Back To The Future

What If We Could Time Travel?
; .

The Remington Nylon 66 (left) was made from 1959–1989. The Ruger 10/22
was introduced in 1964 and six million rifles later, is still in production.

Generally I don’t record my adventures with time travel as I hate to risk my journalistic integrity and credibility. When I mentioned this to my editor, Brent said “I really doubt it is much of a risk.” Thank goodness! Now on with the story …

Incidentally, any movie you’ve seen about time travel is nonsense. A DeLorean, are you kidding me? Flux capacitors? Naked Terminators? Pathetic. Real time travel is far, far in the future. I can’t go forward, only back. And not on demand. I’m guessing it is when some being eons from now thinks it would be amusing to mess with some schlub.


One of the reasons for the unsurpassed reliability and popularity
of the Ruger 10/22 is the detachable rotary magazine.

The Nylon 66 was far ahead of its time, a bold step by Remington. It proved to
be a solid success, earning a sterling reputation for reliability, accuracy and durability.

Time Fades

The last time-travel event was in June 2022. I had just picked up another Ruger 10/22, this one a carbine with plastic stock and stainless steel barrel. I figured it would make a great survival rifle. Someday I could trade it for a side of beef. I needed photos, so feeling nostalgic I drove to what in my youth had been a remote pasture with a little glade among shade trees. The trees are still there but today the pasture is a mix of shopping malls and suburban housing.

But the future guy was having fun. As I drove, the paved road reverted to a dirt track and the houses, malls, gas stations, traffic lights were gone. Once again it was the remote pasture of my memory. I made the long walk to my favorite spot and there in the shade of the trees, sitting on a stump, was a freckle-faced boy of 12 or 13. He was holding a rifle I recognized as a Remington Nylon 66, Apache Black version.

“Hey kid, how are you? Nice looking rifle.”

“Yeah, so what? Move along old-timer, I was here first.” That’s what I expected to hear. But what he actually said was, “Thank you, sir. Am I intruding on your territory? ’Cause if so I can leave.”

I was taken aback. Did he actually say sir? And show deference to an adult?

“No, you’re fine. I’ll just take this other stump. Was the .22 a birth-day present?

“No,” he said, with pride evident. “I bought it myself. During seeding time I helped my uncle after school and on weekends, picking rocks, harrowing fields, fixing fence. He paid me a dollar an hour. Uncle said if you do a man’s work you get a man’s pay.”

“So then your Uncle or your Dad bought the rifle for you?”

“Why would they do that? Mr. Daniels at the gun shop lets us buy .22 rifles when we turn 13. I gave him $55, he gave me the rifle and threw in a soft case and a carton of shells. But he won’t sell me a deer rifle or a handgun until I’m a full grown adult.” He heaved a sigh. “Three more years …”

“What made you choose the Nylon 66? Because it’s the first mass-produced American firearm with a plastic stock?”

“Plastic?” He gave me a look like I had insulted his mother. “Plastic is for model airplanes. This is structural nylon, Zytel they call it. It is tougher than wood and guaranteed not to fade, chip, peel, warp and some other things I forget. The nickel on the metal keeps it from rusting. Do you know Alaskan fishermen keep this rifle on their boats to shoot marauding sea lions?”


The straight-line cartridge feeding from the buttstock magazine in the
Nylon 66 was very reliable but a bit slow to reload.


I added up what I knew. I was pretty sure the Apache Black model came out in 1962. The kid had good manners and a work ethic. His rifle had no serial number. There were no forms to fill out when buying a gun. There was no Marine Mammal protection act. I took a chance: “I think the metal finish is chrome, not nickel. But we’re sure lucky to be living in 1962.”

A teenager today would say, “Well, duh.” The teenager back then said, “Yes sir, we certainly are. Would it be all right to look at your rifle?”

It was pleasant sitting there talking with the kid, trading rifles back and forth to try shots at dirt clods and rocks. Both rifles were reliable and seemed equally accurate. After a time he said, “I think my rifle has a better trigger, better sights and I like the safety location. The only thing I like better about your rifle is the clip — detachable rotary magazine, you call it? Easier to remove for reloading. You could carry extra loaded detachable rotary magazines. With my rifle I have to remove the spring tube thing, set it aside and count 14 shells into the magazine.”

“I have some extra magazines, I’ll give you one. It won’t be much use for a couple of years but one day you might buy a Ruger 10/22.”

The kid laughed heartily. “Who on earth would own two .22s? And to be frank, I prefer my Nylon 66. I can use it with panache.”

“Did you say panache? Do you know what it means?”

“Of course. It means verve, dash, flamboyant confidence, stylish elegance. Everybody knows that.”

“In the future, only gun writers will know. But kid, you got it.”

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