Firearms

Remington Nylon 66 — Synthetic Before Synthetic was Cool

Remington Nylon 66 pistol grip cap

When I first saw Remington’s Nylon 66 .22 rifle, I responded to it the way Remington hoped shooters would not respond. I thought it was a toy. Then, one of my classmates got one, and we went shooting together. I learned it was a nifty little gun. I was somewhere around 14 years old and wasn’t into guns back then like I am now.

I had a couple of single-shot .22s and a shotgun, but my main interests were cars, guitars, and girls — well maybe more like girls, cars, and guitars. The Nylon 66 did not grab my attention until many years later. In those intervening years, I’d qualified with an M16 in the Army and discovered the joys of polymer handguns as a civilian.

Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle with a Remington baseball cap
Remington was a pioneer in synthetic stocks with the Nylon 66 .22 rifle introduced in 1959.

History of the Nylon 66

Back in the 1950s, Remington was owned by DuPont, and Remington needed a mid-priced .22 rifle. Thinking the parent company could provide some type of plastic stock for a rifle, Remington management put the challenge before DuPont for what it initially thought would be a plastic stock. DuPont engineers went well beyond the imagination of Remington management and came up with a gun that had a metal barrel, but all the other parts, including the action, were formed from a new nylon material DuPont had developed.

This material had several names along the way, but the one that was settled upon was 66. Thus, the Nylon 66 .22 rifle was born. The rifle was tested thoroughly. In fact, the engineers put it through a 75,000-round test before allowing Remington to begin marketing the rifle.

Remington Nylon 66 Features

Having morphed into something of a firearms collector in my later life, it occurred to me I should have a Nylon 66 for my grandkids and their friends to shoot. I checked the online auctions from time to time, and it seemed they were going for premium prices. I don’t do premium, so I just waited, and one day my local gun store had one in on consignment that was affordable, and I bought it. I couldn’t be happier.

My rifle is a standard model with a brown stock called Mohawk Brown. The rifle is lightweight (4 pounds), 38.5 inches long with a 19.5-inch barrel. Its handling is superb. Throw it to your shoulder, line up the large, easy-to-see sights, and pop off a round. You can keep shooting without reloading for 14 rounds.

The gun loads through a tubular magazine that feeds through the stock. It’s designed for .22 long rifle cartridges and will hold 14 of them. Back when I first shot the Nylon 66, we didn’t use hearing protection. Shooting the rifle now with hearing protection was almost like having a silencer attached.

Close up of the Nylon 66's stock showing a faux woodgrain and checkered grip
The plastic stock has a wood grain appearance and a checkered grip.

Whatever my negative reaction was to a plastic gun all those years ago, it’s long gone now. This gun has proven itself with over a million sold. Nylon 66 owners appear to love them, and I’m happy to join that group. It’s just plain fun to shoot and as accurate as any .22 rifle with iron sights in my arsenal. It’s not ammo-picky and operates trouble-free.

In spite of the warnings not to take the gun apart — and Remington’s own pronouncement that it didn’t need lubrication — I wanted to at least clean the barrel after an extended shooting session. It turns out that removing the barrel for cleaning is a very easy process, one that reveals something else I’d not picked up on about the gun.

After watching a YouTube video on disassembly, I was happy when the guy doing it went just so far and said, “This is as far as you need to go for cleaning.” Following those instructions, I removed the two screws that held on the receiver cover and lifted it off. That brought about the discovery that at least 50,000 of you reading this already know.

Read notched rifle sight
The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The receiver is plastic, just like the stock. In fact, it’s all one piece of plastic. The metal part that covers the receiver was put there because Remington’s marketing people felt it would be hard for the buying public to accept a gun in which the action was made of plastic. It’s just a cover over the receiver. Interesting.

The next step was to remove the big screw on the bottom that held the barrel bracket in place. The barrel then slid forward and off the gun for cleaning. The ejector fell off when I removed the receiver cover. It was easily put back in place as I reassembled the gun. I watched the entire YouTube video on taking the gun apart and putting it back together and decided that was not for me.

Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle broken down for cleaning
There’s not a lot involved in taking down the Nylon 66 for cleaning, but it does involve removing the barrel

You can look up the date of manufacture, not by serial number but by a date code that’s stamped on the barrel. My gun was made in 1975. A previous owner painted a white dot on the front sight, which helped with the visibility. Both the front and rear sights are large and easy to acquire as you raise the rifle.

The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. It’s easy to do, but for some reason, the designers made it where it takes two different sizes of screwdrivers, a tiny one for windage and a somewhat larger one for elevation. Who knows, maybe these screwdrivers were supplied with the rifle initially.

I looked online for an original owner’s manual. All of the links I found to pdf versions of it were broken. I did find an aftermarket disassembly manual, but no owner’s manual, not even on the new Remington Firearms’ site www.remarms.com.

The forearm of the stock was checkered as was the pistol grip. A decorative white diamond adorned the forearm and the end cap to the pistol grip had the words “Remington Nylon 66” on it in a nice pattern. The stock, although shiny plastic, was simulated wood grain. White accents set apart the black forearm cap, pistol grip cap, and buttstock cap. It’s just a darn pretty rifle. Although mine is 46 years old, it bears few scars.

At the Range

With a trigger pull of just over 4 pounds with almost no take-up, bold easy-to-see sights and with the gun weighing only 4 pounds, the Nylon 66 is a delight to shoot. Since it has no recoil, you can literally shoot it all day.

I busted some mini root beer and Dr. Pepper cans and shot holes in a variety of paper targets. I had a bucket of Remington Golden Bullets, a couple of bricks of S-K Rifle ammo, and a Federal bulk pack to play with. I shared the shooting with the youngsters in my mentoring group, and the little rifle just kept on pleasing us.

Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle's buttsock tublar magazine
The Nylon 66’s 14-round magazine feeds through the buttstock.

My initial spurning of the Nylon 66, because it reminded me of a toy, deprived me of years of enjoyment. Don’t let that happen to you. If you find one at a decent price, get it. You won’t regret it.

The Nylon 66 broke the mold and in some ways paved the way for the polymer guns that would follow a decade or so later. Did you, or do you, own a Nylon 66? Have you ever cleaned it? Share your Nylon 66 story in the comment section.

  • Front post sight on a rifle barrel
  • Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR tang safety showing a red dot
  • Read notched rifle sight
  • Close up of the Nylon 66's stock showing a faux woodgrain and checkered grip
  • Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle with a Remington baseball cap
  • Metal covered nylon receiver on the Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle
  • Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle's buttsock tublar magazine
  • Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle broken down for cleaning
  • Checkered rifle forend with faux woodgrain and a white diamond
  • Remington Nylon 66 pistol grip cap
  • Remington Nylon 66 .22 LR rifle

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (41)

  1. My dad bought me a Mohawk Brown Nylon 66 in the mid 70s. I was very disappointed, as I wanted a Ruger 10/22. But the rifle grew on me, mostly because of its dead-on accuracy. I probably shot a couple of bricks through it over the years, and put it in its case where it has been ever since the early 80s. It has never been cleaned (other than wiping down) and never once had a misfire. Maybe it’s time to get it out to do some plinking!

  2. I asked my Dad for a Nylon 66 as my 1970 HS graduation present; he gave me instead a Browning BL-22 lever action because a gun should not be made out of plastic. I still have it, though.

  3. My father forbid any of my brothers or me process any rifle or pistol but I couldn’t resist buying a Nylon 66 from a local gunsmith for $25 when I was 14. I had to keep it hidden in the attic until I left home at 19 taking it out after school to shoot, then sneaking it back before my dad came home after 6. I can’t even guess how many thousands of rounds I, my son , various nieces, nephews and my now 18 year old grandson have put through it with only one good cleaning in my 57 years of ownership. Never a jam! At 73 years old, I still have it and it still shoots without fail.

  4. About 35 or 40 years ago I was in a department store that was going out of business. I was watching a worker bring boxes out of the storeroom and he put a Remington box on the counter in the gun section. A salesman opened it and started cussing. He told me it wasn’t a Remington but a “cheap FIE copy.” I couldn’t see a difference and asked him about the price. He wasn’t happy about losing his job and said $20. I still have it and it looks, feels and shoots like a 66.

