New Toy - Browning Buckmark 5.5" Field [Archive] - Varmints Den

: New Toy - Browning Buckmark 5.5" Field

Brian in Oregon
09-07-2010, 01:25 AM

Browning Buckmark 5.5" Field (

I've been looking for a rimfire handgun for use as a suppressor host. It had to be able to have the muzzle threaded, and had to be able to take a red dot sight, possibly a scope. And I wanted decent accuracy for hunting purposes.

Browning makes a Buckmark called the Whisper, which is basically their camper model with a threaded barrel. While it is possible to put a red dot sight on it, it cannot be scoped, unless a grip type scope mount is used.

Went with a Buckmark 5.5" Field, which is basically the 5.5" target model with a ramp front sight instead of the thin silhouette sight, and it lacks the sight shade hoods. It has a full length Weaver style scope mount, so even a handgun scope can be installed. This model comes with Cocobolo grips, which appear to be laminated. They look nice, and feel good, though they're on the slick side.

The sights are more for backup in case of a problem with optics. The 5.5" barrel is probably the longest possible for making sure cheap high velocity ammo does not go supersonic. This is why I wasn't interested in finding the varmint or silhouette versions with their almost 10" barrels. Both have been discontinued anyway, though a used silhouette model was at the gun shop.

The trigger pull was very nice. Not as light as my Model 41 S&W, but close. It was surprisingly crisper, and had no creep. One of the better semi-auto triggers I've come across in quite a while. Note that the target models have different springs and a trigger stop, unlike the regular models.

Accuracy was quite decent. I shot it as well as my Model 41. It's not easy for me to shoot iron sighted handguns anymore. At 50 my eyes aren't the same as when I was in my 20s. I'm farsighted now. I can see individual leaves on trees a quarter mile away, but I can't see the sights on a handgun. They're a blur. I have to wear glasses. Even so, I was hitting our targets out to 75 yards, though not as consistently as I could years ago.

The Buckmark also cycled all ammo almost flawless right out of the box (after the preservative in the bore was cleaned, of course). This included Remington and CCI Subsonics, as well as my favorite CCI SGB (Small Game Bullet). The cheap Remington had a lot of misfires. But this happened with every gun we put them in, and we had about a dozen handguns and rifles. Just lousy ammo.

I had removed my EOTech 552 from my AR15 when I scoped it. Took it along to try on the Buckmark, since I want to put some sort of optics on it. What a huge difference in accuracy. First, and this is the amazing part, the 552 turned out to be dead nuts on. Didn't have to make any adjustments. I've never had that happen before when transferring optics between guns. The 1 MOA dot made it almost a cinch to hit targets. Drawback is how bulky the sight is on a handgun. I wish EOTech made a true miniature version of it. I'm definitely going to put some sort of optics on the gun. Don't know yet if that will be a handgun scope or a red dot. Problem with red dots is that very few are made with a 1 MOA dot. I don't want a 4 MOA dot or larger. That means the dot is 3" at 75 yards, which is typical hunting range for me. I may wind up installing a 2x scope.

The matte finish is nice to prevent glare in the field, but, it's going to get scratched pretty easily. A satin brushed blue finish would probably be more durable, but it is what it is.

Drawbacks. I don't care for the gold trigger. Might get another and refinish it black. Not a big deal. The safety is not the easiest to apply with the thumb of the shooting hand. Fortunately it is easy to disengage, but not excessively so. It is not the easiest to clean. There is no way to clean the barrel from the breech end without removing it from the gun. I may make a custom bore guide. The slide cannot be removed for cleaning without removing the scope rail assembly (ditto for the rear sight assembly on the standard models). I do not know yet how often this will need to be done. But, with a suppressor, more crap is going to get blown into the action.

Pluses. Accuracy, good ergonomics, good trigger, decent sights, reliable feeding, and the price is quite reasonable. I feel it is superior to the Ruger Mk II and III, and while it is certainly no S&W Model 41, it is the next best thing if someone can't pony up the $1200 for one. I wish I had bought one of these a couple of decades ago. Also, Browning makes the Buckmark in a very wide selection. There's something to appeal to nearly everyone.

I can't wait to get this set up and dialed in for varmint season next year.

09-07-2010, 06:33 AM
I bought a Target 5.5 which is more or less the same with sight hoods the first year Browning advertised them.
I really like the gun, it took me from being a die hard Ruger fan to also being a Browning fan

09-07-2010, 10:02 AM
One more thing I like with the Browning over the Ruger. Detailed stripping of the browning is so much easier. Granted, you'll need to re-sight the pistol afterword, but it is a good excuse to shoot it more....


09-07-2010, 11:12 AM
I've had a 5.5 Field since 1992. Mine easily has over 60,000 rounds through it. It has worn an UltraDot for the last 15 years. Your review is spot on. I liked mine so much I got a Silhouette model in 1995. The old ones like mine came with oil finished walnut grips, not the laminate. Unless they have changed it, like the Target models, the 5.5 Field does have an adjustable trigger - to a degree. Mine is around 2.0-2.5 lbs pull, which is about as low as I could get it when it was new. It does not need to be fully stripped for cleaning very often, once or twice a year will usually keep it running fine, and I usually clean the breechface,chamber and bore after each outing. If you start getting light hits, its time to pull the rail, remove the bolt and flush out the firing pin. I'm told the newer Buckmarks with the hex head barrel screw have thread locker on that screw. The older slotted screws did not. So, take care taking the barrel off the first time. Also, Tac Sol makes a threaded aftermarket barrel for the BM, in case you did not know that.

Two cautions.
1. When you remove the grips, some of the trigger/fire control parts can fall out, they are captured by the grips. Don't take the grips off in the field.

2. The rear rail screw has a tendency to loosen up. Nothing serious, just keep an eye on it.

You are right about he barrel length. Mine gives 1050-1080 fps with most bulk HV 36 and 40gr, and right at 1000 fps with most SV ammo.

Ron in Mn
09-07-2010, 01:24 PM
I used to have a Buckmark without the scope rail and it was a great shooter, traded it even up for a unfired 1982 Rem 700 varmint in 22-250. But still kind of miss the Buckmark, found a bit older Browning Challenger II with thin barrel since and like that one also.

george in KY
09-09-2010, 09:13 AM
if you ever get the chance to buy the Varminter or silhouette do it !!

Brian in Oregon
09-16-2010, 01:23 AM
if you ever get the chance to buy the Varminter or silhouette do it !!

A local gunshop had a used Silhouette. Spendy. Couldn't afford both.

The 5.5" Field is out getting threaded for a suppressor right now.