Remington EtronX Ammunition


#1

I have to go back about 15 years for this question, maybe even longer because while I do remember the details I don’t remember exactly when it happened.

Back then I was really into competitive shooting and not so much into bullets except for comp cartridges and old wildcats. I shot all winter at the Ben Avery range north of Phoenix and became good friends with the F&G employees who ran the facility. I would always stop in the office to say hello and talk about guns because those guys were also shooters (unlike today’s bureaucrats). One day I happened to notice a big box of ammunition with the familiar Remington colors that the UPS guy had just delivered. I kidded the guys about getting free ammo from Remington, and could I have some too? They said it wasn’t for them but was for some FBI types who were coming in to test some new rifles. The boxes were marked 223 Remington so I assumed the FBI was going to test some AR 15s or M16s. Then I noticed that the boxes also said “Electronic” or something like that. We looked at them closer and they were electric primed, what would later become the EtronX cartridges for the new M700 rifle. Not really having much interest in stuff like that at the time I didn’t liberate either a box or a single cartridge.

A few years later when Remington publicly announced the new rifle and ammunition I noted that it was offered in 22-250, 243W, and 220 Swift, but not 223 Remington.

So to get to my question. Has anyone ever seen one of these 223 EtronX cartridges?

Ray


#2

Remington EtronX ammunition was introduced in the 2000 Remington catalog, with the first article in my files on this ammunition being from the magazine “Petersen’s Rifle Shooter,” entitiled “First Look! Remington’s EtronX Electronic Ignition Sporting Rifle,” by Jerry Lee, February 2000, pages 58-59.

The 2000 Remington catalog does not show the ammo back in the normal ammo section, but rather as a special “article” on page 3 thru 5 of the catalog. Mentioned are calibers .22-250 and .243 Winchester only. The 2001 catalog handles it similarly, but while having all the “blurb” on it in the front of the catalog, it does assign product numbers to those two calibers and places them in the Cetnerfire Rifle Ballistics table on Pages 48 and 49. EL2250B was the index number for .22-250 with a 60 grain Nosler Partition bullet, and EL243WA for the .243 with 100 Grain Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt bullet.

The 2002 catalog, on page 42, added the 220 Swift with Index Number EL220SA with 50 grain V-Max Boat Tail bullet; changes the .22-250 to Index Number EL2250A with the same bullet as the .220 Swift; and supplies conflicting infromation on the .243 by shown on this page the Index Number EL243WC loaded with a 75 grain Noseler Ballistic Tip bullet, while in the Centerfire Rifle Ballistics Table on pages 48-49, it shows the Index Number as the same, EL243WC but loaded with a 90 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullet.

By Catalog 2003, the ammunition is totally gone from the pages.

I have no articles in my files that show any loads that are not shown in the Remington catalogs, as outlined above. However, I do have photographs of the EtronX headstamps on the following calibers: .40 S & W Pistol, .38 SPL +P Revolver, .357 MAGNUM Revolver, .44 S&W SPL Revolver. On those headstamps “EtronX” replaces the normal “R-P” at the top position of the headstamp, with the caliber expressed normally. On the rifle rounds, the headstamps are all
R-P at the top and the caliber at the bottom, with the calibers expressed as follows on the headstamp pictures I have: 223 EtronX, 220 SWIFT (EtronX is not shown anywhere on the headstamp), 22-250 REM (no EtronX mention), 243 WIN (no EtronX mention)and 30-06 SPRG (no EtronX mention).

In addition, I believe that I have seen a 9 mm Para round in EtronX headstamp following the pattern of the other pistol rounds mention above, but am not positive. I amy also have seen a .45. I recall being shown some by one of the collectors there who specializes in 9 mm, but I don’t remember the calibers.

I doubt any will turn up at this late date, but I am a customer for any auto pistol round from the EtronX series.

John Moss


#3

Were EtronX pistols ever sold? I have only ever read about the rifle.


#4

Falcon - to my knowledge, none were ever sold. I am not sure, though, that it takes a special pistol or not. I have not read up much on it, despite having a few articles on the ammunition, as practically speaking, it doesn’t seem to exist in auto pistol. I have never been able to get a sample anyway. If it takes a special pistol, they obviously made at least prototypes, becauses my headstamp photos are all of fired cases, in every single case type. The fact they made rounds, specially headstamped EtronX in particular, in .44 Special revolver was the surprise to me. A great old revolver caliber, but not one in great popularity these days. This project came out just before our store closed. I never have seen one of the rifles in any caliber either, even though listed for three years in the catalog. Our store was closed before they made deliveries, and since I had no personal interest in the system at all (apparently few others did either) I never sought one out for examination after my forced retirement.

