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Old March 8, 2019, 05:35 PM   #1
GarandTd
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Which Buckmark?

I currently have a SAA type 6 shot revolver in 22lr and a combat style semi-auto in 22lr. I think I'd like to add a good quality target style semi-auto to my collection.

I've decided that the Browning Buckmark is a pretty good candidate, but Browning has many styles and configurations for this pistol. My budget is between $300-$400 which helps narrow my choices down even more. I've tracked down 4 Buckmark variations local to me for consideration. Those are, from highest to lowest price:
*Buckmark Camper UFX matte stainless 5.5"
*Buckmark Camper UFX matte blue 5.5"
*Buckmark Micro Field Target 4"
*Buckmark Micro Bull 4"

I would love to hear what you have to say about the Buckmark, good and bad. Specifically, I would like to hear about these 4 variations if any of you have experience with them.

I'm not interested in the Ruger Mark/22-45 pistols or the S&W Victory, so please save those suggestions for someone else.
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Old March 8, 2019, 06:09 PM   #2
Charlie_98
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I have an original Buckmark from 1987, I love it. I've also got my mom's bull-barreled version from the late '90's or early 2000's... I'm not sure which version. I don't care for the UFX version of it, I prefer the standard frame profile.

All things being equal... and I understand you are at the mercy of what is available... I'd take a 5.5" barreled standard, but that might not be available. I don't know if I would suck it up and get a standard UFX or not...

The bull barrel adds a bit of weight... not a problem if it's a range pistol, but if you are carrying it or whatever, it might make a difference. Personally, I think the standard 5.5" barrel is perfect.

If you buy more magazines, spend the money and buy Browning mags, I've never had any luck with aftermarket magazines.
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Old March 8, 2019, 06:24 PM   #3
GarandTd
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What is the difference between the standard frame and the UFX frame? I think the URX frame has the finger grooves.
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Old March 8, 2019, 06:59 PM   #4
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After a little more research, I think the UFX is the same as the standard frame profile. The UDX And URX both have finger grooves not only in the grip panels, but also in the frame. All of the models I listed above have the standard grip/frame profile. Of those, the only one I have handled is the Micro Bull. I liked the grip, but need to feel the longer barrel versions for an idea of the balance.
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Old March 8, 2019, 07:09 PM   #5
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My Buckmark is several years old but appears identical to the Micro Bull 4" except that the barrel and slide are stainless. I find the grip very comfortable and it balances well. The trigger is reasonably good and the sights are nice as well. A very nice 22LR automatic for the price.

I don't care for the aluminum frame, plastic sight base, the fact that some parts are retained by the grip panels, and that the sight base and screws need to be removed before removing the sight base and slide. It's also easy to scratch your thumb and finger on the rear sight when pulling back the slide. Note that those characteristics are shared by all the Buckmarks.

It's typically easier to shoot better groups with longer barrels.

I'm pretty sure the finger grooves of the URX are in the grip only and not part of the actual frame. The UDX models have shallow finger grooves in the frame.

I consider the Buckmark a nice pistol and enjoy owning and shooting one. But it's not my top choice in the budget 22 automatic pistol category.

Last edited by BBarn; March 8, 2019 at 07:17 PM.
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Old March 8, 2019, 07:16 PM   #6
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I once had an early 5 1/2" Buckmark with the flat sides on the barrel. From what I remember, it's balance was just a bit more muzzle heavy than the 4" Bull barrel models.
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Old March 8, 2019, 08:10 PM   #7
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Garand, you have a bit of a problem there with “good quality target style semi auto”, “$300-400” and “Buckmark”. You can get two-and-a-half out of three.

If it has to be a Buckmark...
look for a used Buck Mark Bullseye Target... but those are well out of your price range. Maybe you can find one for a steal?
The closest thing might be a Buck Mark Field Target 5 1/2”.

To fully appreciate a Target .22 pistol, it’s my firm experience that you will want to mount a dot sight on it, until you are a Master class competitor. You will simply score higher in competition and that means being more accurate shooting Oreos on a log.

I like ultradot, the cheap one is what everyone I know use for punching paper.

With a fine dot dot sight, the length of the barrel doesn’t matter. Mounting it matters. Having a six inch long Picatinny rail on top just looks redonkulous to me- my ultradot is held on with only one ring and it hasn’t budged in 15 years. It’s a 22, not a .44.

If you are going to stick with iron sights, then you want the longer barrel (7 inch?) because the longer sight radius makes a huge difference until you are Master class.

Even without the $100 for your optics, you were already in budget trouble, I think.

If I was in the market for a new target .22 pistol, I would give the new Smith and Wesson Victory .22 and hope for a used Ruger Mark iv. The victory’s fiber optic sights are maybe an issue but you are mounting a dot anyhow. The Victory is more easily in your price range; there are a lot of competition parts out for the Victory but no Volquartsen trigger kit yet. The Ruger has a passel of parts and trigger upgrades.

Or... you want a Buck Mark? Get one and enjoy it.