  5. I bought mine in 1965. “Black” stock and “Crome” barrel. I still own it as part of my collection and have had many offers to buy it from me but have yet to make the move.
    Make me an offer and not an insult and it could be yours.

  6. My Dad bought mine for me after graduating from college in the late 70’s. He let me pick my .22 and I was torn between the 66 and the Ruger 10/22. Even back then I knew the Ruger was more versatile and popular but the light weight of the 66 and novelty of the nylon parts intrigued me and I picked it in Mojave Brown. I think I remember it cost about $100.

    I never regretted that decision as the rifle is so easy to shoot, carry and clean. Reloading is a little awkward feeding bullets through the butt stock but it also gives you a unique perspective away from the magazine dominated world. Even though the 66 went out of production and the 10/22 became the king it is today, the 66 was a gun way ahead of its time

    About 15 years ago something broke inside the receiver and my gunsmith was eventually able to get the replacement part and repair it. I remember he told me that parts were very hard to find for it so I rarely shoot it anymore and spend more of my time using handguns.

    Thanks for writing this article as it has made me nostalgic and thinking about breaking my 66 out of mothballs and going shooting next week!

  7. Good morning. To the gentleman who wrote this article awesome job. I’ve owned a nylon 66 and 77 since 1970. My Uncle who was a gunsmith bought them for me. think he paid around $70 a peace for them. Myself my kid’s and now my grand kids still enjoy them. If your interested I still have the original paper work for the nylon 66 and will email you a copy.it has the complete breakdown and parts list and prices. Shoot straight

  8. My father bought the one with the external magazine in the early 70s. I used it a lot and really enjoyed it. It was very light and comfortable, accurate and fun to shoot. I’m sure it’s still in the family, but I haven’t seen it in decades.

  9. My grandfather bought my Nylon 66 for me when I was in first grade and taught me to shoot with the rifle. He kept it at his house so all my shooting was done with him or my dad. When I was 12 he talked my mother/his daughter into letting me bring it home. He also imparted to me a High Standard Double 9. I squirrel hunted and rabbit hunted with the 66 as well as a ton of plinking over the years. I still have both the 66 and Double 9. Money could not buy either. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the rifle, every time I look at mine or shoot it I have to smile as fond memories of times with my grandfather come flooding back.

  10. My father bought me one the year they came out. I was ten years old. I last fired it when I was about 18. Life caught up to me then. I would inspect and clean it every year to make sure it was always good to go. I gave it and some other guns to my son when he was 17 and he still has it. To the best of my memory it’s never missed a beat in all these years.

  11. OK, you’ve convinced me.
    As soon as the weather gets a bit warmer, I’m going into my gun cabinet and pull out my old ’66. It was a Christmas present from my dad. As a matter of fact it may have been the Christmas of ’66. Prior to that I would sometimes borrow my uncle’s 22. (Marlin? tube-fed, bolt action). Later, his action failed and several gunsmiths were unable to repair it. The ‘ole ’66 was still working perfectly the last time I had her out. – too long ago, maybe ten years. But I’ll be correcting that. Like I said, “as soon as the weather”….
    Actually, now I think I’ll pull it out and clean her up tomorrow morning.

  12. My farther traded for on in the 1960’s. It is so old it has no serial number. I learned to shoot and hunt with this rifle. A lot of fond memories plinking with daddy. Daddy has gone to heaven but I of all my guns this one is truly special

  13. Man this article brought back memories. My mom got a Nylon 66 with a scope for my dad in 1966 with S&H Green Stamps! It was the first and only rifle I ever used until I went into the Army in 1972. I’ll never forget the first time I got to shoot my dad’s Nylon 66. It was a dream come true for an 11 year old boy. My dad wasn’t a gun guy like me, other than an old 12 gauge pump he didn’t have any other guns, so I had to content myself with a .22 until I was old enough to start buying different guns on my own. The last I knew my brother got the gun from my dad before he died and still has it. In 1986 I saw a new one for sale in a store that specialized in jewelry, but they had a respectable gun counter. All the memories came flooding back, I didn’t have to think twice and bought it! I still have it as one of my special guns.

