Sunday, September 28, 2008

REVIEW: BROWNING BUCKMARK Camper Bull Barrel

Shooting is fun. My buddy Bruce and I really enjoy our time at the range but shooting 9mm and .45 ACP on a weekly basis was really costing us a lot of money. So, we decided to spend some money now with the intent of saving money later. Our math worked like this, if shooting Winchester 9mm cost $20 per 100 at Wal-mart, $30 per 100 .45 and shooting Federal .22 cost us $13 per 550 then if we each shot about 5,000 rounds a year it would cost us $1,000 for 9mm, $1,500 for .45 but only $120 to shoot .22!

Of those 5,000 rounds, if we shot 2,500 centerfire ($500 for 9mm) and 2,500 .22 ($60 for .22) our annual ammo cost would be $560. The cost difference bought us each a .22 cal. pistol. How's that for a great (rationalizing) reason to buy another gun?

After handling several different .22 cal. target/hunting pistols Bruce bought the Browning Buck Mark Camper with a stainless 5.5 inch Bull Barrel. He paid a very fair $299 for it. The only things that came in the plastic storage box was the gun, one 10-round magazine and an allen wrench. Bruce quickly bought a second magazine and will more than likely buy one or two more in the future.

The first thing immediately notice about the pistol is the weight. It feels much lighter than many other .22 sporting pistols. I would say it weighs about as much as a well made airsoft pistol. My first thought was that this will be a very easy gun to wield but it'll suffer from a bit of recoil induced muzzle motion. As these thoughts were going through my head, I also noticed that the contoured grip was very comfortable and the gun was very well balanced. It didn't feel nose heavy like many bull-barreled, rather it felt perfectly neutral in my hand.

I loaded the two 10-round magazines and readied the gun for firing. The slide pulls back very easily and the light gun quickly goes to sights. I lined up the bright green fiber optic front sight and pulled the trigger. The shot broke with a crisp trigger that has very little travel. I kept the trigger depressed to allow the gun a natural follow-though then lessened the pressure on my trigger finger and the trigger reset with only a tiny amount of movement ready for the next shot.

The shots from my first magazine were ill-placed and not a good indication of the gun's ability to shoot due to my concentration of the "feel" of the thing. On the second magazine, I tried to keep my shots grouped as tightly as possible. At this point in the day, our targets were out at 10 yards making it easy to shoot tight groups. Even so, I was very happy with the result with someone else's gun.

My first impression that the light gun would allow even a .22 to have a some muzzle flip was unfounded. The well balanced gun had a small amount of flip but nothing too noticeable for a casual sporting gun. If this gun were to be used for competition, the flip would need to be tamed with some sort of compensator but for our use, it was a very easy gun to shoot.

Fiber optic sights are very popular and getting more popular by the day and I can see why. On a sunny day it offers a very bright focal point for your eye and makes it so much easier to align the front sight between the rear sight notch quickly and accurately.

This is obviously a pistol that can be handled by a full-grown man, woman or young child just learning to shoot. The medium-sized grip, light weight, easy sighting and light recoil make it ideal for any shooter. When I say any shooter, I mean it. If you're new to the sport this gun will help you master some of the basics and get you accustomed to handling, aiming and shooting a pistol. If you're a seasoned verteran you'll get tons of fun and trigger time for less than 3 cents a shot. That's almost as cheap as dry firing at home.

If you're looking for a competitive target pistol, capable of shooting 1/2 inch groups at 25 yards, you'll want to graduate up to the Browning Buck Mark Bullseye Target Stainless or the
Buck Mark Contour Lite 7.25 URX or even replace the factory barrel for a custom high performance barrel. But for most casual shooters, the Buck Mark Camper will give you hours and hours of fun pistol time and small game hunting ability without breaking the bank. With the gun starting at $299 and the .22 ammo still are reasonable prices, there's not many other options that make this much sense. Plus, if you want to add accessories, the Buck Mark Camper easily accepts an optional Weaver scope mount that will give you red dot or scoped accuracy.

There are only two .22 pistols I would really consider if in the market for a reasonably priced, rimfire fun gun and that's the Ruger Mark III or the Browning Buck Mark. Sure the Smith and Wesson has a lock in the competitive world but at $1,000 you could buy 3 Buck Marks and have enough money left over to buy 4,000 rounds of Federal .22 LR! How's that for value?



