Yesterday I decided to brace the crowd and drove up to Cabela’s, where I saw on the used gun rack a Remington Nylon Apache 77 for $249 + tax. The exterior showed minimal handling marks and the bore looked good. The price was right and I’ve long thought the Nylon-series rifles were neat, so I bought it.
(Crummy low light iPhone pic. It’s not really clear, but the gun is mostly green.)
Remington came out with the tube fed Nylon 66 in 1959 and made it for 30 years. During that time they developed a reputation for being extremely reliable and durable. With the reciprocating parts riding on nylon, they don’t require lubrication, which is a nice feature if they rifle is going to be used in a very cold or dusty environment.
The box mag fed Nylon rifles were made in much fewer numbers than the 66. My father had a Nylon 11 bolt action in the early 1970s, but they are very uncommon nowadays. The box mag fed semiautos were not nearly as popular as the tube fed 66, which is a shame, in my opinion. Personally, I find a box mag to be more user friendly and facilitates loading and unloading much more quickly. Also, most .22 rifles with tube mags have them located under the barrel, where they can be dented. The 66’s internal tube mag is better protected.
The Nylon 66 and 77 have a tang safety, which helps make the rifle ambidextrous. Since I’m a lefty, this is a big bonus point.
I found a nice writeup of the Apache 77 and the other box mag fed Nylons over on Nylonrifles.com, here.
The Apache 77 was only made from 1987 through 1989, and sold exclusively through K-Mart. It’s a semiautomatic rifle chambered for .22 LR, feeding from a detachable 5 or 10 round box magazine. The more common Nylon 66 feeds from a 14 round tube mag concealed in the butt.
Having read horror stories by owners who detail stripped Nylon 66s, and couldn’t reassemble them, I limited my action cleaning to removing the steel receiver cover and using a solvent-soaked toothbrush to cleaning the easily accessible dirty part. The rifle came with a single 10 round plastic mag, which was showing some oxidation, so I wiped it down with an Armor-All wipe. Finally, I ran a few solvent-soaked patches through the bore, then followed up with a few dry patches.
Today I took it over to a friend’s house. He has some acreage with a good backstop, so I was able to put 50 – 60 rounds through it. Most were Federal bulk pack high speed 36 grain hollow points, but I also put 9 or 10 CCI CB Longs through it.
The Federals functioned well, although I did have a couple malfunctions, including one failure to fully eject. As expected, the CB Longs did not cycle the action, but they fed fine from the magazine when I worked the action as a straight pull bolt action. Noise-wise, they are very quiet from the Remington’s 19” barrel, about as loud as a Sheridan Blue Streak air rifle with 8 pumps. If they shoot accurately in your gun, the CB Longs would be good for small game hunting or pest control in an area where noise is a concern.
The gun has a pretty good trigger pull, I’d guess about 4 to 5 pounds with minimal slack or creep. It’s certainly better than the trigger my Ruger 10/22 originally came with, which was atrociously heavy and creepy.
We didn’t’ shoot at any paper targets, just at a bunch of tin cans but the sights appear to be pretty close to zeroed for me.
Even though the Nylon Apache 77 hasn’t been made since 1989, Remington still lists magazines for it, so I ordered a few last night. (All the box mag fed Nylon rifles use the same mag, which they also share with the Remington 541 and 581 bolt actions.)
Compared with the robust Ruger 10/22 magazines, or the metal magazines for my Savage rimfire rifles, the Nylon 77’s mags are flimsy. That said, I used to own a Remington 581 and the mag never gave me any trouble, so I’m hoping the ones I get for the 77 are OK.
The 77’s steel receiver cover is grooved for regular rimfire scope mounts. I have a Nikon 4x32mm Prostaff rimfire scope that’s currently not mounted on anything, so I give it a try on the Remington after I verify the iron sight zero.
The 77 was a boatload of fun to shoot and I look forward to shooting it a lot more.