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Browning’s Newest Buck Mark Handguns – The Camper UFX

May 29, 2013
By Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

As an outdoors writer, I regularly receive press releases and product announcements from manufacturers and advertising agencies. A recent announcement pictured one of Browning's newest models added to the Buck Mark line of rimfire handguns, the Camper Stainless UFX. Reading the description and one look at the image was all that was needed in deciding on the next handgun review. When it arrived at my friendly local FFL dealer, holding the actual handgun was a very pleasant surprise. It really feels good and looks even better than what I expected based on the picture.

*** Construction of the Buck Mark Camper

Frame - The frame is CNC machined from a single piece of 7075-T6 (tempered) aircraft grade aluminum. CNC machining insures every frame is fabricated to exacting tolerances. The 7075-T6 aluminum gives strength without adding additional weight.

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Barrel - A 5 1/2" long bull barrel on the Camper steps down slightly at the end of the frame and then tapers to the muzzle. The chrome moly barrel features a chamber that is hand-reamed and a muzzle crown that is recessed to protect the bore from nicks that could degrade accuracy. The rifling is 6-groove with a 1 in 16" right hand twist.

Slide - The slide is made from cast chrome moly steel. It is grooved in the grip area and slightly recessed from the heel making it very easy to work, even in adverse weather conditions. An oversized slide release is on the left side of the frame above the trigger where it can be released with either the shooting or support hand.

Hand Grips - Ultragrip FX handgrips are made of a durable hard base material that is over molded with a softer material for a comfortable feel. The finger grooves and texturing create what Browning calls an Ergonomic Interactive Surface (EIS) giving the shooter a consistent grip on the Camper each time it is picked up and fired. The combination of a narrow profile, the contour of the shape and the feel of the over molded material makes for a good, natural hold. Being an ambidextrous grip, it is comfortable for left or right-handed shooters. The Ultragrip FX handgrips would be ideal for any outdoors person who has to cope with adverse weather conditions.

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Browning Camper UFX

10-Round Magazine - Browning's Buck Mark magazines are made with a heat-treated metal body; even the magazine base plate is metal. Instead of the typical Z-spring, a coil spring is used to provide pressure on the polymer magazine follower. The cartridges stack very nicely in the magazine so the rims cannot cause a feed problem and the tolerances are tight enough so the cartridges stack vertically with negligible left/right staggering. A thumb button on the follower to push it down makes loading the magazine easy. There is a little extra travel so the 10th round does not have to be forced into the magazinea nice touch.

Finish - The Camper Stainless UFX barrel and slide have a matte stainless finish; the frame, sights and rear sight mounting base have a matte black finish. Even under close inspection with a magnifying glass, the finishes on the test handgun were even and consistent. With the coloration of the UFX grips, the Camper Stainless UFX has an extremely nice overall appearance. For those who do not want a stainless finish, the barrel and slide of the Camper UFX is finished in matte black.

Physical Dimensions - The Buck Mark Camper has an overall length of 9.5", a height of 5.5" (with magazine), and is only 1.2" wide. The weight is 29 ounces without a magazine, 31 ounces with an empty magazine and 32.2 ounces with a full magazine.

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"It's nice to see 'Made in USA' stamped on the side of the barrel"

*** Functionality of the Buck Mark Camper

Action - The straight blowback design of the action is common in semi-auto rimfire handguns. The simplicity of this action gives the Buck Mark Camper reliability. When the last round is fired, the slide locks in the rearward position.

Trigger Assembly - The Camper has a single action trigger. Trigger take up is slightly under 1/4" before the sear is engaged. Once the sear is engaged, the trigger movement is about 1/6" to release the sear. Trigger pull is right at 4 lbs. and is smoother than expected. As for the trigger itself, it is 3/8" wide with the face contoured and grooved on both sides for the trigger finger. It's the attention to small details like the feel of the contoured trigger face that may go unnoticed, but set one handgun apart from the others. Of course, the trigger has Browning's hallmark brass finish.

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Magazine Release - The magazine release is a round button with a knurled surface positioned adjacent to the trigger guard on the left side. To release the magazine, it only takes about 1/16" movement of the button.