The Gun Owners Comments:
1) Why did you buy the gun? Purchased 9mm first (first time gun owner), went to the range, shot $20 for 100 rds, learned the math on ammo costs, decided I HAD to get a .22 pistol, searched all over the net, determined it was a Ruger MKIII or a Browning Buck Mark and went to Sportsman's Warehouse expecting to come home with a new gun (2nd). Cost $300 compared to $470 for a MKIII that I was also looking at. MKIII had extra mag, scope rail and extra color optical (red & green). The MKIII had a nice feel to it weight wise. It was the grip that ultimately made it final. To me it seemed so comfortable, I could shoot it all day. Picked up an extra mag on purchase.

2) How long have you owned the gun? 2 months (pushing 2,000 rounds)

3) How have your feelings for the gun changed in that time? Loving it. Glad I got it. I can't even try to count how many times I picked up the MKIII (The one Kennard bought) and Buck Mark before making my decision. In hopes of my wife being able to enjoy going to the range with me, I think she'll really like the grip and the lightness of the gun. But as a gun owning noob, I can't complain because I have a great, dependable .22 to plink with and learn technique on.

4) If you were faced with the purchase again would you buy that gun? Yes and No. For the "No" part I'd say that, to do it all over again, I might go for the hunter model seeing how it has the scope rail on it already. Maybe that's a bit picky seeing how I can buy a $30 scope rail for my camper. But, yes, it would still be the Buck Mark.

5) Best and worst of the gun? BEST: Optical front sight, grip, lightness, cheap .22 ammo, grip, safety for thumb rest/control, looks, grip (did I mention the new Buck Mark grip???) WORST: Not specific to my Buck Mark but loading .22 ammo (get a thumb saver), take down (need of tools), front screw comes loose during range time (~200 rds) on top sight part, taking out firing pin during take down, no allen wrench for barrel removal when purchased (floor model so might have been seller error)

6) Would you recommend the gun to others? Absolutely! I'm can't tell why I would try to convince anyone to spend $1,000 for a first time .22 pistol. This is just a view of someone that's new to gun ownership and not one from someone that knows so much about guns. 7) Any changes/mods planned? Thinking of getting a scope rail and red dot. Figuring I can quickly change from scope to sights easily while at the range.

8) What's in your sights (What's next)? Ruger LCP (carry) & custom 10/22 build.


Did you like this article? Check out the PAST REVIEWS at the top of the page for several more. If you'd like to share your knowledge by posting an article or review, contact me at Kennard.yamada@gmail.com.

37 comments:

  1. I'm loving my gun. The grip is great and it was a solid purchase as a gun noob.

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  2. Good common sense review in plain english. Thank you.

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  3. Great reviews on both guns. Helped me decide on the Ruger Mark III Hunter. I love the look and feel of this pistol. Ive shot several centrefire calibres but you cant beat the good old .22 for plain fun shooting!

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  4. JUST BOUGHT ONE AND LOVE IT

    kansasstatemilitia.webs.com/

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  5. I want to buy one but have not been able to find one on the net or at the local gun dealers.

    Any suggestions?

    dean@lwhinc.com

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  6. I was told by a friend if your going to buy a gun it should be a browning,...well I am glad I did. I have the same gun and every time I shoot it I love it even more!

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  7. I cannot overstate the neccessity of a good trigger on pistols and of the litteraly hundreds of .22 revolvers and automatics i've tried out the browning buckmark
    has one of the best out of the box. My nearly everyday shooter is a s&w 617 10 shot revolver
    as a single action no auto can compete but that is just my opinion I have a beretta .22 target 87 which is nice but really overpirced for what you get. I suggest to anyone interested in a 22 auto to get a browning simply for the trigger which is much better than a ruger's and the value is unbeatable

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  8. Good review. I, too, acquired the Buck Mark Camper Model for the economic reasons comparing to my Colt Commander .45, and Chinese Tokarev 7.62 x 25. Quite a difference in expenditures. It's a great toy to have and play with. I got two extra clips for it so I would not run out of fun too quickly. The only problem is finding a store that sells accessories for sights for this toy. Everybody is sold out!!!

