Rimfire Guns and Ammo FAQ

E-mail questions with answers by Chuck Hawks

Gun values

Q: I have a ________ (make and model) gun. Can you tell me what it is worth?

A: Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately estimate the value of a gun without examining it. I would recommend that you look up the make and model of the gun you own in Fjestad's Blue Book of Gun Values. Fjestad's includes a great many makes and models of guns, and rates them by condition. You should be able to find a copy in most gun shops and bookstores.

Gun identification and history

Q: I inherited an old gun, the serial number is 123__. Can you tell me something about its history, when it was made, what ammunition is safe to shoot in it, etc.?

A: No. Unfortunately it is impossible for me to tell you about your gun without examining it. And, in any case, not being a collector it is unlikely that I could help you very much. Take it to a local gun shop and let them have a look at it, they can probably answer at least some of your questions after inspecting it.

Sending photos or attachments

Q: I sent you a picture of my gun, but I never heard back from you. Did you get my e-mail?

A: Please do not send photographs or attachments of any kind without prior authorization. Due to the volume of mail I receive I automatically delete all e-mail containing attachments or graphics.

Calcualting trajectory, etc.

Q: I shoot ________ (make and model) gun. What is my trajectory like and for what distance should I set the sights?

A: Please do not ask me to compute your recoil or trajectory for you; these are things that you can figure out for yourself. GUNS AND SHOOTING ONLINE includes information to help you do this. Take a look at the relevant lists and tables on the "Tables, Charts and Lists Page," they are there for your benefit.

The Member Side of G&S Online

Q: I am very disappointed to see that you now require a fee to access your articles. I thought you were posting out of love of the sport ...only to conclude that it was about money. Bummer.

A: You might take time to notice that the Main Site of Guns and Shooting Online as well as my Photography and Astronomy, Naval and Military Affairs, Travel and Fishing, and Motorcycles and Riding sites remain totally free. (Well, not free at all, but paid for out of my pocket.)

The fact is that I am, or was before I got so involved in my web site, a retired guy on a diminishing income. Couple that with the expense of supporting the bandwidth some 2.5 million hits on chuckhawks.com require every month and something simply had to be done. My web sites are so popular that I have had to become a domain, buy my own server, pay for a 1.5 Meg. DSL line, hire professional support people (I am not a computer person, just a writer/photographer!), and so forth.

If there is to continue to be a chuckhawks.com, it has to pay for itself. Not to mention the unpleasant fact that maintaining and expanding it has become a full time job, and I can't live on good wishes alone. That is why there is now a Member Side to Guns and Shooting Online. I'm sorry that you are disappointed, but I am gratified and humbled by the success of the Member Side and its acceptance by the great majority of my readers. Also by the recognition that Guns and Shooting Online has received from so many of the fine companies that comprise the shooting sports industry.

Rimfire and centerfire

Q: What is the distinction between rimfire and centerfire cartridges?

A: The terms rimfire and centerfire describe two basic types of cartridge design. The difference between the two types is in the location of the priming compound in the cartridge case. The priming compound initiates the burning of the main powder charge when it is struck by the firing pin of the gun.

A rimfire is so called because the priming compound is actually inside the rim of the case, which is of folded construction. Look at a .22 LR cartridge and you will immediately see what I mean. The firing pin of a rimfire rifle strikes the rim of the cartridge when you pull the trigger.

A centerfire cartridge has a separate primer in the center of the base of the cartridge case. The rim of a centerfire case is solid. Look at a .30-30 cartridge and you will immediately see the difference. The firing pin of a centerfire gun strikes the primer located in the center of the base of the cartridge, rather than the rim. Such cases are much stronger than the rimfire type, and can contain much higher pressures, which makes possible modern high velocity rifles and pistols.

Favorite rifle cartridge

Q: What is your favorite rimfire rifle cartridge and why?

A: As far as I am concerned, the .17 HMR is the best thing since sliced bread. It is my favorite cartridge, period, rimfire or centerfire.

The .17 HMR rifles we have tested at G&S Online have, as a group, been more accurate than hunting rifles of any other caliber, right out of the box. The .17 HMR cartridge itself is as accurate as a centerfire varmint cartridge, yet does not require reloading. It is, in fact, the most consistently accurate factory loaded ammunition we have ever tested. It shoots flat, so its MPBR (165 yards +/- 1.5") allows for precise work at extended ranges. .17 HMR ammunition is widely available, produced by several major manufacturers, and while not dirt cheap it is reasonably economical. In my view, except for special purposes (such as training a new shooter or formal target shooting) the .17 HMR makes all other rimfire cartridges (and the small capacity centerfire varmint cartridges) obsolete.

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Copyright 1999, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.