What Is the Main Difference Between Centerfire & Rimfire Ammunition?

What Is the Main Difference Between Centerfire & Rimfire Ammunition?

11th Aug 2022

When you pull the trigger of a gun, the firing pin inside hits the primer in the ammunition, creating a tiny explosion that ignites the gunpowder and sends the bullet out of the gun. This is what happens with both rimfire and centerfire ammunition, but it happens just a bit differently.

This difference matters, and it’s important to know whether rimfire or centerfire ammunition is the right choice for your weapon.

What Is the Difference Between Rimfire & Centerfire?

The difference between rimfire and centerfire is about the placement of the primer in the ammunition.

In a centerfire bullet, the primer is in the middle of the base of the casing as suggested by the name. Similarly, the primer in rimfire bullets is located around the edge of the casing base.

Rimfire vs. Centerfire

Centerfire ammunition is usually preferred over rimfire for the following reasons:

  • It is commonly used in shotguns, handguns, and rifles.
  • It creates a bigger explosion, making it possible to shoot larger bullets, which increases accuracy.
  • It is reloadable for the most part, allowing users to re-use ammunition.

Rimfire is preferred by some and commonly used in older weapons. It has the following benefits:

  • It is not reloadable.
  • It has less recoil.
  • It is limited to low-pressure loads.

Both rimfire and centerfire bullets come in many different calibers and can be used in a number of different guns. However, most modern guns use centerfire bullets.

Can You Shoot Rimfire in a Centerfire?

No. If a gun is designed for rimfire and centerfire is loaded into it (or vice versa), problems happen (if you can even get the ammunition to fit). If you are not sure what type of ammo the gun takes, check the manual or look it up online.

If you are unsure if a bullet is centerfire or rimfire, know that centerfire bullets have a small circle in the center of the base of the casing and rimfire bullets do not.

Is Centerfire or Rimfire Better?

Usually, the choice between centerfire and rimfire bullets is based on the preferred weapon and the kind of ammunition it takes, but in some cases, preference for the use of a certain type of ammunition may influence that choice.

For most people, centerfire is the ammunition of choice, as it is more reliable and the ammunition most commonly used in newer weapon models. Unfortunately, it is also more expensive when purchased new. For those who have an older gun or an antique weapon that they’d like to use, it may not even be possible to use centerfire.

Do You Need Centerfire or Rimfire Ammunition?

If you are not sure what type of ammunition your gun takes or if you are in the market for a new gun and can’t decide whether a weapon that takes rimfire or centerfire is the better choice, head down to Delray Shooting Center. We can help.