John Moss


#5

My local gun smith uses Etronx Primers for some of his live capture and Govt. Contract work. It took 20 Minutes to replicate the proprietary system using a disposable camera.


#6

To increase the value of this thread for future research, I decided to read my entire EtronX file, since it does not contain that many articles, and to broaden the explanation of the ammunition. In the meantime, I will correct an impression I had of my photos of the heads of various EtronX cartridges. I described them all as fired cases. This is not necessarily correct. An unfired EtronX primer has a well defined dimple in the outside-center of the cup which, when photographed, looks very much like a firing pin strike. As far as I can tell now, you cannot tell from a photo of the head alone, that an Etronx primer is fired or unfired.

The headstamp picture of the R-P 223 Etronx in my file is an unprimed empty case, and oddly, on the .38 Special +P version’s headstamp photo, there is no apparent “dimple.” The center of the primer cup appears flat, but it is not the best photo, and the lighting and exposure may have concealed the dimple. I simply don’t know.

In this system, there is no difference in any component of the cartridge other than the primer. Normal cases, not normally made at Remington as “EtronX” ammunition, may be loaded with an EtronX primer and used in the EtronX Model 700 VS-SF rifle first made for this ammuntiion. This rifle will NOT fire with standard, percussion-type primers, however, nor will a standard rifle fire the EtronX cartridge’s electric primer.

The rifle incorporates and on/off switch on the bottom of the pistol grip. It has a mini-computer inside the buttstock, along with a nine volt battery. The battery was evidently good for from 1500 to 2000 shots. The electric impulse is transmitted to the primer by way of a ceramic-insulated metal electrode that makes contact with the primer when the trigger is pulled.
Advantages claimed are a 99% reduction of lock-time, the amount of time that passes from when the trigger releases the firing mechanism until the primer ignites. Short lock-time is important to accuracy in its reduction of movement of the firearm during the interval between the two.

The disadvantage, probably leading to its death in 2003, was a rifle cost of almost twice the price of a standard Model 700 Remington, and primers reported to have cost about five times the amount of standard primers. Factory ammo was about 25% higher in cost than standard, percussion-primed ammunition of similar caliber and projectile.

Reported accuracy was excellent, but of all the groups cited in testing for the various articles at hand, I have owned at least two rifles of standard ignition system that would equal them with my best loads, one in .223 (A Sako Vixen I still own) and one in .222 Remington, a 40XB-BR Light Varmint Class rifle that I no longer own.

While never an active varmint shooter, I frankly can understand why the sales did not warrant continued production. I see nothing special of a truly practical nature offered by a very expensve rifle/ammunition combination.

I can offer no information about the handguns that were designed to fire EtronX. I have never seen a picture of one, nor found an article on them. I have not even been able to locate a complete list of calibers tried. I am sure, though, that my list on my original posting to this thread, taken from the headstamp photos I have, is not complete as to the pistol loads. I cannot even offer conjecture on the rifle load.

Reference: “Handloading For Remington’s Electronic Rifle,” by Layne Simpson, "Shooting Times,"
February 2002, pages 54 to 57.
Reference: “Reloading for the Rmington Electronic Rifle,” by Richard Folstland, “Gun World,” July 2001, pages 6 & 7.
Reference: “First Look! Remington’s EtronX Electronic Ignition Sporting Rifle,” by Jerry Lee, “Petersen’s Rifle Shooter,” February 2000, pages 58 & 59.
Reference: Headstamp pictures, acquired from a confidential source in June 2001 (nine pictures total).

Edited to correct the initial erroneous description of “lock-time.”

John Moss


#7

Speaking of EtronX-compatible handguns, S&W was awarded several patents for semi-auto and revolver designs capable of using ammunition with electric primers. It looks like it was part of a proprietary-user “smart gun” program.

http://www.google.com/patents?tbs=bks%3A1&tbo=1&q=“smith%20%26%20wesson”%20electric&btnG=Search%20Patents&scoring=1


#8

Dan - Thanks. Interesting Stuff. I printed out a few of them, and found some more from Remington from the 1990s that probably relate directly to the EtronX primer.

