View Full Version : Remington 32 auto pistol - info request
November 2, 2008, 10:44 PM
Got a pistol from my dad that used to belong to my grandpa. He had it when my mom was a kid so it's at least 70 years old.
Remington UMC 32 auto. SN PA90760 Has proof marks on the left side of KT and on the right side of an anchor symbol. Marked 32 auto and 7.62 on the barrel breach. Looks like bakelite grips with UMC molded in.
It's in real nice condition. Original blue and almost no wear. I'm going to take it out to the range and shoot it in the morning.
Anyone know when it was made, etc, and a value? Also disassembly instructions? :-)
Appreciate the help.
November 3, 2008, 12:34 AM
You have a Remington Model 51, built 1918 - 1934; KT is the Remington date code for May, 1926. PA serial number prefix stands for Pedersen Automatic, the designer of this gun, several other Remingtons, and the WW I Pedersen Device. (Pedersen, not Peterson.) Contrary to some legends, the anchor mark does not mean it was Navy issue, although the US Navy did consider the big Model 53 as an alternative to the 1911.
Grandpa's is rather unusual; Remington, unlike Colt and others, made way more .380s than .32s, yours is a fairly scarce piece, so take care of it.
Discussion and takedown - which is NOT intuitively obvious - are at
Be very careful if you want to take off the grips (not recommended, they are brittle old plastic and absolutely irreplaceable if broken. From a previous thread:
DO NOT TRY TO PRY OFF THE GRIPS!!!
The grips have metal backing plates that fit into cuts in the frame. To remove the grips, press in (upward) on the hammer spring plug at the bottom rear of the grip. With the plug depressed, push the cross pin above it flush with the frame on one side. The grip on that side can now be slid down and disengaged from the frame. Repeat the process with the other side, pushing the pin flush with the frame on that side. Re-install in reverse.
I won't guess a dollar value, but for a .32 will be substantial. If you don't break the grips trying to get them off or crack the separate internal breechblock with too muchs shooting.
November 3, 2008, 02:48 PM
Thanks very much for that information.
I shot it this morning and it performed very nicely. I think I'll clean it up and give it back to Dad. He'll be pleased to know the story on it.
November 4, 2008, 11:13 AM
I just sold a 98% .380, with a chipped grip corner, for $500 w/o box, etc.
As posted, a .32 is valued higher, in like condition.
November 4, 2008, 07:51 PM
I got a book that says that is a type 3 variation. The 32's from serial number 90,501 to 92,626(last gun) were sold between 1926 and 1934, but production virtually stopped in 1927. Remingtons are quite desireable collectables now. So beware much shooting as we don't want any parts to break, good luck finding replacements, and just clean preserve and TLC it.
November 4, 2008, 08:56 PM
Remington Model 51 Pistol, serial PA90760 was one of the 1417 manufactured in .32 cal, in 1926 (during which year .32's w/sn's from PA90501 through PA91917 were made).
November 4, 2008, 09:55 PM
I just sold a 98% .380, with a chipped grip corner, for $500 w/o box, etc.
We have the box too. Lid is torn some and held together with rubber bands, but it's there. The gun has been wrapped in chamois cloth with oil as long as grandpa had it. It's put away and probably won't be fired anymore. I wouldn't begin to know how to go about selling it.
November 5, 2008, 07:24 AM
I'd have to see the box too, but maybe it could be repaired or something by a skilled person. Like fixed to the point that it looks better and will not come apart any further. I think the proper box adds value. Sometimes damage to articles like that will only get worse over time from normal handling etc. Maybe repaired with rice paper patches and rice glue or whatever they use to repair paper items that are damaged. Unless the box is saturated with oil or something and is disintegrating, I think it could be improved. A collector would love the box with it. If it is not gonna be shot at all, there might be better ways to store it rather than oily. Old guns that are just for display often get a coat of special wax instead of oils. But you would have to degrease it before that. Like they would do to museum display it.
November 5, 2008, 09:00 AM
Approx 10 years ago, I sold a 96% .380 with a pretty decent box to a gun show dealer for $750.