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  9. Welcome to the NEW world of shooting. It seems that there won't need to be any kind of gun ban...you can't buy anything.

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  10. Looked at .22 pistols for a long time and spent much time on the internet reviewing all the .22 pistols. Made a decision to buy the Buckmark Plus UDX based on the fact that I have a Browning shotgun and the Browning BL-22 lever action rifle. The quality of all these guns is unsurpassed having owned them for many years and yes, the Buckmark did not dissapoint me. It is a quality pistol, reasonably priced and cheap to shoot. Also,unlike many pistols, it is very nice to look at with the wood grips and excellent finish on the metal, a joy to own and it shoots as good as I can hold it. What more can I ask for?

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  11. Our Browning Buckmark is a 1991 vintage with countless rounds through it. The inital 3 mags have been replaced with 5 new more reliable versions. Some springs have been replaced. Our 12 year old son just shot his first Steel Challenge with this pistol and is feeling pride in his results. This Buckmark just keeps on keeping on! Nuff said!

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  12. Im buying one of these in a few hours... I'm so excited!!!

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  13. My girlfriend is putting a Stainless Steel Buckmark Camper on layaway for me today, im so excited! I love my XDm 9mm but it gets so expensive to shoot and plink with.

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  14. Owned many 22s over my life time as well as a large selection of makes and models of pistols and rifles. Own a Ruger MkII and I love this little pistol, but I have been looking at the Buckmark in matt black and decided to buy it. The price is high for a 22 ($495), but the great reviews I have read where a deciding factor. Very good little pistol.

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  15. I also own a Browning 20 gauge shotgun and a BL-22 with a scope. Had for years and they are excellent. Bought a Buckmark Plus UDX last year and it is a joy to look at, to handle and to shoot.
    I just purchased a Springfield XDm in 9mm which will be waiting for me when I get to Florida around Nov. 1 and I can hardly wait, as my son in Ohio has a XD and said the XDm would be better. As I live in NY for half the year and I am considered a Florida resident (I own a condo there) I cannot have a pistol in NY unless I get a pistol permit and I can't as I am a FL resident so go figure that one out. I was told by NY authorities that even if I was on a traveling shooting team, I could not bring any pistol into NY legally. Anyhow, Brownings are great and accurate. I hope my new XDm will be as good.

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  16. I own an older buckmark, bought it in the nineties and after putting thousands of rounds through it, find that it is worth more than I paid for it. It's a beautiful gun!

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  17. I bought the 5" Plus Rosewood UDX. I bought it last Monday and put 200 rounds through it on Thursday after cleaning and lubing it and its mags. I used a box of Federal 550 Value Pack rounds. I had 0 issues and 0 misfires. This is a great gun and I am completely satisfied. I really wanted the 7" stainless Bullseye Target but the smooth grip just didn't feel right in my hand. I also own a Ruger Mark III Target 5" stainless and like it just as well. However, I like the lightness and grip feel of the Browning just a bit more. Both are first rate guns.
    RickM46

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  18. Nicely written article. The Browning is probably the best of the 22 semi-auto pistols. The Ruger is more popular and mainly due to its 'everywhere' existence and it is cheaper than the Browning mentioned in the article. More dealers carry the Ruger MK than the Browning variants. The Beretta Neos is a definite winner and has a little different pistol grip angle. The Beretta offers a rail as standard and can be outfitted with many different scopes, ect. The Neos is also the cheaper of these 3 too. All three will do the job but the Browning gets a little more of my nod over the Ruger or the Beretta. If price dictates, then get the Neos. If you want a gun to pass down the pike to future generations, gt the Browning or the Ruger. Cannot go wrong.

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  19. When I got my "fun" .22 I picked the Browning over the Ruger Standard (best selling pistol in U.S. History btw). Dependable, fun, accurate, its just a joy to shoot. Nice article. Great gun.

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  20. I bought a ruger MkIII 22/45 1911 style with the fluted barrel last week. One major issue....the mag wouldn't eject or go in correctly. I took it back right away and bought the Buck Mark Camper for $110 less. The new Buck Mark is the same one in the pick in this article. I LOVE IT. Not as pretty as the Ruger..That special edition Ruger was beautiful, but im very happy with the Buck Mark. Shoots so smooth.

