Rimfire vs Centerfire - Essential Guide on How to Pick the Right Ammunition

What is your optimal option when it comes to fire gun ammunition: Rimfire or Centerfire? Each one is specifically designed for different purposes, thus making them beneficial in various ways. Not an easy decision to make, right? Take a close look at the details below as we are going to get down to the nitty-gritty of their unique characteristics, then you will find your answer!

General Ideas About Rimfire vs. Centerfire

Centerfire and rimfire are two different types of cartridges. The difference between them lies in how the gun works, but both centerfires as well as rims fire when hit by an impact from something called primer igniting it to produce flame which then launches bullets out into space!

The history of rimfire & Centerfire ammunition

The .22 round is a true innovator of its time. The first rimfire cartridge ever created, it set the standard for self-contained gunpowder cartridges and opened up an entire new world to those who owned guns!

.22 CB Cap (left), .22 Short (center), .22 Long Rifle (right)

France is the home of some truly innovative minds when it comes to firearms technology. The French were among those who invented our favorite round, rimfire ammunition! These low-powered cartridges are perfect for shooting indoors - they're called "parlor guns."

The first rimfire cartridge was developed in 1857, which gave the gun much more power and versatility. A .22 caliber revolver came onto the scene around this time as well to fill up those pockets of soldiers who needed an extra weapon during combat situations. Then The rimfires continues to dominate the market until around 1870 when centerfire cartridges start taking over.

pros & cons of Centerfire ammo 

Rifles, shotguns, and handguns all use centerfire ammo. The primer is situated in the middle of the casing base designed intentionally to hold and ensure the primer in this particular ammunition type. Reloadable centerfire ammo is most commonly used.


Centerfire ammunition is made up of two different types, Boxer Primers and Berdan, which are often used by contemporary manufacturing companies. For the average shooter these work interchangeably in their centerfire firearms as they work just fine compared to each other. 


Centerfire ammos are the most versatile type of hunting ammunition. They are perfect for any game and are great for all sorts of applications, from home defense to hunting big game or long range target practice.

.223 Remington and Blazer Brass

I got some well-known centerfire cartridges listed here, have a look:

.223 Remington/ 5.56mm NATO: The US military and NATO like this ammo because it is accurate, affordable ( compared to gold label), and lightweight for long range shooting. This high quality product is fired from most military style weapons.

7.62x39mm: AK47 rifles often use this type

.308 Winchester / 7.62x51mm: The most famous and widely used cartridges, chosen by shooters, hunters, military and police

Besides, there are also a variety of different centerfire cartridges used worldwide.

  • Pros:

+ Availability: 

There are a variety of center-fires available, from .22 caliber to 50 BMG. Whatever your application might be: target shooting or hunting large game like elk and moose; there's one out there just right for you!

+ Higher FPS (feet/second):  

Centerfire Cartridges are the superior choice for target shooting. They're much thicker and tougher than rimfire cartridges, which means that centerfire guns can put out higher pressure loads with greater velocity to yield longer ranges, greater accuracy, all without worrying about damaging their equipment or hurting someone else!

+ Reloadable: 

This is perfect for you to minimize the overall cost of shooting. Centerfire cartridge cases, which are usually made up of brass, can be reloadable and reusable many times. By customizing the shells, you definitely can ensure maximum accuracy with consistency in every single shot. Such customization enables you to save both time and money invested in one shot.

+ Magnum Loading: 

The power of a magnum load is more than twice that which was originally intended for use in the firearm - the high pressure cartridges produce much higher velocity than the original design allows for. This extra strength makes it ideal when hunting dangerous game or self defense against attacks.

  • Cons:

+ Higher Recoil: 

Due to higher pressure, centerfire cartridge may be not an ideal choice for those with little experience of firearms or have small hands, especially children.

Centerfire cartridge is not a wise choice for small game hunting.

+ High Cost:

The easiest answer to this question is that there is quite a bit more material in centerfire ammunition than rimfire ammunition. That’s simply why centerfire is much more expensive than the counterpart. For those who still consider about the budget while purchasing gun, this is a noticeable point for you.

