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Author Topic: New R51 owner impressions  (Read 10012 times)

wa2bop

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New R51 owner impressions
« on: March 24, 2014, 02:45:21 AM »
Remington R51 musings
Kind of long
Let me say a few words about myself. I'm a retired engineer who has been living in a suburb of Charlotte NC since 2008 after retiring from my job in upstate NY. I'm not a firearms expert but have been shooting since a teen, and carrying concealed since 1974 ( neither is easy living on Long Island NY). I have a weakness in my right arm since childhood which makes me somewhat sensitive to the effort in operating firearms. I'm also not a very good pistol shot, unlike my former police officer wife. Between the two of us we have a modest collection of firearms. Both my wife and I have small hands for our size. Well that's about all that's relevant about me.

I read about the R51 somewhat by chance, was immediately intrigued by its history and Art Deco looks. I went on the internet, and Utube and was interested in the comments and videos. I felt it would be forever before I even saw one, especially because of the difficulty finding a Glock 42 for my wife. As fortune would have it we found the Glock, and it worked great for my wife's small hands, and I found an R51 a week later at a relatively recently opened Gander Mountain super store.

For the last year I've been carrying a Ruger LC9 with a Crimson Trace. I've been carrying in my pocket with a leather pocket holster, and I would use the R51 in the same way, so the LC9 is my 'benchmark' for comparison. Let me start with some comments about the LC9. After having it and shooting it for some time, I am very comfortable with it, so why consider the Remington? Well, I couldn't recommend the Ruger if asked for my opinion, why? To make the Ruger acceptable took some time and expense. To make the long and sloppy trigger acceptable I installed a Galway Precision trigger bar and sear conversion, and while I was in there removed the annoying magazine 'safety'. Now the LC9 has a smooth and shorter trigger pull and the magazine drops freely. The Ruger was now fine and digested all ammo I tried, but after some use I encountered some failures to fire, not confidence inspiring! Some internet research and further disassembly revealed a known problem with a burr on the firing pin hole slicing off slivers of primer metal which would clog the pin channel. Some deburring seems to have cured that. Finally the LC9 has become an acceptable pocket carry piece, so why think about replacing it? Well beside the never ending desire to have the newest and coolest stuff the LC9 still has at least two shortcomings. One is the shortness of the grip, in general a necessary evil in a 'pocket' pistol, and remember, I have small hands! The second is the difficulty in racking the slide, also a necessary evil in a short barrel/ short recoil spring pistol, and remember I have weakness in my slide racking hand exasperated by age.

So now comes the R51. It's both new and cool. Let me state all that follows is just my own opinion, and you know the saying about those. I respect and appreciate all that has been Utubed and written by others, but have my own circumstances to consider. Also my experience with it is very limited at this time. That being said, this isn't a gun I would use for competition, but I would want it to be comfortable for practice, and to function well with my practice reloads as well as defensive rounds.

I won't do a lot of description, there are plenty of reviews and good photos on the web.

I would like to mention a few things, one is the marking on the slide above the ser#, 'Charlotte NC', and another is the QC code also engraved on the slide. I live in a suburb just adjacent to Charlotte, so where the heck is Remington in this area? Well it turns out that Para USA moved to another town adjacent to Charlotte a couple of years ago, and the company that holds Para also now owns Remington. So I have to conclude that the R51 is made in the Para facility. I hope this arrangement works out well for Charlotte and the companies. The code engraved on the slide was read by my QC app and is a representation of the guns serial #.

The gun is well finished on the exterior, had no loose sights, and didn't stick open when racked.
I took it to the range without my usual disassembly and cleaning, firing it with my mild 124gr lead round nose reloads, and much hotter 124gr fmj Israel made NATO loads. There were two jams, both when firing one handed and may have been due to limp wristing or lack of lube issues. Everything else worked fine. The ergonomics are excellent, all fingers fit on the grip, perceived recoil was low, the sights are large and easy to see. It pointed very naturally and was easy for me to hit with. The gun is single action, concealed hammer, and I found the trigger to be very good out of the box, far superior to the LC9, and as good or better than the wife's Glock 42. Also I found the clicky and positive grip safety easy to use and confidence inspiring, especially in a cocked pocket pistol. The lack of a perceptible trigger reset is not an issue for me, the reset distance is short. The loaded chamber indicator is just a small hole in the top of the slide, not easy to see. The LC9 has a substantial LCI that sticks up, it is very good but real fugly. The R51 has a longer slide, by about 1/2 inch, but the sight radius is almost identical. Both guns have the same capacity, and the same overall height, but the R51 doesn't have the recoil spring under the barrel and uses that to make the grip longer and more comfortable, as well as lowering the grip to barrel height. The sights on the R51 are superior to me. The R51 would fit perfectly in the leather pocket holster I use for the Lc9, if the R51 had a Crimson Trace on it. So far the R51 needs more function testing, especially with hollow point ammo.

