Rimfire vs. Centerfire: Which One is Better?

Are you uncertain about which type of ammunition to use when hunting? Do you understand the distinctions between centerfire and rimfire weapons? 

If you understand what makes rimfire ammunition distinct from centerfire ammo, you wouldn’t be confused about which one is better for you, would you? So let’s break it down and get inside the gun casing.

What Is The Difference Between Centerfire And Rimfire?

The location of the primer is where the primary distinction between centerfire and rimfire ammunition lies. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar, primers are the cartridge region that initiates combustion of the gunpowder, which then sends the bullet to speed forward out of the barrel. 

The rimfire cartridges have them at the base of the case, while centerfire cartridges have them in the middle of the shell. Centerfire ammunition is reloadable, but rimfire cartridges are not since re-loading might cause harm to the outer casing.

The two are produced in very different ways, with varying degrees of compatibility. The following comparison between rimfire and centerfire ammunition should provide you with a better idea of their differences.

Pros Of Rimfire Cartridges

Ideal For Training

For beginning marksmen, rimfire ammunition is ideal. Because rimfire ammunition requires less manufacturing and fewer materials than centerfire ammunition, it is restricted to lower calibers. It’s all right. Because of the decreased kick associated with firing a smaller weapon, it is ideal for training beginners.

They Are Cheap

Rimfire ammunition is significantly cheaper than centerfire ammunition. And the cause is manufacturing cost, which is much more favorable in terms of cost-effectiveness. The manufacturer saves money, which is then passed on to the consumer by lowering prices.

Cons Of Rimfire Cartridges

Limited To Small Calibers

The construction is limited to small arms, as previously stated. Those who have bigger weapons are not eligible for the discount on ammunition purchases.

Reliability Issues

Small-caliber ammunition has a higher propensity to malfunction than larger-caliber rounds. This is due to the manufacturing method, particularly the primer’s attachment to the cartridge base. This is a common problem, especially when buying a box. Expect to receive a dud or two in your box from time to time.

Long Distance Shooting Concerns

Due to the lightweight of most rimfire ammunition, they are not recommended for long-range shooting. Outside elements have a greater influence on accuracy as the distance the bullet has to travel increases.


Rimfire cartridges are not suitable for people who reload their own ammunition. Because the former is at the bottom edge of the cartridge, reloading isn’t possible. It has been fired, so it is now “finished.” However, the low cost of rimfire ammunition easily makes up for it.

Pros Of Centerfire Cartridges

All Sizes Of Guns Can Use Centerfire Ammunition

While rimfire is restricted to small calibers, centerfire ammunition may be used in all sizes. As a result, it’s ideal for just about every scenario, from big game hunting to home security.


Centerfire ammunition is reloadable. Because the primer is set above the cartridge base, centerfire casing casings aren’t destroyed after firing. Centerfire ammo has a significant edge over rimfire because of this.

It Is Extremely Reliable

Centerfire cartridges are ideal for ensuring top performance. Because the primer mechanism in centerfire ammunition is generally softer than the cartridge casing, this ensures the smooth transmission of kinetic energy from the firing pin to the primer.

More Accurate At Longer Distances

Cartridges for centerfire weapons are often larger. This enables for a more precise shot at greater distances.

Cons Of Centerfire Cartridges


Many times, centerfire rounds can cost far more than rimfire shots. Centerfire ammunition may certainly fulfill that desire if you’re searching for an expensive shooting excursion.

A Closer Look At The Differences


Centerfire: The external differences between rimfire and centerfire cartridges are immediately apparent. The circular primer is found in the middle of the casing for centerfire ammunition. 

The center part of the gun is ignited by the firing pin, which sends the bullet out of the chamber in a similar way to a centerfire handgun or centrefire rifle.

Normally, the diameter of this ammunition is greater, making it simpler to fire correctly. In addition, some of these cartridges employ a center primer and smokeless powder to push the bullet forward.

A single flash hole or two may be found at the bottom of the cartridge case.

Rimfire: On the other hand, rimfire cartridges have a distinct appearance. The priming compound is located at the rim of the cartridge, which resembles an extended percussion cap widened.

The majority of this rimfire ammunition is tiny in size, designed for small-caliber rimfire weapons. Because rimfire ammo is smaller, it needs less gunpowder and so has fewer disadvantages.

The casing’s bottom section is smooth, flat, and large. There are many excellent gun bargains on these cartridges, so if your weapon requires this type you can get ready to hunt vermin.

Ignition Systems

Centerfire: The ignition system is located in the center of the gun, where the primer is. It uses the same mechanism regardless of whether it’s a centerfire gun that utilizes a Boxer primer compound or a Berdan Primer compound. 

When the firing pin strikes the primer, it produces a little explosive that fires the propels and gunpowder the bullet out. 

When it comes to ignition, centerfire ammo is more dependable because the walls are thinner.

Rimfire: Because of the low-pressure loads, rimfire cartridges respond somewhat differently to centerfire. This time, however, it impacts the cartridge base rather than the primer, following the same mechanism as before.

According to Hunter Ed, these are non-reloadable because the primer at their base is shattered by the explosion. 

Based on the feedback of those who tried using them, this ammunition cartridge may not have easy contact with the firing pin at times, which is likely why it is so unreliable.

Which Is Better, Rimfire Or Centerfire?

Both centerfire and rimfire ammunition are used in firearms. Rimfire ammo will be preferred by those who use older types of weapons or rifles. Those who own newer centerfire rifles will undoubtedly appreciate the flexibility of the centrefire cartridge.

Despite being more expensive than rimfire ammunition, centerfire cartridges are reloadable, which makes them more cost-effective over time. We choose centerfire ammunition for big game hunting, target shooting, or even ammunition for self-defense. We’d go with the centerfire rather than the rimfire ammo in these circumstances. 

We would choose centerfire ammo over rimfire ammunition because of its versatility. Variety in terms of ballistics is essential.

To know more about 9mm vs. 9mm Luger: Are They The Same click here.

Thomas Boseman

Thomas Boseman is the author of Pawnbroking.com. A pawn shop owner by day, blog writer by night. When not writing, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his dog, Roman. Thomas received his bachelor of arts in film from the University of Arizona. A Brooklyn native, Thomas is a lover of filmmaking, motorcycle, and coffee.

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