EtronX - The Electronic Marvel That Bombed
Q: I read about a Remington rifle called the EtronX that utilized an electric primer to ignite the powder charge. I believe it was introduced in three varmint calibres - .22-250, .220 Swift and .243 Win. Although the article mad mention of the EtronX it didn't really elaborate much. What can you tell me about it?
A: The EtronX was launched in 2001. It was the first rifle of its type to be made by an American company and used standard cases and powders, only the primer was different. Based on the standard Model 700 action, it differed in a number of ways. The bolt had no spring-powered firng pin in its bolt, instead it used a spring-loaded, ceramic-insulated metal electrode that contacted the primer when the cartridge
was chambered and the bolt closed. The safety was a simple two-position switch. In its rearward "Safe" position the electrical circuit from a 9-volt battery housed in the buttstock is broken. Pushing the switch forward to "Fire" completes the circuit, allowing electricity to flow from the battery through the safety and to the trigger. A press on the trigger (which acts as a secondary switch) allows the current to flow through the electrode inside the bolt and through the primer of a chambered round. The electric current fires the primer which in turn ignites the powder charge. A key-operated primary switch in the bottom of the grip of the stock can be used to disable the rifle and prevent it from being fired. An alkaline battery would give from 1500 to 2000 firings. A computer housed in a compartment in the buttstock was the brain of the machine, and a red indicator light atop the grip reveals the status of the rifle to its user. This is a greatly simplified explanation of how the EtronX system works. Although EtronX rifles were very accurate, I think the reason they didn't catch on was because the system was just too complicated and required a special primer.