Stolen Rifle Takes 33-Year Journey to Original Owner

Richard Montague of Michigan with his recovered Remington Nylon 66 rifle. photo from battlecreekenquirer.com.

In 1982, Richard Montague and his wife, Marge, left their Calhoun County, Michigan home for no more than 20 minutes, leaving the door unlocked. When they came home, a window was open that they didn't remember opening. They thought nothing of it until the next day, when Richard noticed that his new Remington Nylon 66 rifle was missing. They had been robbed by someone who had knocked out their screen escaping through the window, likely when the couple returned home.

In a remarkable turn of events that shows guns have stories all their own, the .22 recently made its way back to the Montagues, who still live in the same house, according to this story from battlecreekenquirer.com.

The fate of the gun after the robbery is a mystery up until it was sold at an estate sale several years ago, according to Sheriff Department Detective Steve Hinkley. The new owner, who lives in Tennessee, attempted to sell it recently and the serial number came back as being stolen in Michigan.

Police in Covington, Tennessee contacted the Calhoun County deputies, who got in touch with the Montagues.

"At the time (when the rifle was stolen) we had livestock and we had rats and I would take it with when I would do chores and I had shot a lot of rats," Richard told the Enquirer.

Marge had purchased the rifle for her husband as a gift and it had been gone so long and it was so new when it was taken, they'd pretty much forgotten all about it, they said.

"Thirty-three years is a long time," Richard said. "We would not have even remembered the year it was stolen."

Richard went to see the Nylon after deputies called him. He was expecting it to be in bad shape after its three-decade journey.

"…It still looks as good today as it did then. Somebody had taken care of it," Richard said. "I put some shells in it and shot it and it's accurate."

Remington made about one million of the extremely popular, mid-priced "plastic" rifle between 1959 and 1991 when it was discontinued. When the Montagues bought theirs, the rifle retailed for about $100 new. Today, they sell on gunbroker.com for between $350 and $900 depending on the edition, condition, and details of the gun.