The two categories of primer ignition systems for ammunition cartridges are rimfire and centerfire. In rimfire guns, the firing pin strikes the rim of the cartridge base to ignite a primer. With centerfire guns, the firing pin strikes a center primer. On the surface, the difference between these two types of ammunition cartridges seems simple. However, each one has its pros and cons.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire: What is the difference?
Neither rimfire nor centerfire cartridges are better than the other, but they each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The major benefits of rimfire cartridges are that they are cheap and ideal for training. It’s much more cost-effective to create a thin-walled cartridge with a flattened bottom, and because of this, the lower cost of manufacturing leads to a cheaper purchase for the consumer.
Rimfire ammunition is good for beginners. While the lower cost and less material needed to produce means rimfire ammunition is limited to lower calibers, it is okay because a smaller firearm is great for training beginners.
Unfortunately, rimfire cartridges have many disadvantages, including the fact that there are non-reloadable, they are less reliable than centerfire, and they are not ideal for long-distance shooting.
On the other hand, centerfire cartridges can be supported by all sizes of firearms. They are also extremely reliable, reloadable, and more accurate for longer distances. The major downfall of centerfire ammunition is the cost. Even despite being reloadable, centerfire ammunition can out-price rimfire ammunition many times over. This can make going to the range extremely expensive and discouraging for some people.
When discussing what ammunition is superior, centerfire ammunition has many benefits over rimfire ammunition, except for in price. For beginners, rimfire ammunition is much more cost-effective despite being limited to smaller firearms. Centerfire ammunition can be designed for any firearm but is much more expensive, especially for beginners.