Kind of Neat!!!

Realized today that I have one blog post which has exceeded 25,000. While I know there are bigger blogs that probably get that many hits in a day. But for my little blog it’s pretty darn impressive. (In comparison, my home page has had 40,000 hits).

Here it is, my review of the Ruger MKIII Hunter and Browning Buckmark

Just kind of fun to realize I’ve got a post that’s reached that many hits. 🙂
[NOTE: I notice one image is not loading. I will have to figure out what happened to it.]

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Browning Buckmark versus the Ruger MKIII

Find out what .22LR pistol the N.U.G.U.N. Blog recommends for new shooters!

Last week while in Connecticut my mother purchased a Browning Buckmark .22LR semi-automatic pistol.

Having access to a .22LR range, I suggested that she go with a semi-automatic over a revolver in order to help her overcome the unfamiliarity of semi-autos.  The result was a brand new Buckmark.

While one should always take the internet with a grain of salt. Most of the comments I saw regarding .22LR pistols recommended either a Ruger or a Browning Buckmark. Many comments cautioned against the Walther’s, Mosquitos and others.  I am sure a lot of people love their 22 calibers of different makes. However, I’d be a fool not to factor in what was a large consensus of opinion.

I own a Ruger MKIII Hunter. I love the gun. It is a beautiful & accurate firearm.  However, it is quite the !@#$% to dissassemble, clean and re-assemble.  For this reason I recommended the Buckmark to my mother based on 1) a few online and in-person comments to the effect that it was a bit easier to clean, and 2) because I can’t fathom much of anything being as complex as my MKIII.

So today we had the opportunity to go to the range and try out the Buckmark.  What can I say….I liked it!  And more importantly…so did my mom!

I’ll try to give a summary of the differences. The Buckmark comes with a soft cushiony rubber grip.  The weight is a bit lighter than my MK Hunter with a 6″ barrel.  The two tone appearance is attractive – in a more modern looking fashion. The Ruger has beautiful classic lines and what is one of the most attractive barrels I have ever seen.  It’s sort of like comparing a new BMW to a classic ‘vette.  No one is going to knock the BMW but the ‘vette is far sexier.

Both feature a fiber-optic front sight. With a rear adjustable sight. My MKIII Hunter has a v-notch in the rear and the Buckmark a square notch. Both work well and I’d be hard pressed to give you a preference of one over the other.  That said, I am a strong advocate for fiber-optic sights. I do believe they assist in sighting especially in reduced light conditions.

I happened to stumble upon a Walmart with a large stock of .22LR including a lone box of Federal Match .22LR.  (Okay, let me be honest, I hit up about 5 Walmarts while in Connecticut and walked away with 12 boxes of 9mm, 6 boxes of Federal .22LR, plus the match box.) I decided to shoot two magazines, for a total of 20 rounds each. The results are included in the two images below. Both were shot at 25ft.

First, the Browning Buckmark.  Not bad, I was shooting a bit up and to the right.

The results with the Ruger MKIII are notably better, albeit slightly low.

Mind you, take these results with a grain of salt.  First off, it’s quite possible that the Ruger liked the match ammo where as the Buckmark didn’t care for it so much.  Due to a lack of time, (actually money as we were paying hourly range fees), I was only able to utilize one type of ammo for the above test.  And I did have some pretty good results earlier with the standard Federal 550 block ammo.

Second, I’m a mediocre shot. I am also more familiar with my MKIII than I am with my mother’s new Browning Buckmark.  So that might have come into play as well.  Essentially, I found both pistols to be accurate and a lot of fun to shoot.

However, one gun would have a significant difference that would lead me to recommend it over the the other for new shooters. Find out why?


We arrived home, had some family time, and ate dinner.  Then we went upstairs to clean both .22LR, as well as my mom’s new LCR.  (And 5 other firearms that needed to be cleaned from an earlier shoot.)  It was totally awesome family time involving me, my mother and Otis.  That’s right, both of us were learning how to use our Otis Cleaning System for the very very first time.  (More on this in a later post…)


Cleaning the MKIII.  I hook my handy handmade wire loop over the backstrap of the mainspring and pop the lock.  Gotta do a few cock-a-doodle-do’s (insert magazine, pull trigger, remove magazine, etc).  Remove the bolt.  Okay, still not very accessible. So I take out the hammer and tap, tap, tap; until the upper receiver falls off the lower.  Finally I can get in and clean the gun, and even that requires a few narrow brushes and picks to get the numerous nooks and crannies.

