Remington Model 700 EtronX receiver

EtronX – The Electronic Marvel That Bombed

Remington EtronX cutaway action diagram
Remington EtronX cutaway action diagram

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?
Brian Bates

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

Remington EtronX ignition setup
Remington EtronX ignition setup

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.

Remington Model 700 EtronX receiver
Remington Model 700 EtronX receiver




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.

One Comment

  1. I have an Etronx rifle in 22/250. It is very accurate with both Factory Ammo and Handloads. The only constraint is finding and importing the primers.
    The key benefit of the system is the lack of movement in the rifle when the trigger is pulled. lots of opinions published on the fast locktime but little on the absence of striker induced movement. The rifle is a fine example of a Remington Factory rifle. The only reliability issues I’ve had relate to remembering to turn the key on and closing the bolt on neck sized reloads. For some reason I need to full length size. As a specialist off hand rifle it is superb due to the absence of movement between the decision to fire and the discharge.