Me: I shot low Expert class (low 90s) with an ultra dot sight on a Norinco copy of a Walther TT Olympia and mid Sharpshooter (85 ish) with a very long barrel IZH-35 with open sights. I put a dot on the IZH and my scores with that excellent target pistol jumped to low 90s and in rapid fire the fellas hated me as that thing was an unfair advantage!

I know a lot of fellas do fine with various Ruger semi autos, but they all need trigger jobs and volquartsen makes trigger replacement kits that are of high reputation. I hear the mark iv trigger is one of the best.

It’s no joke, stripping a Buck Mark is freaking hard until you know how. I can recall two guys that showed up pistol league night with half disassembled Buck Marks needing help. That said, once you know how they say it’s not so bad.

Finally, sorry for any toes I may step on but I would avoid at all costs the Ruger 22/45, having owned one. It’s not a target pistol, it’s nothing like a 45, and the front sight is a menace to your pocket or holster as a field gun. I’ve has a lot of Ruger .22s and that’s the only one I didn’t like!
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Old March 8, 2019, 08:19 PM   #8
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I have a early Buckmark, all nickel 4". I used it mostly for speed shooting bowling pins and steel plates. It has been very reliable with several Browning magazines. I made custom grips and a SS barrel weight to make the gun balance at the trigger, this helped reduce muzzle movement for fast follow up shots. I think the accuracy is pretty good but I only need to hit a bowling pin at 25 feet.

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Old March 8, 2019, 09:52 PM   #9
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My plans with the pistol are going to be mostly plinking and competing with myself and friends or family from time to time, maybe targeting a squirrel here or there. I keep buying 22s in hopes to entice my kids or wife to join me some time in the joys of shooting. They'll come around some day.

While I may mount a red dot, reflex, or pistol scope on it sometime, it's not really a priority of mine. I'm perfectly content with irons on my pistols.

I have a close friend with a S&W Victory. It's a decent pistol, but I can shoot it any time I want. I would rather have something different for myself. Then we both get to share in the joys of different pistols rather than 2 of the same.

I guess I mislead a little by saying I want a target pistol. Some of you are serious competitors. I'm just in it for the fun. I have Heritage Rough Rider that I like plenty and a S&W M&P 22 Compact that is utterly reliable and feels great in my hand. I'm looking for something that's going to be more accurate than the M&P and be easier to shoot more precisely than the the Heritage. In all honesty, I could probably find a Ruger Mark IV within my price range, but for no good reason whatsoever, Ruger doesn't excite me much.
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Old March 8, 2019, 11:05 PM   #10
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The internals of all buckmark models are the same, what will differ from one to the other will be grips, some of the models will have an aluminum barrel with a steel insert, barrels will vary from a slab slide to a bull with a taper but regardless of what you decide to buy, they are a great, accurate, reliable guns to shoot. They are equal in accuracy to a Ruger but cost less. Their out of box trigger pull are excellent. Buy what appeals to you.

When I bought mine I chose it over the Ruger because it just felt better in my hands. Good luck and let us know what you decided on.
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Old March 9, 2019, 10:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
but for no good reason whatsoever, Ruger doesn't excite me much.
Me either.

The stock sights on my Standard are actually very, very good... when my eyes were younger I had no problems with them, and, these days, as long as the target backgound isn't black on black, I can still use them. My mom's (which I believe is a 5.5" Target model, now that I have looked at it) has a Bushnell red dot on it... and it's just as fun.

One of the things I like about the Buck is you can take the barrel off and clean it from the breech. I've never had a problem losing parts when I take the grips off... and I think it's only 2 or 3 parts, anyway.

Standard: Straight grip frame (very similar to a 1911 in profile.)
UDX: Ultragrip Deluxe... a different grip frame profile with finger grooves.
It also looks like there is a standard grip version with UDX grip panels.

The UFX is the steel barrel wrapped in aluminum.

FWIW, I have big hands, the standard version fits my hand very, very well. It appears (from photos) that the UDX has a slimmer (length) grip... but I don't really know, I've not handled one personally. Your budget of $300-400 will probably limit your selection, if that's a hard limit. I bought my first Buck in 1987... for $189. I guess those days are over...
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Old March 9, 2019, 12:18 PM   #12
ds-10-speed
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Old slide no longer supported.

I thought of something in case you happen to find an older model like mine. Browning no longer supports the upper slide on my gun, if I need any internal slide parts I have to replace the whole upper slide, the inside parts are all different now. To tell the difference, the newer slides have the finger/thumb grabbers on the back, mine doesn't. I found the older slides like mine are a lot easier to take apart and reassemble than the new ones, I don't know why they had to make it harder.

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Last edited by ds-10-speed; March 9, 2019 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Added info.
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Old March 9, 2019, 12:43 PM   #13
GarandTd
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Quote:
The UFX is the steel barrel wrapped in aluminum
Everything I'm seeing shows the light weight versions with fluted barrels as being the aluminum over steel barrels. Of the 4 variations that I listed, 3 of them clearly state steel barrel. Browning sure does make this confusing. I think the main difference between UDX, URX, and UFX is the shape of the grip frame.

