Browning’s Buck Mark URX pellet pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


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

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of this new Browning Buck Mark URX pellet pistol. I didn’t know what to expect, but I sure hoped this little gun was accurate! In many other ways, it’s so nice — it cocks easily, holds like a dream, has adjustable sights and is very quiet. So, if it’s also accurate as well, this will be a good one!

I always worry
It’s always a little scary when I shoot a new airgun for accuracy, because I’m wondering whether it will hit the target, the trap, the backstop or the wall. In the case of a few guns, the worst has happened; and since I shoot indoors for most of the closer tests, I always worry.

Typically, I try a rested shot from half the distance to the target, just to make sure the gun isn’t scattering its shots too wide. This time, I shot 20 feet from the Winchester Target Cube, and the shot went low and to the left. I thought there might have been some interference from the makeshift rest that was used, so I backed up to 10 meters (33 feet) and fired another shot. Nope! It was even lower and left-er! The sights did need to be adjusted.

I cranked in a lot of right adjustment into the rear sight and let fly with a third shot. Still low and left, but closer to the mark this time. More right and some up into the rear sight and the next shot went pleasingly into the black bull. That was followed by nine more RWS Hobby pellets and the first group was finished. It measures 1.582 inches between centers.


Ten shots in 1.582 inches. Notice the three sighters below the bull — one at the left edge of the paper.

Trigger
I’d commented before on the weight of the trigger. Well, it isn’t such a problem in the two-handed rested shooting position. It actually helps to stabilize this very light air pistol, and I do like feeling the second-stage pull through some stiff travel before the sear releases. I got to the point of knowing when the gun was about to discharge, so the trigger is very predictable.

JSB Exact RS
The next pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS. They fit the bore looser than the Hobbys but were not what I would describe as too loose. I expected good things from them; but as you can see, they didn’t print as well as the Hobbys. Ten made a 2.043-inch group.


Ten JSB Exact RS pellets made this somewhat disappointing 2.043-inch group at 10 meters.

Firing behavior
The Buck Mark bounces in your hand as it shoots. That’s typical of a spring pistol, but it can be disconcerting to those shooters who feel the need to control the gun. If you’ll just relax and use the same hold every time, the pistol will do its best for you. I promised a blog about how to shoot a recoiling Webley pistol, and I’ll do it soon for you.

RWS HyperMAX
I also tried RWS HyperMAX non-lead pellets for the velocity test, and I thought I would continue them today. In the past, these pellets haven’t done very well, but all the guns I’ve tried them in were so powerful that they drove them very fast. Worse than that, they probably all had the wrong vibration range. The Buck Mark is certainly not a magnum air pistol, so let’s see what they can do.

Wonder of wonders, the HyperMAX delivered a 10-shot group that measured 1.802 inches between centers. They were better than the JSBs and not quite as good as the Hobbys. They also made a different sound on target and certainly got there a lot faster.


RWS HyperMAX pellets turned in a decent group of 1.802 inches between centers.

H&N Baracuda Green
Since I was already shooting lead-free pellets, I couldn’t fail to try our new friend, the H&N Baracuda Green dome. They fit the breech extremely tight, so I made sure to seat them as deep as possible with my finger. That pushed the lip of the skirt past the entrance to the barrel, which was all they needed. Ten Greens delivered a group that measures 1.392 inches between centers. That’s the tightest group of the test, so I’m glad I included this pellet.


Ten H&N Baracuda Green pellets went into this group that measures 1.392 inches between centers. It’s the tightest group of the test.

What’s the verdict?
From what I see here, the Buck Mark is reasonably accurate. True, it’s not in the same class as the Beeman P17, but this is a spring-piston pistol that’s easier to cock than the single-stroke P17. I like the hold, the sights, the power level (for indoor target) and the low noise. I think the pistol is worth the money if you want it for informal target practice. The trigger is a bit heavy, but you can get used to it.

No airgun made like the Buck Mark should be considered to be an heirloom gun. The construction just doesn’t support hundreds of thousands of shots. But I’ve never fired any air pistol that many times, including the 10-meter pistol I competed with for several years. So, the Buck Mark makes good sense to me.

38 thoughts on “Browning’s Buck Mark URX pellet pistol: Part 3

  1. Wah hoo! First comment! Cool! Um…well…hmm. Guess I really don’t have anything ta say, just got all jacked up cuz I git ta be first. At my age it don’t take much!?! All seriousness aside, Mr. B.B., Ms. Edith & the Gang, THANX. Oh yeah, VOTE!!!
    Beaz




  2. I’m happy to see reasonable accuracy from this little gun. Not in the same class as my old Challenger 3 (I still regret selling that one), or even close, but ok… I might have to pick one up one day just because it looks like it fits my hand.

