Rimfire Challenge Tips: Being Competitive on a Budget, Part 2

Rimfire Challenge Tips: Being Competitive on a Budget, Part 2

Posted by Dwight Stearns on 17th Apr 2018

Today we go into part two of my three-part series on Rimfire Challenge shooting on a budget. In this article, I will go through budget-minded modifications for the Browning Buck Mark for limited division Rimfire Challenge. Why the Buck Mark? Because it is what I have and what I know the most about (and it's a great gun for competition!).

If you can operate a screwdriver, these upgrades are easily within your abilities.

A Buck Mark Trigger Upgrade

As with the rifle I featured in the last article, we are going to assume you already have the stock pistol. Also as with the rifle, we are going to start with the trigger pull. The factory trigger pull on the Buck Mark is usually in the 5-pound range. Can one be competitive with that trigger pull? Yes, but that heavy of a trigger pull on a pistol makes shooting steel a more difficult project to master.

So to get that trigger pull down to a manageable weight, we need to install a TANDEMKROSS "Victory" Trigger. The "Victory" Trigger has several things going for it. First, the trigger is precisely machined with improved geometry to reduce the trigger pull without changing the geometry of the hammer/sear engagement. Second, the factory trigger is curved and places your finger high on the trigger. Instead, the "Victory" Trigger is flat and allows you to position your finger lower on the trigger. Placing your finger low increases your mechanical leverage and lightens the felt trigger pull weight further.

When I first started shooting rimfire, I used to use epoxy putty to build up the trigger to make it flat so I could place my finger lower on the trigger. The epoxy putty helped with the mechanical leverage but I was stuck with the factory geometry. Now we have the beautiful TANDEMKROSS "Victory" Trigger which retails for only $44.99.

Buck Mark Front Sight Upgrade

The next "must have" is an enhanced front sight. Let's face it, black on black sights may be fine for bullseye shooting but for shooting steel really fast, not so much. So let's add a fiber optic front sight. Dawson Precision makes excellent front sights for the Buck Mark. They come in different heights and widths. The stock 5.5" Buckmark barrel usually takes either the .365 or .420 front sight. The sights come in .090, .100 or .125 sight widths. The .090 is only available in a 420 height. The sight width is purely up to individual preference. I personally prefer the .090 sight width but many like the wider sight. The cost for the Dawson front sight is $29.00.

Buck Mark Charging Handle

A third must-have for the Buck Mark is the TANDEMKROSS "halo" Charging Ring. Unfortunately, .22lr rimfire ammo is not perfect. Misfires occur, along with failures to feed and failures to eject. The Buck Mark is one of the hardest guns to rack open if a misfire occurs. The hammer pressure against the slide and the small grasping ears on the slide makes slide racking hard. Young shooters and those with arthritis issues may find the slide impossible to rack. Additionally, struggling with the slide can create safety issues with some shooters. The addition of the TK "halo" makes racking the slide almost effortless. I advocate that the $49.99 "halo" is a necessary safety feature.

Buck Mark Extractor Upgrade

Number four on the "gotta have" improvements list is to replace the stamped factory extractor with the precision machined TANDEMKROSS "Eagle's Talon" Extractor. The "Eagle's Talon" is precisely machined as opposed to stamped. Also, the hook of the "Eagle's Talon" is extremely sharp. This sharpness helps keep the extracting case against the breech face until it hits the ejector. This is a $9.99 upgrade that will greatly improve the functioning of the Buck Mark pistol.

Buck Mark Magazine Bumpers

Finally, I highly recommend the TANDEMKROSS "BuckPro" extended magazine base pads. The factory magazine bases are flat and don't give you much to push on when seating the magazine. The "BuckPro" magazine base pads give you a positive magazine seating every time. These awesome base pads are only $24.99 per pair.

Putting it All Together

The final cost for these upgrades for a limited division upgraded Buck Mark add up to less than $200. Of course, if you are building an open division gun, you will add the cost of the optic and mount (less the cost of the Dawson front sight). All other upgrades listed are also considered necessities for the open gun build.

In my next article I will go over competition upgrades on a budget for the Ruger® MK series.

Stay safe and good shooting,

Dwight Stearns