Federal has been a staple of mine for years. Yes they are made 30 miles from me. But I use them because of when I did my patterning tests, my Win SX2 as a rule really likes them-meaning cosistent and/or better patterns than the other 2 bigumanyfacturers. (Win and DuPoint/Rem). I will occasionally use Fiochii and Kent too though. Fiocchi makes for many years now a sweet 3" load at 1475fps with #3shot and 1 1/8 load. A great duck load IMO. And Kents prices are hard to beat on theoir 3.5".
As for Feds, I have 5 cases of Ultra shock right now that I got at a ridiculous price last summer. I'm hoping to burn up 1 case this spring on the Snows
As for the "hot" loads, they are not the only ones doing their homework, In the last 10 years the leap in the effectivness in steel loads is unreal. To give you a bench mark-the old 1300fps 3.5" of 1 3/8" steel 2s from 20 years ago is now = to a 3" shell of 1 1/8 4s at 1550fps for effective killing power. Years ago the shells just sucked IMO, way too often I'd smack a Mallard at 30 yds and they would be a cripple.
My Great Uncle quit hunting 25 years ago becuase he hit 1 mallard 3 times in a row and it still was trying to fly away (1 shot in the air, twice more as it was trying to get up). So there is a marked difference in todays loads compare to the old steel loads. Today if it is a cripple--it is often shooter error-not becuase of poor ballistics.