  14. Well not a nylon 66 but a nylon 76 lever action, I picked it up in Colorado when I was in the Army in 1966 the gun was almost new when I bought it. I will echo the remarks about disassembling them it took way too much time to reassemble it that was before the interweb now I know how far to go. It is easy to remove the barrel for cleaning and a drop of Hoppes to lube the operating mechanism keeps everything operating smoothly

  15. I still have mine….got it in the early 60’s from an Uncle of mine. Still shoots great and people love looking at it and shooting it. I do clean it, as noted above, no issues at all.

  16. My younger brother and I bought semi-auto .22 rifles in 1967 or 1968–he bought the Nylon 66 and I a Marlin. We shot anytime we could afford a few boxes of cartridges, often our Sunday afternoon activity. Mine started jamming shortly after purchase, in spite of my frequent cleanings. His never jammed and he never cleaned it. I soon traded the Marlin (a pretty gun with a walnut stock) for a Remington Mohawk 10-C, which was a Nylon 77 (sold at a chain store). We both still have them today–my grandkids love to shoot the “77.”

  17. Deer hunting season in Virginia, 1959. I was 13. I went with my Dad and several of his friends on an early morning whitetail hunt somewhere in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. After lugging a double barrel 12 gauge around all morning and not seeing any deer, we thankfully broke for lunch at the cabin. After a big bowl of hot chili the men were ready for a poker game. WWII vets all played poker. I wasn’t invited to play, so one of my Dad’s friends, said “here, take this rifle and these bullets and go outside and shoot something.” Turn’s out it was a newfangled semi-auto Remington Nylon 66. Light as a feather. Quite a step up from my old beat up single shot 22. I’ll never forget that great afternoon keeping rabbits and crows on their toes, And being entrusted with that rifle for a day.

    Fast forward 60 years. Walking through our local gun shop, there it was on the used rifle rack. I picked it up, and all those memories came flooding back. The memories are the thing.

  18. I had one in the 80’s that I had traded for , then as my oldest son got grown he had wanted it for a long time — so he traded me another gun for it and I’ve regretted it ever since ! I tried and tried to get it back but to no avail . My loss –his gain . you would think your first born would treat you better, but I hope he passes it on to his oldest son. It is a sweet shooting little gun .

  19. I bought one of these in Feb 1983 for my at the time girlfriend who had never been shooting before. Had a cope mounted on it. Well it is Feb 2022 and we have since gotten married and this little rife is still in our gun collection. easy and fun to shoot and maintain.

  20. I’ve had mine since 1963. I trapped muskrat,coon, and mink back then. It was weatherproof and shoots well. If you’re target shooting, after about ten quick shots it doesn’t group as well. Let the barrel cool and you’re back in business. It’s a great little rifle and one of my kids will inherit it.

  21. I own the model 77 which has the clip instead of the tube loader. One of the best little 22’s I ever owned. It’s starting to jam a lot now, something to do with the magazine/clip I think. I’ve bought a few new clips and had to work on them before they would even lock into the rifle. I ended up painting it with some camo paint using twigs and such, laid it down one day in the yard and almost didn’t find it. Don’t shoot much anymore, ammo is hard to find and a ridiculous price when you do find it, even here.

  22. I received mine for Christmas around 1975. My grandfather bought one also. My father would use his Browning semi auto and I would use my Remington. We killed many 5.00 bricks of ammo and as many bottles and cans. I bought a Viper around 92 or 93. I love it also.
    Both the Nylon 66 and Viper are in my cabinet.
    It’s a tragedy what’s happened to Remington.

  23. My older brother bought one when the 66 first came out. We thoroughly enjoyed plinking rounds through it. In later years he moved away to another state and naturally took his 66 with him. About 20 years ago, while visiting him, I noticed the 66 in his utility room, leaning against the water softener. The medal parts were almost solid rust. I told him it was a shame to let it go like that and he said he didn’t shoot it anymore and that I could have it if I wanted it. I brought it back home and took it to a gunsmith and had the metal components chromed to a satin finish. It looks great and shoots as good as ever. I will never get rid of this gun as it brings back great memories of our childhood.

