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Pre-2001 Browning Buckmark Re-assembly Issue

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Russ OR
John McCormick
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Post by Emoto 2/8/2024, 8:05 am

Hi all,

I've been using this Buckmark 5.5 Gold Target from 1993 in bullseye competition since about 2002 or 2003 when I bought it used. It has been a great gun and has needed very little over the years; just the occasional buffer pad and recoil spring replacement, which I have handled myself without any problems. 

Pre-2001 Browning Buckmark Re-assembly Issue I-GDQrGvT-L

Recently, I began to experience duds/light hits and the resulting alibis, so set about (with advice from team mates and other forums) to resolve the issue. 

Replaced:
Firing pin (Striplin Custom)
Recoil spring assembly

Other Actions:
Elongated the hole in the FP slightly to allow it to protrude a bit farther
Carefully examined slide to ensure FP could travel freely
Performed plop test to ensure that round could fall into chamber completely without resistance
Ensured that the slide travels all the way forward into battery
Ensured extractor moved freely so was not impeding slide motion
Tried different ammo (Wolf, CCI std, Aguila match pistol)

Did all that and still getting light hits, so decided to replace the mainspring. Had a new one from MGW. I had never been this far into the gun before. Gave it a good cleaning in areas I would not ordinarily see. 

My problem is that between the hammer, sear, and safety lever, I am somehow not installing those parts correctly, because the hammer doesn't lock back into the sear and release as it should. There is some small detail that I am missing in how they go together or something. I'll be going back down into my gun room to keep trying later today, but any tips on getting the hammer, sear, safety lever, and sear spring in there correctly would be GREATLY appreciated! 

Videos I used for reference:



Follow-up to above video:


Parts diagram: https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/browning/auto-pistols-brown/buckmark

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 2/9/2024, 8:22 am

Am getting closer. Looked at it again yesterday with fresh eyes and realized that I did, in fact, have the hammer and sear in where they worked; I had simply not been pushing the hammer back far enough for the sear to engage and grab it.

It appeared to function on the bench with spent casings. However, the trigger felt odd, not quite right, so I need to go back in and look over everything carefully again.

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 2/9/2024, 4:36 pm

I *think* I have identified the problem. (Spoiler Alert: I was the problem!)  I made an error when assembling.

The pin #48 that the sear pivots on has a small nipple on one end that is supposed to go through a hole on plate #46 with the "safe" detent, thereby holding the plate in place. I had put that pin in backwards, so there was no nipple to hold the plate and this allowed the plate to wander, which affected the safety lever position, which interfered with the movement of the sear, causing the weird and inconsistent trigger feel and hammer release. At least, that is my theory. I will get it back together and see how it runs. Finding an actual error makes me happy, because I can correct it.

#48 is the pin, arrow points to nipple end that fits into hole in #46.
Pre-2001 Browning Buckmark Re-assembly Issue I-jq3z6hV


I've completed reassembly and dry fired with spent casings a few times, and it feels completely back to normal. I hope to visit the range over the weekend to confirm that I have corrected the problem. We'll see.

Emoto

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Post by John McCormick 2/9/2024, 9:41 pm

Glad to see you’ve figured this out. I have a Buckmark that I bought new in 1993, and so I’ve been following this. They can be a challenge to reassemble, but they’re great shooters, especially the older ones. About twenty years ago, and after breaking two firing pins, I replaced the slide on mine with a post-2001 assembly, a great improvement.

John McCormick

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Post by Emoto 2/10/2024, 6:25 am

John McCormick wrote:Glad to see you’ve figured this out. I have a Buckmark that I bought new in 1993, and so I’ve been following this. They can be a challenge to reassemble, but they’re great shooters, especially the older ones. About twenty years ago, and after breaking two firing pins, I replaced the slide on mine with a post-2001 assembly, a great improvement.

Thanks, me too. It is a little embarrassing to have made such an error, but better to get the info out there in the hope of helping someone else out in the future than clam up about the cause. Embarassed

Wow, so the same vintage as mine. What are the odds?

Is your post-2001 slide one that has the ears on the side for easier gripping?

I think they have made more than one different kind since. One has a firing pin like the '93 version; same exact firing pin and extractor, but later ones have a different firing pin setup with some kind of plastic(?) block is may be captured in. Which kind is yours and did you have to do any fitting to get the new slide to work?

Emoto

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Post by John McCormick 2/10/2024, 7:46 am

The new slide is a direct replacement, and it does have the ears at the back. The biggest difference is the firing pin/recoil spring assembly. In my experience the old firing pins were prone to breakage, and difficult to replace.  The new assembly is an inexpensive drop-in unit. It does have a plastic housing but has held up well. I’ve bought a few spares over the years but haven’t used any of them yet.

