In the 1950s, Remington decided that it needed an inexpensive new .22 self-loading rifle to add to its catalog. In looking at how to reduce the cost of such a rifle, they hit upon the idea of using polymer to replace the wooden furniture typically used – and to replace the metal receiver as well. Remington was owned by DuPont at the time, and DuPont had developed an excellent strong polymer which they called “Nylon” – specifically, Nylon composition number 66.
Remington engineers developed a massively complex and expensive mold to inexpensively stamp out monolithic polymer .22 rifles in the mid 1950s. They knew this design would cause concern to a large part of their market because of its non-traditional construction, and so they put the new rifles through hundreds of thousands of rounds of grueling testing. It passed these trials with flying colors, and was released in January 1959 to pretty rave reviews. By the time it was finally taken out of production in 1987, more than 1,050,000 of them had been produced – a fantastic success on a pretty big gamble.
Thanks to Dutch Hillenburg for loan of this example to show you!