Why did rimfire fail?


Being new at seeing all the various cartridges and still being in my 20’s and not the old gun cranks some of you are. Why did the larger calibered rimfire cartridges fail to remain current, or what advantage did centerfire provide?



The main reason was because of safety and power.

To have a powerful cartridge you had to produce a lot of power inside a cartridge to quickly expel the projectile. With rimfire cartridges, the case had to be thin enough for the hammer to actually dent or penetrate the rim. In order to have the case thin enough for that you also sacrifice the safety of not having a strong enough case to keep the cartridge from exploding when it ignites.


And for a shooter, They can not be reloaded and messed with. Vic


Weren’t most of the larger rimfires also blackpowder cartridges which generated less pressure? I suppose it was the changeover to smokeless powders that saw the end of the age of large rimfires.


Falcon: No, even black powder generates more pressure than is safe in a large caliber military-type rimfire. The vogue of the big rimfire was really quite brief, a decade or so. But in very small cartridges like the .22 the rimfire is an excellent concept, since they consist really of nothing more than a slightly overgrown primer cup, tiny propellant charge, and bullet. Jack


Hmmm…are there enough varieties out there to make them collectible?



ooooooohhhhhhhh yes, rimfires are very much collectable.


BIG caliber rimfires, I mean.



Smoothbore, I don’t collect rimfires but I have a few, some in the .41 and .357 range, which I consider big. Guess it depends on what you call big. I know of some in the .50+ size, made during the early years of military trials with cartridges and the Springfield rifles. I’d say you could spend much time and $ collecting large caliber rim fires.


Shotmeister–Rimfires range in size from 2mm-18mm and 0.100 to 1 inch. I collected only rimfire for 15+ years in the 70’s & 80’s. I have over 1200 different .22 rimfires alone. Prices can range from 10 cents to over $1000.
Once you get over .38 cal. they start getting expensive fast with perhaps the most expensive being the 1 inch Gatling Gun Cannister load. But you can put together a pretty nice collection of the .44 cal loads and the various Spencers for about $150 as long as you stay away from the .58’s and 69’s and the 1 inch gatlings. All of those are in the multiple hundreds to low thousands. There are many European rimfires that are practically unheard of in the U.S. The two best books on rimfires are Barber–The Rimfire Cartridge 1857-1984 and Suydam–The American Cartridge.


2.34mm and 18mm with a 22LR for scale