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)  
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