It is probably safe to say that the handguns tried out with the EtronX ammunition were Smith and Wessons, judging from the amount of patents they later secured. Wish some of that ammo would show up!

John Moss


#9

John
I hope this isn’t to far off topic, and I realize that you are either quoting or paraphrasing the articles you have in hand.

Close, but technicaly lock time starts at trigger release and ends when the primer ignites (not when the bullet leaves the barrel). IOW the time it takes for the FP spring to overcome the inertia of the FP assy, bring it up to speed and bury it into the primer.


#10

I was paraphrasing, but I agree with your definition. Both definitions seem to go around in print, but I, too, always learned that lock time was “release to ignition” and not from release of the firing pin until the bullet left the barrel, and must have had my head in dark places when I typed that. Thanks for what I consider an absolute valid correction. I have edited my original statement to comply with the correction, to avoid confusion on the part of those that read it.

I don’t see that as off-topic at all. It all has to do with the EtronX primer and why it was considered advantageous.

Thanks tailgunner.

John Moss


#11

Ray - regarding faking of regular-headstaped rounds, you are absolutely correct. There is no difference in the cases. Remington, for test in some other calibers, simply made a few up on standard brass. Those calibers will probably never be encountered with any real Remington Provenance because of the nature of them and the testing.

However, why there are so few around of the headstamped ones is beyond me. They had to make a quantity, even of the pistol rounds, to justify a run with a special bunter. There are at least four EtronX headstamps as I noted before. Oddly, I don’t have any picture of an EtronX headstamp for the calibers they offered for a few years in their catalog - .220 Swift, .22-250 and .243. Those are all standard headstamps in my photos, simply with the EtronX primer in the cases. The .30-06 is the same. The .223, about which you inquired, is headstamped "R-P 223 EtronX, the only one of the EtronX headstamps to have the R-P on the headstamp. All the others replace the factory designator with “EtronX” and then show the calibers in the normal format.

I am virtually sure I saw a 9mm EtronX headstamp at SLICS some years ago, as I mentioned. I had hoped the owner would chme in here and add a photo. I have the impression he had it in 9 mm, .40 S&W of which I have a picture, and .45 AUTO. If I am unsure of any, it is the .45.

The patents Dan posted links to show the proposed Smith and Wesson Pistol and Revolver, the Pistol being one of their Glock clones.

It is one of the few US commercial auto pistol headstamps I have never been able to get in any caliber, and I have chased them for the last ten years. Certainly the biggest hole in my own US auto pistol-caliber collection.

John Moss


#12

I’m surprised there were no pictures posted yet of one of the Etronx cartridges or a box. Here’s the .243 WIN. Unfortunately, as John pinted out, these do not have a distinctive headstamp. At the bottom I have included a closeup of the head of a fired cartridge (on the right). The unfired primer has a protruding dimple; on the fired primer, the dimple has been pushed in. It is quite difficult to tell them apart without straining your eyes.


#13

Having recently acquired a .243 EtronX (or at least, a R-P round with an EtronX primer!) I went hunting for info and found this very useful thread, which I thought was worth bumping.

An interesting historical note: as many readers will know, some German WW2 aircraft guns (namely the MG 131, a version of the MG 151 and 151/20, the MK108 and MK 103) used electric priming. Less well known is that an electric-primed version of the .303 British was being developed at the end of WW1, in order to make it possible to synchronise a suitably modified Lewis aircraft MG to fire through a fighter’s propeller disc (which it normally could not do because it fired only from an open bolt).


#14

Here’s a couple of other calibers:

7mm Remington Ultra Mag and the 6.8mm SPC.

Not a Remingtom load, but an interesting caliber to have an electric primer. This is the 8x68S. With a fmj jacketed projectile, it is thought that this is a military experimental.

Paul


#15

Fascinating, Paul!

Is anyone selling EtronX rifles and ammo in these two calibres?


#16

Paul, great rounds! Boxes of the 8x68S with electric primer are commercial ones with an added rubber stamp “elektr.-Zdg.” (elektrische-Zündung) and dated June 23, 1959. There is also another variation with a round nosed CNCS FMJ projectile with a knurled cannelure and a slightly different primer.


#17

Thanks, Fede. I wouldn’t have thought that this 8x68S was that early. Very interesting.

Paul