I would expect to get at least $900 today, if not more, for the same gun.
I buy them, every once in a while when I run across one cheap - because I know their value, and the seller usually doesn't.
But........ I always hesitate to keep them for a shooter, as beautifully designed as they are - lest an unobtainium part break; and so sell them for something more practical.
It's OK to keep the pistol in an oily wrap in the box - just insulate the box from the oil by lining the box with an oil-proof waxpaper, similar to the wrap on older Ruger revolvers & available online.
If you're not used to the delicacy required for the box repairs, you might consider contacting a paper restorer/conservator, connected with a historical society in your area, for guidance.
November 5, 2008, 03:27 PM
That pistol was designed (as the markings indicate) by John D. Pedersen, who was Remington's in-house designer for many years and who also designed the famous "Pedersen device."
The design is often praised because it uses a two-part breech, allowing a sort of delayed blowback action that supposedly allows a lighter weight and less recoil. Sounds good, but the real reason for that complex design is that the now-normal one-piece breechblock and slide had been patented by a fellow named Browning, and the other designers, like Pedersen (Remington) and Searle (Savage), had to work around that patent.
November 9, 2008, 05:44 PM
I just came into possesion from my dad's collectin a Remington UMC 32 Cal Pistol. SN #PA64067. No Box but it did include a leather holster. Wondering what it's worth.
November 9, 2008, 06:08 PM
Substantial variation in value depending on condition, moreso than the serial number. But all of them have collectors interest unless really ratty or neglected into a rusty relic status. So maybe post pictures or describe percent of original finish remaining, any rust or pitting, functionality, etc. A holster will generally add value if it is specifically made for that model of gun, for example, a German marked matching holster for a Luger, P-38, or a period holster with an antique pistol. If it is some kind of unmarked generic holster made for a variety of small autos, it might add a little but not as much as one that was intentionally manufactured for the gun, IMO.
November 10, 2008, 02:50 PM
[a Remington UMC 32 Cal Pistol. SN #PA64067.]
That P51 is one of 2,547 made in .32 cal in 1922.
November 10, 2008, 07:25 PM
Blue Book of Gun Values, 29th ed.
Model 51 Semi-Auto, .32 ACP or .380 ACP cal., 8 shot (7+1), hard rubber 2-piece grips with companys name, black finish. Approx. 65,000 mfg. 1918-1926
Note: .380 ACP much more common than .32 ACP cal, but commands a slight premium. (:confused:)
March 3, 2014, 03:30 PM
I got a remington Model 51 32 caliber auto, serial number PA673xx. Any idea when it was made and value?
March 3, 2014, 04:02 PM
That is a late one, probably 1924 or 1925.
Book values in the 32nd edition Blue Book are the same as in the previous post for the 29th.
March 3, 2014, 08:07 PM
Remington has now revived the old Pedersen design and is making the R51 in 9mm Luger. There has been a lot of press on the gun and some discussion here. I have not yet seen one, but it seems to be a single column magazine, single action, medium size pistol. Different in its way of operation, but we shall see how it sells.
March 4, 2014, 08:47 PM
I have read, that while Peterson was a gifted designer, he never used one part. when two parts would do.
March 4, 2014, 11:55 PM
Part of his problem was having to work around the very comprehensive Browning patents. Mr Browning himself thought Pedersen was the best in the business.
He has been criticized for drawing big bucks from Remington and pushing his automatic rifle on the service while Mr Garand was then a government employee with lower pay and no prospect of royalties. But profit seems to be a dirty word in some circles.
March 5, 2014, 03:55 PM
I have always thought that Pedersen had to be a heckuva salesman. He sold the Army on his "device", when a few minutes thought would have revealed that men marching across "no-man's-land" toward an entrenched enemy with rifles that would seem to be making no noise and firing no bullets would be committing suicide. Then he sold the Army on the .276 caliber, not bad in itself, but not a great idea when there were billions of rounds of .30 ammo in storage, plus the machineguns and the BAR would continue to use .30. And the .276 had no real advantage; Pedersen promoted it because he couldn't get his rifle to work with the more powerful .30. In WWII, it would have been outranged by the German 7.9mm as well as the Japanese 6.5 and 7.7.
