If you shoot the 5mm rimfire, Aguila Ammunition has good news: the 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum (RFM or sometimes RRM) is back in production. Additionally, the company is offering two loads now.
Short story: buy the ammo now before it dries up again. For the longer story, including the details on the two new loads and information on the prior Aguila offering, continue reading. I’ll even throw in a curious story about the Taurus revolver that was chambered for the 5mm RFM.
As of 2019, Aguila offers two different 5mm ammo loads. One uses a 30 grain jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullet while the second uses a 30 grain semi-jacketed hollow point (SJHP) bullet. Both loads are rated at a velocity of 2,300 fps and with 352 ft/lbs of energy. Other than the bullet design, the two loads are remarkably similar.
For those not familiar with a SJHP, it is a bullet with only a partial copper jacket and some amount of exposed lead core.
Both versions of the ammunition are sold in 50 round boxes and 1000 round cases. Pricing is on par with the relative scarcity of the ammo. I know many people will balk at paying $30-35 for a box of rimfire ammo, but consider the costs of setting up a production line to run a niche cartridge. I doubt Aguila is making a killing on this. Regardless, it is the only game in town if you want factory fresh 5mm ammo.
2008 -2013 Production
In 2008, Aguila announced it would begin producing 5mm ammunition. This announcement coincided with an announcement from Taurus that it would offer a new revolver chambered for the classic rimfire cartridge. While the Taurus 590 failed to enter production, the Aguila ammo did hit the dealer shelves and was quickly snapped up by enthusiasts.
At that time, Aguila offered a single load in 5mm RFM: a 30 grain JHP that was rated at 2,300 fps from the muzzle. A quick calculation shows that the round was making more than 350ft/lbs of energy at launch, which was more than enough for small game and varmints.
Sadly, since Taurus did not deliver the 590 revolver we never got a chance to see what this load was capable of from a 6″ barrel.
As I understand it, once word got out on the availability of 5mm rimfire ammunition, the production was quickly snapped up. It seems that Aguila made several runs of this ammo. Even so, the rounds were hard to find for many shooters.
The suggested retail pricing on the ammo was very inexpensive: $16.99 for a box of 50 rounds and $324.99 for a case of 1000. Sadly, those prices don’t come back. Of course, that was announced before the huge buying frenzy that started in November of 2008 and ran through the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States.
During the 2008-2013 time period, the ammunition was manufactured in Mexico and sold in the United States as the Centurion brand. Since then, Aguila expanded its US manufacturing facility and the 5mm ammo is now made in Texas. Aguila no longer uses the Centurion brand for the 5mm RFM.
5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum
The origins of the 5mm RFM date back to the 1960s. Announced in 1969, the cartridge didn’t actually hit the market until 1970. One of the key differentiators between the 5mm ammo cartridge and other rimfire rounds is the use of a bottle neck.
Initial loads used a 38 grain JHP bullet that made 2,100 fps from a 24″ barrel. This was about 100 fps faster than a .22 WMR of the day.
When the cartridge was introduced, two bolt action rifles were chambered for it: the Remington 591 and Remington 592. The 591 fed from a detachable, 4-round magazine while the 592 used a tubular 10-round magazine.
Unfortunately, both the 591 and 592 in 5mm were discontinued. It seems there were safety concerns related to the pressure generated by the cartridges, though original source material on these issues has proven difficult to locate.
Few 591 and 592 rifles appear to be left in circulation. Parts for them tend to be expensive – I’ve seen 591 magazines sell for $150 or more in non-panic buying periods.
According to the commentary in the 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World, the 5mm RFM offered up to 50 yards of additional range for small game hunting as compared to the .22 WMR (aka .22 Magnum.) The book also notes, the round offered superior performance to some of the .22 centerfire cartridges of the day.
In addition to the Remington rifles, Thomson/Center offered 5mm barrels. I’m sure there are even some custom builds out there.
What History Taught Us
In 2008, Aguila may have been counting on Taurus selling its new 5mm revolver when it decided to get into this niche rimfire market. In 2019, the surely has no such illusions. That means that prior 5mm ammo runs were profitable – enough so that the company developed two new loads for the cartridge.
History clearly instructed Aguila to build out the line. But, what does she instruct us? Buy now because there are no guarantees for tomorrow.
In the best circumstances, the 5mm RFM is a niche cartridge with minuscule demand as compared to the .22 LR and others. So, Aguila will only make occasional runs of the ammunition based on how many rounds it might sell in the coming year. So, when it appears on the dealer shelf, that is all you will see until the next run.
If the margins aren’t high enough, Aguila might not ever make another run – so that ammo you see now could literally be the last factory ammunition ever made.
Consider also that when anti-gun politicians gain more control – say of the US Senate and/or White House – there will be fresh runs on ammo and guns. Aguila will likely stop all niche cartridge production and focus on the main calibers: .22 LR, 9mm, etc.
So, let me be perfectly clear: if you currently own a 5mm rimfire firearm, stock up now. It will not last forever. You will help me by purchasing through LuckyGunner, but regardless of where you buy – get it before it is gone.