happen and i blew up my gun or got a bad batch of ammo. I need to know there will be at least someone there that is capable of answering a phone call. Once a company goes bankrupt their hands are tied. They could be good people, but uncapable legally of helping. Which to me you should stop selling products to customers your uncapable of helping.

    7 months ago
  • Randy

    They refused to honor an Xtreme Bullets rebate I submitted because of the bankruptcy. All they accomplished was making 100% sure that I never buy anything from any of their brands ever again.

    9 months ago
  • kory mcknight

    They should be facing Chapter 7 within a short amount of time. Disgraceful attempt to pretend to be something to your customers you are not, and that is reliable and decent. Pathetic Company. Nothing to see here... move along.

    10 months ago
  • Albert

    Enuf said; I shop on line, and even tho I may pay more, I only ship 'reputable' vendors that have a 'no questions asked' return policy; a 'good deal' for junk is NOT a 'good deal'.

    10 months ago
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