    /Dave


  3. Is it just me, or do some of those pellet holes look like the pellet was tumbling?

    See the sighter in the #6 ring, and the Hypermax also in #6 ring. Both look like they went in sideways.


    • Wulfraed,

      Yes, they do! I didn’t notice it until you mentioned it, because the pistol tore the target pretty bad, but those do look sideways.

      B.B.


  4. I think that someone accurately pointed out in a previous review that this gun is good for practicing where there is little space.



      • Matt61,
        Yeah, I don’t think this is meant as a negative. Low-powered, but accurate guns have a place for those of us who want something that we can practice with indoors. I like to make targets that are shorter distance equivalents of full-distance targets. When you make your own targets, you can even relax the requirements a bit. What matters is that you can have something that lets you work on your fundamentals. You just need to know what the fundamentals actually are.
        Victor


  5. Nice shooting B.B. In any other environment than our current market glutted with great airguns, this would be very desirable. As an aside, I’m so gratified to see the new target version of the IZH 61! Someone obviously thinks this rifle is accurate and worth investing in. I’m not going to trade my 6X Bugbuster scope, but it’s a nice development to see.

    Just back from my trip. I suppose I’ve missed all the commentary about the deranged shooter in Colorado, but I can’t resist posting some thoughts. He is quite the interesting case for gun control. In spite of his appalling behavior, there is no system of checks that could have stopped him. His record was squeaky clean without even a traffic ticket. The only way to prevent him from getting guns is to outlaw them completely which is a non-starter. On the other hand, he does present a problem to those who believe that safety lies in carrying your own weapon. That would have done little good against his bulletproof armor. Perhaps safety lies in another direction: portable bulletproof armor for everyone! Captain America and Batman both have this and so does a superhero named the Black Panther who has a more capable suit made out of a material called Vibranium. You would still be vulnerable to a underground industry of armor-piercing bullets but presumably those would be easier to control. But then there are all of the guy’s illegal explosives that present a wholly different threat…

    One of my joys in Hawaii was to look at the sunlit mountains through the sights of my M1. What a pretty picture. I could gaze for hours. But my bliss was seriously compromised. I got emails about a petty thief at my apartment complex who is stealing toilet supplies, bicycle pumps, clothes out of the laundry room–basically everything that is not nailed down–with impunity. Then, I got to thinking about all of my guns which are merely behind one locked door. By the time I got home, I figured it was more than likely they would all be gone. That would include my Anschutz Olympic rifle of fabulous expense, my surplus rifles which would be very difficult to replace, my 1911. And there are the serious legal consequences in California if a crime was committed with my guns if they were not locked up–which they were not. The guns were still there, but now I’m thinking of means to secure them. There are small safes available for the handguns. But it looks like a thief could simply walk away with them and penetrate them at his leisure. There are larger safes, but they are too expensive and wouldn’t fit in my place. I’ve thought of padlocking all of my cases, then chaining them to each other and to my kettlebell to create an unmoveable mess. Any ideas for safeguarding the guns would take a load off my mind.

    In other news, has anyone noticed if the Chinese are wiping out everyone in the Olympic shooting events as predicted? I see they took gold for the women’s air rifle.

    Matt61


    • Matt and everyone else,

      something had struck me as not right in the “body armor” description. It was said he had a throat protector on. To my knowledge, this is something used in paintball armor or even riot control as opposed to bullet-proof vest type armor. Does anyone know or have they read if his armor was actually bullet proof vest type armor or was it paintball hardware?

      Fred DPRoNJ


      • Fred DPRoNJ,

        The news media doesn’t know airguns from airsoft guns from firearms. They probably don’t know anything about the different types of protective vests available. Most are calling it a bullet-proof vest. For all we know, it was just a shooting vest with pockets for extra mags and whatever else he was lobbing.

        Edith


    • Matt61,

      I haven’t followed this Aurora mass-murder story too closely, so I’m a little unsure as to how things went down exactly. I don’t know why the shooter was able to enter the rear emergency exit without sounding any kind of alarm (I very rarely go to theaters, and I never leave through emergency exits)? Maybe the theaters need at least a silent alarm that they are aware of right away. I think that the shooter had full confidence that the emergency exits did nothing. I don’t understand why the smoke bombs used didn’t set off some kind of alarm? I don’t know how effective these bombs were in protecting the shooter from being seen? In other words, I wonder how easy, or difficult, it would have been for an armed citizen to have effectively returned fire? My understandings is that a small miracle occurred when the large capacity magazine jammed.

