Remington R51: My Experience

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by J.ThaddeusToad, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. J.ThaddeusToad

    J.ThaddeusToad Szzippin' Covfefe, tired of all this winning

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    Apologies in advance, as I have no pictures because I am too lazy for that, and you all know what the thing looks like by now anyway. Let me preface this review by saying that the only other 2 handguns I own are a late '90s Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911a1, and a 2-year-old Gen 3 Glock 19 (with the good slide finish). These are the guns I can compare the R51 with, so there is your grain of salt.

    Ok, so it looks like I was finally 1st at something in my life, and now I understand that 1st ain't always best.

    Yesterday I rode my Harley (taking care to do several 60mph wheelies while weaving through traffic) out to the not-so-local gun shop that I go to (Tomball Pawn) to pick up the 1st R51 delivered in these parts. They didn't have any target ammo there, so I bought 2 boxes of Gold Dot 124gr +P and then rode over to Gander Mountain and bought 500rds of WWB. :50cal:

    Well, after enjoying a long ride I came across a small range in the middle of nowhere, and decided this was as good a spot as any to test 'er out. My goal was to put about 300 rds of WWB through the R51 to break it in, 25 rds of Gold Dot for function testing, and hopefully go home and see about getting a High Noon holster for it. I also wanted to run a mag through my G19 to compare and contrast. I shot silhouettes at 7 and 10 yards with the sun in my eyes (fun).

    1st the good: 1)I LOVE the dimensions of the R51. It will carry much more comfortably than the G19 in ANY position IWB, as my Mexican Carry trials confirmed. If you were thinking pocket carry, well this ain't that gun. It feels natural in my medium-sized hands, it forces your hand into a proper grip right when you grab it, and fits the 3 bottom fingers perfectly (a biggie for me). It is nice and hefty; about the same unloaded weight as the G19 unloaded, but balanced throughout the entire gun. 2)The grip safety is AWESOME, as you cannot grip the gun with your finger on the trigger without activating it, and it has a VERY definite positive click that you FEEL when it is disengaged. 3)The fit and finish are very good, this is no toy gun. It comes with 2 stainless 7 round mags which are good and heavy-duty. 4) I was unable to cause a malfunction by limpwristing, which I found impressive for such a small pistol relative to the caliber (not that I'm prone to limpwristing, but for those who are, :thumbsup:). 5) Accuracy was good, I was able to get about 3 inch groups at 10 yds with the sun in my eyes, and a sight issue I'll talk about later. 6) It ate a box of the Gold Dots with no problems, and about the same recoil as the WWB.

    Now for the not-so-good: 1)The recoil impulse is not nearly as low as most of the reviews would lead you to believe, and this is where I owe an apology to Nick Leghorn at TTAG for downplaying his stated issues, because this sucker definitely bites the crap out of the web of your hand!!! Although there is no way to get bit by the slide, due to the overhang of the frame, I did begin to hurt after the first 100 rds because the gun forces your hand all the way up into the beavertail and then pounds the teeny sharp edges cut out for the grip safety into the web of your hand. After 250 rounds, I am tore up. There is no way you could take this to your super duper operator "bring 2,000 rounds" pistol course without wearing reinforced gloves. That being said, I wouldn't have any problem practicing with it 100 rounds at a time. 2) It malfunctioned about 10 times.:wow: (None with 25 Gold Dot +Ps) Most all of them were FTEs, with 1 light primer strike (2nd round :dunno:). But before you stop reading and say "welp, that's all I needed to hear", let me reassure myself :embarassed: by saying that this thing was lubricated with some kind of thick goop that was darn near lithium grease IMO, and made the gun extremely dirty with all the ammo fouling and the wear of the (I'm guessing) phosphate-type coating on the breach block that was wearing off. I didn't take the gun apart before firing, and didn't realize this lube was used until I went to clean it. IMO it needs a lot of break-in to wear off a lot of coating on its many moving parts, and that thick factory lube just made it too dirty. I think it will run much better now that I cleaned it and lubed it lightly with CLP, and more of the friction-prone surfaces are exposed. One thing is for sure: This is NOT A COMBAT PISTOL that would survive major torture testing. It is a carry gun for people who don't mine coal or dig ditches while wearing it, or run their guns over in the mud and then fire them for YouTube. 3) It needs thicker mag floorplates for easier loading. The mags seat firmly and easily, but the bottom sits flush with the frame, which makes you have to use a digit to seat it. 4) My rear sight drifted wayy left on me!!!:steamed: I thought there was something wrong with me, as I'm a pretty decent shot with my other 2 pistols, because I kept shooting farther and farther left while not noticing that the rear sight was way out of whack (sun in my eyes, and all). That being said, again, it grouped nicely, and was on target vertically, with no flyers. It needs a set screw in the dovetail area, for which there is plenty of room and metal.

