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Remington 550-1 | Specs, History & Review

For a lot of shooting enthusiasts, our first firearms experience was with a wood-stocked .22 rifle, being taught how to hit cans in the woods with our dads. Years later, either out of nostalgia, or just valuing the cheap fun of an accurate, low-recoiling firearm, many of us are coming back to .22 caliber rifles, and want to find out more about them.

Here, we’re covering the Remington 550-1. We’ll start with some background on the rifle, before getting into some specifications and commentary on its popularity and performance. If you’re interested in buying one, you’ll also need to know where to get parts and accessories. 

History of the Remington 550-1

Remington Gun Logo

Remington, one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of firearms in the US, has been making the 500 series of .22 caliber semi-automatic rifles since 1941. Doing firearms research from that period can get a little difficult, since pre-1968, some guns didn’t even have serial numbers.

As best we can tell, the 550-1 came about in 1946, the 550-1 uses a different extractor than the 550A, along with some other small changes. Regardless, the 550 series was a wood-stocked .22 long rifle that fed from a tube magazine. Remington made large quantities of them until 1971 when production ceased. 

Remington 550-1 Rifle

Since the advent of the internet, much of the information on the 550-1 is the stuff of forums. Luckily, gun folks also tend to be fastidious about collecting and correcting information, so you may even have luck finding specific dates of manufacture, manuals, and spare parts with some degree of accuracy. Of course, the validity of that information should always be scrutinized, but in what research we’ve done, there is still a thriving community of folks who love this rifle and shoot it regularly. That means, also, that you’ll be able to find spare parts to keep yours up and running.

Specs

ManufacturerRemington
Caliber.22
Ammo Type.22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 Long Rifle (LR)

The 550-1 is an interesting design in that, because of the tube and configuration of the chamber, it can take either .22 long, long rifle or short ammunition. With short rounds, you’ll get more capacity, but keep in mind that sometimes rifles have a hard time cycling short ammunition, so most people stick with .22 LR ammunition.

The 550-1 has a length of pull that makes it comfortable for adults, which makes it slightly awkward for small children, but perfect for a rifle you want someone to hang onto for decades. In terms of shooting, some people find the trigger somewhat stout, but it’s still fairly light. The charging handle is located on the right side of the receiver: this makes it a little awkward for people used to the AR, but AK folks will find the controls familiar. 

Loading is accomplished by simply pulling out the magazine tube and filling it with .22 LR ammunition. Unlike many of its contemporaries, the 550-1 has a safety that’s mounted on the right side of the receiver near the top, rather than a push-button near that trigger that you’d find, for example, in a Browning SA22.

Remington 550-1 Trigger

Disassembly can be somewhat difficult and a bit finicky, so we recommend checking out one of the helpful tutorials that can be found online.

In terms of performance, this is a great example of what Remington used to be. Before the quality decline of the recent decade or so, Remington made beautiful, well-functioning firearms, and most examples of the 550-1 live up to that. 

The fit and finish on these, as long as they’ve been well maintained, are reflective of lifetime rifles. Shooting them is also a joy: it’s relatively heavy, and thus has virtually no recoil. The trigger is somewhat stout, as we’ve mentioned, but with a little bit of practice, you can expect truly impressive groups out to about 50 yards. It is a .22 LR rifle, and it comes with the inherent limitations of the cartridge, but it will not disappoint in terms of accuracy for target shooting, pest control, or small game hunting.

Where to Buy Remington 550-1

The sheer popularity of the 550-1 has become something of a self-fulling prophecy. During production, Remington made a ton of the rifles, and sold them cheaply at sporting goods stores, and, pre-1968, in catalogs around the country. This made them a common, affordable rifle.

Because of this, there’s now a booming aftermarket of old rifles still for sale, and they can be often had for much less than a new rifle that has a lot less character and doesn’t shoot as well. Because .22LR space changes so slowly, a 70-year-old Remington 550-1 can still compete with brand new counterparts.

Because of its age, the 550-1 well predates the contemporary trend of rails for attaching things to rifles. Instead, the most common accessory you’ll see, and about the only one we’d recommend on a 550-1 is a low-power scope.

Wood stock of a Remington 550-1

But, if you want to keep your 550-1 running strong, you’ll likely spend a lot of time on eBay and gun broker looking for spare parts. There are lots of them out there, and a few places even sell new-manufactured parts. It’s entirely possible to keep a 550-1 running well, and the spare parts tend to be affordable. 

Now and again you might come across an oddity such as a nylon stock, but these are likely not official Remington parts. The originals came with a wood stock, and those can be found in good condition still. One thing to watch out for on those: the hole where it screws into the receiver can sometimes be chipped or worn, so ask for pictures of that before placing a bid.

Wrap Up

The Remington 550-1 is one of those cool, old rifles that even tactical gun collectors will end up loving: it shoots well, eats cheap ammo, and has enough nostalgia factor to bring us right back into the woods on a cold Christmas morning when your dad let you shoot your new rifle at cans.

If you have one, count yourself lucky, maintain it, and pass it down to someone who will appreciate it. For the rest of us, it might be time to check out some auction listings.

