Everyone has to start somewhere. The Browning Buck Mark series of firearms is one of the great plinkers, trainers, and competition shooters out there, and they’re priced low enough for all. For nearly thirty years this pistol and its variants have been dominant in the world of rimfire guns, and it’s not just because they’re inexpensive. They’re great shooters with good ergonomics and impressive out-of-the-box accuracy.
Starting with the grip and controls; the Buck Mark handles similarly to the Browning Hi-Power, which is, for most people, a very good thing. The Hi-Power, of course, was developed initially by John Browning and completed after his death by Dieudonné Saive. In some ways like the 1911, the Hi-Power to this day exerts its influence on many modern pistols not limited to the Buck Mark.
One area where the Buck Mark excels is the trigger. The single-action trigger breaks crisply and has very little overall travel. It also has a nice positive reset. Now for competition shooting, some people might find it to be a little heavy requiring about 5 pounds of pull force. That is an incredibly easy thing to change. The Buck Mark’s sear spring is directional, and if you reverse it, the trigger pull will drop to just a hair over 2 pounds, maybe 2½. Here is a video explanation:
Spinning the sear spring around is pretty much all it takes to make this gun a thousand times more accurate. Browning starts you off with a great target barrel; most Buck Marks have bull barrels with recessed target-cut crowns. They also come with target sights that are click-adjustable for windage and elevation.
Buck Marks are also designed to last. The frames are high-strength 7075 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum. Each receiver is CNC milled from a single block of metal. The magazines aren’t flimsy, either. They’re heat-treated steel, capable of withstanding more than a few mag dumps and are definitely not susceptible to feed lip warping, and they use coil springs like you would find in most centerfire magazines.
The Buck Mark’s longtime popularity has given rise to a titanic aftermarket. If you want even more accuracy from the barrel, that’s not an issue, there are many manufacturers who make barrels with even greater precision. Homegrown trigger jobs make you uneasy? Chances are you live very close to a gunsmith with loads of Buck Mark experience.
Buck Mark pistols are easy to find and even easier to shoot. These .22 Long Rifle handguns have even paved the way for Buck Mark rifles, which are very much pistols with 16-inch barrels and rifle stocks; most parts and magazines are interchangeable. Because they’re rimfire, they are easily some of the most inexpensive firearms to shoot often, and the guns themselves won’t break the bank.
No-frills Browning Buck Marks like the Camper or the Contour start at about $400 and top out around $550 for the rifles, like the Sporter and the Target. Whether you’re a novice to the shooting world or old hat, the Buck Mark is one of the best ways to stay at the range for hours without breaking the bank. Our very own Shelley Rae is building one for Steel Challenge Open competitions. Do you really need more endorsement?
Photo credit Redheadusmcwife