As for the slide function. After firing I took the Remington home, disassembled, cleaned up the factory grease, lubed as I would for any gun and played with the slide. It is not smooth like 'butta', and one can feel the various stages of the unique design. The effort needed to hold the slide back is noticeably less than on the LC9, and the recoil spring is considerably weaker, but racking takes effort as one feels and overcomes the stages I mentioned. I went on the web and found some illustrations and descriptions to help me understand how the system functions. With that understanding I unleashed the Dremmel and proceeded to fluff and buff the parts that rub again each other, I won't go into those details at this time. Disassembly and reassembly are not at all difficult, however one does have to be careful with the slide stop insertion, as it is easy to reassemble with the slide stop over the stop spring, thus causing the slide to lock open every time, resulting in a single shot pistol.

The polishing did smooth things up noticeably, but I haven't function fired it since. The barrel and ramp were smooth and well polished out of the box. There is only one concern I have with the system concerning longevity of the frame, but considering I wouldn't use the R51 for high volume competition it may not be an issue.

I'm a little confused by some of the extreme criticism over just about everything concerning this gun, but I hope you find something useful in my observations despite having owned it for only a day or two.
Thanks for reading,
Barry
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Forum Admin: I am adding the photos Berry sent me to this post below - these are thumbnails, to see Barry's photos full size follow the link below to the photo gallery
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LINK: wa2bop Remington R51Photo Gallery
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« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 04:22:50 AM by Robert »
What, Me Worry?

Robert

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 07:56:43 AM »
Great Post Barry, this is very good info. I would love to see a side by side photo of the R51 and the Ruger LC9 in a size comparison.

I would also like more details about what exactly how you did the fluff and buff job, any possibility of photos & details on this like a "how to" for people who may want to do this themselves?

If you have any trouble posting photos you can email them to me and I can post them for you.

Thanks
Bob

wa2bop

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Re: New R51 owner range report
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 06:13:59 AM »
Hi Y'all,
Well took the R51 to the range today, this is the first try since the clean up, fluff and buff and re-lube.   Fired about 75 rounds, mostly my own reloads, but also tried some commercial fmj (seemed really hot), and the only defense rounds I have on hand, Federal 135 gr low recoil hydra shocks.

The unexciting result,  no fails of any kind.
Nothing jammed, nothing broke, nothing came apart.
The only criticism is of the bottom plate of the magazines.  They are cheap thin and flexy,  and one needs to be extra shure the mag is seated.  A thicker pad would help a lot.
I have tried the action and after this firing there is DEFINITE improvement in smoothness.  Before this it was possible, by very slowly working the action, to have it stick very hard at the first lockup stage.  That stickiness is much improved, no reason to doubt this trend will continue.
When I get a chance to tear it down to clean it I'll have a good look around and see if things have rubbed in.
Barry
What, Me Worry?

T3

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 12:31:34 AM »
Bob, thanks for starting the forum for the R51.  This is a great place for new owners of a new pistol to meet each other, ask questions, find out what others have done to make modifications and improvements, and discuss issues about this revolutionary new gun.  I have been researching all of the information I can find on its design and the read the reviews and watched the videos about the range sessions since the first leaks were published in late 2013.  There have been a lot of negative reviews due to some QC issues that unfortunately appear to have some merit.  I hope the "Remington/Freedom Group" will take advantage of the early reviews and look at them positively as critiques to make the corrective management decisions to resolve them quickly.  Fellow "R51 Pistol Forum" member, Barry, has written a very honest and insightful review and indicated he has personally corrected one of the most reported, biggest quality control issue related to the slide friction.

I placed my order for the R51 a couple of weeks ago with Powder Keg Armory, my LGS in Easley SC, for a cost including tax that is less than the big box stores published price before tax.  Since the distributors have it listed as Allocated, I will gladly wait.  Hopefully the production problems will be resolved prior to mine being fabricated.  I was fortunate to have held one last week and racked the slide several times.  It was great to finally hold one, after 6 months of anticipation.  The grip and angle felt perfect in my hand.  The way the grip safety fit (in my slightly larger than medium sized hand), it positioned the slide just high enough that I do not think there will be a problem with "slide bite".  Since the R51 has the different action with the stationary barrel, recoil spring around the barrel, locking breech, etc., racking the slide is not like that of the typical blowback action pistol... it is obviously going to feel different.  Although it was relatively easy, what I felt was not near as smooth as it is depicted in the one finger racking on the Remington Arms video advertisement.  The store clerk told me the rough feel of the slide was due to the trigger guard that they were required to have on it while it is inside the store, which does not sound logical.  Barry said he was able to correct the tight fitting slide action with a little TLC, cleaning the original shipping lube, and help by buffing and polishing the areas that appeared to be rubbing with his rotary tool.  I hope he will be able to provide more details as he continues to make improvements.  The FFE, FTF and feeding issues I have read about will surely have to be resolved by the factory before our first responders and correction facility friends will use the R51 as their backup weapons of choice.  I am eager to get mine so I can make it right and use it as my CCW.

Thanks again for starting a great site!  I look to see more new members as this forum gains attention.  I will be making further posts as soon as I receive the call that my order has arrived and I can also be a proud owner making New R51 owner impressions report.

T3

Robert

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 04:45:34 AM »
New photos sent to me by Barry have been uploaded and added to his original post as thumbnails with a link to the album that contains the full size photos. I am adding this update so anyone following this thread and getting updates about new post are made aware of the new photos.

