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Introduction

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on rimfire ammunition. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of rimfire cartridges, discussing their history, applications, and various factors to consider when selecting rimfire ammunition. Whether you are a seasoned shooter or a beginner looking to learn more, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to enhance your understanding of rimfire ammunition.

Understanding Rimfire Ammunition

Rimfire ammunition is a type of cartridge that utilizes the firing pin striking the rim of the cartridge base to ignite the primer compound. Unlike centerfire ammunition, where the primer is located in the center of the cartridge base, rimfire ammunition has the primer distributed around the rim. This unique design makes rimfire cartridges less powerful than centerfire cartridges, but they are still widely used for various applications.

The History of Rimfire Ammunition

The history of rimfire ammunition dates back to the mid-19th century when French gunsmith Louis-Nicolas Flobert invented the first rimfire cartridge in 1845. Flobert’s design utilized a small powder charge and a lead ball, making it suitable for indoor shooting and small game hunting. This invention laid the foundation for the development of modern rimfire ammunition.

Common Rimfire Calibers

Rimfire ammunition comes in various calibers, each with its unique characteristics and applications. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common rimfire calibers:

.22 LR (Long Rifle): The .22 LR is the most popular and widely used rimfire caliber. It is versatile and suitable for a range of applications, including plinking, target shooting, small game hunting, and even some varmint control. The .22 LR offers low recoil, affordability, and a wide selection of bullet types and weights.

.17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire): The .17 HMR is a high-velocity rimfire caliber known for its excellent accuracy and flat trajectory. It is primarily used for varmint hunting and target shooting at extended ranges. The .17 HMR delivers impressive velocity and energy, making it a favorite among small game hunters.

.22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire): The .22 WMR, also known as .22 Magnum, is a step up in power from the .22 LR. It offers increased velocity and energy, making it suitable for hunting small to medium-sized game and varmint control. The .22 WMR is also available in a variety of bullet types.

Selecting the Right Rimfire Ammunition

Choosing the right rimfire ammunition depends on several factors, including your intended use, shooting preferences, and the capabilities of your firearm. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Intended Use: Determine the purpose of your rimfire ammunition. Are you planning to engage in target shooting, plinking, or small game hunting? Different bullet types and weights are better suited for specific applications. For example, hollow point bullets are ideal for hunting, while round nose bullets are commonly used for target shooting.

Bullet Type: Rimfire ammunition is available in various bullet types, including hollow point, round nose, and flat nose. Each bullet type has its advantages and is designed for specific purposes. Hollow point bullets offer controlled expansion and are suitable for hunting, while round nose bullets provide reliable feeding and accuracy for target shooting.

Bullet Weight: Rimfire ammunition comes in different bullet weights, typically measured in grains. Lighter bullets offer higher velocities and flatter trajectories, making them suitable for target shooting. Heavier bullets provide more energy and penetration, making them better for hunting applications.

Firearm Compatibility: Ensure that the rimfire ammunition you choose is compatible with your firearm. Different firearms have specific chamber dimensions and tolerances, and using the wrong ammunition can lead to malfunctions or damage to your firearm. Always consult your firearm’s manual or a knowledgeable professional for guidance.

Advantages and Limitations of Rimfire Ammunition

Rimfire ammunition offers several advantages that make it popular among shooters:

Affordability: Rimfire ammunition is generally more affordable compared to centerfire ammunition, allowing shooters to enjoy more shooting opportunities without breaking the bank.

Low Recoil: Rimfire cartridges produce minimal recoil, making them ideal for beginners, young shooters, and those who prefer a more comfortable shooting experience.

Versatility: Rimfire ammunition is available in various calibers, bullet types, and weights, offering versatility for different shooting applications.

However, it’s important to note that rimfire ammunition also has some limitations:

Limited Power: Rimfire cartridges are less powerful compared to centerfire cartridges, limiting their effective range and stopping power.

Limited Caliber Options: While rimfire ammunition is availablein various calibers, the options are still more limited compared to centerfire ammunition. This can restrict the versatility and suitability of rimfire cartridges for certain applications.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ Q1: What are the advantages of using rimfire ammunition for sport shooting? A1: Rimfire ammunition is advantageous for sport shooting due to its affordability, low recoil, and availability in various calibers. It allows for frequent practice sessions and is suitable for shooters of all experience levels. Q2: Can rimfire ammunition be used for hunting larger game? A2: Rimfire ammunition is primarily used for small game hunting. While it may be effective for pest control and varmint hunting, it is generally not recommended for larger game due to its limited power and range. Q3: Are rimfire cartridges suitable for competitive shooting events? A3: Yes, rimfire cartridges are commonly used in competitive shooting events, particularly in rimfire pistol and rifle competitions. The inherent accuracy and low recoil of rimfire firearms make them popular among competitors. Q4: How should rimfire ammunition be stored to ensure reliability? A4: Rimfire ammunition should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent exposure to moisture and dirt. Proper storage helps maintain the reliability of the primers and reduces the risk of misfires. Q5: Can rimfire ammunition be reloaded? A5: Unlike centerfire ammunition, rimfire cartridges cannot be reloaded due to the integrated primer design. Rimfire cases are typically discarded after use, and new cartridges are purchased for reloading.