    Final Analysis: I still love the concept of this gun, and the way it feels/draws. I want it to work out, but: 1)I am giving this sucker 100 more rounds of WWB. Now that I have cleaned and lubed it with CLP, it is allowed 0 malfunctions out of that 100, otherwise it's off to Gunbroker with it! (Yes, I know I'm ruining my resale value with this review, but the truth is the truth.) I'm not going to use the crying smiley because I knew I was taking a big chance with something so new, and I have used up all the smilies I am allowed already. 2) I shot a mag through my G19 after about 150 rds through the R51, and it was like sitting down in a soft leather chair after a long, hot hike. I have never had a malfunction with my Glock, no matter how dirty, after approximately 800 rounds and I shoot it very accurately, even after months of not practicing (1st shot at 7 yds was a bullseye). The only reason I am giving this thing a chance is because of the dimensions, combined with it's simplicity of operation and low price to play. If Glock made a 9mm this thin, I would never stray again. 3) That's all I can think of right now. You have no idea what it took for me to be able to write this thing, as I am watching the kids alone today to pay my debt to my wife.

    EDIT: Forgot one good and one bad: Good) The trigger is SWEET. It is better than my stock 1911, in that it breaks cleaner and the spring resistance during take-up is heavier, so you know exactly where you are. Love it. Bad) It has lots of little parts to fumble around and avoid while disassembling/assembling and cleaning. I made the mistake of taking the grips off, and a pin that holds part of the grip safety mechanism fell right out. I did not read until after it fell out, that the instructions state not to go as far as removing anything besides the slide (including grips) during cleaning. I got it all back together though, and function test was successful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  2. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster

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    Thanks for the review. That sight drift would really be annoying. I don't like to have to make non-factory mods just to get a gun to hold zero. I wonder if that will be a common problem.
     

  3. fastbolt

    fastbolt

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    Some interesting points and observations in your thread, many of which made sense to me and struck me as useful to read.

    While I've abused T&E guns by shooting them right out of the box, without inspection, cleaning & lubrication ... I really prefer not to do that with a gun I plan to keep as my own. ;) I'd have field-stripped, inspected, cleaned & lubed the gun. Packing/shipping greases & oils present in the guns from some makers can become really gummy, really quickly.

    I wouldn't presume to disagree with your surmise that this light-duty, smallish alloy 9mm probably wouldn't withstand heavy sustained shooting sessions as well as larger guns made for service-grade usage, but that's seemingly not the intended market for it.

    I haven't had one come through a range day, yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. One of our other instructors recently told me one of the LE dealers quoted a price of $299 for one of these, so I'm sure someone will succumb and order them in the near future. I'll wait and see how it/they do when I can actually run one through some drills and range sessions using our duty +P loads.

    BTW, your rear sight base drifting leftward might just be an issue with the sight base specs. However, it might also be the slide's dovetail cut. If your rear sight base is drifting too far leftward, and the slide has been designed with a narrowing leftward beveled dovetail cut, I'd have the dealer return it to the company to be addressed. Might require either a new rear sight or a new slide. Just a thought.

    Let us know how your experience continues. ;)
     
  4. southern thunder

    southern thunder

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    Very good write up. Thanks.
     
