Sunday, June 29, 2014

Be careful what you ask for...

There's a thread at INGO speculating on the potential disappearance of Remington's R51, full of whinging about how "gritty" the examples at the NRAAM felt. I had to respond:
Massive lulz at all the "slide felt gritty" comments. The slide on a 51 (a real 51 or one of these new things) is going to feel "gritty" when you run it because there's a separate breechblock in there that bangs against a lug in the frame as you run it backwards. There's a separate breechblock in there because when the 51 was designed, Colt's held Browning's U.S. patent on the one-piece slide and breechblock (that's why contemporaneous S&W and Savage autos have separate breechblocks and H&R licensed a Webley design that did not have a slide that encloses the barrel. Firearms history is all about patents.)

Of course, that patent has long expired and there was no reason to revive the more complex design except for gun hipsters on forums whining about "If they'd just make a modern (Remington 51/top-break revolver/Colt 1903/Broomhandle Mauser), I'd buy five!"

Never mind that all those designs were complex and required a lot of hand-fitting, and don't work too well in the age of MIM and "Let The Customer Test It" QC, and so you wind up with debacles like the R51 launch.

I'll still wind up buying one, just because it'll be neat to have next to my original 51s. I may even try firing it someday.

14 comments:

Sdv1949 said...

I have shot two of the R51s. Sad. It looks like someone had a really good idea and then gave it to an orangutan to build. Either that, or the bean counters decided to take a very nice pistol that would have been in the $550-600 range and build it to sell for <$400.

It coulda been a contenda!

Sport Pilot said...

True words that'll likely fall on deaf ears. I do agree that using the original design intended to circumvent the Browning Patent was absurd.

Old NFO said...

Ah... the difference between the 'mystique' of the original (which skips over those same problems), and reality coupled with a re-launch in this day and age... That and too many people fondling high end guns that actually ARE smooth...

No Mas said...

Dang it, I DON'T want the R51 to go away. I want Remington to fix it!

And I want Remington to fix Marlin, and fix the 700, and fix the declining quality of the 870, and fix concerns about their ammunition, and fix....

I want Remington to fix Remington!

Tam said...

"That and too many people fondling high end guns that actually ARE smooth..."

Don't matter how "high end" you make a 51, all that monkey motion going on in the slide ain't gonna feel smooth (unless you know what you're feeling and can separate the sensation of the slide running on the rails from the feeling of the breechblock hitting the locking shoulder.)

Anonymous said...

Sometime in the future in Tam's vault of goodness.

Tam: R51 Prime, I would like you to meet your clone R51 Duex.

R51 Prime: Wow, he a bit slow and ugly.

Tam: He's your clone R51 Prime.

R51 Prime: But he's slow and ugly.

Tam: Listen closely, he is your clone.

R51 Prime: Waaaaaa!

Gerry

Gewehr98 said...

Disgusting!

God bless...

Bet they would absolutely hate shooting my Model 8 as they noticed all the activities going on within that rifle!

Old NFO said...

Exactly right Tam, thanks for completing what I should have said in my post! One of these days I'll actually think before I hit enter... sigh

Stranger said...

Well, the 5 original 51's in the safe are all slick as owl whatever. I am reasonably sure that the new model will get its teething problems ironed out - and I hope it does use the original design.

Like the Savage 99, it can handle pressure. Enough pressure so handloads will approach 9mm velocity/muzzle energy, and do it all day long.

But what I am really waiting for is the 52. I have it on good authority that Light General Lewis Burwell Puller refused to give up his demo model and carried it through WWII.

Stranger

Don M said...

Call me a hipster. I want a Broomhandle or a Bergman Simplex.

Saving my pennies....

Windy Wilson said...

I do agree that using the original design intended to circumvent the Browning Patent was absurd.
Or stupid for this day and age.
This isn't the first time I've seen retro-hipsterism crash what might have been a viable business model. Once I was at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica. I overheard a docent pointing to a Ford Tri-Motor parked on the flight line; he asked some people when they thought it was manufactured. He said it was
made only 5 years previous, by somebody who thought it would be a good model to sell to short hop airlines in South America and other places where cheapness of maintenance were crucial, but they went out of business. I asked him why didn't they go with a DC-1/2/3 clone, which in 1933 put the Ford Tri-motor out of business as uneconomical, and are still flying for profit today.
He stammered something about patents, and I decided I didn't want to torment him any more.

Some business realities change over time, and others do not. as you note, Tam, lots of parts moving and lots of handwork are still expensive, and if the patents allow, why not use the better design (I didn't believe the patents thing anyway. I think it was somebody who thought flying in the 20's was soooo romantic, and the Tri-motor design was essentially free, so let's make Tri-motors or here, 51's).

The Raving Prophet said...

I'd like to try an R51, but I learned one has to be really careful about buying new designs.

My object lesson is even from Big Green: the 105 CTi II shotgun. I love the gun- shoots well, tosses empties to an easy to grab location, and I don't have to play "which gun is mine" when it's sitting next to others.

Problem is, the 105 CTi had issues. Remington tweaked it and called the result the 105 CTi II. Well, that design nobody ever bought so they outright discontinued it, went back to the drawing board, and behold the Versa-Max. Part availability for the 105 is extremely poor although Remington stands behind it as best they can.

Much money spent on a gun I'm almost afraid to shoot lest it be unrepairable, and I learned my lesson: let somebody else beta test the new designs and wait until it's got a few years behind it.

I fear the 51 will suffer the same problem- bad initial reports and while issues might be fixable there's a strong chance they'll just cut bait. Even though a $350 handgun is an easier proposition than a $1000+ shotgun, one orphan is enough.

Robin said...

I ruined a keyboard when the next guy blamed all the bad guns that are made on people like you, Tam. ;-)

Caleb said...

He best part about that thread is the guy who said it's been disappeared from the Remington website.

The truth is that for whatever reason, big green never put it on their main site, instead putting info on one of their other sites.

http://therock.remington.com/firearm_ModelR51.php#.U7FwGsm9KK0