March 6, 2014, 08:42 AM
"I have always thought that Pedersen had to be a heckuva salesman."
No more or less so than John Browning, really.
The Pedersen device was seen as a partial solution to the rather intractible problem of providing covering fire while advancing.
The Chauchat was largely a disaster, and the military brass was too afraid of the Germans getting it to issue the Browning Automatic Rifle in the quantities that had been first envisioned, so the Pedersen device was seen as a logical alternative.
I'm sure that when Soviets armed with PPSh submachine guns advanced that it often didnt' seem as if they were firing bullets, either. Until the first German or two got ventilated.
"Then he sold the Army on the .276 caliber, not bad in itself, but not a great idea when there were billions of rounds of .30 ammo in storage..."
He didn't sell the Army on anything.
After US experience in World War I it was thought that a smaller, lighter battle rifle cartridge would be a good idea. The Army experimented with a number of different rounds, from .25 to .30 cal., and finally settled on the .276 bullet diameter (matching, oddly enough, the caliber chosen by the British in 1913 to replace the .303...)
I'm not 100% sure who the Army Chief of Staff was when the decision to proceed with the .276 was made -- it was either Maj. Gen. John Hines or Gen. Charles Summerall -- but it was made BY the Army brass without Pedersen threatening them with one of his Pedersen devices...
In other words, while Pedersen couldn't get his rifle to work with the .30-06, the decision had already been made to replace the .30-06 cartridge. He provided the military with a viable alternative. Not much salesmanship involved, really.
Remember, when that decision was made the Depression hadn't hit yet and money, while a lot tighter than it had been in 1918, was still flowing a lot more freely than it would be in 1931 when MacArthur made the decision to stick with .30-06 due to strictly financial reasons.
Remember... when the US military decided to go to the 5.56 it had hundreds of millions, if not billions, of rounds of 7.62x51 in stock...
And when the military decided to go to 7.62 from .30-06 the military likely had tens of billions of rounds in stores given that the US had just finished World War II AND Korea...
"In WWII, it would have been outranged by the German 7.9mm as well as the Japanese 6.5 and 7.7."
Maximum range isn't important. Effectiveness at combat range is.
Typical combat range during World War II was something along the lines of 400 yards.
The myth of the American soldier being a deadly one shot one kill sniping machine out to 2,500 yards with his trust ThuddyOrtSax is exactly that, a freaking myth.
The .30 Carbine provide itself to be MORE than effective at typical combat distances both in Europe and the Pacific, and the .276 Pedersen round would have also proven to be perfectly suitable and effective at typical combat distances, and a lot more.
March 6, 2014, 09:30 AM
There is a big ".276 is better" thread over on THR. Now closed but a lot said on One Man's Take.
March 6, 2014, 10:29 AM
This stuck out, though...
"yes money was tight in the 1930s but not as tight as many people believe"
Actually, it was tighter, a LOT tighter than most people believe, because a number of members of Congress, the people who would actually have to appropriate the money to be used to make the transition, were making serious noise about the military's decision to change cartridges.
They were also making noise about the money being "wasted" trying to develope a new battle rifle, given that the US had just won the War to End All Wars and the United States had just spearheaded the highly successful (and ultimately largely disasterous) Washington Naval Conference...
March 6, 2014, 11:34 AM
Shifting gears a bit, I'm wondering how close a copy the new 9mm Remington 51 is to the old one. Besides the lack of a manual safety (YMMV), I wonder how the breechblock is going to hold up. The ones in the origial .380s and .32s had a tendency to crack in the rear by the roller. Definitely a weak point.
March 6, 2014, 11:38 AM
Contrary to some legends, the anchor mark does not mean it was Navy issue,
Thank you. I can't tell you how many arguments I have had at gun shows with vendors who insist that their 51 was "U.S. Navy" issue for officers.:mad:
March 8, 2014, 08:36 PM
Some good points, Mike, but I still believe that walking (not running) toward entrenched machineguns, while firing rifles that would have seemed to make no noise would not have kept anyone's heads down. Nor is there any evidence that Russian SMGs did so, either; the Russians used sheer numbers, plus artillery and rockets to overrun German defensive lines.
