How many times have you asked or read on different forums the above question? The answer of course is quite simple. “It” is worth whatever you, or someone else is willing to pay for it. Of course that answer is rather simplistic as is the question. The real question is: What determines the value? Or, what criteria is the value of my rifle based on? Those questions are not so easily answered.
As you will see when you read this, it does finally come down to what you are willing to pay but there are a number of other factors which may determine the value of your Nylon rifles. Before you go out shopping or go any further, hold up your wallet with your right hand and repeat after me:
“There were over a million Nylon 66s and tens of thousands of variations made. Most are still in circulation. I will not spend a house payment on a cheap plastic rifle. I will find one just like it at a reasonable price.”
Blue Book of Gun Values
A good place to start is the various value guide that are put out. Most people, including retailers, pawn shop owners etc, use the value guides to determine what they will pay for and sell rifles for. This includes Nylon Rifles. The Blue Book of firearms values is probably the most popular and mostly widely used of the guide. Of course the value guides don’t always reflect the current market or variations in the market based on consumer interest. I once bought a Seneca Green 66 from a pawnshop. The shopkeeper used a blue book value, which I knew was far below what many of us would have paid for a Seneca rifle. Considering the shop keeper had this gun in his inventory for 20 years, he was happy to finally get some money out of it and I was happy to get it for significantly below it’s collector value. And you know what? It was worth exactly what I paid for it.
The Blue Book can also help you negotiate a fair price. I recall seeing a Nylon rifle in hardware store that also sold guns. The owner had it way overpriced and I asked him about it. He said a friend mentioned to him that nylon rifles were now considered collectible and that he should price his accordingly. I showed him the blue book value and he lowered his price accordingly. While I didn’t buy his rifle I did tell another guy who was looking. He subsequently bought it at a fair price and both he and the shop owner were happy.
Geographic Location/ Local Market
Geographic location is one of the key factors in determining price. Location, whether east or west coast, north or south, rural, suburban or urban play a significant role on both the number of rifles available, and the numbers of people who are looking or collecting them. Of course your location also determines the market to a great degree.
For example, if you are looking for an Apache 77, the rifle which Remington made exclusively for K Mart in 1987-89, then it stands to reason the area in which you look should have had a K Mart in it during this period. Not having a K Mart, doesn’t mean you won’t find an Apache 77, it just means that there may not be as many available and consequently the prices may be higher.
Another factor has to do with how mobile you are and how much effort you are willing to put into collecting. If you buy all your rifles from internet auctions, you are likely to pay more for them. This is because the person selling the rifle has done all the work and is likely to add their time and expense to the cost of the rifle. Some collectors may travel because of their jobs, while others make the time and effort to drive to distance cities and locations where collecting may be better than their home turf.
I once undertook an all day search for rifles and visited 8 pawn shops within a 60 mile radius of home. I found 5 nylon rifles and bought 3. The price for 2 of them were cheap. When one considers that I was out for 6 hours and drove almost 150 miles during the search, the cost of the rifles were significantly larger than the price alone.
The significance of location also has to do with sources. If the area you live has numerous sources of used guns, then the likely hood of finding one is greatly increased and the cost is decreased. These sources may include gun shops, pawn shops, gun shows etc. It comes down to supply and demand.
A note about gun auction sites. Auction sites are a good place to see what is available but generally the prices are high compared to real value. Occasionally a good rifle shows up at a decent price, but I would not use the auction prices as a guide to the value of any nylon rifle.
Type of rifle:
Certainly the type or model of nylon rifle determines the collect ability which determines the price. Factors include scarcity in terms of numbers of a certain model made. Serial numbers can influence the cost though many Nylon rifles were made without serial numbers. In fact all Nylon rifles made prior to late 1967 were made without serial numbers. Specific features or significant changes in models can also determine value. At some point the windage screw on the rear sight was changed from a large head to a small head. A few other minor changes were made through the years.
In terms of the nylon rifles, the numbers of rifles made certainly influences the value, though this factor is sometimes misleading. For example, there were well over 1 million Nylon 66s made. Of these 42,500 were the Seneca Green 66, a much larger number were Apache Black and Black Diamond models. Of the other nylon rifles, just over 10,000 Nylon 10s were made in 2 variations, 22,400 Nylon 11s were made, and around 27,500 Nylon 12s. Only 15,000 Nylon 77s were made but they seldom demand high prices. 128,300 Nylon Mohawk 10C were made. About 27,000 lever action Nylon 76s were made and they do command high dollars. A couple hundred thousand of the K-Mart Apache 77 were made.
We all know that under many circumstances, how old the rifle is can determine the value. In regards to the Nylon rifles this may not hold true. While many models, the Seneca Green, Nylon 76, and the bolt actions were made in the early 1960s, the value is mostly based on its scarcity and not the year it was made. Nylon 66s don’t seem to follow the older the more valuable formula either. I have half a dozen basic 66s some made in 1959 and some made throughout the rest of the years. The value of the early ones is about the same as the later ones.