John McCormick

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Post by Emoto 2/10/2024, 8:16 am

John McCormick wrote:The new slide is a direct replacement, and it does have the ears at the back. The biggest difference is the firing pin/recoil spring assembly. In my experience the old firing pins were prone to breakage, and difficult to replace.  The new assembly is an inexpensive drop-in unit. It does have a plastic housing but has held up well. I’ve bought a few spares over the years but haven’t used any of them yet.

The fact that the slide with the new style FP in plastic housing is a drop-in part is great news! I've been buying spare parts for mine from various vendors who offer old stock, in the hope of keeping my gun going basically forever. Sounds like I can stop doing that now.

If you don't mind my asking, where have you found that is selling the new version of the slide?

Emoto

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Post by John McCormick 2/10/2024, 11:51 am

Midwest Gun Works has just about everything for the Buckmark, including the Tandemkross Gearbox, which makes sear and sear spring replacement a snap.

John McCormick

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Post by Emoto 2/10/2024, 1:41 pm

Just got back from the range and I am happy to report that the gun functioned normally and felt normal, too. How do these hits look?
Pre-2001 Browning Buckmark Re-assembly Issue I-sBf8SSN-X3

Emoto

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Post by John McCormick 2/10/2024, 1:45 pm

They look pretty good.

John McCormick

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Post by Emoto 2/10/2024, 1:48 pm

Oh, good. Hopefully, this marks the end of all the thrashing around I engaged in.

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 2/16/2024, 7:20 am

I am now going to declare the pistol repaired and in top working order. 

It functioned flawlessly in last night's match, and I even shot well (for me) with a 270. 

In summary, what really fixed the light hits was replacing the mainspring. I hope this thread helps anyone else who runs into the same issue. 

If you have an older Buckmark, it is quite likely that it is the original mainspring in there, and over time and use, they get tired. Although not the easiest thing to replace, if you have a light hit problem, changing out the mainspring will give your hammer renewed strength.

Emoto

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Post by Russ OR 2/19/2024, 12:49 am

Glad you got the pistol running again.
I LIKE those early 5.5 "Target" model Buckmarks. What do you think of the Nil Grips on it? how's the Natural point of aim with them?.

I had poor luck with the Striplin Firing pins-(bad heat treat run maybe). Finally went to the new slide & slide parts -best deal by a good margin on them was from Browning.

Russ OR

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Post by Emoto 2/19/2024, 7:10 am

Russ OR wrote:Glad you got the pistol running again.
I LIKE those early 5.5 "Target" model Buckmarks. What do you think of the Nil Grips on it? how's the Natural point of aim with them?.

I had poor luck with the Striplin Firing pins-(bad heat treat run maybe). Finally went to the new slide & slide parts -best deal by a good margin on them was from Browning.

Interesting about the Striplin FPs. I bought a couple of them in order to have spares, and will keep an eye one how the one installed wears. 

I love the Nil grips. I am a left-handed shooter and bought them used off of Larry's Guns when it was still in business, for a lot less than new. Having lived with them now for many years, I would almost not buy another pistol for bullseye if Nil grips were not available for it.

Edit: Because the Nil grips are so thick, I had to add an extended mag release button. The one I used was from Tactical Solutions, but I couldn't find one on their site, so they may not offer that anymore. However a quick google search found other vendors offering them. So, if you end up going the Nil route, you may also need an extended mag release button.

Emoto

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Post by bdas 2/19/2024, 9:34 am

Glad that the new mainspring seems to have fixed the light-strike issue for you. If you're interested in another resource for information on dis-assembly or re-assembly of Browning Buck Mark pistols, I have detailed instructions on my website:

Disassembly: https://guns.dsttr.com/BuckmarkDisassembly.html
Reassembly: https://guns.dsttr.com/BuckmarkReassembly.html

In the disassembly page, there is a photograph of each part, with a slip showing it's part number and official name.

