Browning’s Buck Mark URX pellet pistol: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


Browning’s new Buck Mark URX air pistol has a lot going for it.

The Browning’s Buck Mark URX is another cool pellet pistol I saw at the 2012 SHOT Show and wanted to test for you as soon as it became available. This pistol is a single-shot breakbarrel (the packaging says it has a “one stroke cocking mechanism”) that has the same general profile of the Browning Buck Mark .22 rimfire pistol, but it is not an exact copy. The single thing that attracted me to this pistol is the velocity — an advertised 320 f.p.s. with lead pellets and 360 f.p.s. with lead-free alloy pellets. That tells me the gun cocks easily and should have a very smooth firing cycle, and that, in turn, promises good accuracy! I can only hope!

This is an inexpensive air pistol. It comes in a blister pack that’s designed to hang in a standard store wire rack. The appearance may put off some shooters who feel that they can’t get quality in an airgun this inexpensive, but we have the Beeman P17 single-stroke as an example of one that does deliver. So, I’ve learned to reserve judgement until all the testing is completed. The recent lesson of the Winchester M14 rifle reminded me to hold my opinion until all the cards are dealt!

I’ll tell you how engaging this pistol is. When I first picked it up, it wasn’t 5 minutes before I’d cocked it and fired the first shot. The barrel breaks open easily, and no cocking aid is required. The piston stroke is longer than you might think, and the barrel keeps on coming down and back for a long time. That tells me the piston stroke is where the power comes from, so the mainspring can be relatively light.


The Buck Mark URX breaks open farther than you expect. This tells us the piston stroke is long.

The cocking link is in two pieces, which allows the cocking slot to be very short. In the case of this pistol, it’s non-existent, as the link feeds straight back through a slot in the frame. That gives the frame more rigidity, which in turn reduces any vibration. This gun is low-powered, so there won’t be a lot of vibration to begin with. And with this design, it should be very smooth.

The safety comes on every time the pistol is cocked, and the lever is placed perfectly for right-handed shooters to release it with their thumb. In every other way, this pistol is entirely ambidextrous; and I went so far as to cock and shoot it in my left hand! The safety comes off easily with the trigger finger of a southpaw, so I don’t want to hear any complaints to the contrary.


The safety pops up automatically when the pistol is cocked. Right-handed shooters will also find it handy for resting the thumb.

Naturally, the exterior of the gun is all plastic except for a metal trigger, a metal safety switch and a couple screw heads. You have to accept that in an airgun at this price level; but as the Beeman P17 taught us, it doesn’t mean the gun can’t also be a great target pistol.

The sights are traditional (aka not fiberoptic — thank you, very much!) and the rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation. Neither adjustment has a detent, but the windage adjustment does have a small scale for reference. You can watch the sight elevate simply by looking at it from the side as you adjust it.


The rear sight has a small scale for reference when adjusting the windage.

The top of the gun has a Weaver base molded in. It looks like a Picatinny, but the cross-slots are 3.5mm instead of 5mm, so it’s definitely Weaver, only. That means you can mount optical sights, of course; and if I see the accuracy to warrant it, I may try that.

The pistol grip is raked back at a good angle for pointability, and there are finger grooves at the front. I find that a good hold is gripping the gun naturally and hooking my thumb over the safety switch — not unlike the hold I would use for a 1911 pistol.

The pistol weighs a pound and a half, which is on the light side for best accuracy, but I’ll know more about that when I shoot it. For now, all I can say is that it’s a very light air pistol.

What appears to be the barrel from the outside of the gun is actually a plastic shell enclosing a thin steel tube. I have no problem with that, because many air pistol barrels are similar; but this one ends six-tenths of an inch before the end of the jacket. There’s no “technology” (baffles or compensator) forward of the true muzzle, so this step was obviously taken just for looks.

For some reason, the barrel of the test pistol is very dirty. I look at a lot of airgun barrels, and it’s rare to see a dirty one like this. I will definitely clean it with a brass bore brush and some JB Bore Paste before doing any further testing.

Everywhere I look on this pistol, I see the thought that went into the design. For instance, the spring-loaded detent that locks the barrel shut is located above the breech rather than below. It’s a cone-shaped detent that seems to combine the smoothness of a ball bearing with the more positive lock of a chisel detent. The important point is that it doesn’t take a slap to open the breech for cocking the gun! It’s the detent we all like.


Here you see the unique locking detent and the leade (taper) in the breech that allows easier pellet insertion.

And the innovation doesn’t end there. The breech is relieved with a leade (taper) for easier loading! This, on an air pistol that sells for under $50 — but you won’t see it on some air rifles costing $350 and more. It’s a small thing until you try to load the gun 200 times in one session. Then, it spells the difference between a numb thumb and one that feels normal.

Another hint of someone who cares is the fact that, the moment the breech is opened, there’s spring tension on the barrel. There’s no fraction of an inch slop between opening the barrel and where the cocking arm is under tension. It’s a small thing; but in many spring-piston rifles, it can cost a lot of money for a good tuner to get the same thing.

Yes, I already know what the trigger pull feels like and how the shot cycle feels, but you have to wait for them. All I can tell you at this point is that I am smiling!

25 thoughts on “Browning’s Buck Mark URX pellet pistol: Part 1

  1. B.B.,
    I like it already. Do you know if it is made by the same company that makes the Browning Gold rifle? It seems someone at Browning is looking seriously at the airgun market, which can only mean good things for us. If it shoots, I’ll get one to replace my frustratingly troublesome P-17.
    -hm


  2. Can’t wait to see the accuracy report on that one. I wanted to get an IZH 53M as my first break barrel pistol but this might be a better option.

