Ahead of their time. Oil-free self-lubricating. Revolutionary. These are but a few of the terms and catch phrases that have been used over the course of half a century to advertise, sell, and describe Remington’sNylon series .22 LRrimfires. With prices from $250 to over $2,000 today, here’s what you’ll want to know when collecting these futuristic rimfires.
This is the story of how a simple rimfire became an advanced piece of American firearms engineering history. The designers at Remington, seeking a more cost-effective build, turned away from the era’s standard blued steel and walnut dress.
Remington partnered with the chemists at DuPont – its parent company at the time – to formulate a synthetic material that would meet many requirements, including strength, moldability, weatherproofing, and both heat and solvent resistance. Though a tall order for even the finest scientists, DuPont pulled it off.
This is merely a summation, but after considerable testing, what arose was a material labeled Nylon 66. That synthetic concoction would be injection-molded into the Nylon rifles we know and love today.
Official production began in 1958, though extensive testing took place over years prior to the launch. It wasn’t just synthetic stocks – actually, the greater part of most Nylon firearms was formed from the new polymer, with the addition of a steel receiver cover.
With the uncertainly of not knowing how the shooting public would react to a plastic gun, Remington took a leap of faith with first the 66, and later, a host of other related models.
As a caveat, Stevens had previously used the Tenite polymer material, but it lacked staying power and strength. When the Zytel-101 Nylon 66 material came along, it proved to have the lasting strength – figuratively and literally – of Remington and DuPont’s dual creation.
Nylon 66 Variations
Nylon 66 MB: The initial model launch, so named for the material created and polymer numbers from the chemists and location. 1959-1991. Produced in Mohawk Brown (MB) with faux woodgrain, by far the most common with over 675,000 made. Original cost, which was advertised for a decade, was $49.95. Because this one was by far the most common, it is also the most affordable today.
Nylon 66 SG: Short run of Seneca Green (SG) rifles. Roughly 45,000 were built, with the line discontinued by 1962. Many collectors seek out the SG coloration for its lower production numbers among 66s.
Nylon 66 AB: Line of Apache Black (AB) rifles with black stocks, white diamond inlay and spacers, and chromed barrel and receiver cover. Production began in 1961 with well over 220,000 sold.
Nylon 66 GS: An unusual Gallery Special (GS) version built only for .22 Short rimfire rounds. Roughly 16,400 were made, which drives prices and scarcity on the market.
Nylon 66 BD: The latest version of the platform was this Black Diamond (BD) that was the most plain of all the rifles. It mated a black stock with a black barrel and receiver cover. The traditional white diamond inlays were replaced by black. Some 56,000 were produced from 1978-1990, generally leaving them more affordable.
The Many Nylon Models
Though the most well-known and with greatest production numbers, the Nylon 66 was far from the only family member in this spacey entourage. In fact, some of the color variants and alternate designs are even more desirable. With the 66 as successful proof of concept, Remington continued launching related rifles. When in doubt which one you’ve found, most models can be identified by the markings on the grip cap.
Nylon 10: A single shot chambering .22 S, L, and LR. Has a 19 5/8- or 24-inch barrel. Mohawk Brown stock. Manufactured from 1962-64 with a final production run of just over 8,600. The even shorter run Nylon 10-SB was built with a smoothbore barrel for .22-caliber shot.
Nylon 11: A bolt action repeater chambering .22 S, L, and LR. Fed by a detachable box magazine with either six- or 10-shot options. Over 22,400 units were built from 1962-64, with most using the 19 5/8 barrel. Longer 24-inch barrel specimens command a premium.
Nylon 12: A bolt action repeater in .22 S, L, and LR. Fed via a forward magazine tube located beneath the barrel. Just over 27,500 versions were built during the same years as the Model 11 above and with the same longer barrel scarcity.
It should be noted that the bolt actions were built differently from the other versions. They used a more traditional steel receiver instead of the receiver cover. Bolt handles were flat, while the stocks were much bulkier than the sleek 66s, also showing an angular forend tip.
Nylon 76: A short-throw lever action in .22 LR called the “Trail Rider.” It was advertised as “the world’s fastest lever action” due in large part to its short-throw action. Built with a 19 5/8-inch barrel and iron sights, most were dressed in Mohawk Brown furniture, with final run of 25,312. A much shorter run of 1,615 was done in Apache Black.
While many guns still run fine today, the 76 has a reputation as being the least reliable of all the designs, especially with parts availability today. A clean one in working order is a real find. As such, this remains one of the most highly prized – and priced – of the bunch. Of particular note, the Nylon 76 remains the only lever gun ever produced with the Remington name.
Nylon 77: This was the final major addition to the Nylon family, not coming until 1970-71. It was basically a dropbox-magazine-fed version of the original semi-automatic Model 66. The rifles came standard with a five-round, single-stack polymer box magazine.
Mohawk 10-C: A .22 LR nearly identical to the Model Nylon 77, renamed after upgrading to a 10-round detachable magazine. Roughly 129,000 were built from 1971-1978.
The Kmart Apache 77: This version was manufactured specifically for Kmart retail sales from 1987-89. Built with a 19 5/8-inch barrel, iron sights, and 10-round box magazine. The Apache 77 shows matte black metalwork against a dark green stock and receiver reminiscent of Seneca Green.
With the folding of Kmart and nostalgia high for that along with the Nylons, these guns have been growing in value from their budget price point. Finding one like new in its original box with the Kmart labels is a king.
The Nylon 66 in Apache Black still gets the job done. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)
Nylon 66 150th Anniversary: This 1966 production rifle was limited to 3,792 specimens. A 150th Remington logo engraved on the receiver cover gives it away.
Nylon 66 Bicentennial: Made only in 1976, the Bicentennial saw a larger run at 10,268 rifles in .22 LR. It featured Mohawk Brown stocks and a bicentennial inscription on the receiver cover.
Get to Shopping!
No matter the model, variant, color combination, or action, Remington’s Nylon series of rimfire rifles has carved out a place in the hearts of shooters, hunters, and plinkers. Just as many of us get sentimental about remnants of our younger days, firearms collectors have found a booming market – and rapidly growing values – among Nylon rifles, especially those with the shortest production numbers. We hope this primer on the many Nylons helps you identify the next addition to your shooting repertoire.