The Browning Buckmark Rimfire Pistol
My earliest memory of a firearm is one that hung from my dad’s gun belt. He would head out for a long night of ’coon hunting with the hounds, and that .22 revolver would be on his hip, a bunch of rimfire cartridges happily nestled in their leather loops. I am named after my father and would eagerly participate in any hunting-related activity I could — and when he let me shoot that .22 at the range, I was hooked for life.
While my passion today lies with centerfire rifles, there are few activities that are as genuinely fun as time spent plinking with a .22 pistol. They are economical to shoot, offer virtually no recoil and will hone your skills in a hurry. There are many makes and models available to today’s shooters, but few will rival the Browning Buckmark pistol.
Built around an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame, which is then cut on a CNC machine to keep dimensional tolerances very tight, the Buckmark is an ergonomic, lightweight and highly accurate handgun. The simple straight blowback action cycles cartridges quickly and reliably, and Browning has equipped the Buckmark with a single-stage trigger that breaks cleanly, with very little over-travel. This allows the shooter to place their shots accurately, as well as get back on target very quickly after each shot. The finger grips and cocking “ears” machined into the sides of the slide give a positive grip on the pistol, allowing the shooter to confidently and safely load and unload the firearm. A manual safety and the pistol’s slide release are conveniently located on the left side of gun, both placed so that each control may be operated with either the trigger hand or the supporting hand.
Most of the Buckmark models produced today feature a bull barrel, for enhanced accuracy and stability. The barrel’s chamber is hand-reamed, and there’s a recessed crown at the muzzle end to prevent any dings or damage to the crown (a perfect crown is paramount to good accuracy).
Browning puts some very nice iron sights on the Buckmark, including an adjustable rear sight that features a 16-click-per-revolution adjustment. This fine adjustment system allows the shooter to properly dial-in the pistol for their best accuracy — there’s no “Kentucky windage” needed here. The front sight of the Buckmark line is generally either a Tru-Glo sight for quick acquisition or a Marble’s sight for more precise target shooting. Both styles will give a good, sharp contrast for accurate shooting.
The Buckmark comes with a 10-shot magazine made of heat-treated steel for durability. The magazine uses a coil spring, which will best maintain the proper feed angle. The coil spring design is more desirable than the “Z”-style spring used by other manufacturers and is an important part of the reliable feed and cycling of the Browning Buckmark pistols.
The Buckmark comes in a multitude of variations. Take, for instance, the Black Label Carbon Fiber, which features a carbon fiber finish on the frame and slide, as well as an under-frame Crimson Trace laser sight and top rail for mounting optics. Then there’s the Contour Stainless with its 7¼-inch barrel and ergonomic Ultra RX grips, which help with consistent hand placement throughout a shooting session. The Buckmark Plus UDX features a slab-sided bull barrel and checkered wood grips in the UDX configuration, for those who prefer the traditional feel of wood yet appreciate the finger-groove grip design. There are also models with a pink finish, if that’s your thing, and some have a fuchsia set of grips. I’m a bit partial to the Camper Stainless UFX model, which has a tapered bull barrel for reduced weight while on those long camping trips.
If you’re in the market for a good rimfire autoloader, give one of the many Buckmark variations a look. I’d be willing to bet you’ll find a pistol that will deliver years of fun on the range.