Thanks much for sending the photos Barry.

Anyone who has a facebook page please link to this post via the facebook share link at the top right - and don't forget to "like" our facebook page please. Direct link to our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/r51pistol

I have added Barry's photos to the R51 Forum facebook page so if you want, you can comment, like or share those to your own facebook page also.

Bob
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 04:52:10 AM by Robert »

CruzK9

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 02:48:32 AM »
Barry - thanks for your posts.  Its great to finally hear from a common user versus media hounds and pro shooters.  Hopefully there will be more "average Joe" reviews as the R51 makes it into peoples hands.  I'm still on the fence, but only because my Ruger SR40C is a very capable weapon.  I really want to get a 9mm and the R51 looks to be something that would fit my needs.

K9

T3

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 10:39:38 PM »
To all who have been thinking about getting a Remington R51 and have not yet... stop thinking and find a way to get one!!!!  My LGS emailed yesterday to let me know my order would be delivered Tuesday.  Bruce McDonald with Powder Keg Armory, LLC called today to let me know it was ready.   He had received it, broke it down, and cleaned it.  He said Remington had packed it on every part with some thick grease that had hardened, along with the debris from the first bullet, that took a considerable amount of time to completely clean the gummed up gunk… and then properly lubricated it.   He said it was a challenge to disassemble for the first time, but had he not done that I would have had major feeding and slide problems.  He always cleans a new gun before he sells it.  He also recommended that I should do the same each and every time I have a shooting session.  The slide racked so smooth I could do it with one finger.  The action spring, being brand new was tight, but the glide was so smooth and clean.  McDonald said, when racking the slide to always let it snap back to complete battery, which polishing all of the parts that slide against each other will only make it better.

After the paperwork was completed, I left to go to my first shooting session.  I went through a box of Winchester 147 grain FMJ's.  After 50 rounds I had no problems, not one FTF or FTE.. it shot perfect!  It took a little bit to get used to the grip safety and the long smooth trigger...about two rounds!  It felt great, like I had hoped it would.  The angle of the grips and grip safety directed my aim so that it was effortless.  At 10 yards my aim was on target, very accurate sighting in for shooting the first time.  The sights were both so tight that it would take a sighting tool to make any adjustments.  I left the range and took my new R51 to the mat for my first disassembly and cleaning.  The first step is to remove the slide stop, which took some time to finally find the right way to position the slide and hold it there. There is a half round notch, about the size of a ball point pen, that has to line up directly over the center of the slide stop shaft to be able to remove it.  Once I found that sweet spot the slide stop was easy to pull right out, and the rest was just following the directions in the Owner's Manual (and watching the YouTube videos).  The easiest YouTube video to follow is the one "Remington R51 Field Strip and Assembly - YouTube".  After you do it enough, you too will say..."it's so easy a kid can do it".   I was surprised that it was still amazingly clean.   Remove the slide stop, hold the barrel and push the frame out from under it, easily slide your finger under the pin in the Breach Locking Assembly and it falls out, pull back the spring and bushing and slide the barrel out, then the action spring bushing and spring, thoroughly clean and lubricate…then reinstall them in reverse.  When you reinstall it, keep the finger grooves of the slide stop just below the seating location as you push it in as far in as it will go, slightly move it up and it seats properly where the notch on the shaft slides under the turn down on the spring.  That seems to be the major critical part to putting it back together.

The R51 has been hyped since November 2013, when I knew I was going to own one.  Several Internet reports have been published with negative issues; that may not have happened if their pistol had been the packing gunk properly cleaned and lubed; or maybe they just got a lemon!   I love my new Remington R51.  It was worth the wait and I am very satisfied knowing this will be my new CCW.  I look forward to it becoming an heirloom for the next generation.  I cannot wait for the aftermarket parts to go on sale, so I can dress it up with some new larger grips.  Also, the Action Spring Bushing is aluminum that will wear down over time.  It will be replaced with a stainless or titanium part as soon as someone is smart enough to make them.  There will surely be a more rigid base plate for the magazine that can replace the originals, that will also make it easier to fully latch without having to think about.

I will continue to post my improvements in the future.  My gunsmith said if it was his gun, he would disassemble it and polish each part (and I will probably give him the opportunity).  Our member friend, Barry, said he had buffed and polished his R51 to make it much smoother.  If others make improvements, please also post them. Thanks to Remington Arms for making another future "classic" affordable pistol and a solute to the genius of Mr. Pederson.

Thanks,  T3

thefed

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2014, 11:35:10 AM »

I'm finding that the one I bought is rough acting(slide), its like things just don't line up and the slide is hard to  work.  Has anyone had this problem? Over all I do like the gun. So I'm interested in how you cleaned up the slide action.  I had the problem with the slide spring, it moved out of place causing the slide to lock up   on almost every shot.  Easy fix pull pin out,  repositioning the spring and putting it back to gather.   

Chris

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Re: New R51 owner impressions
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2015, 12:34:14 AM »
Good review, very useful.  Once I get my hands on the new version of the R51 I'll be writing a long review as well.

Chris

 

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