As to money for the military in the 1920's and 1930's, it was very tight, and the decision later to adopt and produce the M1 (Garand) rifle was heavily criticized. Still, by 1936, it was pretty apparent that the Great War was likely to be renamed World War ONE, and not too far in the future.
I just hope our current rush to cut our defense forces does not come back to haunt us; I don't often agree with Hillary, but her recognition that "protecting our people" was a line used three times by Hitler to excuse aggression at least showed she knew some history, which is more than a certain other leader does. (She goofed on Romania, though; Hitler moved in to "protect" Germans in Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Poland.)
March 9, 2014, 09:36 AM
"Mike, but I still believe that walking (not running) toward entrenched machineguns, while firing rifles that would have seemed to make no noise would not have kept anyone's heads down."
No, the artillery would have done that. By late 1917-1918 walking barrages were becoming a primary tactic for infantry assaults. Gone were the days of the 3 week "softening up" barrage on the front lines. All that did was signal to the Germans where the assault was going to take place and allow them to stack reserves in that sector.
The most successful attacks of the war were done with barrages that lasted only, at best, a few hours, designed to force the Germans into their bunkers and cut holes in the wire to clear the path of advance.
The intent was that once the assault troops were close enough to the trenches that the barrage would either lift to rear areas or cease, they would be close enough for the Pedersen devices to provide adequate levels of fire to deal with the Germans as they began to recover and come out of their bunkers.
You have to remember, the Pedersen fired what was essentially a pistol cartridge with an effective range of, at best, 150 yards. It wasn't intended to provide walking cover over the entire expanse of No Man's Land.
It's also very doubtful that in battlefield conditions individual rifle fire, either from a Pedersen device or a full power round, would have been distinguishable at all. Sort of like the "the ping of the Garand clip hitting the ground cost many American GIs their lives..." myth. Battlefields are incredibly noisy places.
" Nor is there any evidence that Russian SMGs did so, either"
Conversely, there's no real evidence that they didn't, either. See my point about how artillery support was being used in 1917-1918.
"Still, by 1936, it was pretty apparent that the Great War was likely to be renamed World War ONE, and not too far in the future."
Uhm... No. Certain people, like Churchill, were predicting another general war (and he was, even that late viewed by many to be a war-mongering idiot), but even in 1936 it certainly wasn't a foregone conclusion. Diplomacy was still seen as being an effective bar to another war, at least amongst the allied powers in Europe. Remember, Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Time" from the Munich Agreement happened in late September 1938. The British, who had started something of a rearmament program in 1935-36, even considered shutting that down because diplomacy had won out. Or so it seemed.
As for the United States, where most in the military and government apparently considered US participation in any potential war questionable, at best, by 1936 work on the new Garand was showing such promise that everyone realized that it would be silly to abandon it, so money was appropriated in increasing amounts to both finish it and field it.
March 9, 2014, 10:19 AM
In retrospect, the Pedersen Device, and the "marching fire" concept sounds more like an idea that sounded good on paper to those who had no actual front line battle experience.
I believe a similar idea was previously hatched in Mexico for troops that were issued the Mondragon repeaters. The idea was that, supposedly, when the rifle was in one of three modes, it had a provision to allow "slam fire." The soldier was to cycle the action at each footfall of either the right or left foot (forget which) and thus fire the rifle as the they advanced.
Or so the story goes.
Bottom line: There's the right way, the wrong way and the military way.
March 9, 2014, 12:23 PM
"In retrospect, the Pedersen Device, and the "marching fire" concept sounds more like an idea that sounded good on paper to those who had no actual front line battle experience."
Actually, it was in response to a kind of warfare that no one had ever experienced -- trench warfare.
Look at how many different innovations (some old, some new) were devised during World War I just to try to overcome an advance over no man's land against an entrenched enemy.
Literally hundreds of different ideas were tried, from personal armored push carts to massive underground mines, and virtually none of them did anything to break the stalemate or shorten the war. Walking fire and the Pedersen device were just two more ideas.
