Remington M-51 sights

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by superc, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. superc

    superc Member

    I just did a blog on my own web site (which I guess I can't name here because I have affiliate links and maybe someone would claim I might profit from a visitor) about being really annoyed at Remington for the R-51 fiasco, then because of that digging out my own M-51 (in .380) and deciding what would be appropriate would be to modernize it to compete against today's 380s.

    The worse thing about a Remington M-51 is the almost non-existent factory sights. Made in the 1920s after the US Navy failed to purchase the earlier M-53 (big brother) in .45 acp the production run was short before the great depression forced Remington to stop production because no one was buying expensive quality pistols when cheaper ones that also worked were available.

    So anyway I was studying the pistol, then I took the day off because I had promised a friend I would show her how to shoot her new (to her) used stainless steel Walther PPK clone. So instantly I found another pistol with a horrid sight arrangement. Tiny reflective white sights on a reflective white frame. It didn't interfere with me too much because I have owned and fired real PPKs. In fact true PPKs were an alternate issue at one alphabet agency (exempt from GC 68) I had once worked for, so at 7 yards I didn't really need those sights anyway, but wow she did. I had of course told her to focus on the front sight, but the poor kid. As she complained, 'where is it?' LoL she had a point. After 2 magazines through her stainless PPK clone her K silhouette target looked like someone had cut loose with both barrels of a Stevens sawed off from 30 yards. Holes everywhere. So I switched her to one of my .38 revolvers instead and by the end of the day she was well into the black with it. But I had promised to help her with her own pistol and had instead created a disillusionment in it. All because the sights on the stainless pistol stunk. I went home and pondered the issue.

    Then i realized the M-51 and the PPK had a similarity beyond just bad sights. They also had a flat topped slide fairly similar to a shotgun rib. Ding. A light flashed. I had about a dozen cheap fiber optic sights designed for easy mounting on shotgun barrels. I found the box and compared them to the Remington's flat portion of the slide. A match was found. The selected sight is just about as long as a Winchester Silvertip round in .380.

    I did not wish to vandalize my M-51 by drilling and tapping tiny screw holes into the slide. So I decided to try Bronwell Acraglas as a fixant. A solvent could remove it without harming anything if I didn't like the result.

    The results were phenomenal. The factory sights on the M-51 are 0.06" tall. The sight I selected measures 0.15" tall. The light of the fiber optic just grabs your eye and makes focusing on the front sight automatic. Coupled with the grip angle of the M-51 (reminiscent of the Luger) the dot settles on the target almost instantly. The photos really don't do it justice, it is much brighter than that. After the Acraglas dried I took the pistol out back and ran through several magazines full of .380 in both slow and rapid fire.. Although I half expected the fiber optic sight to depart to never never land, once again Acraglas lived up to it's reputation and the sight did not budge.

    Previously at 7 yards my groups with the M-51 had been about 5 - 6" in diameter. Instead they were now about 3" average. Focusing on the front sight works. Now I want my friend to try my M-51. I have a suspicion she will ask me to do the same thing to her stainless PPK. I also have a suspicion that when I do her shooting with it will improve enormously.

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