Browning Buck Mark .22 – 11 Years of Frustration Ends
Take a look at this sweet firearm:
That’s the Browning Buck Mark .22 competition pistol. I bought that in 2001 as a gift for my wife. Over the last 11 years we have enjoyed shooting that little guy immensely. However, one thing that I have absolutely hated about it is reassembling it after stripping it down for cleaning.
In fact, I hate it so much that last night was only the fourth time — in 11 years and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammo — that I’ve bothered to take it apart and clean it. Now, I have a natural hatred for cleaning my guns. The only reason I do it at all is because I care about them enough to keep them in proper shape. Well, that and I can’t afford to pay some poor schlup to do it for me.
“But Stu,” you might cry, “cleaning a gun once every three years with thousands of rounds put through in between isn’t really ‘taking care’ of your gun!”
You’re right. That’s just how bad I hate cleaning the Buck Mark. So why do I hate it so much? Well, take a look at the condition it’s in right now, the day after my son and I worked together to clean it:
Yeah. My son and I spent a good 20 minutes trying to get the *$#@! recoil-spring assembly back in place. I finally got so frustrated, I gave up. Here’s a better look at the recoil spring and guide rod:
Now imagine trying to get that flimsy spring to compress to the same length as the guide rod, then sticking the pointy end of the guide rod into place, while maintaining the spring’s compression, and somehow finagling the other end into a keyed slot in the slide. If you imagined something easy, then you’re just going to have to trust me when I say it is very difficult. That difficulty is magnified when you have only one arm to work with.
I honestly have no idea how I was able to reassemble this thing the previous three times I cleaned it. Anyway…
So after all the frustration I thought to myself, “There has got to be some kind of trick to reinstall this thing more easily!” Lucky for me, there are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to reassemble the Buck Mark.
Watching a video, I immediately realized that there is something very different about my Buck Mark and everybody elses. The recoil spring and guide rod assembly is supposed to look like this:
Yep. After 11 years of owning this guy, I just now realized that my firearm was improperly assembled at the factory! The end of the recoil spring is supposed to be held in place by a groove cut into the end of the guide rod. Guess whose recoil spring was not clamped into that groove?
So after 11 years of cursing Browning’s engineers, I can finally curse the appropriate target: the quality control employee who let this slip through!
So how did I handle this knowledge? Like any good gun-toting citizen would: I grabbed a pair of pliers and did some meddling. Yep… you can go ahead and call me Dr. Gunsmith now!