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Old 03-28-2020, 05:51 PM
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Default Any Remington model 51 fans?

I acquired my Remington model 51 in 380 ACP from my uncle. He bought it back in the mid 1950's and said he'd hardly ever shot it.

Designed by John Pedersen, Remington manufactured approximately 65,000 Model 51 pistols in .32 ACP and .380 ACP calibers from 1918 to 1927, though small numbers were assembled into the mid-1930s from left over components.

Ergonomics are great and is a easy gun to carry, but the safety and sights are smallish by modern standards.

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Old 03-28-2020, 06:42 PM
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There are four variations of the 51, two in .380 and two in .32. I once had examples of all of them, but at present I have only the .380s. Probably the most ergonomic pistol design ever made, and very thin. Needlessly complicated for a .32 or .380 pistol, but it works well. The much more recent Remington R51 in 9mm has the same design but it didn't work out too well.
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:45 PM
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Those are fine pistols. Remington did a major ergonomic study designing the grip for those things. It wasn't just a lucky guess. It was expensive for its time and did not sell well, mostly because of that. Getting spare magazines for them now days is both difficult and expensive. I have one in .380 and it shoots like a dream.
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:47 PM
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I'm a big fan. Interestingly enough, Remington made and sold more in .380 caliber than they did in .32 ACP, which is opposite of the production numbers of the Colt M1903 & M1908 and the Savage 1907 and 1917 models.
Since .380's in Savage and Colt seem to bring more money, many dealers who are unfamiliar with the PA51 also price the .380's higher which means that there are some occasional bargains in the .32 ACP versions which are actually more scarce..
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:06 PM
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Ive heard the originals are great guns but I've got no experience with them. They look fantastic.

Shame Remington dropped the ball so hard with the reintroduction :/ I was really interested in one
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:12 PM
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I have been into 51s for forty years. There are 5 .380s for every .32

Wonderful pistols built like a Swiss watch. No screws. Just pins. Can be COMPLETELY disassembled in the field using just the firing pin as a drift!

Here is one of each.
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:29 PM
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Mine was a .380. Old Investigators/Detectives called the Model 51 "The Steel Finger" because it pointed like your finger. I loaned mine to a "newby" for "Off Duty" until He could afford to purchase His own. He went to another Agency and so did my Model 51.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:07 PM
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Iíve wanted one for years, but whenever one shows up, seems like Iím in the process of getting something I wanted more.

With any luck, Iíll get one some day.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:10 PM
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General George S. Patton was a big fan of the 51. Me too

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Old 03-28-2020, 08:41 PM
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Another gun that I wouldn't mind owning. I don't remember that last time that I saw one.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:59 PM
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The one I had was a great shooter. I believe I got a spare aftermarket magazine made by TripleK and it worked great.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:29 PM
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Every so often we have a discussion on them here and I like seeing the new comments and pictures every time.

As Iíve said before, the one I have languished in the bottom back part of a gun shops case for YEARS. It was so dusty you could hardly tell what it was. I finally felt sorry for it and gave it a good home. I didnít have to pay that much for it. Itís a .32.

The only problem I have with it is that my wife says itís hers. She said that it fits her hand just perfect. I tried explaining that it fits everyoneís hand that way and why. Sheís not convinced so I guess itís hers. Itís not a perfect example like the others but itís still a nice representation of them.

Jim
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:46 PM
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Beautiful and great shooting guns!


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Old 03-28-2020, 10:09 PM
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I really like the look of it, like a cross between the Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless and Walther PP.

I was really hyped when I first heard that Remington was reviving it some years back, but we all know how that turned out... (Basically a cautionary tale of trying to upconvert a firearm for a stronger cartridge complete with cost saving measures.)
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Old 03-28-2020, 10:44 PM
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I had one for a few years and let it get away. Nice pistols, one I wish I had kept.
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Old 03-29-2020, 01:48 AM
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I had been looking for one for 5 or 6 years, just to have one. every one I saw was priced more than I wanted to pay for a gun I never planned on shooting much ( besides that it wasn't a Smith). Cheaper '51s I saw had been messed with or had bad reblues. About a year ago I was at a small gunshow and ran into a guy about to leave that was complaining about the lowballing the dealers were offering for his '51. I looked at it(85%), I asked if he wanted an offer or what did he want for it. He said $300 and I didn't counter offer I just handed him the money. Now I owned 2 Remington pistols, the other is a 1858 cap and ball I picked up when I bought a small estate and decided to keep on a whim.
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Old 03-29-2020, 02:27 AM
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I recently acquired one of the Gen 2 R51 pistols in 9mm. The Gen 2 pistols came out in 2016 following the 2014 debacle of the original 9mm model. During a recent range trip I managed to get it to malfunction once with 124 gr Blazer Brass, a stovepipe with loose unfired round underneath. Not seen that before. The few Winchester 115 gr JHPs I had worked just fine.

Sig 238, 380EZ and Remington R51 at the range
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:33 PM
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It took me years to find a nice one at the right price - but I finally did it about 10 years ago. The ergonomics are superb; Pederson made a lot of wooden mock-ups and had quite a few people try them to find the configuration most folks found most comfortable.

Great little gun despite smallish sights and a rather complex disassembly procedure.

I covered it thoroughly in my book 101 Classic Firearms, and included a biography on John Pedersen.