URX=full grip frame with finger grooves
UDX=narrower grip with finger grooves
UFX=full grip, no finger grooves

I could be wrong.
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Old March 9, 2019, 12:54 PM   #14
GarandTd
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I was looking at parts prices on the Browning sight. For about the same cost as the stainless 5.5" camper UFX, I could buy the 4" micro Bull and buy a 5.5" blued barrel from Browning and have 2 barrels.
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Old March 9, 2019, 01:15 PM   #15
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The standard and the UFX frames are the same.
The URX is basically the same as the standard, but the frontstrap is cut back more at an angle (to accomodage the wrap around finger groove grips). But the pin placement is identical to the standard and UFX. The backstrap is at the same angle.
The UDX has the finger grooves built into the frame.

I have the 5.5 slabside standard model and like the balance. You can interchange the barrels on most of them. I got a micro barrel, but did not like the shape and balance as much as the longer one, so sold it.

I prefer the blued models.
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Old March 9, 2019, 01:16 PM   #16
ds-10-speed
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I just looked at the new Browning selections, WOW!, it was a lot easier 20 years ago to pick one when I got mine. Personally I like heavier guns for stability, it just seems harder to stay on target with light guns for me. I'm sure the light ones have their place for some shooters. The short 4" or 5 1/2" bull barrel or slab side (non-aluminum) ones would be my pick.

JMO
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Old March 9, 2019, 01:35 PM   #17
GarandTd
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Both of the 4" models on my list are from last year and no longer in production, although available at a local shop.
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Old March 9, 2019, 02:34 PM   #18
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One thing that I want to point out is that the new guns with finger groves and all that have noticeably thinner grips than the old standard buckmarks. I like the old style grip, it feels very nice and hand filling to me and I think that it would be a good fit for most people with average to large sized hands. However, if part of your consideration is to provide something that your wife and kids will enjoy shooting, you might want to consider one with a slimmer grip.

I personally find all of the different grips to be perfectly comfortable, but people with smaller hands definitely have a harder time working the safety, slide release and magazine release on the standard grip sized buckmark.

I think you will be happy with whichever one you buy. Obviously, they are all the same, only with different barrel lengths/profiles/colors/sights/and grips.

Keep your eyes peeled for a good deal and one that speaks to you and then go for it.

Good luck
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Old March 9, 2019, 08:51 PM   #19
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I own this older variation of the Buckmark, never wanted to own one until I handled this one. The thing fit like an old version High Standard Supermatic Trophy that I own, very similar to include the gold trigger. The first time shooting it was a very pleasant surprise, you could not miss your target if you reasonably did your part. It pointed well in your hand, light crisp trigger break, heavy barrel to hold it stable. Two other family members shot it equally well after me, on target and impressed. If the other variations shoot like this one, I'll buy another when I can.
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Old March 10, 2019, 07:07 PM   #20
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I bought a Buckmark Camper Ufx blued barrel. It is a great gun. I have fired about 500 rounds out of it. A couple of FTFs with Winchester white box. Paid $252.00 delivered. I like the fact you can change the barrels without having to go through a FFL.
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Old March 10, 2019, 09:10 PM   #21
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Mine looks just like Shuvelrider's. It's a very nice and accurate pistol. I like it a lot and shoot it well. I wouldn't say that it's any better or worse than my Ruger Standard. They're both very good pistols, just different.
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Old March 11, 2019, 10:15 AM   #22
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Quote:
I thought of something in case you happen to find an older model like mine. Browning no longer supports the upper slide on my gun, if I need any internal slide parts I have to replace the whole upper slide, the inside parts are all different now. To tell the difference, the newer slides have the finger/thumb grabbers on the back, mine doesn't. I found the older slides like mine are a lot easier to take apart and reassemble than the new ones, I don't know why they had to make it harder.
I think you are correct... my original standard has, obviously, the older slide. My mom's is the newer version, with the slide tabs. I've not compared the two side by side, but I know for sure the top rail is different. Next time I have them apart I'll have to see what else they've done.

I've replaced the original grips on my Buck (lower) with the newer rubber ones. I replaced mom's old Bushnell (pre-EOTech) heavy sight with a much lighter Bushnell TRS-25...

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Old March 11, 2019, 10:24 AM   #23
HighValleyRanch
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Early 5.5 standard with custom grips
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Old March 11, 2019, 03:00 PM   #24
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I appreciate everyone's input so far. I'm planning to attend a gun show this weekend. That is pretty much the only thing holding me back from buying a Buckmark today. I have several ideas on the table right now, but I've given the Buckmark the most research and attention. Unless I stumble upon some kind of mind-blowing bargain at the gun show, a Buckmark will soon occupy a spot in my safe. I will update either way.
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Old March 12, 2019, 11:35 AM   #25
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I do own an original Ruger Standard Auto pistol with the red eagle grips from 1949, liked it too much to try the Buckmark,-----------until I did!!!!! Now I'm sold on the Browning
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