Can someone explain the differences between rimfire and centerfire?

Discussion in '.22 Rifle/Rimfire Discussion' started by Pyrogenic, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Pyrogenic

    Pyrogenic New Member

    I found this forum trying to learn about rimfire but am no closer to any understanding without some helpful contribution.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2012
  2. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    Great question, one I asked myself a while ago. ;)



    Center fire cartridges have a primer in the middle of the bottom of the casing and also hosts a wide variety of calibers.

    Rimfires charge the powder by having the primer along the rim of the bottom of the cartridge. I believe most .22's are rimfires.

    Rimfire ammo is much cheaper to buy than rimfires. Any rimfire .22 is a great first gun to learn gun basics on. The center fire cartridges of different calibers are great for hunting, self defense, etc. and come in a variety of large calibers.

    This is the 'baby version' of rimfire vs. centerfire. Now someone will come along who's waaay smarter than me and will explain it much more clearly.

    You've come to the right place to learn and I welcome you warmly. :D

  3. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    WOC, you done a very good job explaining it. rimfires are expendable and aren't reloadable, centerfire has a replaceable primer system so the spent primer can be removed and replaced, load with powder and a new bullet and you have a cartridge that can be reused.
  4. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

    Now that you have the difference down wikipedia for more info .
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Pro- welcome to the forum- when you get a minute, drop by the intro thread, say howdy, and tell us a bit about yourself.

    W-O-C is correct. To embellish her answer just a smidge...

    There have been several different priming systems for cartridges over the years- the two that have survived in any large numbers are rimfire and center fire.

    In a rimfire, the head of the cartridge case is folded to form a rim. The priming compound (stuff that ignites the gunpowder) is placed in that hollow, folded rim, 360 degrees around the rim. The firing pin strikes anywhere on the rim of the cartridge case, pinching the rim, and making the priming compound explode. Rimfire cartridges are smaller and less powerful than centerfire- the design of the case cannot hold heavy pressures. In general, rimfire ammo cannot be reloaded. The only mainstream rimfire cartridges left are the .22s and the .17s.

    Centerfire, heavier case. Primer is a separate component at the center of the rear of the cartridge case. Firing pin crushes priming compound against an internal pin (the anvil) exploding it. Flash travels through one or two flash holes into cartridge case, igniting powder. Heavier case can take higher pressures- important now that we use smokeless powder. These can USUALLY be reloaded by pushing out the fired primer, and pressing another primer into the primer well. There are two main types of centerfire primers- Boxer and Berdan.

    Boxer was invented by a British soldier, and is now used widely in the US. Each primer has it's own anvil. Berdan was invented by an American, and is widely used in Europe. The anvil is part of the cartridge, not the primer itself. When you look down into a fired Boxer primed case, it has one flash hole in the center. Berdans have 2 or 3 flash holes. Both can be reloaded. Berdan is a PITA to reload.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  6. ChicagoJoe

    ChicagoJoe New Member

    Winds summed it up quite nicely.

    The advantages of .22s over centerfire calibers, especially for beginners, are 1. the low cost of purchasing rimfire firearms and ammunition vs centerfire, 2. the lack of recoil, and 3. centerfire rifle barrels can burn out after several thousand rounds depending on the caliber and rimfires can last virtually forever if maintained and cleaned.
  7. Pyrogenic

    Pyrogenic New Member

    Now that was an answer! Thanks CJ. That's a comparison that solves some of the "why" that someone (like me) would ask and hope to learn from.