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  21. I have really been wanting to get a buckmark but couldnt decide the buckmark or the smith and wesson 22a.thanks for the review helped alot

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  22. I bought the Buck Mark Camper the other day, it is my first pistol. I absolutely love it. I took it to the range and me and my friends shot it and they were very impressed with it as well and unlike me, they have been shooting for 40 plus years each.

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  23. Hopefully buying one tomorrow, surprisingly tough to find one in my area. Of course I was being pretty specific wanting the camper stainless with UDX grip. I don't think I have ever found a product so universally praised in reviews and comments. It makes me feel pretty good about the purchase.

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  24. Im close to buying a new .22 auto for casual target and plinking. Here is the on thing about the Buck Mark that concerns me. I downloaded the owners pamphlet (PDF file). It mentioned that they recommend not taking it apart or field stripping for cleaning. Instead they said to just clean bore as you would any firearm. I have no problem with that, but they go on to say all other cleaning (ramp, chamber, and inside of receiver) should be done with a brush thru the side. That bothers me. Even pricey rimfire ammo is dirty. The cheap stuff is really dirty. I have several rimfire autos, and have rarely ever had and feed issues. I believe that is because I keep my guns really clean. Could someone who owns a Buck Mark post a comment about this. I still want to buy one, but would like to hear from someone who owns a Buck Mark about this issue. Thank you

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    1. im gonna take mine apart anyway.

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  25. I've had a Walther P22 in for warrenty repairs for over 3 months now and needed a .22 plinker pistol to satisfy my cravings. Bought a BuckMark Camper with the URX grip and I'm in love!!!! Best grips ever, better than my Hogue wraparounds on 1911's and 9mm High Power. Now the Pros vs Cons of the BM and other .22's I've owned.

    Pro- Grips!!!, accuracy is top notch.
    Trigger pull out of the box is nice but Google search trigger spring mod (flip stock one over) and it's as good as the grips.
    Very good looking pistol.
    Tons of aftermarket goodies to personalize your BM.
    Eats just about any type of ammo from "Good" target ammo to Wally World bulk, even Rem gold bullets work in mine. This is a big plus in my book.

    Cons- No double action trigger like a P22. Duds must be ejected and reloaded to see if they'll go boom.
    Take down is rather complex compared to a S&W 22A (one button take down) and even a 5.5in P22 with fake compensator.
    Those great wraparound URX grips that feel so good are a royal pain in the takedown and assembly proceedure.

    But I don't clean a .22 pistol very often, hardly ever clean the barrrel unless shooting lead bullets. I polish the feed ramp, squirt some Gun Blaster on a toothbrush and a little Rem DriLube or alchol & graphite solution on the action rails and it's been good to go.

    YouTube has good videos on teardown,mods, and assembly of this fine pistol. Watch 'em and lean and enjoy shooting this beauty.

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  26. About to buy a Camper. Looks like a good gun. I own a Ruger Sr9C now and yea, it get's expensive to shoot. Nice review.

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  27. Just put 500 rounds through my new buck mark with my 12 yr old daughter. She could handle it very easily and it was really reliable with bulk ammo. No jams or miss fires. The gun feels great in your hand and the grip is perfect for both me and my daughter. Glad I got this gun!

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  28. After purchase and cleaning the Buck Mark, I fired 350 rounds through it. Using Federal ammunition I experienced a failure to extract about every 12th round. The casing would cross positioned and jammed by the slide. Four rounds failed to fire - rim was indented. I'll try doing a good cleaning and different ammo. Hope this works.

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    1. Same here. Many jambs the second time at the range. How did you make out? I'm considering trading mine in. Unfortunately I just purchased 4 add'l magazines and a scope mount for it.