      Regarding the theater exits and smoke deters, I’m not trying to play arm-chair quarter-back. I think it’s wrong to try to trivialize this tragedy. But I’m hoping that something was learned from this incident so that others might be deterred from doing this again, or possibly reducing the carnage of such attempts.

      Victor


      • Key factor is that they aren’t “emergency” exits. In most theaters I’ve been to, one is perfectly free to use those exits to get back to the parking lot without going through the lobby. The doors, usually, don’t have exterior handles and /should/ have been latched shut to keep non-payers from sneaking in (one would need an accomplice inside to unlatch the door — or have gone through earlier in the day and taped the latch open).


        • There you have it. So then a simple spot check of the doors by theater staff between audiences might have saved a lot of lives. Unless the shooter planed his weapons just outside, but entered through the front like the rest of the paying customers. In any case, spot checks sound like a good idea.


    • Matt61,

      Regarding the Olympics… Yeah, I’m a bit surprised that Americans are placing so low in events like air-rifle. However, my understanding is that competitive marksmanship with air-guns is much more popular in countries with strict gun-control laws. America may have more gun owners, but very few of them know or care about formal competitive marksmanship. First of all, “target” or “precision class” shooting is very expensive, making it a sport almost exclusively for the more well-off. I don’t know of too many people who will drop close to $3000 for an air-rifle, outside of those who are already high motivated about competing. That’s why I wish Sporter Class would stay affordable and would be pushed more. Maybe from a larger pool of Sporter-Class shooters, we can groom our next generation precision-class marksman. We need air-gun shooting to become as popular as bowling is in America in order for us to do better than 27th place in an Olympics, I think. It’s all about the numbers, so the more we have competing, the better our chances become of increasing our competitiveness.

      Victor


      • Victor,

        Americans have never done well with either air rifle of air pistol. The problem is American shooters see the airguns as beneath the rimfires, when actually they require just as much skill to shoot well, if not a whole lot more.

        Look at Loni Meli. Great with a rimfire but mediocre with an air rifle.

        As a nation of shooters, we just don’t have the mindset for airguns.

        B.B.


        • B.B.,
          I agree. No one that I know, outside of target shooters, is interested in shooting air-guns. It’s a macho thing. Part of the problem is that no one is making it clear why air-gun shooting is so challenging. Some describe air-gun shooting as “just shooting BB guns”. People say, “anyone can do that”, but don’t have a clue about what “that” actually is. “That” is hitting a bulls-eye that is less than 0.02 inches wide at 33 feet, in the offhand position, and doing it 99% of the time! This is both a mental and physical feet!

          But nooo! People are impressed by loud bangs, and guns that damn near knock your shoulder off, or break your wrists. America’s next pool of great shooters will have to be raised through the ranks, starting at more accessible shooting sports, and there is nothing more accessible than air-gun shooting.
          Victor


    • (continued)

      The world of competitive marksmanship has changed over the past several decades since I last competed. Let me give you a little history and insight. When I competed, there were two camps in competitive marksmanship: 1) ISU (now ISSF) – Shooting by international rules. 2) NRA – Shooting by NRA rules. Both are very different.

      Some shooters, possibly most, never cross lines. If you went to the US International Championships you’d see NRA shooters who held most national records, but never as competitors. Likewise, you’d see World-class champions at Camp Perry, but only as spectators. Notable exceptions were people like Lones Wigger, who could beat the best in either type of match.

      Back in the days of my shooting career (the mid-70′s) lots of civilians flat-out refused to shoot ISU matches because they felt that the Army Marksmanship team had an unfair advantage. They described (accused) the Army shooters as being more of a professional-level shooter. The Army shooters have facilities and support that civilians didn’t. Lots of the better civilian shooters would eventually either join the Army, or the Army Reserves, in order to take their abilities to the next level.

      I believe that since USA Shooting has taken over the sport from the NRA, things have become more balanced (between the Army and civilians), but that has also resulted in less super-elite level American shooters. I can be wrong about this, but that’s my guess. Again, competitive marksmanship needs a boost to increase our talent pool. The best path that I know of is to make target shooting more accessible. The best vehicle for this is Sporter Class. We simply need more shooters to want to win events like the Olympics. But this will never happen so long as young shooters (or their parents) need to spend thousands of dollars to find whether a kid has any real potential.

      Victor


    • Matt,

      Sorry, but I think you are wrong. The Colorado weasel would not have been deterred if guns were outlawed. Where in the world has gun abolition deterred criminals from using guns? Anyone who would do the things he did would not hesitate to break a few comparatively lesser laws to obtain guns.
      Abolition of guns would have worked in the shooter’s favor, as it did in Aurora, where it was illegal to carry guns into the theater. That is a law that works until someone decides not to follow it.