15 thoughts on “Remington 550-1 | Specs, History & Review”

  1. This article brings back my son Brady who passed at age 34. It was his 10th Christmas and we were out back while still on the farm firing his “best of all” Christmas present at a home made target. Clothes lines were prevalent as dryers were not. A small bird had the misfortune of landing on ours and Brady’s attention had the misfortune of swinging on him. The small animal circled toward the ground, screaming.
    Brady laid the rifle on the ground and ran to pick up the bird and then to me to fix his problem, tears streaming down his face. His three year old brother was in shock. My boys learned the permanence of death on that Christmas morning. Both went on to become disciplined hunters of large game as well as college graduates. Brady cried most of that Christmas day. Joey followed him around expressing his displeasure over the death of the little critter, ” Bady, you don’t pose to shoot biwds! biwds are our fwind,”. Over and over this was Brady’s worse Christmas and greatest lesson in life and death. I still have the little Remington rifle. It looks brand new.

    Reply
    • Joseph,
      Responding to your son shooting that bird, I understand. When I was about 11 I made quite a few sling shots. I usually shot crushed gravel stone but discovered steel shot balls. Two cat birds on spring morning landed a low branch 20-25 yards out. Impulsively aimed and shot. One of the birds immediately dropped 15 foot dead still from that head shot. The other hopped down immediately to it. I then realized I didn’t really intend to hit it or kill it, thinking that was a far fetched reality I could actually hit it. I was heart bummed. I looked up more about Cat Birds that day and found out they mated for life. Then a deeper bummed occurred.
      So, I know how they felt at that age. That sole incident instilled a deeper heartfelt appreciation for life I hadn’t know. Your boys surely had that instilled and carried it as part of their makeup. It’s a tough lesson but quite valuable. That simple respect for life has to be learned. Makes a hunter wiser and accountable when to take an animal and weigh the profit of it.

      Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your story, Joseph. I don’t imagine I’ve read anything so moving in so few words.

      A .22 rifle is a special thing. Small round, big memories.

      Reply
  2. I was lucky enough to have a good friend call me up almost 2 years ago and ask if I was still wanting to buy his 1957 Remington 550-1. My youngest of 5 had went from air rifles at 6 to my CO2 pistol at 9 to my grandpas old Marlin single shot 22 bolt action at 10. She was a crack shot with just sights, didn’t like shooting with a scope. The marlin doesnt have an extractor but she got so skilled at removing the casings she would go through the 10 rounds I would hand her and be back for more before i could get another sentence spoken. I wanted a rifle we could both shoot comfortably. I had shot my friends 550-1 many years back and was amazed at its accuracy and flexibility since you can mix and match short, long and LR rounds in the tube and the gun doesnt hesitate between rounds even when rapid firing(it is semi-auto) a whole tube. I didnt like any of the new rifles I was looking at. Much prefer the real wood over synthetic. Love the weight and so does she. I almost feel bad for talking my friend down to $80 from his original $100 offer. It’s well worth finding a well maintained one of these over even some $300 new ones I have shot. One of my favorite guns in my collection.

    Reply
  3. I have one that was my fathers don’t know when he brought it I’m assuming in the 50s love the way it shoots very accurate you do have to keep them clean

    Reply
  4. Mr. Wilkinson your story touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye envisioning a man and his two sons learning valuable life lessons. My condolences to you and yours. I just wanted to let you know how your story moved me. Hope you and your family’s New Year is off to a good start. God Bless.
    Joshua R. Adcock

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  5. I was given a Remington 550-1 by my good friend when he was out of state. It is a great shooting rifle. This is my 7th .22 cal. rifle plus approx. 6 .22 pistols. I’ve been shooting these rifles since I was 8 yrs. old. I’m interested in when it was MFG. the date stamp on the left side is marked (+AUU<) I was looking for the date guide and the one that I found only went back as far as XX which is 1951. Just interested in when the rifle was MFG. it was a safe queen for many many years and shows little wear. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thanks Dennis Ford

    Reply
  6. Many of us have a similar tale. Thank our Lord we learned that lesson about how precious life is. Im 51. I taught my daughter well before 10 about firearms and the value of life. I didnt want her to cry after a mistake. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Reply
  7. my 550-1 came to me by way of a house fire which burned the home to the ground. Clean up was my job and 3 months after the fire dept put it out my task began. i found it after it was buried deep under wet ashes for 3 months. No wood was left ,all was burned away and water and fire turned the rest into a mass of rust. out of boredom i decided to try to save it. bringing to back to bare metal was a challenge and i really didnt expect it to function but when i test fired it(without a stock) it fired fine and with accuracy. i adapted a stock off an old defunct beeman pellet rifle and made it fit surprisingly well, refinished the wood and shortened the stock for my kid. instead of blueing it was just oiled steel….that was over 30 years ago and it STILL shoots great and looks good….i cant say it is accurate as my marlin39a but what is?

    Reply
  8. I have my dads 550-1 it has a W C 41 stamped just in front of the receiver!
    What does this mean? Is it a 1941 model?

    Reply

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