Rimfire Ammo

With over 150 years in production, the rimfire cartridge remains the most prolific and popular cartridges made today. Although the variety of calibers has reduced, rimfire rounds are still in great demand among hunters and shooters for their low recoil and noise. Learn More

All Rimfire Calibers

The location of the priming compound within the case of an ammunition cartridge is what distinguishes rimfire from centerfire. A rimfire cartridge has the priming compound placed in the rim of the cartridge, and the priming compound for a centerfire cartridge is in a removable cup inside the cartridge base.

The Flobert cartridge was the first rimfire cartridge to enjoy commercial success, and propelled a 6mm bullet with the pressure of the exploding priming compound. The cartridge was employed for indoor shooting practice, and in many countries is called the .22CB cartridge .

Smith and Wesson borrowed the idea of the Flobert in 1857, and placed a few grains of powder in the cartridge to create the .22 Short. Smith and Wesson designed the cartridge to be fired in their Smith and Wesson Model 1, America's first rimfire revolver. The .22 Long was introduced on the heels of the successful .22 Short. The .22 Long fired a heavier bullet with a slightly bigger charge of powder. The performance of the .22 Long was moderately improved over the .22 Short, but the .22 Long Rifle, released in 1887, surpassed the popularity of every other .22 caliber rimfire cartridge, and grew to become the most widespread cartridge on the planet.

Regarding rimfire cartridges, the wide variety of rimfire cartridges in various calibers is often forgotten. Other well known rimfire cartridges include the .25 Stevens, the .32 Long and the .44 Henry Flat. The .58 Miller was the largest rimfire cartridge produced. Muskets toward the end of the Civil War were converted to fire this cartridge. 

The .17 HMR and the .17 Mach 2 are two calibers on the leading edge of rimfire technology today. Bullets from these cartridges travel at extremely high velocity and follow a flat trajectory, two features that make them popular with varmint hunters. The recoil of the .17 caliber cartridges is practically non-existent, and they make considerably less noise than most centerfire ammunition for varmints.

For nearly 200 years, rimfire cartridges have been a fixture in the ammunition industry. Rimfire ammo continues to experience huge demand from the public, and manufacturers have continued to offer improvements in design and performance, evidence that this type of ammo will probably continue to be available for the foreseeable future.