Rimfire vs. Centerfire Ammunition-All Aspects to Consider When Choosing

rimfire vs centerfire

It’s not common for people to decide if they have to use rimfire or centerfire ammunition. It’s because devoted firearm aficionados would rather talk about gun models, calibers, shooting ranges, and a lot less about bullets.

However, a newbie is going to appreciate our recommendations and information when getting new hunting equipment. The difference between Rimfire vs. Centerfire ammunition is always important to consider.

What’s the brief definition of a cartridge?

The entire pre-assembled firearm ammo is commonly known as “cartridge” or “round.” It includes four parts:

  • A metal case
  • A primer
  • A type of propellant
  • The bullet (the projectile)

You shouldn’t confuse the bullet with the cartridge, simply because they’re not the same thing.

What’s to say about the cartridge’s mechanism?

Even an entry-level user doesn’t see it; the inner mechanism of firing a gun makes sense a lot. When you fire a weapon, the firing pin is going to strike the cartridge’s primer. It causes a small explosion which also ignites the propellant from the case. Later on, the ignition will send the bullet out of the case, down the barrel of your gun.

As long as you’re aiming correctly, the bullet is going to shoot right toward the target.

Are there many kinds of ammunition?

Briefly put, the answer is…there are only two. More often than not, a gun shop is loaded with several kinds of ammunition. However, the main differences don’t come from the diversity of calibers or round.

It’s the inner workings from the primer ignition system of the cartridge that makes the difference.

How does rimfire differ from centerfire ammunition?

Once again, we highlight that it’s the primer system workings that tell them apart. In the case of

rimfire cartridge, the firing pin is going to hit the outer rim of the cartridge base, causing the ignition.

In the case of centerfire, the firing pin hits directly, igniting the center primer.

  • Rimfire ammunition

The name is a tail teller, since the firing pin hits the cartridge’s rim for igniting the primer. The firing pin has to crush and ignite the primer, whereas the walls’ cartridge has to be thin. However, there are some limitations when it comes to the casing size.

Smaller calibers are the ideal choice for the rimfire ammunition.

  • Centerfire ammunition

With the primer placed in the center of the cartridge’s bottom, the name “centerfire” makes absolute sense. A circular primer at the base means that the firearm is loaded with centerfire ammunition.

Centerfire cartridges typically work with larger calibers.

Rimfire or centerfire? Which one is better for you?

Truth be told, it’s not easy to compare and decide which of them works better. Calibers, reloading, price, and reliability count when comparing the two. Let’s see the details:

  • Calibers

Rimfire ammo has lost some of its popularity over the years, with the feeling that they’re slowly becoming a collector’s item. Nevertheless, the market is still including small-caliber firearms that still take the rimfire ammo. Here are some examples:

    • .22 short- some revolvers still use it
    • .22 Long Rifle- it’s the right choice for the beginners and quite a common choice nowadays
    • .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire- it’s stronger and .22LR and shoots rather flat
    • .17 Hornady Mach 2- it ensures incredible strength, even though it’s not very popular amongst users. It’s smaller than a .22
    • .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire- it’s a reliable option for vermin hunting, and it sits in the middle between .22LR and .223 (centerfire)

No matter if it’s in a shotgun, a rifle, best air rifle for the money, or a pistol, the centerfire is by far the most popular kind of cartridge. Some of the most choices would be 9mm, .40, .45, and .380.

At the end of the day, the rimfire is the best option for newbies and small game hunting, whereas the centerfire is the better choice for home defense and big game hunting. Once you know your level of experience and what you’re planning to hunt, you should be able to know which type to choose.

  • Reloading

The main pet peeve to consider in the case of rimfire ammunition is the fact that you cannot reload it. The damaged of the rim after firing is going to make the rimfire ammo unable to recharge. The centerfire ammunition doesn’t present this sort of problem, since you may salvage and reload the casing several times.

  • Reliability

Due to the specific manufacturing process, there’s always a risk for the small caliber rimfire ammo not to work properly. As the primer is added to the cartridge’s base, there’s still a risk for the rim not the be perfect. When you’re getting a new box of ammo, the chance for a dud or two is seldom null.

If you’re seeking for ammunition that is always guaranteed for working, the centerfire ammo is your best shot, literally. The primer is made with a softer material, which is why the centerfire cartridge is going to be more dependable than the rimfire type.

  • Price

It’s one aspect that puts rimfire in front of centerfire ammunition. The manufacturing costs for rimfire are quite low, which is why the rimfire ammo is more affordable than its famous opponent.

What’s the final thought?

Rimfire ammo is more affordable than the centerfire type, but it does provide lower recoil too. Finding rimfire cartridges isn’t easy either. Despite all things, the rimfire ammunition is still the most popular option for the newbies that are learning their ways about the shooting. Even experienced hunters use the rimfire ammo for the small game hunting, due to its reliability.

Centerfire ammo is easy to find, but its price is higher too. When it comes to home defense and big game hunting, centerfire ammo is the no.1 choice. Due to the increased demand, we’re also expecting the price to get down in the near future.

At the end of it all, we still cannot say which one is better. It depends a lot on what you need and how good you are at shooting.

Be aware that we’ve only covered the fundamental aspects of the two types of ammunition. It’s up to you to do due diligence and get all the info you need before choosing one of the two.


Salt Life