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.firstname.lastname@example.org.