What Is Rimfire?

Rifle and handgun ammunition, known as cartridges or rounds, are classified into two types based on the kind of ignition system used in the cartridge.

While numerous other cartridge priming systems have been developed since the nineteenth century, only rimfire and centerfire technologies are still in widespread use today. 

What is rimfire

What Is Rimfire?

The priming material in a rimfire cartridge is located around the rim or base of the cartridge, while the primer hit that ignites the powder is located on the cartridge’s outer edge.

The rim of the rimfire cartridge resembles an enlarged, wider percussion cap — which houses the priming compound. 

Rimfire ammunition is confined to low-pressure loads, and spent casings are not reloadable. It is also less expensive to produce, therefore it has a cheaper price per cartridge than reloadable centerfire ammo.

Rimfire cartridges with lower pressure loads are popular for hunting small game, sport shooting, and “plinking,” but are less popular for self-defense.

That is not to claim that rimfire ammunition is not dangerous to humans. Round nose and hollow tip bullets are manufactured in rimfire cartridges, exactly like centerfire rounds.

Rimfire ammunition, particularly.22LR is popular among preppers because it is less expensive than centerfire ammunition, is easier to travel, and can be stored in greater quantities.

Rimfire Pros and Cons

Rimfire cartridge casings must be manufactured of very thin metal so that the firing pin may strike the rim hard enough to ignite the powder.

A firing pin striking the rim with insufficient force would not ignite the power if the case was composed of thicker metal.

The advantage of utilizing a thin metal for the casing is that rimfire ammunition is less costly than centerfire ammo.

The disadvantage of employing thin metal is that it can only be used to make tiny caliber bullets. Large caliber ammunition needs more powder to discharge the bullet, as well as a significantly larger case to house the powder.

As a result, if thinner metal was used in bigger caliber ammunition, the casing would be unable to resist the amount of pressure required by a larger size cartridge and would explode apart.

Another advantage of rimfire cartridges is that they create less recoil. Lower recoil might be advantageous if you are new to shooting.

What is Centerfire?

Centerfire ammunition is considered to have been invented before rimfire ammunition (1810 for centerfire vs. 1845 for rimfire).

The majority of contemporary ammunition used by the military or police is centerfire. The majority of civilian defense loads are also centerfire ammunition.

Because of the reduced cost, centerfire shooters also employ rimfire rifles as training platforms. Rimfire variations of the popular AR-15, for example, have been manufactured by several manufacturers. 

Because their manual of arms is similar to their centerfire counterparts, these rimfire AR-15s are ideal for training. They are less expensive to shoot per cartridge than the 5.56/.223 ammunition for which most AR-15s are chambered.

Centerfire Pros and Cons

Centerfire has several advantages, including power and quickness. Furthermore, its improved design makes it an excellent choice for defensive or large-scale hunting.

Centerfire ammunition is versatile in the sense that it can be used in a variety of calibers both large and small. Because of its precision, the centerfire is also perfect for shooting at great distances.

What is rimfire

Centerfire is regarded as trustworthy and is therefore used for critical defensive objectives. Centerfire is costly, although this disadvantage is compensated by the fact that the casings may be reloaded after firing.

Rimfire vs Centerfire

The primary distinction between rimfire and centerfire ammunition rounds is that rimfire ammunition rounds have the primer in the rim, whereas centerfire ammunition rounds have the primer in the core of the cartridge.

But which sort of ammo is superior? That is entirely dependent on how you want to utilize it.

While centerfire ammunition is often favored for self-defense because of its greater pressures and velocities, rimfire ammunition has numerous viable uses.

For some shooters, the recoil produced by a centerfire pistol is uncontrollable, and they are unable to use them. Because of the lower recoil, elderly shooters may choose to utilize a rimfire pistol.

This is not a perfect solution, but it is far superior to not owning a handgun for self-defense.

Rimfire rounds may not be as powerful as centerfire rounds, but because of their smaller size, you generally have more ammunition accessible to you than with a centerfire pistol of the same size and performance.

Taking their names from where the firing pin contacts the base, rimfire guns, naturally, have the firing pin strike the rim of the cartridge base to ignite the primer. In contrast, the firing pin in a centerfire cartridge hits the center.

Another significant distinction is that most centerfire ammunition is reloadable. Spent rimfire cartridge casings are not.

Centrefire ammunition has faster speeds and higher pressures. This implies that the cartridges create greater recoil, making restoring sight image in a competition a bit more difficult. It also means that shooters prefer to compete at longer distances with centerfire ammunition.

While rimfire rounds may not have the same punch as centerfire rounds, they are the most common round in the world.

Because of decreased production costs, a more cost-effective round means you actually get more bang for your buck. Rimfire ammo is also easier to transport and store in comparison to centerfire ammunition.


While rimfire may not have the same punch as centerfire rounds, they are the most common round in the world.

Because of decreased production costs, a more cost-effective round means you actually get more for your money. Rimfire ammo is also easier to transport and store in comparison to centerfire ammunition.

So, whether it’s for small game hunting, training, pleasure, sport, or even self-defense, rimfire weapons and ammunition have a place right alongside centerfire rifles and ammunition.

If you haven’t already, adding a rimfire rifle to your collection is both affordable and some of the most enjoyable shooting you’ll ever have.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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