For some time I had relegated my .22’s to the back of the safe in favor of centerfire pistols. I even sold an old Hi-Standard H-D Military (gasp) a year ago to help fund the purchase of my M1 Garand. Despite the fact that the Hi-Standard was a classic, beautifully made pistol, I never cared for it. The trigger had been reworked and, while crisp, was closer to a 5 lb break. The manual safety engaged but not in a positive manner, and the hammer had a tendency to bit the web of my hand. All of this equaled a not so fun gun to shoot despite the fact that it had belonged to my late father.
At one point in late 2011, I was surfing Gunbroker.com and happened to see a nice little used Buck Mark for sale. I had looked at .22 handguns off and on in search of a replacement for the Hi-Standard, and found that I generally preferred the feel of the Buck Mark trigger to the Ruger Mark III (the other market leader in .22 handguns). This particular Buck Mark on my screen had an odd looking grip, but a quick trip to the local big box store to hold one of theirs with the same grip (URX) confirmed that it would work. Well, that’s an understatement. It felt good. Great. Awesome. Wonderful. So, home I came and up went my bid for $285. Wait, did I mean to do that? Is it impulse? I probably won’t win anyway. 12 hours later, much to my surprise, no one outbid me. $302 later (including shipping), the pistol was mine. Insert another $20 for FFL transfer fee, and I’m out the door at $322… much less than local price.
Initial inspection showed the Buck Mark Stainless Camper was very gently used, meaning hardly at all. It came with all paperwork and factory box, so for all intents and purposes it was as good as new. The trigger felt great, breaking cleanly at 3 lbs. And the green fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear were a nice combination. Within the week I found myself at the range with a box of Remington .22 hollow points.
The first few initial shots with the Buck Mark felt odd. No recoil… oh, yeah, that’s how a .22 feels. It took me a few groups to get accustomed to the pistol, but I did end up shooting a few decent ones from 10 yards. Here’s a .75″ 5 shot group:
I’ll cut to the chase: the pistol can do better than this, but I am likely the limiting factor. I like this gun. The controls are located in the same places as my 1911s, which is nice. The trigger is wide and breaks cleanly (plus it’s gold colored for a completely non-functional yet aesthetically pleasing touch). And the weight is very evenly distributed. My next task will be punching some groups at 25 yards with this to see what it can do.
If you’re looking for a great .22 pistol, it’s hard to go wrong with this or the Ruger Mark III. I personally felt the Browning’s trigger felt nicer but you may disagree… and that’s fine. Either is a fine pistol. There are other fine choices out there as well, but if you’re looking for an inexpensive, accurate, and fun to shoot pistol, it’s hard to pass the Buck Mark up. I sure don’t regret mine, and it’s already helping to hone my skills at the low rate of $.04 per shot.