  24. I was so glad to see this article! Brought a smile to my face. I have my Dad’s nylon 66 and it’s one of the few things I have to remember him by. The 66 is what I grew up learning to shoot and it was always a joy. It’s a really great gun for kids to learn to shoot on and very useful on a farm like I grew up on. I took care of many a varmint with the 66. My Dad’s is a dark burgundy color, btw.
    Miss my Dad but glad I’ve always kept his rifle. Thank you again for the walk down memory lane!

  25. My older brother had one. I loved it cause it was light and easy to handle. He took it apart once. Couldn’t get it back together. Ended up in the wrong bag and when Mom cleaned out the room it went into the burn barrel.

  26. I remember when the Nylon 66 came out, and while they seemed to function well, I guess I was one of those who thought, plastic? Nah, not for me. But decades later, my second son wanted to buy a .22 rifle. I suggested the 10/22, but then Remington had just come out with another “plastic” rifle called the Viper. To my son, looks were everything. It reminded me of the no longer available Nylon 66, what a good reputation it turned out to have, and thought maybe my son is on to something. Sadly, the Viper was no Nylon 66, but fortunately it wasn’t out long either, as it was so poor in function performance, my son started calling it the “Jam-o-matic 2000”, and still calls it that to this day. Hard to say why some companies take a “good thing”, and remake it into a failure. I know of Nylon 66s that are still trouble free today, and one would think with the success of the modern-day plastic pistols, someone would do a remake of the Nylon 66.

  27. I too am an “older Shooter” that owns a NYLON 66. However, as I am now a retired Plastics Engineer, I am also very familiar with DuPONT ZYTEL plastics. Most folks don’t realize that Glass Filled (PA 6/6) Nylon can be nearly as strong as Aluminum. But Glass filled Nylon is about 2/3 the weight of Aluminum. Carbon Fiber filled NYLON can be almost as strong as CR 1018 steel. Carbon filled Nylon is lighter (less dense) than the Glass filled Nylon, so about 20% the weight versus CR 1018 steel. If only the current generation of firearms designers would build on what mechanical properties NYLON has! I would much like a modern SAVAGE 99, but with a hybrid Nyon/steel frame. Think steel insert in NYLON chassis, like “polymer pistols”. Would settle if the NYLON 66 series of .22s was brought back.

  28. I have an original owners manual and a Nylon 66 in Apache Black and also a nylon 77. I also have many copies of ads that were printed for the 66. If you would like a copy of the manual, let me know.

  29. All I can say is I almost bought one around 1969/70, but chose a Winchester model 190 instead. I liked the looks of the 66 better but plastic? I think the Winchester cost less also and of course it was steel and wood. Good rifle for shooting dump rats. Didn’t have it long though as I sold it and a couple other guns and bought an Iver Johnson PO380 pistol, which I still own.

  30. I bought one as a young adult because of some advertisements I saw in gun magazines that showed a trick shooter atop a stack of 100,000 blocks he had dispatched from the air with a Nylon 66. Aside from a few dud rounds, the ad claimed the rifle had never failed to cycle. My 66 had a mushy trigger pull, but it was light and reliable. I never stripped it down very far for cleaning, having been forewarned by an article I read that claimed it was something of a Chinese fire drill to reassemble one that had been fully disassembled.

  31. I recall an ad in Boys Life,with an adolescent trapper in the rain ,holding a 66.
    Unfortunately my mother was hoplophobic-despite being a Swiss.She was really P.O.ed when turning age 18 I bought myself a Savage 24 JDL 22LR/20ga-another under rated firearm.

  32. Far better than Ruger 10/22s.Better sights,trigger,tang safety,accuracy.I heard that Remington deliberately destroyed remaining parts inventory-SHAME ON THEM!! There was a Brazilian copy of the “66”.The entire 66 series[including bolt and lever]actions are neat.Remington[or someone-not chinese]should back back the 66s with stainless barrels and lock open bolts

  33. I have owned a Nylon 66 Black Apache for close to 40 years. It is a favorite, works very well, and places rounds downrange on target. My father jas taken several bucks with his, but he is also the best shooter I have ever seen. Thanks for writing about one of my favorite rifles.

  34. They also made a Nylon 77 which had a removable box magazine, I had one back in the day but traded it long ago. I now wish I had kept it. Back then the “plastic ” look of the stock went against me tastes as I prefer wood , tjen and now.
    Thank you for the memory!

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