      The mouth and throat armor was some silly airsoft junk he used to look more intimidating. Even if it would have worked, his eyes, forehead, and cheeks were exposed. An incoming shot would have penetrated his brain.

      A handgun with a laser sight would have blinded him as he stood in front of the screen, staring out into the dark theater. Even a laser-equipped air pistol could have stopped this guy.

      This guy obviously expected the audience to be unarmed, and he was right.

      I hope he gets a short stay on death row in Canon City, followed by an expedited execution.

      Les


    • Matt,

      Re: “He is quite the interesting case for gun control.”

      No, his actions do not make a case for gun control. It’s naive to believe that if all guns were outlawed it would eliminate mass shootings. Gun control is self-defeating: any prohibition of guns simply increases the profits and incentives to produce guns. Gun control advocates who bring up this objection ignore the reality that criminals can always obtain guns illegally on the black market. Let’s not forget that it is our right to own guns and suggesting gun control is stepping on my rights. I have a lot to say about my objection to your statement but I will close with this thought:

      History shows us that tyrannical governments have always disarmed their citizens. The first step to establishing a dictatorship is making sure no one can fight back. Because of what happened in Aurora the time is ripe for those in power to advance their gun control agenda. Be vigilant and fight for your rights.

      I’m hopeful that Colorado will require all citizens 18 years or older to obtain a CCW permit and carry their weapon of choice at all times.

      As far as doing little good against someone that has body armor you’re incorrect. Even with the best kevlar a body shot, at the relatively close range in the movie theatre, with a mid-high power hand gun will stun or even put the perp down. Follow up shots will be necessary but you have practiced that.

      For everyone else….there are several witnesses that saw someone within the theatre open the exit door to let the perp into the theatre.

      kevin


  6. I’m returning from vacation (I still went to town everyday to download the blog and comments but couldn’t really reply much) to find this… I’m not sure which is more interesting, the cool 50$ plinker or the Olympic talk. The coolest part is we can have BOTH.
    This blog is so entertaining that between being outside, friends and family fun I didn’t miss the computer or TV once (I got the blog and comments on my phone).

    J-F

    P.S. I have an old, just resealed Crosman .22 Peacemaker on the way, the piercing screw is missing and it’s been replaced by a screw&bolt so it works but I’d like to find an original replacement for it anyone has an idea where I could get one?


  7. In the USA, the best athletes are in other disciplines, not shooting. There is big, big money in pro sports, very little in shooting by comparison. So, it’s a wonder we do as well as we do.

    BTW, we have a gold medal in Women’s Skeet.

    Mike


  8. caveman said, ” I would like to find something in the $300 a case range that shoots well. Do you have any suggestions?”

    With some rifles, Winchester T22 has worked well. I don’t know about the current price. I have been shooting a Anschutz 54 sporter BTW.

    Mike


  9. It will be interesting to see how long the Buckmark holds up to long term use. I have had no luck with the P-17. First one leaked after 50 shots, took it back. Second one had a trigger that would release when pressure was removed after applying pressure, took it back and gave up. I have put 500 shots through the little Buckmark without a hitch thus far. Sure it isn’t as accurate as the P-17, but it works every time. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Crosman 1377 with three pumps beats everything in a low cost informal indoor target pistol. The 1377 I’ve had for years is as accurate at short range as the P-17, needs nothing but a drop or two of pellgunoil every 250 shots or so.


    • I’ll second that thought, Rich. I have a 1322 from the early 80′s that is quite accurate and is finally needing a re-seal. Can’t be too unhappy about that! The 13xx series and I’ll include the 22xx series are hard to beat value-wise!

      /Dave


      • Variable power has started to become more appealing to me, since I have been shooting more indoors than I once did. Kinda like having gears on a bicycle, you can adjust it to suit you. I do like the little Buckmark since it is light and easy for my daughter to use. The trigger has become easier with use (or perhaps we have become used to it). She finds the 1377 a little on the heavy side for her petite build, but the Buckmark suits her well. If I were limited to one airgun the 13xx series with a shoulder stock, steel breech and metal sights would be it. I’m hoping to get one of the 22 versions soon.


  10. Hey BB,

    Great Review. In comaprison to the P17, would you say that this is much quieter? I was looking for a cheap little backyard plinker to add to my collection.

    Please and thanks :)


    • TEE,

      Yes, I would say that the Buck Mark is a little quieter than the P17. Both are fairly quiet, but the Buck Mark is quietest.

      B.B.


