Rakish Style And Synthetic Materials
Shocked American Riflemen Of The 1960’s.
By Holt Bodinson
The era was called the “radical ’60’s.” Not only were our politics in ferment, but something radical was going on in Ilion, New York. It were as if the engineers at Remington decided to throw out the rule book and try something new with modern materials and manufacturing processes. What flowed from Ilion during the decade of the ’60’s at a breathtaking pace were radical firearm designs like the Nylon 22’s, the XP-100 pistol and the Model 600 and 660 carbines. The models even shared common design features like a “shark fin” front sight, and in the case of the XP-100 and the 600/660 carbines, the same basic action with a “dog-leg” bolt handle.
At the time, I was working for the New York State Department of Conservation and happened one day to drop by Russ Carpenter’s gun shop in the mid-Hudson region. Carpenter wrote gun reviews from time-to-time, and there in his used gun rack was a Model 600 in .350 Remington Magnum with a price tag of $150.
If there ever were a controversial rifle, the Model 600 Magnum has to rate close to the top of the list. Gunwriters of the day crucified it. “It’s ugly.” “The dog-leg bolt handle is non-functional.” “The bolt release is impossible to reach.” “The bottom metal is plastic.” “Who ever heard of putting a ventilated rib on a rifle?” And the most universal gripe of all, “It kicks too much!”
But to me it was love at first sight. I had to own it. It cost me the sporterized Springfield I was carrying in the truck that day plus some loot, but I walked out of there with that Model 600. To this day it remains one of my favorite big-game rifles.
My big-game hunting at the time was relegated to the deer and black bears of the Adirondacks. The Model 600 proved to be an ideal woods rifle—light, handy, powerful, and with its beech and walnut laminated stock, weatherproof and stable. The recoil lug was even factory bedded in a polymer compound.
The Model 600’s short, slim, free-floated, 18.5-inch barrel was perfect when you had to crawl through dense mats of young hemlock and spruce while tracking a bear in the snow. When it rained or snowed, the little carbine was compact enough to fit up under your slicker. It was fast to get into action, and the .350 Rem Mag cartridge proved time and time again to be a magnificent 1-shot killer in the field.
Being a .35-caliber case with an excellent expansion ratio, the .350 RM permits you to shoot a shorter barreled, compact gun without seriously sacrificing performance. Remington initially offered two loadings—a 200-grain Core-Lokt at 2,775 fps, and a 250-grain Core-Lokt at 2,410 fps. For deer, antelope, sheep, caribou, black bear and elk, the 200 grain, either as factory loaded or handloaded, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of terminal performance.
With its extra loop, the unique Ching sling is both a carry and a shooting sling.
This is from Andy’s Leather, and an extra swivel stud must be installed.
Remington’s Model 600 and 660 carbines proved to be light, handy, powerful and accurate.
In my Model 600 the 200-grain factory load generates 2,718 fps and the now obsolete 250-grain loading, 2,406 fps. Either will hold 1.25 inches for three shots at 100 yards, and the trajectory of the 200-grain loading is flat. With a sight setting of 2 inches high at 100 yards, the Model 600 is zeroed at 200 yards and only -9.8 inches low at 300.
The overall history of the Model 600 is interesting. The standard Model 600 was produced from 1964-1967 and was chambered for the .222, .223 (rare), 6mm Rem, .243 Win, .308 Win and .35 Rem. It weighed 5.5 pounds and approximately 80,944 were produced. The Model 600 Magnum was chambered for the 6.5 Rem Mag and the .350 Rem Mag. It weighed 6.5 pounds and only 13,142 were made by the end of December 1967.
In 1968, Remington reintroduced both models under the Model 660 label, but there were some changes in the new models. Gone were those objectionable, nylon, ventilated ribs and shark fin front sights. Barrel lengths were increased to 20 inches. Both the standard and the magnum models were given black forearm tips and black pistol grip caps accented with white line spacers. The .35 Rem chambering was dropped. Otherwise, the models pretty much soldiered on unchanged until the Model 660 line was discontinued in December 1970. During that 2-year period, 45,332 standard models and 5,204 magnum models were produced.
The Model 660 pictured in the article is chambered in .243 Win. It’s my go-to coyote-calling rifle. The only upgrade I’ve added to the 660 is a Ching sling swivel stud mounted 2 inches forward of the end of the bottom metal—an accessory for which I am forever indebted to Jeff Cooper.
The Model 600 action (above) was derived from Remington’s radical XP-100 pistol,
and had the strange looking forward bent bolt. The Model 600 morphed into the
Model 660 (below) beginning in 1968. While the Model 660 shares the same action
with the 600, the Model 660 carbine was aesthetically improved and looked more
like a conventional rifle.
The “Ching” Sling
Cooper was drawn to the Model 600/660 during the development of the “Scout” rifle. In fact, it almost fulfilled his criteria right out-of-the-box. The Ching sling he promoted simply enhances the utility of the little Remington or any rifle for that matter. It’s worthy of a few words.
The Ching sling was developed by Gunsite instructor, Eric Ching. In essence, it combines the features of a normal carry sling with an additional shooting sling loop. In use, you simply thrust your arm through the additional loop and put tension on the upper arm as you take a shot offhand or move into a more stable shooting position. The shooting loop locks your position up tightly. It’s 100-percent better than trying to use the carry sling as a hasty sling.
The Ching sling is made by Andy’s Leather, and if you don’t want to bother with mounting a 3rd sling stud on your stock, Andy has designed the Rhodesian sling which accomplishes the same end using just the two, conventional, sling swivel points. I use both designs.
The end of the story of the Model 600/660 Remington is the Mohawk Model 600, produced from 1972-1979 as a discount priced carbine. I once saw racks of them in a gunshop priced at $79.50 each. The Mohawk, chambered in .222, 6mm Rem, .243 Win and .308, reverted to an 18.5-inch barrel and a plain wood stock without a forearm tip or pistol grip cap. The receiver and barrel were roll marked “Mohawk,” and the model sported a gold-plated trigger. Approximately 97,594 Mohawks were produced over the 7-year period.
From 2003-2006, Remington briefly offered a heavier rifle form of the Model 600/660 Magnum carbine. Called the Model 673 “Guide Gun,” it was built around the Model Seven action with a 22-inch, ventilated rib barrel, beefier laminated stock and chambered for the .300 Rem SA Ultra Mag, .350 Rem Mag, 6.5 Rem Mag, .308 Win and .243 Win.
Well, maybe that’s not truly the end of the 600/660 story. The Model Seven with a conventional bolt handle pretty much picked up the 600/660 slack starting in 1983 as Remington’s answer for a lightweight, compact, short-action carbine.
In any model format, Remington’s unique bolt-action carbines are some of the finest hunting rifles ever made, and they were made to be carried.
Andy’s Leather, 447 Hidden Lake Parkway, Nebo, NC 28761,
(603) 630-4072, www.andysleather.com
Remington: America’s Oldest Gunmaker. The Official Authorized History of the Remington Arms Company, by Roy Marcot. Hardcover, 312 pages. ©1999. $150 from A&J Arms Booksellers, 4731 E. Cooper St., Tucson, AZ 85711. (520) 512-1065 www.ajarmsbooksellers.com