Now for the Buckmark…

The manual instructs the user to pull the slide and lift the slide lock.  Then take a brush to the breech area.  Then run a few patches or a bore snake/weasel thru the barrel.  There is essentially no take down required in order to do routine maintenance.  It was even easier to clean than her new Ruger LCR (no disassembly required, just happens to have 5 extra chambers to clean seeing as it’s a revolver).  Can we say one very over-joyed mom!  (And one somewhat envious son. *LOL*)

For this reason we at the N.U.G.U.N. Blog if asked to recommend a .22LR pistol for a new shooter recommend the Browning Buckmark.  The Buckmark is a good, solid, 22 caliber pistol. Fun, accurate and easy to maintain.

That said, if you’re a gun nut (or know you’re on your way to becoming one). Than I would say go with the Ruger. It’s a beautiful firearm.  Extremely accurate. And every gun nut should know how to disassemble and clean a Ruger MK pistol.

NOTE: We purchased my mother’s  Browning Buckmark for $339, and the Ruger MK III Hunter 6″ stainless for $469. More basic Buckmark & MKIII models can be found for less.



Either way you choose, you’ll walk away with a good firearm. Browning offers a little simplicity initially, the Ruger is a beautiful and solid firearm that will last a lifetim.

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 6:44 am  Comments (32)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What guns for my mother….

This weekend I spent some time shopping for handguns with my mother.  We went to a newly built Cabela’s about an hour away.  Figuring they’d have one of the better selections in the area.

My mother has some firearms experience. Our family owned a Ruger .357, and she always loved shooting it. A few months ago Freedom Armory had a S&W demonstration, my mother was down visiting that weekend so we went to the demonstration. My mom tried out a number of firearms including an M&P in 9mm, & 45, a 1911 and a few revolvers including some airweights and a .44 Magnum.  I used the demonstration to show her how the difference in weight affected the perceived recoil. That the .45 in 1911 had less perceived recoil than the 9mm in polymer. My mother really liked the 1911, describing it as being akin to a smooth whiskey.  While she did notice the kick and feel of the various revolvers, she did well with them all.

So what were the requirements that we were looking for?

First and foremost my mom wanted a .22LR, as she has access to a small cultural club that has a 22 caliber rifle range in the basement.  And I believe that a .22 is a good choice. Ammo, while not abundant these days, is still affordable.  Allowing for a great amount of practice.  My mom is also fond of revolvers.  So she was leaning toward getting a revolver chambered in .22LR.  And maybe getting a second firearm down the road.

So we had a couple of options for a .22: a) revolver, b) dedicated semi-auto, c) a conversion kit for a semi-auto such as a Glock or 1911.

We looked at a number of the .22 LR revolvers. Discussing single-action versus double-action, with the latter being my mother’s preference. (She suffers from trigger finger and carpal tunnel. So the idea of having to cock the hammer for each firing did not appeal to her.)  She was also leaning strongly toward revolvers, as that is what she has past experience with. Semi-autos are an unfamiliar territory.

They had three models to choose from. A Taurus in a smaller to mid-size frame. A full size S&W, and a third Taurus that was a small compact in the J-frame style.  The S&W was priced higher than we were wanting to pay.  The mid-size Taurus was $379.  I did not like the trigger on the Taurus. The S&W was significantly better. The J-frame Taurus was a little better than the first Taurus but still no where near as nice as the Smith.   Furthermore, my mom really did not want a snubbie .22LR.

I really wasn’t quite satisfied with the Taurus. I didn’t like how it felt and the trigger was atrocious.   While I am not opposed to using a .22 for self-defense, I did not feel confident about relying upon that particular Taurus.  The Smith & Wesson, while having a nicer trigger was a little too big for my mother. Even I had to extend a bit to reach the trigger.  Furthermore it was nearly $800.

While there I also had my mother handle a couple of Rugers. Namely a 3″ SP101 chambered in .357, and the Ruger LCR chambered in .38 Special.  My mom was familiar with the concept of how the weight of the gun affects the perceived recoil.  But I re-explained to her that the 3″ SP101 would be a much easier firearm to shoot than the LCR, however, it was significantly heavier. The triggers on both the SP101 and LCR were much easier to operate than on Taurus, and while I might start a flame war. We even preferred the trigger pulls of the Ruger over the .22 S&W.

So we weighed the benefits and disadvantages of each:

3″ SP101
+ Reduced Recoil
+ Old Proven Design
+ Can shoot either .357 or .38 Special

+ Lightweight
+/- more recoil due to it’s weight, but a design that softens it a bit
– .38 Special only
– new radical design, not as proven
+ if she didn’t like it, she could sell it (namely to me)

She liked both firearms. But we went back to the fact that my mom needed a 22 caliber pistol. So we discussed this fact. As I really wasn’t too keen on the Taurus they had. And it was the only double-action, non-snubbie that was in our price range.

I suspected that my mom’s desire for a .22 revolver stemmed from her unfamiliarity with semi-autos. Why? Because I went through this same situation in my mind when I became a gun owner.  I made a suggestion.  For $40 less than the Taurus we could get a Browning Buckmark.  It’s a .22 but a semi-auto. I said to my mom “If the only reason you’re hesitant to do so, is because you have no familiarity with semi-autos. Than wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to get familiar with semi-autos via a .22?”

My reasoning made sense; perhaps  because it was the same reasoning I used on myself when I bought my Ruger MKIII. And I could have suggested the MKIII but being aware of the difficulty in disassembly I thought that could be a roadblock for my mother. I had heard a lot of people recommend the Buckmarks as well. In fact, usually I hear people say get either a Ruger MK or Browning Buckmark avoid the Walthers, Mosquitos, and others.

So I suggested that we consider getting the Browning Buckmark instead of the .22 revolver.   Then purchase a second firearm for personal defense. Namely, either the Ruger SP101 or LCR.  This idea seemed to jibe well with my mother. Especially when she realized that her only reason not to was a lack of familiarity. And that she did want to eventually understand how to utilize a semi-automatic pistol. (I also think she became much more keen on the idea when she held the Browning Buckmark in her hand. She was amazed how comfortable it was with the soft molded rubber grip.)

So we returned to the other table to evaluate the two Rugers.   The salesman spent a fair amount of time with us, even though there had been a line behind us and he was the only one at the counter. I wager the fact that we were discussing the possibility of buying two firearms made us a worthwhile customer. If they’re considering two, they probably at least buy one! Thankfully, by this a second employee arrived to help the other customers.

It was a tough decision to make. Both the SP101 and LCR were very nice revolvers. While my mom was a bit disappointed in the fact that the LCR did not chamber .357 Magnums. (She loves the kick of a gun.)  I ensured her that in such a light gun the .38 Specials will be quite akin to .357 Magnums, and not to worry.  She did like the feel of the SP101. Felt it had a nice weight. But when I asked her would she be comfortable carrying that on her person, say in her fanny pack all day. She she shook her head and said “No…”

We finally decided upon the Ruger LCR.  The deciding factors were that she’d be more likely to carry it.  And it had the easiest trigger of any of the revolvers we had tried that day.  This is important because of the nerve damage she has suffered. It was also the deciding factor for me in encouraging her to go with the LCR. I know my mom is not defrayed by the kick of a gun as many are, in fact quite enjoying it.  But she would be deferred by the hard mechanics of a trigger pull. Had she bought the Taurus we first looked at, I’d be concerned about her being able to pull the trigger in another 5-10 yrs.  Where as I felt confident that she would be able to successfully, and repeatedly pull the trigger on the LCR.  A final caveat, the fact that I would like to get an LCR, I gave my mom the following offer – if you get the LCR and decide you want something different, I’ll buy it off of you. (While I really liked the 3″ SP101, it really would be more akin to a slightly smaller version of my GP100. I could not justify buying it at price. Where as the LCR would fill a niche in my collection, is on my list to buy, and therefore would not have difficulty buying it off of my mom if the need arose (although I doubt such need will arise).

So enters into the statistics another 50+ yr old woman joining the ranks of new gun owners!

– N.U.G.U.N.

PS – Yes, I’ll give everyone a range report on the LCR in the next week or two. I am very curious to know how it feels as well.

Published in: on July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,