[Status] Freedom Munitions Bankruptcy

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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.

Not My Squib, but an example of one

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.

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kory mcknight
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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.

Albert
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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’.