John

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Old 03-31-2020, 06:48 PM
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I have two Remington m51s; both are .380s. One is from 1920, the other 1924. Neither cost $300 or less even though it was several years ago. Anyway, the older has almost no remaining finish, the other is near new. As noted they are built like a Swiss clock; these also RUN like a S......
However, at the end of the day they are still .380s. I havenít used them for anything. I carry a SIG 229 .357 with DAK trigger.

At my house this search started with an article in an old Gun Digest. The group now has most most of information offered there except the Navy requested quotes and examples in lieu 1911s some time after those had been selected. Remington submitted M51s in .45 ACP. These passed tHe tests but werenít selected.

Additionally, in the movie I think I remember that General Patton was being straffed at his headquarters in Tunisia by a German JU88 fighter bomber..

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Old 03-31-2020, 07:07 PM
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" Remington submitted M51s in .45 ACP. These passed tHe tests but werenít selected."

The Remington .45s were called the Model 53, basically an enlarged Model 51, and the driving force behind them was the U. S. Navy which wanted an independent pistol supply. The Model 53 tested satisfactorily, but it was WWI economics and logistics considerations which doomed it for Navy procurement.
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Old 03-31-2020, 07:45 PM
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I have a couple. They were way ahead of their time.
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Old 04-01-2020, 11:36 AM
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Just have one, a .380, c.1919 production. Surprisingly accurate and such an interesting design. Don't shoot it much, as I've heard that if something breaks, parts are very tough, if not impossible to find.
Recall seeing some old Remington ads touting these as "self aiming", since they seem to have been an early example of someone strongly considering ergonomics (except for sights )
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:10 PM
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I guess you can say I own 1 1/2 Model 51s. I got a bunch of frames, mostly junk brands, but there was this 51 frame mixes in. Found the slide complete, minus the breechblock of course, on eBay that was being sold cheap, so I bought that. Got a magazine release button, repo grips, the steel backings and rivits from Jack First. I missing a couple of parts, the breechblock of course, but who knows, I might find that too! These pistols are quite a puzzle, especially the way the grips go on.

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Old 04-02-2020, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Corp View Post
Recall seeing some old Remington ads touting these as "self aiming", since they seem to have been an early example of someone strongly considering ergonomics (except for sights )
In their day, they were often called the "steel finger" because they pointed as naturally as one's index finger.

John
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Old 04-02-2020, 10:54 AM
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Although the internal design is completely different from the Remington, that sleek look and feel was popular when these German Ortgies were made in ca. 1922.



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Old 04-02-2020, 11:25 AM
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This one is WAY outside my collecting interests but I was intrigued by the bank note engraving, gold inlay and the interesting symbol. At first I thought it was something Muslim but it turns out to be a region in Germany which is consistent with the engraving.


It's probably not a keeper but it fascinated me for a while.
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Old 04-02-2020, 12:30 PM
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A nice 32 cal.mdl.51 ser.# PA6513X
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Old 04-02-2020, 03:51 PM
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What many might not know, all that is needed to change a .380 Model 51 to a .32 is a .32 barrel and magazine. I have swapped them out.

Regarding the Ortgies, it was a neat design. Like the Model 51, there are no screws. I once bought one (a .32) in fairly poor condition and non-working for, I think, $10 at a flea market. I had to fabricate a couple of interior parts myself to get it back in shooting condition, after which it performed very well. The Ortgies is often considered as being an older "Saturday Night Special" but in fact it is very well designed and made.
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Old 04-02-2020, 04:02 PM
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I too used to own an Ortiges in 32 many years ago. I was a nice shooting gun. If I remember corretly, the grip panels are held in by slots in the frame. I don't quite remember how though. They are well made pistols, certainly not part of the "Saturday Night Special" category.
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Old 04-02-2020, 04:06 PM
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I prefer Walther's, of which I have several in .380.
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Old 04-02-2020, 05:56 PM
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[QUOTE=DWalt;140722786]What many might not know, all that is needed to change a .380 Model 51 to a .32 is a .32 barrel and magazine. I have swapped them out.

For some reason I thought the breechblock had to be swapped out also. Maybe something to do with the extractor or ejector? I do recall reading that the breechblocks and interior of the slides had slightly different geometry. I may have a couple in my parts bin that I should look at. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't work.
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:05 PM
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A friend bought a house down the block from Remington in Ilion. He found a cigar box in the attic filled with Model 51 parts and enough nickel plated ones to assemble a complete gun. I was tasked with putting it together for him and I got to keep the spare parts. All the holes had to be reamed to install the pins, but she came out beautiful and functioned flawlessly. A very stunning pistol, the rollmarks just popped in nickel. I can't recall if the magazine was nickel. This was 25 years ago. He submitted it to the local sheriff and when the serial came back clear, my friend put it on his NY permit.

I'm sure it was an employee "lunchbox special".
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Old 04-02-2020, 07:51 PM
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[quote=bigmoose;140722932]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
What many might not know, all that is needed to change a .380 Model 51 to a .32 is a .32 barrel and magazine. I have swapped them out.

For some reason I thought the breechblock had to be swapped out also. Maybe something to do with the extractor or ejector? I do recall reading that the breechblocks and interior of the slides had slightly different geometry. I may have a couple in my parts bin that I should look at. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't work.
No other changes required. I once had two .380s and two .32s. I swapped out a .380 barrel with a .32 barrel. and it worked OK. I did it one time, firing a few rounds only as a curiosity test. I don't think I tried a .380 barrel in a .32 frame.

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