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Old 07-29-2020, 02:46 AM
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Default 100 Years Old: A Remington 51

Inspired by the other thread discussing Remingtonís present-days woes, it occurred to me that we could use a nostalgic Remington thread for balance

My .380 Remington 51, serial PA 30214, falls in the middle of the serial range for 1920, and thus was produced just about exactly a century ago.

John Pedersen designed an excellent pistol, but by the time production ramped up after WW I, the competition from Colt and Savage was well-established for over a decade and it never really caught on. Only about 65,000 were produced, and production dropped off rapidly after the peak years of 1919-1920.

It is unique in that it was the only compact pistol of the era that was first designed for the .380 and the majority of guns was produced in that caliber ; the later .32 version appeared in much smaller quantities. In the case of all other other major American and European models that offered both calibers, the .32 outproduced/outsold the .380 by a factor of 4:1 or more.


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Old 07-29-2020, 05:15 AM
Dougaz Dougaz is offline
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Beautiful pistol and great pics BTW. Do you shoot it?
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:49 AM
nodpete nodpete is offline
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Here's my contribution:

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Old 07-29-2020, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougaz View Post
Beautiful pistol and great pics BTW. Do you shoot it?
Thanks. I havenít for some years. But it shoots very nicely. The grip shape and angle are also probably the best of any compact pistol of the time.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:52 AM
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The M51 is the most ergonomic small pistol around in my view.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:00 PM
nutsforsmiths nutsforsmiths is offline
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I have one from the same vintage as yours, PA 29xxx, also in 380ACP. I have shot it once and it was one of the most comfortable pistols I have ever shot. I'd like to shoot it again, but parts are not easy to come by, especially the breech block, which does have a tendancy to break. A very neat pistol for sure.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:03 PM
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IMO: Remington should NEVER have quit making that pistol. It's still
one of the best small frames around!
Jim
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:27 PM
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Awesome old guns those Remingtons are. Practically everyone that I’ve talked to who has one adores it.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:32 PM
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old time lawmen referred to the Remington Model 51 as the "Steel Finger" because it pointed like your pointed finger.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:49 PM
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I bought one of the post recall 9mm R51s just because I like guns with different operating systems. Oh, and it was under $200 new. I managed to get it to malfunction once, unlike everyone else on the web who seems to have failures all the time. It even worked for my wife and her less than iron grip.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:39 PM
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Random addition:

You don't see the 51 much in movies or on TV.

Here is one, together with a Savage and a Colt, in Richard Harrow's arsenal before the big shoot-out at the end of season 3 of "Boardwalk Empire", a great show for generally period-correct weaponry.


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Old 07-30-2020, 09:33 AM
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I really wanted a new R51, but I haven't seen one for awhile. I have a friend who bought one about 3 years ago. I fired a box or so through it with no malfunctions. The design was very near that of the original 51, but it was somewhat more difficult to disassemble and reassemble. My friend decided he did not particularly like it and was going to sell it to me, but decided to give it to his son-in-law instead. I found another at a gun show a couple of years ago, near NIB, for $250. I thought we had a deal but at the last second the seller decided he wanted to keep it. I certainly don't need a R51 (and I already have two original 51s), but I would probably buy one at a good price if the opportunity presented itself.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:49 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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I bought my first PA51 about 35 years ago. It was a .380 and while it shot just fine, the bore was frosted the entire length so I traded it away. It took a couple of decades to find another one. I remember seeing a high condition .32 in a gun store for a reasonable price but I passed on it as I didn't own any other .32's at that point and didn't want to add another caliber to my ammo supply.
That was before I knew that the .32's were more scarce than the .380's.

Here is my current example with a couple of its contemporaries. The Remington is lighter than the Colt by 3 ounces but is very comfortable to shoot. I'll bet the .32 version is really sweet. The Colt and the Remington are both 7+1 capacity but the Savage has them beat with a double stack mag and 9+1 capacity.

When new, the Colt retailed for $20.50, The Savage for $16.00 and the Remington for $19.50. Which one would you have chosen had you seen them in the display case at your local hardware store ?
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
Inspired by the other thread discussing Remingtonís present-days woes, it occurred to me that we could use a nostalgic Remington thread for balance
I think many of us Remington fans/collectors thought the same. Iíve mentioned mine in many previous discussions so Iím sorry about being redundant, (again,)

Itís a .32 and in better shape than the picture shows. It was in the back of a local gun shop case covered in dust. Obviously not much interest in it with the owner or with anyone else, and the price was reflected in that disinterest.

I brought it home and my wife instantly proclaimed it hers. She shoots it better than me so thatís OK.

They are great example of firearms design and of Remington history. Iím glad I have it.

Jim
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