In addition to putting the sear pin back in with the reduced end on the left side, it can be a challenge on some guns to get the safety click plate (#46 in your diagram above) fully onto the left side of the sear pin.  You do want to make sure that the plate is ALL the way onto that pin, though; otherwise reassembly is more difficult and the safety can be difficult to move, or the sear pin pushed out to the right and slows or stops movement of the slide, or the safety click plate can pop off the sear pin completely, and then safety might jam up and not move at all, etc..  Just make sure the left side of the sear pin is flush with the left side of the safety click plate, and you'll be fine.  The difficulty can be pushing the plate straight onto the pin, while holding the pin in place, so it doesn't just push out of the frame on the right.  I made special pliers for this step, but a pair of channel-lock pliers with a small block taped to the inside of one jaw to press against the click plate should work, too.  You probably want to tape a piece of wood onto the frame on the right, or the other jaw, just to avoid scratching the right side of the frame with the pliers.

bdas

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http://guns.dsttr.com/

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Post by Emoto 2/19/2024, 10:59 am

bdas wrote:Glad that the new mainspring seems to have fixed the light-strike issue for you. If you're interested in another resource for information on dis-assembly or re-assembly of Browning Buck Mark pistols, I have detailed instructions on my website:

Disassembly: https://guns.dsttr.com/BuckmarkDisassembly.html
Reassembly: https://guns.dsttr.com/BuckmarkReassembly.html

In the disassembly page, there is a photograph of each part, with a slip showing it's part number and official name.

In addition to putting the sear pin back in with the reduced end on the left side, it can be a challenge on some guns to get the safety click plate (#46 in your diagram above) fully onto the left side of the sear pin.  You do want to make sure that the plate is ALL the way onto that pin, though; otherwise reassembly is more difficult and the safety can be difficult to move, or the sear pin pushed out to the right and slows or stops movement of the slide, or the safety click plate can pop off the sear pin completely, and then safety might jam up and not move at all, etc..  Just make sure the left side of the sear pin is flush with the left side of the safety click plate, and you'll be fine.  The difficulty can be pushing the plate straight onto the pin, while holding the pin in place, so it doesn't just push out of the frame on the right.  I made special pliers for this step, but a pair of channel-lock pliers with a small block taped to the inside of one jaw to press against the click plate should work, too.  You probably want to tape a piece of wood onto the frame on the right, or the other jaw, just to avoid scratching the right side of the frame with the pliers.

Thanks for those links. Those are really excellent pages! Worth their weight in gold. 

Yes, it was my error in reassembly that prolonged the problem. Once I had that sear pin oriented correctly, the safety click plate was positively located, and the gun worked like new again. Even though there is not much resistance in sliding the sear pin, I didn't find the need to use any tools to hold mine in place.

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 3/10/2024, 9:33 am

More trouble with this pistol. I should point out that it was bought used and has given me 20+ years of good service prior to this year's issues. I am determined to resolve the problems.

So, now I am back to VERY inconsistent operation: either light hits or no hits at all and even pulling the trigger and the hammer not releasing.  affraid

I carefully disassembled it yesterday and looked at every part. I could see NOTHING that looked bad/wrong. 

My theory is that all of thee working parts involved in releasing the hammer are worn just a little bit each. Looked at in isolation, none of those things appear bad, BUT when all added together are out of spec enough to cause problems. Does that make any sense? 

I have ordered all of the parts with green arrows, so basically everything that connects the trigger to the sear and hammer and the pins they pivot on. 

Pre-2001 Browning Buckmark Re-assembly Issue I-ZWhpX6f

What are your thoughts? What might I be overlooking? The frame holes for the pins do not seem to be loose.

Emoto

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Post by chiz1180 3/10/2024, 10:26 am

Have you cleaned the chamber recently?
chiz1180
chiz1180

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Post by Emoto 3/10/2024, 10:38 am

chiz1180 wrote:Have you cleaned the chamber recently?

Yes. If the gun is held vertically, muzzle down, a round will drop right in. Also, the extractor moves smoothly and does not prevent the slide from moving all the way forward. The slide always goes all the way forward. It's face (and everything) is clean.

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 3/17/2024, 8:54 am

Yesterday, I installed most of the new parts detailed above. I ended up re-using the old hammer assembly and disconnector because they required fitting, i.e., grinding and polishing to fit properly, and I didn't want to step up to that level of trial and error work. I did have the new hammer assembly in place, but the hammer link on the new one was so long that the sear could not catch the hammer, so I re-installed the old one. (All explained here)

Took a trip to the range for a function check and it worked fine without any hint of weirdness or inconsistency. Given my past woes, I am reluctant to call it fixed until I have put at least 200 rounds through it, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Emoto

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Post by Emoto 4/5/2024, 4:59 pm

Ok, I am officially declaring this pistol fixed!  It has been running like a champ now for quite a few rounds. Thank you all for the info and support!

Emoto

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Post by John Dervis 4/5/2024, 6:24 pm

Ghost problems are the most frustrating for sure.  Glad you got it fixed.

John

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