February 2007

Pricey .22 Plinkers: We Favor Browning’s Buck Mark Sporter

Lighter and quicker, with a better open-sight system, the Browning Buck Mark semiauto edged the space-age Walther G22 in a test of two firearms designed for fun shooting.

Just about anyone who has ever pulled a trigger will admit that there are times when their goal is to send a lot of lead down range with a minimum of effort and a maximum of fun.


Call it "Rock and Roll" or just plinking, this type of shooting can be accomplished with about any firearm, but is best suited for what can be described as a cross between handguns and rifles.

Two models that fall in this category are the Browning Buck Mark Sporter, which lists for $572, and the Walther G22, available for $399. The Browning is more of a traditional cross breed in that the firearm is basically a version of the manufacturer’s popular handgun that has been adapted with a rifle stock and barrel; while the Walther features space-age technology in a "Bullpup" design that drastically changes the balance and handling capabilities of the little .22-caliber.

Both firearms utilize easy-to-load 10-round magazines and are capable of semiautomatic rapid fire favored by plinkers trying to punch holes in a target.

These two models both lend themselves to duty (where there are no legal prohibitions in place) as firearms that can be carried in ranch or farm vehicles for quick service as varmint eliminators. Optics such as red dot, laser or even a standard scope can be easily installed to improve their point-and-shoot capability.

To review the test firearms’ handling ability of a variety of ammunition, we selected several brands of .22 caliber long rifle bullets for our review. The ammo included CCI Standard Velocity and Federal Gold Medal 40-grain solids, and Punta Hueca 39-grain hollowpoints made in Argentina. The muzzle velocity of each of the rounds was about 1,200 feet per second.

Targets used in our test were the Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C bull’s eyes and saltine crackers (birds and other varmints enjoy cleaning up the pieces). Here’s our test report:

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