Remington 51 .380

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by duck32man, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. sddso75

    sddso75 New Member

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    The Remington 51 is notable as one of the very few firearms built in the United States, containing no screws at all.

    Additional information on grips and backing plates (supersedes some of what I posted earlier):

    Jack First Inc (1201 Turbine Dr, Rapid City SD 57703, 605-343-8481) does sell reproduction grip panel backing plates. Two retaining pins (aka "buttons") are furnished with each plate. Front-to-back backing plate dimensions follow those of original factory parts closely, but upper and lower edges often do not (irrelevant to grip retention). The keyhole cuts in the new-made backing plates are ragged compared to original parts, and will require fitting to work properly. In some cases, the hole for the smaller center locating pin is off center. Thickness of material is a couple thousandths shy of original.

    Recently, an opportunity presented itself to examine another Remington 51, with serial in the PA50,000 range. Grip panels, backing plates, and buttons appeared identical to the example described earlier.

    New made magazine catches ("magazine lock" in factory parlance), catch followers, and catch springs are available also. Fitting is required.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  2. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    The M51 is a rather interesting pistol. For example, I have read that Gen. George S. Patton carried one as a backup gun. Springfield Research Service has noted that in WWII the OSS purchased a small number of M51 pistols from commercial sources for issue to field agents.

    If you have access to the 1979 Gun Digest 33rd Edition there is a great article about the Model 51.

    While I have no problem shooting standard velocity ammo in the M51, I have seen several broken breach blocks caused by shooting high velocity ammo through these pistols. Be sure you are using standard velocity ammo, no extra hot self defence ammo, "+P" or whatever.
  3. sddso75

    sddso75 New Member

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    A special thanks goes to Jim K for reminding us about the risks of tinkering with original hard rubber grips. The stuff does not age as well as wood, and at this late date many originals are warping, shrinking, cracking, even crumbling. They can crack without any "help" from a human hand. The modern-made plastic replacements by Vintage reproduce color and texture of hard rubber as newly made, but probably won't age so nicely. It's not really known yet, since another hundred years or so must pass before we can be surer.

    It might also behoove us to remember that all plastics above 50 years in age can deteriorate in ways that might ruin the guns they're installed on. This applies across the range of countries and manufacturers: I've seen it happen to WWII Walther pistols, 1950s Beretta handguns, "Tenite" installed as a non-hygroscopic wood replacement on budget shotguns, and various other pieces. Even "Coltwood," a vaguely wood-esque plastic Colt used from the 1940s onward, is warping.

    The best (in terms of retaining original dimensions and strength/wear characteristics) seems to be the DuPont nylon formula Remington used in its Nylon 66 and several other 22 rimfires. Be warned that many specimens of the Nylon 66, 76, 77, Mohawk 10c, and Nylon 10/11/12 are now suffering cracks. Replacements are simply not available. It is unclear at the present time (2011) whether the material is aging, or if poor use/storage conditions pertain, or design shortcomings are making themselves felt (in fairness to DuPont's materials engineers and Remington's design teams, they could not predict 50 years of use by the public - espcially not the myriad ways in which some members of that public contrive to abuse and neglect arms). Most cracks occur between the sear pin and the top of the stock, near the rear of the sheet steel receiver cover, where the striker spring and its guide press against their rear anchor point. The Nylon 76 (lever action) seems to be the worst offender, as it is a true locked breech arm, but the locking bar braces against the rear of the stricker slot; metal - on - metal locking does not occur, as it does in the 10/11/12 (all bolt actions very similar to the 510/511/512).

    Many of these rifles have been left in a cocked state for decades on end, and there are no metallic reinforcement rods, sheets, nor bushings - only structural nylon to absorb the loading, tension, and leverage. Snap your Nylon 66 and relax the spring without delay.
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  4. sddso75

    sddso75 New Member

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  5. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    sddso75,
    Thanks for posting that valuable information.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Just FWIW, another maker who used hard rubber grips that now could break is Savage, on their 1907, 1915 and 1917 pistols. Facing the same problem with the Browning patent, they used a moulded in lug that snaps into a slot cut in the frame. To remove the grips it is necessary to push each grip up from the magazine well and slide it to the rear. But those old grips can just snap when doing that. Fortunately, repros are also available, but the originals are still best on a collector gun.

    With all the different ways of attaching grips, one thing should be said loud and clear: NEVER PRY GRIPS OFF A PISTOL until you make absolutely sure that is the way they were meant to be removed; in almost all cases, it was not.

    Jim
  7. Georgia Guy

    Georgia Guy New Member

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    New to board but bet you guys have never seen a Remington 51 like this one

    Not totally on topic but:

    I bought it at a gun show almost 50 years ago. I think I paid $50.00.

    What I have found in my research is that Remington would nickle plate on a special order / request basis only. They supposedly never offered it as an either blue finish or nickle plate choice when purchasing one.

    Reportedly very few Model 51's ever came out of the factory this way I am led to understand. Handfull at best. I've not had any luck verifying this fact with Remington.

    This one was manufactured in very late 1922 per the S/N.

    Only found one other fellow, West Coast area, that has one and he claims he turned down an offer of $1,500 for his. His claim at least.

    I rarely shoot mine anymore because I am scared to death something will break and then I would not be able to get the parts to fix it.

    But if you have ever picked up, held and pointed a 51, it has the most natural feel you will ever experience. Never had that particular feeling with any other pistol I have ever owned.

    Georgia Guy

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  8. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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  9. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    The way the worlds patents laws used to work ( who knows, maybe they still do ) If you had a patent in the U S, then you could not patent the same thing in Europe. This is why Sam Colt patented his ideals in England first, then in the US. So it is conceivable that a early 20Th century patent that was registered only in the US could be still be used in Europe. Also remember, the patent was not for a through bolt. Some European countries protected their own workers and would automatically rule against a foreign Patent ( Spain for example ) Could be wrong, sure been wrong before:D
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