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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 38

BETTERSHOOTING Dave Anderson Buck Mark reflex sight matches up nicely with the Hunter model, fitting on the integral sight rail. Buck Mark W riters are supposed to allow for the two or three month gap between writing a magazine article and seeing it in print. It’s the middle of summer as I write this. It should be about how to wear your CCW in cold weather, or handgun hunting, or something topical for the fall season. Not this time. Not this summer. Last winter hung on forever. Spring was cold and wet. Summer is finally here and I don’t want to even think about fall and winter. I don’t want to think about anything serious at all. I believe it was Robert Ruark whose Old Man said something like “The graveyards are full of people who do serious things in summer.” Any other time I’d dig through books and get the reference right but right now I can’t be bothered. Summer is for plinking with .22s. In summertime I don’t want to spend time at the loading bench cranking out rounds. I don’t want to have to pickup brass. I don’t even want to practice seriously. Jeff Cooper once wrote how he loved plinking but felt it was a vice, as it resulted in developing bad shooting habits. Maybe it does. If so I’ll work on fixing those bad habits later. And if it’s a vice, well, I don’t drink, smoke, sniff or chew. Allow me this one vice. What I like is a large supply of .22 ammo, a good friend or two, a couple of .22 pistols, and a cooler full of ice and soft drinks. We find a comfortable place where we can sit and yak, drink the sodas, and shoot at the empty cans (or sometimes at full ones if the bets get interesting enough). Double Duce I like the handsome Cocobolo wood stocks on the Hunter model. Thumb safety, slide stop and magazine release button are positioned similary to those of the 1911-style autopistol making for familiar handling. Red Dot Deal I n previous columns I mentioned some of my favorite .22 revolvers and autopistols. Recently I got another one. I’ve borrowed and shot various versions of the Browning Buck Mark but never owned one. The one I bought is called the Hunter model, and what a nice pistol it is, for around $459. The Buck Mark has been a tremendous success for Browning, with 21 variations currently available. There are models for competition shooting, for hiking and camping, compact models, even models with slimmer grip frames for shooters with smaller hands. They are very well made, accurate, reliable, durable and dependable. And they are made in the USA. The Hunter model has a 7¼" barrel, adjustable rear sight and a Truglo/Marbles fiber optic front sight. It also has a scope base to accept Weaver-style rings, and is fitted with handsome Cocobolo wood stocks. It does have a gold-colored trigger, a feature which generally sets my nerves on edge, but at least trigger quality is good with a consistent 3½ pound break. Since the pistol came with a sight base I also ordered the Buck Mark Reflex sight. It offers a multitude of choices with seven brightness levels and four reticle pattern choices (3 MOA dot, circle and dot, crosshairs and dot, and — you knew it was coming — crosshairs, circle and dot. What really got me was the suggested retail price of $49.99. I didn’t see how a red dot sight could be made to sell at such a price, and still don’t. You’d think it would be flimsy and unreliable. Yet it seems to be well made; it mounted easily and solidly on the pistol; sight adjustments worked as advertised and permitted easy sighting in; and it has held up and maintained zero while firing a couple of bricks of ammo. Maybe a shotgun or .340 Weatherby would kick it to pieces in five shots. I suppose it’s my duty to find out. Well, maybe come fall I’ll stick it on an AR or The Buck Mark a shotgun. Right now it makes a perfect Hunter handled and combination with the Buck Mark Hunter balanced much like a full-size steel frame and I’m having too much fun to separate 1911. With its crisp trigger and the team. The Buck Mark Hunter shot very well, keeping most of its shots inside of an inch at 25 yards. he Hunter model doesn’t look much like a 1911-style auto, but it feels much the same. The grip angle and trigger reach feel the same, the safety and magazine release button are in the same locations, and at 38 ounces, weight is the same as a full-size steel 1911. Since 1911-style pistols are the design I shoot most, I like the familiar feel of the Hunter. Maybe when it comes time to get back to serious shooting, an accurate pistol which handles like a 1911 and shoots inexpensive .22 ammo will be a handy item. At least I’ve convinced myself it is. Dave Likes It good accuracy it was a pleasure to shoot and should be a good training tool once the time comes to get back to serious shooting. T * For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/productindex WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011 38

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