I am sure that some people would pay more for a first year production rifle, but for the most part it doesn’t seem to matter.
In most cases the condition of a rifle determines the value. This is somewhat true with Nylon rifles but only when it comes to about 90% or better rifles. Like new rifles are of value to those who are looking for such. Average condition rifles vary in price mostly due to the type of the rifle and not the condition. Condition should be determined based on the NRA condition scale. For the most part, value guides are based on the NRA scale.
Type of Buyer
A buyer who is simply looking to buy a nylon rifle because he had one as a kid is significantly different that a buyer who is seeking to collect nylon rifles. Some collectors only seek to find working rifles of each model of nylon that was made and don’t care much about condition. Some collectors seek to find only like new in the box versions or models that are at least 98% or better. Some collectors start out as casual collectors and then get hooked and start collecting better and better condition rifles as well as all the other stuff that goes with the rifles.
A motivated buyer, someone who is impatient, tired of looking, or who doesn’t want to spend time looking is likely to pay more for a rifle. Someone who is in no hurry and/or feels the hunt is part of the fun is likely to pay less for a rifle. There are some of us who are both types, depending on the circumstances. I, for example set a price limit on what I will pay for certain types of rifles. I am generally in no big hurry, but may pay more for one rifle if I’ve gotten a deal on another rifle and the cost evens out somewhat. I may pay more for a rifle if I know I can trade it for something that I need or want of greater value. The value being the difference of what I paid over what I would have paid. In fact I have a set of rules for adding to my collection. I will not pay over $100 for a basic Nylon 66. I won’t pay over $200 for a variation, and I won’t pay over $300 for any of the more rare models. Have I broken any of my rules? On individual guns, hell yes. But overall I’ve done very well and am probably ahead of the game.
Unfortunately, an impatient buyer or someone who has more money than time, has a tendency to drive of the cost of our nylon rifles. A person simply looking to buy a basic Nylon 66 should be able to find one in decent condition for around $100. They can pay a lot more, or they can pay less. The point being is that there are rifles still out there at reasonable prices. If you have patience you will be able to find them.
A note about group/collector forums.
A forum or website such as this is a good way to learn more about the rifles we love. Unfortunately, it also generates interest in the nylon rifles which in turn increases the demand. Increased demand has a tendency to also increase prices. The balance of course is that if someone becomes interested in the rifles and becomes knowledgeable then they are an informed consumer. They soon learn that these nylon rifles are not particularly scarce, nor of such great quality as to command exorbitant prices.
The hole is the one rifle in your collection that you don’t have. In other words, it is the hole in your collection. The hole can greatly affect what you are willing to pay for a rifle. It is the reason for breaking your own rules. How many of us could resist if the only rifle you needed was sitting in front of you and was only $50 or $100 more than what you were originally willing to pay.
The following was written by Tuco who runs the Mosin Nagant collectors forum. I present it because it makes a pretty good point and I couldn’t say it any better.
“Yes stupid people can effect price. There are those out there that will just throw money down the toilet as they have no idea what they are doing. This type of person is one that can really hurt the overall market as sellers see these jokers from a mile away. The sellers cash in on these mental midgets and that in turn hurts the average collector.
These stupid people are not the same as the new collector. New collectors make mistakes in price but they will learn over time. The stupid people are those that should know better but still act like fools. These people seem to just throw money at firearms, even if they pay twice the true value. This is very common on the many auctions on the Net and that I why I avoid these places. One can find a bargain at times but again the auction prices are VERY HIGH in most cases. Do not use an auction price as a guide, as you will always be disappointed in the price you are offered if one ever makes a sale.
I do not understand these stupid people as they seem to just hate their money. The sad fact is that many dealers and newer collectors use these stupid people as a price guide. Please do not walk into that trap, as you will regret it down the line.”
A word from me about online gun auctions:
I occasionally see nylon rifles for sale on the auction sites. For the most part the prices are outrageously high and the rifle is misrepresented as something it is not. I’ve corresponded with a number of the people selling these rip-offs and some will even admit that most people don’t know the difference between the two. (For example a K-Mart green rifle listed as having a seneca green stock.) Of course it pisses me off at their arrogance, but then again someone must buy these rifles or they wouldn’t keep listing them. The people who will buy a 10 or MB66 for $250 should read the “Stupid People” paragraphs above.
Now, you might ask if I’ve ever bought a nylon rifle from an auction site. I have. I bought a Nylon 77 for $120 on an auction site. Since it was in 95% condition and only 15,000 were made, I thought the price reasonable.
So, what is a nylon rifle worth? Well, it depends on what model it is, what condition it is in, how easy it is to find, whether you need it badly or not and what you, as someone who has read all the information on the nylon rifles group site, are willing to pay for it.
Now repeat after me…
“There were over a million Nylon 66s and tens of thousands of variations made. Most are still in circulation. I will not spend a house payment on …