March 9, 2014, 01:59 PM
Walking fire and the Pedersen device were just two more ideas.
Exactly! Ideas from the same tired old Ordnance Board members who decided that the Chauchat was a much better gun than the Lewis, based on a personal dislike.
Like I said: It sounded good on paper... LOL!!!!
March 9, 2014, 03:39 PM
The WWI trench lines usually included machinegun emplacements with head logs and firing slits. Unless an artillery strike took out the position, enemy soldiers would be behind their MGs in a few seconds after the barrage let up and ready to mow down the attacking infantry.
Of course, Pedersen did not originate the idea of marching fire; it was fairly common and equally suicidal no matter what rifle the attackers carried. But with full power rifles, at least there would be bullet noise to let the enemy know they were being fired at. With the Pedersen round, there would be little noise and no muzzle flash; it would look like the advancing troops were not even firing, so why would anyone duck? Even if some of the enemy were hit, no one would have even blinked, let alone cowered in the bottom of the trench. And anyone struck by one of those little bullets sprayed in shooting from the hip while walking would have been extremely unglücklich, to say the least. They would just have kept feeding those MG.08's and killing the idiotic Americans.
In the annals of a war which was all foolishness and stupidity, the Pedersen device was probably one of the most foolish and stupid.
March 9, 2014, 06:25 PM
I think the Liberator Pistol would also be at the top of the list, along with the Fire Dragon ( British ) and the round war ship ( Russian ). The list goes on and on. Oh yes, how about the ideal of the Ice Berg aircraft carrier, that was a cool ideal ( pun intended ).
March 10, 2014, 08:42 AM
And let's add the Bangalore torpedo and the Panjandrum.
March 10, 2014, 09:14 AM
"Unless an artillery strike took out the position, enemy soldiers would be behind their MGs in a few seconds after the barrage let up and ready to mow down the attacking infantry."
And yet, in the latter part of the war, in which such barrages were used, they were successful. At least, far more successful than the earlier tactics of 3 weeks of barraging followed by a slacking off for an hour or two, followed by a leisurely walk across no man's land.
Once again, you're absolutely discounting how noisy a battlefield is, and you're assuming that the Germans:
1. Having just been through an artillery barrage, are able to hear.
2. That they're able to hear firing from approaching troops that are varying distances away while their own machine guns are chattering away and while the men spaced every few feet on either side of them are keeping up a continuous fire.
The entire purpose of a creeping barrage is to allow assault troops to get as close to German lines as possible. At the point at which the barrage would lift, the assault troops would go from a walk to a charge to cover the gound in as little time as possible, hopefully before the Germans could set up their machine guns (which were taken into the bunkers at the commencement of a barrage).
For 3 years troops advancing across no man's land had been doing so while firing full-power rifle rounds, which apparently had little to no deterrent effect on the defenders.
To say that muzzle flash, smoke, and noise from the guns of the assault troops would somehow be a critical decisive factor completely ignores that inconvenient truth.
What the Pedersen device did was give a far higher rate of firepower and, with it, a better chance at hitting some of the people who are firing at you.
Once American troops got inside the trenches, that advantage in firepower would have been devastating.
"In the annals of a war which was all foolishness and stupidity, the Pedersen device was probably one of the most foolish and stupid."
In a way yes, but in a lot of ways, no.
The foolish aspect of it was its application. To use it you had to remove the bolt from your rifle, empty the main magazine, install the Pedersen device, and install the magazine.
Too many parts and pieces and too long to convert the gun.
As a firepower concept, no, it wasn't stupid or foolish. It was an interesting step in showing the way forward, and it was an interesting solution to what seemed to be an intractible problem.
100 years after the fact I suppose it's really easy to pass judgement and say "I FIND THIS LACKING!"
Since you have so declared, you must have a solution (that was also readily available to those involved at that time) that would have allowed the Allies to sweep forward from their trenches and in three days take Berlin without the loss of a single man.