  11. The RWS Hobbys did pretty well in this test. They are consistently at least very good, if not the best shooting pellets I have in my pellet stash in my pellet rifles. If I get a new pellet air gun I grab a tin of those, the Crosman Premier hollow points, and often, a tin of Gamo Match pellets. The RWS and Crosmans are about equally good, while the Gamos are not quite up to the other two, but are worth trying to me. I have a bunch of others too, but these three usually get me the accuracy I want to see.


  12. I recently bought a new Umarex Browning Buckmark, and a Beeman P17. I ended up keeping the Buckmark and returning the P17. The Beeman was a nice shooting gun, but I got maybe 40 shots through it, and the trigger quite working. That is on the day I received the airgun. But my Buckmark just keeps purring along. As usual, my 60 year old eyesight may be my limiting factor. I have shot this airgun with open sights, and with my BSA red dot scope. I have gone back to the open sights. I like to shoot this airgun at about 7 yards off a rest. The trigger is stiff, buy still, it works well for me. I like how easy the barrel breaks open. Easy to load and fire. It jumps a little, but I’m having a much easier time shooting this spring piston hand gun than any rifle of the same type. The Buckmark seems to shoot well with both Crosman Premier wadcutters and hollow points. Best 3 shot groups are about 1/4″. I do wish the adjustable sights had clicks when you turn the adjusting screws, but they do work all right. This gun is a nice shooter, and is pretty quiet too. It’s just so much fun to shoot, that I have been shooting it every day.

    The Beeman, although I only had it for about 40 shots, did have a fine trigger. But when you pull that lovely trigger and it won’t launch a pellet down the barrel, I have no use for it. And when that happen on the very day I received the airgun……….


  13. After a 1000 rounds through my buckmark the side to side barrel slop has increased to the point that a shim was installed to return the accuracy. The under barrel cocking bar held together with roll pins has come loose allowing lateral movement at the connecting point.

    I am not sure this gun will make it through 2000 rounds…


  14. Just to clarifie the pistol is not junk and after shimming the barrel it has tightend the groups to better then new, when she goes kaput i will post her demise.

    I will stress to add the shims to each side to solve the side to side slop if your pistol is showing the movement i would add them in fact it might be prudent to do it when you receive this springer….


  15. Hi all, I just got my buckmark today. It is indeed very easy to cock, nearly silent when firing, and gets 1.5-2″ groups at 10 yards with crosman premier hp’s, which is all I’ve tried so far. Unfortunately, the trigger on mine was just over 8 lbs. I tore it down to do a trigger job, which was a breeze. Just pull the two cocking link screws and the allen head on the back of the receiver, and the whole powerplant and barrel pulls right off. Knock two pins out and you’re holding the trigger group. It was very easy to get the pull to a crisp 3 lbs, but unfortunately the sear is case-hardened, and after reprofiling the sear, the metal was soft as butter and wouldn’t hold its shape at all. I even tried case hardening it the ghetto way with a blow torch and quenching it in old motor oil, but the results were not sufficient. So, I’m ordering a sear from Umarex if they will let me. Otherwise, I am just going to have to make a sear. Such a shame, because the pistol is pretty sweet for plinking. It would be ideal if they would have just given it a 5lb (or less trigger). I agree that my p17 is a far better gun as far as accuracy and the trigger, but the p17 is WAY louder than the Buckmark, not much more powerful, and is much more of a hassle to cock.

    If you need a quiet gun for indoor shooting (like in an apartment complex) you will probably not find anything quieter, and the accuracy is sufficient for offhand plinking at 7 yards or so. It will certainly do fine for rolling cans and blasting plastic army men.


  16. So, Umarex customer service has nothing on Crosman. I spoke to a tech that said he can not sell me any parts, and they only get parts to customers for warranty repairs. I was honest and told him that I had done a trigger job and that the steel wouldn’t hold shape after removing the outer hardened metal. So, I guess the moral of this story is that I would have been rewarded with a new part if I had lied to him. Wonderful way to do business. Definitely the last Umarex anything that I will give money for. Given the quality of the parts, case hardened or not, I suspect that these pistols probably won’t last for more than 3000-5000 shots anyway. Such a pity that Umarex had to handicap a pistol with such potential by putting an inexcusably awful trigger on it, and using such cheap metal that it will never get handed down from one shooter to the next. I have to say stay away from this one and just get the p17 for less money and enjoy shooting groups less than half the size of the Buckmark with a trigger that is to die for, especially with just a tiny bit of trigger work to remove the pre-travel and defeat the automatic safety. Not to mention, my p17 has seen 26 500-count tins and hasn’t let up on power or accuracy one bit.


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