Browning Buckmark .22 Rifle
 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

January 8th, 2004

 

 

 

Since Browning introduced the rifle version of their highly successful Buckmark pistol about two years ago, my goal has been to get my hands on one. It turned out to be harder than I had anticipated. I have been allowed to handle a couple of them at SHOT Shows, and even ran across one that was for sale, but it was not the exact version that I wanted to shoot.

Browning introduced the Buckmark rifle in two versions; one with a heavy bull barrel, and one with a tapered Sporter weight barrel. The latter was the object of my desire. I had handled both rifles, and the Sporter weighs about one pound less than the target version, and balances like a dream. I was on a quest to find a Buckmark Sporter.

After months of searching, while still devoting most of my time to other projects, I had almost forgotten about finding one of the little carbines. I finally decided to call Browning. After reaching the proper person at Browning, I was informed that none were available at that time, but that they would send one to me when it became available. I had all but given up hope when I got a call from my dealer stating that he had a package for me from Browning. In less than five minutes, I was at his door doing my best impression of Fred Flintstone trying to get inside.

In the box was, finally, the twenty-two rimfire rifle that had eluded me for two years: the Browning Buckmark Sporter. The Sporter, like the other Buckmark rifles, is based upon Browning’s rimfire pistol design that has been around in its various forms for decades, the latest evolution of which is the Buckmark. It is a blowback action pistol with a retractable slide much like the old Colt Woodsman.

The Buckmark carbine is basically the Buckmark pistol with a buttstock and a longer barrel. What makes this little rifle so intriguing to me is its handling qualities. The large, open design of the thumbhole stock, the high Monte Carlo comb, the tapered semi-beavertail fore arm, and the carbine’s perfect balance combine to make this rifle one of the best handling twenty-twos that I have ever held, which helps to explain my desire to obtain one.

The Sporter weighs in at four pounds and six ounces, and the balance point is at the front of the trigger guard. The eighteen inch barrel tapers from .900 inch at the breech to .556 at the muzzle, which is finished in a recessed crown. Atop the barrel is a set of fiber optic open sights, and the rifle has an integral scope rail over the receiver and rear portion of the barrel. The slide is retracted by pulling the two tabs protruding at its rear. Releasing the slide chambers a round from the ten round magazine, which is housed in the grip. The slide locks open after the last round is fired, indicating an empty magazine. The trigger pull on the sample rifle measured a crisp two and three-quarter pounds. The Buckmark Sporter has a satin finish to the wood parts, and a non-glare finish to the steel and aluminum parts, resulting in a good looking overall appearance for a hunting rifle. Thankfully, Browning did not apply their famous lustrous high-polish finish to the Buckmark rifle. The gold plated trigger has a set screw to control overtravel. All other controls are on the left side, and are easily operated.  I shoot left-handed, and the slide stop and magazine release are easily operated with my trigger finger. The magazine ejects quickly with the assistance of a spring loaded plunger. The barrel is easily removed for cleaning. Overall fit and finish are very good.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Simmons 3 to 9 variable compact scope. The gun was function fired with a large variety of long rifle ammunition, from lightweight hypervelocity hollow points to sixty grain subsonic roundnose, and everything in between, including cheap bulk-packed discount store stuff and expensive target grade imported ammunition. Every round fed, fired, and ejected perfectly, except for one cartridge that apparently had no priming mixture in the case. I tried the dud round in another rifle, and again it would not fire. Anyway, the Browning functioned perfectly.

Accuracy testing was done at a range of fifty yards, which I think is about right for a twenty-two rifle. I sight all of my twenty-two rimfire rifles in at fifty yards, which is perfect for squirrel and small game hunting. The gun did not group as tightly as I had hoped, but it did do pretty well, and would consistently group five rounds into one and one-half inches with Federal Hollowpoints and Winchester Dynapoint ammunition, and did a little better with CCI Green Tag target ammo. CCI Stinger and Remington Yellow Jacket hypervelocity ammo also grouped into one and one-half inches at fifty yards. For plinking, informal target shooting, and small varmint hunting, the accuracy is plenty good, and this little Browning has "Squirrel gun" written all over it!

The Buckmark Sporter is a quality rimfire carbine that is built well, and built in the USA. It is probably the most comfortable and ergonomic twenty-two rifle available. It has superb balance and handling qualities, and exhibits good field accuracy.

Check out the Buckmark and the entire line of Browning products online at:   www.browning.com.

Jeff Quinn



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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

It took the author a while to get ahold of a Browning Buckmark Sporter carbine, but the little rifle proved to be worth the wait!

 

 

The Buckmark Sporter is equipped with fiber-optic iron sights as well as an integral base for mounting a telescopic sight.

 

 

Buttstock and forearm are well-finished and of good quality.

 

 

All controls are on the left side of the gun, and easily reached by both right-handed and left-handed shooters. Jeff is a Southpaw and greatly appreciated the layout of the gun.

 

 

Gold-plated trigger features an overtravel screw adjustment, a light weight of pull, and a crisp action.

 

 

The Buckmark Sporter is made in the U.S.A.

 

 

The little Browning proved to be reasonably accurate and 100% reliable with a wide variety of ammunition tested.

 

 

The Browning Buckmark Sporter proved to be exactly what Jeff expected - a lightweight, superbly-handling, fun-shooting and reasonably accurate field rifle. It has "squirrel gun" written all over it!