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.”