The original idea for rimfire ammunition originally appeared in 1831 in a patent which, like the rimfire cartridges of today, also used a thin case. This design eventually became the Flobert .22 BB Cap by 1845. This ammunition cartridge housed the priming compound just inside of the rim. The initial velocities were very low, even being related to the strength of an airgun.
Then the .22 Short was introduced in 1857, which used a longer rimfire casing and 4 grains of black gunpowder. This cartridge was to be used by Smith & Wesson for their first pistol.
Eventually, the cartridge became the 22 Long we know presently – one of the most commonly used cartridges in the world (not to be mistaken with the 22 LR cartridge though). Currently .22 caliber rimfire ammo exhibits the last remnants of the early rimfire cartridge.
Rimfire ammunition is a type of firearm cartridge in which the firing pin strikes the rim of the base, instead of the primer cap at the base center (otherwise known as a centerfire cartridge). The rimfire cartridge rim is simply a lengthened and widened percussion cap that houses the priming compound. The cartridge case holds the gun powder and the bullet. Rimfire ammunition cartridges are not reloaded after the initial firing, since the head is damaged by the firing pin force. While an assortment of other priming procedures have been theorized, only the rimfire and centerfire priming procedures are commonly used.
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Rimfire ammo can only be used in calibers that generate low pressure, as they require a thin case for the primer to be ignited by the firing pin. As a result, present-day rimfire cartridges are usually .22 caliber or less. These low pressures make it possible for firearms that use inexpensive rimfire ammunition to be very affordable and lightweight, which contributes to the consistently rising regard of the lower caliber rimfire ammunition currently being sold around the world.