  5. J.ThaddeusToad

    J.ThaddeusToad Szzippin' Covfefe, tired of all this winning

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    I agree that others definitely should take it apart and clean/lube it before use, but I didn't bring a cleaning kit and I wanted to review it right out of the box.
     
  6. 45caldan

    45caldan

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    Good review!
    You gave us the good and the bad without glossing over anything.
    I don't know why NO ONE wanted to believe the TTAG review as you could PLAINLY see in one pic the grip safety impression on the web of his hand!
    I'm going to hold off for a while before I decide whether I "need" one.....
     
  7. J.ThaddeusToad

    J.ThaddeusToad Szzippin' Covfefe, tired of all this winning

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    I believed him about the corners digging in, but it seemed like he was exaggerating, especially with the "slide bite" claim.:upeyes:

    Glad everyone appreciates the review. My 18 month old son ate a lot of sand during the time it took me to finish it!:rofl:
     
  8. rotorwind

    rotorwind

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    I think I'm going to pass on it. Thanks for the info
     
  9. eaglefrq

    eaglefrq

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    I got to fondle one today at my LGS and I agree with some of your comments. I obviously couldn't shoot it, but I got to dry fire it a few times.

    The trigger was nice and crisp with a clean break. It felt natural in my hand, like it was an extension of my arm. The slide rack was rough and felt very gritty. Supposedly, that's normal based on the design. I didn't like the magazine release either, it seemed like I had to push the release "into" the frame instead of flush.

    Another thing that turned me off was the overall size. I compared it with a Shield side by side and it was actually larger. The R51 is about 1/4" longer and the same height as the Shield w/the 8 round extended magazine. With the flush magazine, the Shield is shorter.

    Based on this and your review, I seriously doubt I will be getting one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  10. raven11

    raven11

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    thanks for the review, I had high hopes when the R51 first came out but it looks like I will wait till the bugs are sorted out
     
  11. AGAF

    AGAF On a Journey

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    Thanks for the review! This is a gun that I have been watching closely. I may give it a year or two for the Gen 2s to come out and have Remington make any tweaks they feel is needed based on customer feedback.

    Here's hoping the Walther PPS that I have on order is a great shooter with no problems. Love the thin profile for CCW.
     
  12. bac1023

    bac1023

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    Great, thanks for sharing. :cool:
     
  13. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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    Thanks for a thorough review. I want to see one and hold it.
     
  14. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

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    Great review, thanks. Looking forward to hearing how the next 100 round of WWB perform.
     
  15. lifesizepotato

    lifesizepotato TatersGonnaTate

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    Thanks for posting your thoughts in detail. The biggest disappointment to me is that slide bite or discomfort in shooting. One of the earlier videos that came out had someone shooting one and it looked like it recoiled like a 22lr, and that got me excited.

    I was thinking of getting one just because they're unique and cool, and a new design in 2014 made of metal :)shocked:), so the reliability thing doesn't bother me as much since I probably wouldn't carry it. Hope yours straightens itself out, though.
     
  16. UtahIrishman

    UtahIrishman BLR

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    Thanks for the review as well. I put a deposit on one Monday. I will definitely take it apart and clean it before shooting it. I think this gun has real promise, and I'm hoping the bugs you have mentioned can be worked out.
     
  17. Rizzo

    Rizzo Garbage Day!

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    That was a rootin' tootin' straight-shootin' write-up, Glockeroo Cowboy! May there be many more!
     
  18. happyguy

    happyguy Man, I'm Pretty

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    I would still consider a dab of grease on the cam area's of the breech block. Maybe thin it a little with oil like I used to do on the rails of my SIG's.

    Regards,
    Happyguy :)
     
  19. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    It will be. I got to shoot the PPS when it first came out and it was a fantastic shooter. Price was the only turn off for me.
     
  20. ShipWreck

    ShipWreck Beretta 92 Nut!

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    Give us a review of the sand and how your son liked it :rofl::rofl: