Review: Browning Buckmark vs. Ruger 22/45
Buckmark vs Mark II 22/45
Many people ask about comparing these two models (in various different trim) when choosing a quality 22 pistol. I am lucky enough to own both and have decided to write a review of my experiences with them. I am in no way an expert and do not shoot competitions. To be upfront and honest, I choose the Buckmark over the Ruger about 10 months ago. I have around 1000 rounds through the Browning and have never regretted buying it. But I came upon a NIB Ruger Mark II 22/45 at an estate auction and purchased it for less than half of what I paid for the Browning.
Everthing is obviously only one man's opinions.
Browning Buckmark Camper stainless with fiberoptic front sight. Ruger Mark II 22/45 stainless with fiberoptic front sight. Both pistols feature 5-1/2" barrels. The Browning model I have is still in production but the Ruger has been replaced with the Mark III 22/45. The only differences I noticed is the addition of a Loaded Chamber Indicator, magazine disconnect safety, and different contoured grips. A model is also available with replacable grips.
Like I said, upon holding the pistols side-by-side in a gun shop, I choose the Browning. The two seem to weigh about the same but the Browning balances better. I have not weighed them, just going off of feel. The Ruger feels more robust but also more nose-heavy. The edge goes to the Browning.
Finish on both pistols are stainless steel, but the Browning is a low gloss while the Ruger is polished. I highly prefer the low glare of the Browning.
The frame of the Browning is aluminum with nice finger groove wraparound rubber grips. The frame of the Ruger is polymer with slick plasic grips molded in that cannot be changed without altering the frame. This is one of the main reasons I originally purchased the Browning.
Cocking the pistols feels very similar but the Ruger seems to require slightly more force. This could also be because the Ruger is new and the Browning is broken in. The Ruger has two ears to work the slide while the Browning has a larger, more serrated slide that was quicker to grab. Advantage Browning.
Another point to consider is that the Browning's slide opens both sides of the chamber while the Ruger only opens on the right. This makes the Browning easier to quickly clean if you do not plan on disassembling them. Both pistols eject spent cartridges to the right.
Front sights on both models are green fiberoptic. Rear sights are both of a flat blade style and adjustable for elevation and windage. The Browning seems easier to pick up quicker for me.
The trigger face on the Browning is more rounded with a small amount of serrations on the rounded sides with a smooth front. The Ruger has a flatter, wider trigger with full face serrations. Trigger pull is very similar but the Browning feels crisper but only very slightly. Overall, I prefer the flat serrated trigger on the Ruger.
Magazines are both 10 rounds with side buttons. The Ruger's baseplate is larger. No modifications were needed as both brand's magazines worked flawlessly. No preference: tie.
The Ruger came with 2 magazines and the Browning came with only 1. Additional Ruger magazines also seem to be about $4 cheaper. Big advantage Ruger.
The Ruger also came with a scope mounting base. I do not know if they all do but mine did. The Browning base costs $40 and up depending on brand and preference.
Both pistols have the slide stop, thumb safety, and magazine release in the same (correct) area. The Browning's slide stop and thumb safety are larger and easier to operate. The thinner profile of the Ruger's grips made releasing the magazine easier for me.
Modifications and Takedown-
Modifications were not necessary but done to make both models feel and work the way that I think that they should.
The Browning takes down very easy. The only modification done was to remove the rod for the magazine disconnect safety.
The Ruger is harder to take down but is in no way difficult. I removed the spring and detent on the slide release (slingshot mod) to make chambering a round quicker.
Both models now work the same way and performed flawlessly after disassembly and modifications.
The ammo and range distance-
Both the Ruger and Browning were loaded with CCI minimag 40 grain copper plated round nose. The pistols were shot at 25 yards both two handed supported and from a Caldwell pistol rest. My plan was to shoot 100 rounds through each gun. No cleaning was done while at the range.
I did not find it necessary to record precise accuracy results. Only one type of high quality ammo was used. Both pistols will probably prefer something different for optimum results.
The Browning was up first. This really wasn't a fair test as I was already very familiar with the Browning and the sights have already been adjusted. The Browning just works. Pointing is very quick and all shots hit within their intended target. Recoil is very light as with most 22's. The slide locked back with every empty magazine. Zero FTF or FTE problems were experienced. Accuracy was excellent. 4 diffent magazines were used and all functioned perfectly.
The Ruger needed some sight adjustment but was running great after 2 magazines. 2 FTF were experienced in the first magazine but none thereafter. I contribute this to being a new gun. The noseheavy feel actually helped with controlling the pistol. Felt recoil is less than the Browning. By round 30 I was quicker with the Ruger than with the Browning. The sights were actually preferred over the Browning once I started shooting. I don't know why but they just seemed to work better.
The only downside I noticed were with the fit of the magazines. The rear of the magazines pressed firmly up against the lower back edge of the frame makes inserting a mag more difficult. All magazines required a firm press with the palm to seat. I will file this area down to eliminate the issue. No manfuctions were experienced after the first magazine and the slide always locked open with an empty magazine. Accuracy on the Ruger was also excellent. 3 different magazines were used and all functioned great after the first few shots.
After shooting feeling-
I was surprised. I actually felt like the Ruger was the better shooting pistol even though I was obviously more comfortable with the Browning. The magazine issue was troublesome but easily fixed. But I did not have any such issues when the Browning was new. Overall I still think that the Browning feels better. The grips are superior and it balances better. The quicker takedown is also a positive. If the Ruger came with quality grips like the Browning, the Ruger would be the hands-down winner here. I know the Ruger can be modified to use 1911 grip panels but that wasn't the purpose of this review. I wanted to compare nearly stock pistols as they come from the factory.
You cannot go wrong with either the Browning Buckmark or the Ruger 22/45. On a side note, if I was in the market for one of these pistols today, I would choose the 22/45 RP. This addresses the biggest disadvantage of the Ruger.
Neither pistol will be sold. They are both keepers.
Last edited by esrice; 11-17-2010 at 10:04.