Safety - An oversized safety is located directly behind the slide release and is easily switched with a thumb between safe and fire. For added safety, the trigger is disconnected when magazine is removed. In other words, the Buck Mark Camper will not fire if the safety is off and the magazine is removed. This is a very nice safety feature.

Sights - Browning's adjustable Pro-Target sights are standard on the Buck Mark Camper. Featuring 16 clicks per revolution, this rear sight provides a finer range of adjustment for windage and elevation than handguns with 8 or 12 clicks per revolution. The front sight is the standard ramp with blade.

*** At the Range

Browning Buck Mark handguns are designed to function with all SAAMI approved .22LR ammunition.

Reliability - The Camper Stainless UFX was tested with .22LR ammunition from 5 different manufacturers (RWS, CCI, Winchester, Federal and Remington). Using ammunition from these five manufacturers gave 13 different configurations of bullet construction, weights, shapes and velocity. Some ammunition was bulk packed and some was individually boxed. After each 50 rounds, the feed ramp was given a quick clean-up with a toothbrush. In total, 650 rounds were fired at a casual pace. There was one FTL (failure to load), three FTFs (failure to fire) and zero FTEs (failure to extract). All three FTFs had a strong, solid firing pin strike pointing to a problem with the cartridge, not the gun. The FTL was also an issue with the cartridge, not the gun. The Camper Stainless UFX functioned perfectly.

Rapid Fire - After the first 650 rounds, rapid fire testing consisted of 600 rounds in strings of 50 (5 magazines at 10 shots each) with only a feed ramp cleaning after each 50 rounds. The ammunition was Remington Golden Bullet Value Pack, Federal AutoMatch, Federal Lightning, Winchester Wildcat, Winchester Super-X and CCI Mini-Mag. The purpose was to evaluate how well the Camper functioned when very hot and intentionally left to get excessively dirty with powder residue. Even under these adverse conditions, there were zero FTEs and only 11 FTLs (all six brands had at least one FTL).

The Camper was given a through cleaning (slide, bolt face, breech, spring guide, chamber, bore, magazines) and lubricated. Then, another 300 rounds (100 Remington Golden Bullet and 200 CCI MiniMag) were shot rapid fire. The Camper had zero malfunctions with CCI ammunition and two with the Remington (1 FTL and 1 FTF).

For the first 1,550 rounds, the Camper Stainless UFX functioned very good with a variety of ammunition, even when intentionally neglected. It's quite obvious that following the cleaning and lubricating instructions in the owner's manual will produce the best functional performance.

Accuracy - To test the accuracy of the Camper Stainless UFX, the rear Pro-Target sight and rail was replaced with a Browning scope base and a red dot optic. The Camper was given another good cleaning, lubricated and tested at 25 yards with CCI MiniMag, Federal AutoMatch, Federal Lightning, Remington Golden Bullet, Remington Thunderbolt, RWS R50, RWS Target Rifle, RWS Rifle Match, Winchester Super-X and Winchester Wildcat. The Camper shot 3-shot groups of 1" or less with each of the 10 cartridges. The best group was barely over 1/4" with the RWS R50 and CCI MiniMag was very close at just under 3/8". Since the CCI MiniMag did very good and is readily available under normal conditions, additional 3-shot groups were fired. The Camper Stainless UFX consistently produced 1/2" to 3/4" 3-shot groups with the CCI MiniMag.

*** Putting It All Together

Browning has been manufacturing the Buck Mark line of handguns since 1985. These handguns are known for quality, accuracy, reliability and being reasonably priced. The new Camper UFX and Camper Stainless UFX are built to the same standards as the rest of the line, but at an even more affordable price. The Camper handguns are quite suitable for hikers and campers wanting to carry a gun; hence, the name. The Camper UFX or Camper Stainless UFX would be ideal for trappers.

With the addition of the two Camper models, there are now 15 different Buck Mark handguns. The Buck Mark Campers come in a double-latched hard case that is molded to hold the handgun, a magazine, a lock and the owner's manual.

It's nice to see 'Made in USA' stamped on the side of the barrel. The MSRP for the Buck Mark Camper Stainless UFX is $419.99; the Buck Mark Camper UFX is only $379.99.

For more information, check out the complete line of Buck Mark handguns, including the new Campers, at www.browningarms.com.

 
 

 

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