When the Remington R51 was re-released I was excited. An American company producing a pistol with a different action than the standard browning locking action. Call me a gun nerd, but that sort of stuff excites me. The gun magazines all had rave reviews until it was made public that either money had changed hands or the magazines were simply lying to earn advertising bucks from Remington. Then came the online reviews.
Problem after problem showed up in YouTube videos. It seemed every YouTuber had their own unique problem. The results were more than disappointing. I waited more than a year to get my hands on one as reaching out to Remington proved as fruitful as planting bullets and trying to grow an ammo tree. When the prices came down I picked one up. Is it as bad as they say on the range?
I headed out on a frosty morning and through rain, sleet, then snow ran the R51 through a battery of tests. Full-mag +1, The “What’s for Dinner” load compatibility test ranging from 165gr to 65gr, and of course a quick grouping from seven yards using Nosler 115gr Match. The video below shows the results.
Were there some initial hiccups? Yes. Did those hiccups go away? Yes. The argument is fair that modern pistols should be able to run fine out of the box without break in, but I’m more patient with guns. Besides, that break in period is a great time to get to know a pistol before you trust your life to it.
Speaking of getting to know a pistol, field stripping is a bit more complicated than you might be accustomed to. Forget that easy Glock field strip, or even a 1911 with a full-length guide rod. Disassembly of the R51 requires some patience and understanding of how the firearm works. See what I mean in the video below.
So what have we learned? The R51 has an uncommon design and that means uncommon disassembly. To expect otherwise is silly. While the process is a bit of a turn off, it’s also part of the unique charm of the R51. I can’t explain why the gun grouped so low. I shoot a LOT of handguns and always group with Nosler 115gr Match. The sights may not be correct, or I could have had a bad shooting day. More time on the range will tell, but then of course I’d have to take the thing apart again to clean it.
Remington is struggling with debt. They’ve launched a couple failed handguns and money-grabbers were quick to jump on the class action suit against the Model 700. Even though the R51 isn’t the next best thing, I still admire the attempt to create something new and build it here in America.
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