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STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES of RIMFIRE ammo 

Rimfire Cartridges are one of the most popular types for hunting, and their simplicity makes them easy to use. Unlike center fire cartridges which have an external primer that's visible on top or outside edge, rimfire usually doesn't show anything. The primer compound sits inside the rim of this cartridge, ensuring that there are no external primers to be seen when looking at them up close or from afar! This simplicity makes them easy to use.


There's no doubt about it, rimfire cartridges are less reliable than their center-fire counterparts. The rim of this cartridge is very much like an extended percussion cap - which contains the priming compound! This design makes it a kind of inherently less stable ammunition 


Upon completion of production, a drop of priming compound is placed at the bottom-center and rolled to spread it evenly. It's then left dry before being filled up with powder for your bullet! With a sharp strike, the firing pin crushes against its own edge and starts what will be an exciting process. The crushed rim ignites inside as powder begins burning - this is how you get off some serious shots!


When a rimfire cartridge is fired, the case will often show obvious evidence of firing by looking distorted or pinched. This is the demonstration:


Well-known rimfire cartridges are as follow:

  • .22 Long Rifle: world widely famous for its application on target practicing and plinking
  • .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire: Common in varmint hunting round
  • .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire: Also common for varmint hunting round and target shooters.

 .22 LR

  • Strengths:

+ Cost: 

Rimfire ammunition is a great choice for the cost-conscious shooter. Centerfire costs can add up quickly, but in rimfire mainly because it's 1/10th as expensive per round, you can go through over 100 rounds without breaking your budget!

+ Low pressure: 

The rimfire ammo is very soft-shooting and has zero felt recoil. This makes it ideal for teaching children or longer range sessions because of its low pressure which reduces the chance that your target will be injured by an unexpected bullet impact! 

+ Unlike centerfire ammunition, rimfire is completely a good consideration when it comes to small game hunting. If you're looking to take your game on the move, then the low pressure and flat shooting rimfire cartridge options are just what you need. Whether it be riding vermin or small animal sized prey; this gun will get the job done!

+ Quietness: 

Rimfire ammo is the perfect choice for suppressors. The smaller size of these rounds makes them a lot quieter than their center fire counterparts, which means you can easily hunt or shoot without fear of being recognized

  • Weaknesses:

+ Low reliability:

The 10/22 is one of my favorite rifles to shoot, but even with top-shelf ammo like CCI I still manage 1 or 2% failures.

+ Not reloadable: 

It is impossible for any gun users to reload the rimfires, this is because it is designed to integrate the primer compound right in it. Plus, during the fire battles, the rim is deformed; thus making it unavailable to be reloaded

+ Caliber availability limitation:

only allow your limited type of shooting from .17 to .22 caliber.

+ Short range: 

The rimfire cartridge was created for close range firing and it's best used out to about 150 yards. But, at longer ranges you should avoid using this type of ammo because the bullet doesn't travel fast enough

The noticeable difference to consider between these two types of firearm ammunition is the level of reliability, which depends on how well you can depend upon your weapon's mechanism during combat engagement. Centerfire rounds are much more reliable than rimfire. This is because they have a separate self-contained primer that's designed to only fire one single purpose, whereas with rims you need two different types of ammunition for each type in order to make sure it goes off properly and reliably!

Between centerfire and rimfire Which is better?

So, with all the aforementioned, I can ensure that there’s no single answer to "which one should I get?" The best way for you will depend on what your needs are in terms of self defense or hunting with guns!

Centerfire is my go-to cartridge for home defense and hunting large game. It’s reliable, accurate with a good amount of power that can be reloaded if need be - but rimfire has its place too! If you're new to shooting or just looking at different options before committing yourself fully into one type of firearm then this might serve as an excellent starting point because it won't break your bank while still being able teach newcomers how recoil feels so they know what kind would suit them best moving forward

Personal Thoughts on Rimfire vs Centerfire

Centerfire is the way to go when it comes to the comparison between the two. It has better accuracy, less chances for damage and a superior design. The ability to reload your own cartridges makes this gun a much more valuable tool for any hunter. This weapon was designed with different types of ammunition in mind, but it can also be used for self-defense and military applications where cost is not really a concern!


However, the decision is yours. Consider all the features, and you’ll find your answer!

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