Rimfire vs Centerfire Explained

There are a couple of differences between Rimfire ammunition and Centerfire ammunition which in turn makes the difference between the actual firearms themselves as well!

Rimfire basically is what it says; ie: the firing pin in the firearm will strike the rim at the end of the cartridge which in turn ignites the internal primer chemical that then ignites the explosive inside the shell ... this chemical is injected into the base of the case in the rim as depicted above, before the rest of the assembly.

Centrefire ammunition has a small gap in the centre of the base where a primer will be installed, these primers also have ignition chemicals in them which a much stronger firing pin will strike to ignite the explosive, once fired shooters can re-use the spent case by popping the primer cap out and commencing the reloading process

Rimfire casings are made much thinner than centerfire casing as they are for small bore firearms which basically means less power in the explosive, centerfire needs much thicker casing / shells as there is much more explosive and these casings are too thick at the base to be able to work with a rimfire striking pin, therefore centerfire ammunition is purposely for much higher powered rifles and hand guns.

Centerfire ammunition is reloadable manually by purchasing the required equipment whereas Rimfire is not reloadable and has to be manufactured, this is not a major problem as Rimfire is generally extremely cheap worldwide.

Rimfire vs Centerfire
  1. Ammunition is cheap, (therefore more practice),
  2. Ammunition is smaller & lighter (you can carry hundreds, if not, thousands of rounds for your shooting session/s),
  3. Almost no recoil (great for beginners or people who have a fear of firearms),
  4. Much softer 'Bang' (again, great for beginners etc.),
  5. Superior availablity (due to demand).
  1. Reloadable,
  2. Longer range / more power,
  3. Wider choice of hunting quarry (Game),
  4. Wider selection of firearms / calibers,
  5. Longer shelf life of ammunition (Rimfire ammunition has a 2 year manufacturing consent meaning it's consistency cannot be guaranteed after 2 years and you will pretty much be having a few misfires here and there as a result).
In conclusion, a Rimfire gun is an excellent starter firearm for people looking to get into shooting or for a fun day out with the family at the range plinking informal targets or real target shooting - it is an excellent way to introduce people who have firearm phobias or have a general belief that guns are evil. Most Huntsmen, or gun owners / enthusiasts will have a .22LR rifle but also possibly a pistol as well. Most youngsters will fire a .22LR as their first go with a firearm after air rifles or pellet guns.
If after purchasing a .22LR you want to get further into the sport or hunting, it is recommended to go for something a bit more powerful such as a .17HMR or .22WMR but going for a Centerfire .223 would also be an option for either larger game (Hunting) or distant target shooting before commiting more money going up the ladder to .308 for example.

Here is a reloading setup ( reloading bench ) to give you a general idea of how this can be performed at home on centerfire ammunition only;
I found a good reloading video on youtube, it is only 6 min's which is pretty short compared to other Reloading videos, most of which are 10 to 30 + min's long.



  1. Great 22LR blog! I hope that it is OK to reference it on mine at savannaharsenal.com. Thanks!
    RJ (in the USA)

  2. I use centerfire for most of my shooting. I have many friends that swear on rimfire but I found center to be more reliable overall and I am a reloader myself, so it's basically a no-brainer for me.
    Thanks for the write up!