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  29. Greetings all...I have owned and shot a Buckmark Camper for over 10 years and to be honest...I would pick this .22 pistol over any I have owned...Rugers (and I am a Bisley Blackhawk loving dude...my Cowboy Action pistols) Smith and Wesson model 422s and both the Ruger autos and revolvers! If I were to be told today that I could only have ONE pistol and ONE rifle to shoot as much as I wanted to shoot it would be the Browning Buckmark family and the SIG SAUER 522...both will feed anything and everything and shoot WAY better than I can...and do it over thousands after thousands of whatever brand of rimfire ammo I feed them. With factory ammo rising in price almost every day and reloading prices also going up as well the .22 rimfire is looking way better. As it has been put..."trigger time is trigger time"...rimfire rules! BisleyBlackhawk.

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  30. picking up my new buchmark camper 2/8/12 ca't wait to put it thru its paces

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  31. Thanks for the review. I went to Bass Pro Shop to get a Ruger but liked the feel of this gun so much I got it instead. I purchased one of these pistols yesterday and put about 500 rounds through it shortly there after (sore thumb today). LOVE the gun. I had done a great deal of researsh into the Ruger so I was having some buyers remorse this morning and wanted to see if others felt as positive about the Camper as I do. Your review confirmed I was correct to follow my instincts. It just felt better in my hand!

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    1. Bobby, thanks for your comment. Did you see my review on the Buck Mark I bought my wife for Valentine's Day this year? http://firearmfun.blogspot.com/2012/02/review-browning-buck-mark-vs-ruger-mark.html

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  32. just fired first 160 rounds, accurate, no ftf, ftl, grouped them perfectly at 7-12, very happy, started with cci, finshed with old Remington, all good. love it.

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  33. GREATLY DISAPPOINTED WITH NEW BUCKMARK
    Purchased new Browning Buckmark Stainless UFX mid October 2014. I’ve experienced ongoing FTE, FTL and stove pipes with popular factory ammo including, but not limited to: Federal, Remington and Winchester. I’ve cleaned it well between field trips and I’ve fired over 1000 rounds. The only ammo which cycles well in this gun is CCI Minimag, however making matters worse, CCI Minimag are extremely difficult to find. Following first use of the buckmark, I found the “c” retainer clip off the recoil guide rod. The groove in the rod for the clip appears to be poorly machined and the clip would simply fall off the guide rod. In addition, both front and back screws which hold the sight base in place become loose after 50 to 75 rounds. The chamber end of the stainless barrel is pitted, which is very evident when cleaning because powder residue remains in the pits. The barrel is either a poor quality of stainless and or poor machining during manufacturing process. I’ve owned many guns in my life, including browning, but this is the first gun I’ve had disappointing issues with. Browning does carry replacement parts for this gun and Browning is happy to sell you replacement parts, but why should I have to look forward to ordering parts and why should I have to spend so much time searching for the one and only specific round this gun will cycle? In conclusion, the buckmark is a joy to shoot, when it cycles, and the grip does feel good in your hand, however you will need to carry an allen wrench with you in the field to keep the base screws snug on the star lock washers and you likely will find it to be the most pickiest gun on ammo it’ll cycle. I’m greatly disappointed in Browning and I’d like to think Browning could manufacture a better product than this and if they can, why doesn’t Browning offer to replace this gun with a new one without these issues. Is Browning only interested in sales and profits? By A. Lindahl

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  34. I've got a Buckmark Camper with Black Matte finish.
    Ot shoots any ammo that I put through it... even that nasty Remington 22 Thunderbolt. Yes it gets dirty like any other gun. And yes it can have issues cycling if it gets too dirty or if the clip gets dirty. One guy said it right. Keep the top part of the clips well maintained. Use a brush to clean the receiver/firing pin area. Lube the slide often.and wipe off excess...
    I clean the barrel in an unconventional way however.I put a cloth through the receiver as if to protect the firing pin... then use my cleaning rod through the muzzle first while the gun is upside down. If I think the barrel needs a good cleaning. I'll do this first before cleaning the rest. Nothing wrong with taking it completely apart but it would be done for educational purposes. It's 300 dollar .22 plinker. Not a deer rifle...besides it has many warnings for taking it completely apart. You may not be able reassemble it. Great gun that's accurate, reliable, comfortable, fun, and cost effective to shoot. Just don't shoot it and toss it in the case over and over and expect it to be problem free... At least do some basic TLC like any firearm deserves. And keep your fingers clear of the slide when firing... I never got nabbed but everyone else who fired my Buckmark did... the slide can hurt when it cycles during firing...

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