Last year, the R51 was quite possibly the biggest flop of the entire show. Brought out to much fanfare and marketing buzz, the final production guns turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. It was so bad that they stopped production halfway through the year and scrubbed all mention of the gun from their websites. This year the R51 is back, and the Remington guys say that they’ve made use of the hiatus while they move factories to re-engineer the gun using the feedback they’ve received to make it into the gun they wish they launched on day one. Included in those changes…
The magazine base plate is no longer flush with the bottom of the grip, instead it sits slightly “proud” protruding from the gun to ease insertion. The extractor has been improved to ensure better and more reliable extraction. The breech block has been plated in nickel boron to make the action smoother. The Pedersen action has been worked to improve the way the slide feels as it cycles. They’ve added a tactile reset to the trigger (or, rather, will be adding — the display models at the show were still the old trigger). And those are just the big bullet points of the changes.
Its definitely not a minor overhaul, and I’m very curious to see if the changes have fixed the gun. It sounds like they have fixed every major complaint I voiced in my review of the R51, and I’d love to give it another try. Too bad Remington hasn’t been answering our emails since the review posted.
Availability is slated for Q2/Q3 2015, as soon as the new plant in Huntsville opens its doors. Existing R51 owners who sent their guns in for repair are either being offered an accessory package with a new R51 (when available) or a new R5 handgun right now in exchange for their gun, which seems somewhat fair. Better if they got a handgun that worked in the first place, though.