Do tell. :p
March 10, 2014, 09:17 AM
"Exactly! Ideas from the same tired old Ordnance Board members who decided that the Chauchat was a much better gun than the Lewis, based on a personal dislike.
Like I said: It sounded good on paper... LOL!!!!"
So, I offer you the same think that I offer Jim, the chance to be a hero (100 years after the fact) and end the war by coming up with THE idea and putting it into execution.
The only catch is that it had to have been available to the commanders 100 years ago.
So no nuclear weapons, no thermobaric devices, etc.
It's easy to judge in hindsight, completely insulated from the reality of what was.
It makes for interesting fiction, but it's absolutely ****ty history.
March 10, 2014, 11:35 AM
The only GOOD solution is to avoid the war altogether. LOLL!!!!!!
I do agree with you that "Monday morning quarterbacking" is easy, but that's human nature. The point is that, at the time, these ideas seemed good on paper to Generals and Ordnance Board members who had no front line experience, but in reality, would have, in all likelihood, been disasters.
It's certainly not the first time it's happened, and certainly (sadly) not the last. After all, Agent Orange seemed like a good idea at the time, yes?
March 10, 2014, 11:46 AM
The obvious answer (geezsh, how could everyone have been so dumb as to not see this?) is a gun firing unicorns that fart rainbows.
"The point is that, at the time, these ideas seemed good on paper to Generals and Ordnance Board members who had no front line experience, but in reality, would have, in all likelihood, been disasters."
I'll remind you that it was Generals and Ordnance Board members, with no front line experience, who came up with the concepts that actually did break the stalemate -- creeping barrages, and tanks, among others.
Front line experience doesn't give anyone unimpeachable credentials to solve anything.
Sir John French, Lord Kichner, Sir Douglas Haig, Winston Churchill ALL had significant levels of frontline combat experience in the Sudan, the Boer Wars, and elsewhere in the empire, and that didn't prevent them from majorly screwing up.
Hell, Kitchener was one of the first combat commanders in the world to make successful use of the machine gun in combat, and he still, in 1915, said that anything more than 2 Vickers gun per division in France would be a "luxury."
David Lloyd George, Minister of Munitions (who had NO combat experience at all) had to illegally overrule Kitchener. He ordered that British divisions be armed with 64 Vickers guns.
The way Churchill planned and politicized the Dardanelles Campaign was near criminal.
March 10, 2014, 12:11 PM
It was an "ironical humor" answer.
Again, the main point is that ideas are hatched up by people who have no concept of actual realities and make decisions based on how something sounds on paper, and don't bother to "scratch" the surface. 1914 and 1915 campaigns were disasters to the Brits, because they were planned and organized by some fatass general back in England who had not even bothered to visit the front lines. Gallipoli is another example.
American Doughboys advancing across "No Man's Land" firing pistol cartridges out of their rifles? Give me a break.
Edit: Irrelevant comment removed.
March 10, 2014, 01:39 PM
I am confused as to which side you are taking vis-a-vis the Pedersen device. I agree that nothing fired by advancing troops would make a bit of difference to a defensive force behind entrenched machineguns. The fact that men were sent to attack under those circumstances only served to emphasis the backwardness and total lack of imagination of the military leaders of the day.
I didn't invent the idea that "marching fire" would keep the enemy's heads down, that was the whole assumption behind it; Pedersen (who AFAIK had no combat experience) did not invent the idea either, he simply gave the generals what he thought would be needed if/when the tactic was used. My point was that the "device" would have been even less effective at that job than the standard infantry rifle.
As to those great ideas, there have been many. One, the great Panjandrum, was plain silly. The Liberator pistol was based on a fiction story that was based on the idea that every person in an occupied country is eager, willing, able, and fearless enough to fight the enemy. No student of psychology would have agreed.
Then there was the glove gun, the pen gun, and dozens of other neat gadgets that were rejected without costing too much money.
My personal favorite, dating from c. 1900, was the electric cannonball. A hollow ball containing a battery, it could be fired out of a cannon and on striking an enemy a switch would close, electrocuting him. Anyone who thinks about that for more than 3 milliseconds and still considers it sensible, needs professional help.
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