Just wondering why the rimfires are so much less expensive then centerfire cartridges. I know that most rimfires are .22 or smaller, and that alone makes it less expensive to build, but I am assuming that rimfires are produced in a different manner then centerfires that is less expensive.
Also, how ARE rimfire and Centerfire cartridges produced?
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August 27, 2008, 05:49 PM
Rimfire guns are cheaper to produce because they dont need to be built as strong. Rimfire cartridges are cheaper because they use less brass, lead, and powder than larger cartridges.
August 27, 2008, 05:51 PM
I'm not entirely sure, but I believe both are made by starting with a small brass disk and basically stretching it and squeezing it over molds to shape it.
I know rimfire brass requires a lot fewer steps to manufacture, and that's a big part of why it's cheaper.
with .22 lr economy of scale plays a big part too.
August 27, 2008, 06:00 PM
Plus, they don't need to punch an extra hole, punch in a primer pocket, buy primers, press them in...
It just looks like they squirt a dab of primer down into the bottom. Cheaper machine, fewer processes.
August 27, 2008, 06:00 PM
Rimfire ammo has five component parts.
2. Primer mix inside the case rim.
5. Bullet lube wax.
Centerfire ammo has as many as nine or more.
2. Primer cup.
3. Primer compound.
4. Foil seal.
5. Lacquer seal.
8. Bullet jacket.
9. Lead core.
10. Some have a plastic or bronze bullet tip insert.
In addition, mil-spec ammo has:
11. Asphalt bullet to case seal.
12. Lacquer primer to case seal
August 27, 2008, 06:03 PM
It just looks like they squirt a dab of primer down into the bottom. ...and then spin it into the rim.
August 27, 2008, 06:12 PM
Try buying a box of .41 rim fire. I bought 4 boxes some years ago and its a lifetime supply.
August 27, 2008, 06:17 PM
That's just the difference between mass production, and small production lots.
August 28, 2008, 08:28 PM
I always wondered how they put the fold in the case. Obviously, it's old technology and I ought to know, but I've never come across a description of that process.
August 28, 2008, 08:48 PM
Rimfire ammo supply hasn't been affected by the wars in iraq and afghanistan. Centerfire ammo production is being gobbled up by our soldiers. This is just one reason why.
The other reasons are scarcity of semi precious metals (copper, lead, zinc, etc). 22 rimfire is tiny and uses less of these metals. Also, the declining value of the US dollar. Environmental restrictions on lead production. Soaring fuel costs.
Then, as rcmodel pointed out, bigger calibers are much more complex to manufacture.
The best deal out there imo is 9mm military surplus ammo. I havn't tried to figure it out, but I would bet if you compared 9mm to 22 rimfire on a dollar per pound basis, 9mm would come very close to matching 22 rimfire economy.
August 29, 2008, 12:28 AM
It is not just bullet weight in lead in a 22, it is bullet construction for centerfires. Most are jacketed. Costs more.
August 29, 2008, 08:10 AM
Over the years there has been a tremendous competition between manufacturers to sell .22's. They sold them by the millions. Hardly anyone thinks twice about running through 50 .22's but 50 .45's is another story. They made their money in volume. They have put a lot of effort into ways to make them fast and to make them cheap.
August 29, 2008, 09:19 AM
Partly because of the sheer volume of .22LR being produced and consumed.
BTW, rimfire brass is produced by drawing a disc of brass sheet over a progressive set of dies. Centrefire needs turning on a lathe and all sorts. It's basically a lot more steps, and time = money. Bottlenecks are produced by pressing.
August 29, 2008, 09:26 AM
Also, the declining value of the US dollar. Environmental restrictions on lead production. Soaring fuel costs.
This is why the prices of all ammo are going up, but not why .22RF is cheaper than CF.
August 29, 2008, 09:49 AM
I have a Beretta Model 87 in 22 and it cost more than many center fire guns so I think the cheaper 22s are just cheap guns and have less to do with what they shoot
August 29, 2008, 10:12 AM
delta, we are talking about the ammo, not the guns.
One can easily plunk down $1500 for a single shot .22 LR rifle.
August 29, 2008, 10:23 AM
Hardly anyone thinks twice about running through 50 .22's
Not even once! :)
Yesterday I went through 450 rounds when I ran out. The RO comes over and says, "Heck, I keep a bucket of .22's in the shack....help yourself". As has been said....aside from being cheaper to make, they are produced and sold by the ga-zillions....it's mostly about volume.
August 29, 2008, 10:40 AM
BTW, rimfire brass is produced by drawing a disc of brass sheet over a progressive set of dies. Centrefire needs turning on a lathe and all sorts.
Center fire and rim fire both start life as a brass disc.
The punching and forming process are very similar, but the larger and thicker brass for a center fire requires more material and more stops.
There is a very little bit of turning on some center fire cases fir extractor groove, and while a few companies drill flash holes, most are pimply punched.
A lath us not used for the cutting, but special built high speed machinery.
A rim is created on rim fire brass by a process called 'bumping.'
A mandrel is inserted into the partial formed case almost to the bottom.
The bottom of the case is then forced ('bumped') against a shaping die that forms the uniform rim.
It is a real PITA to set up the equipment, but once it is running correctly the cases just pour off the line.
Center fire brass if similar but often requires annealing steps for larger cases to prevent over hardening during drawing and forming.
Forming the case head for high pressure cartridges takes some careful work to make sure they are hard enough by the end of the process since the starting brass is not very hard t allow it to draw and form correctly.
August 29, 2008, 01:18 PM
Volume is certainly a major part of the equation. That was brought home yesterday when I stopped at Wal-Mart for a box of .380 ACP. They had it in the Winchester USA 100-round value packs, which I didn't expect. I also didn't expect the price: $31.95 -- compared to $28.95 for a 100-round value pack of .45 ACP.