    J-F



  3. Being a big fan of break barrel pistols, and particularly enjoying the Browning 800, I’ve been eyeing this little brother. A rail to mount optics is a must for me, and those break barrel pistols without see to be short-changing themselves. Looking forward to the next installment.


  4. Ok, this has got me interested. Although I am a ruger mk fan at heart, the fact that this is nearly a dead ringer for the buckmark and doesn’t need c02 puts this on my list. If it shoots, it becomes a must buy. Thanks BB for the heads up.

    Al



  5. Edith,

    Add this to your busy schedule (if I’m reading things correctly).

    The PA specs say this about this Buck Mark:

    “Super all-day plinker…indoors or out
    320 fps w/alloy pellets, 260 fps w/lead pellets”

    Whereas BB is saying in this blog post, “an advertised 320 f.p.s. with lead pellets and 360 f.p.s. with lead-free alloy pellets.”

    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      Here’s what I have:

      Umarex’s 2012 catalog:
      Lead=260 fps
      Alloy=320 fps

      Gun packaging:
      Lead=320 fps
      Alloy=360 fps

      Owner’s manual in package:
      Lead=260 fps
      Alloy=320 fps

      Umarex website:
      320 fps…with no indication if it’s lead or alloy.

      I’ll call Umarex & get this straightened out.

      Edith


  6. Okay BB, you got my attention – again. You’ve made this sound very appealing so far. Now, do I want to sneak behind my 46M’s back for a cheap date? Will she forgive me if I get caught in this tryst? (But she should have known that I was fickle when she chose me in the first place.)
    -Chuck


  7. A replacement for my old Browning Challenger III! I wasn’t going to get another spring pistol, but now I may have to… I wish it was CO2 or single stroke pneumatic, but I guess you can’t have everything.

    /Dave


  8. Crosman just came out with a nice little tactical kit for it’s outlet store: http://www.crosman.com/outlet/CSTAK-999
    Why doesn’t PA do the same kind of thing? I like it when I can get a bundle like that for a cheaper price than the sum of it’s parts and it makes the shoping easier because you KNOW that the parts will fit together.

    J-F


  9. The receiver behind the barrel is metal, under the weaver rail. I was surprised that this was the case on such a low priced pistol. I like that the grip is plastic and the barrel shroud is plastic as this should be less maintenance on areas that are handled the most. All the critical parts appear to be metal castings. Mine is pleasantly accurate, but I did need to get a feel for the trigger and follow through with my sight picture. Nice to have a lower velocity trainer for short range/indoor use.


  10. This really looks like it could be a gun worth buying!

    Action blowback CO2 pistols are a lot of fun, but pellet shooters with rifled barrels are a lot more accurate. At least, that is my experience shooting my wife’s Gamo P23 as a single-shot pellet pistol vs. my PPK/S’s and Daisy 15XT. CO2 lasts a long time when shooting and loading pellets one at a time, but a break-barrel would be even better, with no CO2 at all to buy.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how accurate this thing is. Might have to “spring” for one soon.

    Les


  11. I have just started shooting and some buddies at work suggested a pellet gun I could practice with. I found this at Big R and immediately was drawn to it because it looks a little like my Beretta Neos and is relatively the same size. I really like the ability to learn how to aim and handle guns properly w/o packing up and driving to the range. Convenience means more practice time ; )

    Since I am such a newby I don’t know what I should expect from a pellet gun. I would like the sights to be highlighted for my old eyes, and the trigger seems a little strong, but so far I like it. Maybe you could suggest some mods?


    • Jack,

      There are no modifications for this pistol. Its construction precludes disassembly. Just shoot it as it came.

      I am 65 years old and wear bifocals, so I understand the old eyes comment, but I will share a trick with you. When you light the target with a 500-watt halogen lamp )a work lamp) you can see the sights very clearly. In lieu of that, shoot outdoors with the sun at your back.

      I will talk more about this in Thursday’s report, which will be the second part of the Buck Mark.

      Welcome to the blog!

      B.B.


    • I found that a drop of pellgunoil on the sear helped out. Just add one drop through the opening for the safety while the gun is on its right side, with the safety in the off position. You can see the sear in the opening when the safety is off. Mine is getting smoother with shooting, but it does require a bit of focus on the process with a light weight, lower velocity gun to keep the sights aligned without pulling one’s shots. On the plus side, I have found that the habit of following through while remaining focused on the target with the stiff trigger has stayed with me and improved my shooting generally. Since the little gun is accurate when I do my part, it is acting as a trainer, reinforcing my own need for consistency. Sure is fun to shoot.


  12. Just bought one of these Browning’s. It is a low end price pistol but, it shoots and handles real nice. Use ti for what it is; a budget price plinker. 100% smiles. FYI here in the UK the retail cost is £79.99 or US$120………..Go figure. Buy one and enjoy hours of fun.
    Good luck, Phil


  13. My son left it cocked for a long time and it has lost power.
    I have a replacement main spring ready to install.
    I figured out how to separate grip assembly form the rest of the pistol
    and took out all the screws I can see.
    I can see the main spring and how it works but do not want to start pulling on
    parts without a little bit of expertise from the experts.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Tom


    • Tom,

      The Buck Mark pistol isn’t built to be maintained. I don’t have any schematics because a gun this inexpensive is a throwaway.

      No doubt there is a way to do it, but it may require fixtures that you will have to figure out because as I said, this pistols isn’t built to be maintainable.

      You might contact Pyramyd Air’s technical department and ask them if anyone has ever attempted repairs on this gun. If so, they might know how to do it.

      B.B.



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