Browning Buckmark - Can't Open Slide With Hammer Uncocked?


May 8, 2011, 01:52 PM
I have the Buckmark Camper. I'm an older man with skinny and somewhat stiff hands and can't open slide though range worker I asked could. Hammer spring must be wickedly strong? That it? When I shoot my 1911, I used to cock it first before opening slide - then it slowly became easier. But this has internal hammer.

Anyone know of any tips for this. Gun is new. Once it breaks in I think it will be really nice (couple of loading failures my first and only time shooting). But it won't be much good if I have to ask someone to open the slide all the time. Can't budge it on my own.


(Anyone know of a Buckmark or Browning Pistol forum?)

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May 8, 2011, 03:00 PM
If I drop the hammer on an empty chamber (or otherwise) on my MK III and try to manually pull back, it is quite heavy and stiff indeed. It's easy as pie if it's cycled itself, though, or the hammer is otherwise already cocked.

It seemed impossible the first few times, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm used to applying more force in those situations, or because it has loosened up, but I'm able to do it more easily now. It is still surprisingly heavy, but it's not a big deal anymore.

May I ask in what situation do you need to manually pull back the slide with the hammer uncocked? I find I very rarely need to do that on my MK III - only when I take the weapon apart, which isn't often (darn MK III dis/reassembly).

May 8, 2011, 07:02 PM
I had to first time I shot it for a couple of stove-pipes. That didn't happen today with CCI Stinger. I plan to avoid having to open the slide when hammer is down in every way possible until the gun breaks in from shooting more. I also got some nitrile gloves from Home Depot to get a better grip if I do have to do that. Haven't tried them yet. And that is FINE as my hands ache right now

- thanks for helpful info!

May 8, 2011, 07:37 PM
I use Sears mechanics gloves--fabric with leather on thumb & some fingers.
Helps alot ----kel-tec P3-AT gives me a hard time.
When you pull the slide on the Buckmark--make sure your fingers are on the slide only---on this gun it is easy to be pulling on the slide & part of the gun frame at the same time.
Good luck

May 8, 2011, 07:42 PM
I have no such problem with my Buckmark. Head over to the Browning forum at Rimfire Central and see what the knowledgeable folks there have to say.

May 9, 2011, 04:50 PM
Take it apart and put a dab of grease on the hammer / slide interface surfaces.
Also oil the slide rails.
It likely came out of the box with only preservative oil in & on it, not proper lubrication.

I'm reasonably sure the addition of grease to the cocking surfaces, and more shooting will make it work much easier.


May 9, 2011, 05:04 PM
What rcmodel says has been my experience with my buckmark. Keeping it clean and well lubricated will work wonders for cycling the slide.

May 10, 2011, 01:32 AM
Thanks to RCMODEL for the practical tip on dab of grease and to all!

May 10, 2011, 01:39 AM
I would keep one of those rubber jar openers handy because it would help to grip the slide better.
It's just a thin piece of rubber.

May 10, 2011, 02:29 PM
I greased the hammer slide interfaces - or what looked like that area from diagrams - and have the nitrile gloves for gripping. That should help as shooting will and just leaving hammer cocked as much as I can.

If these don't work: three or four years as a Navy Seal to strengthen upper body muscles should do it.

May 23, 2011, 10:32 AM
Just saw this.

The Buck Mark has a very heavy mainspring, and when new, the corner angle of the slide rail that pushes against the hammer makes racking the slide difficult. It certainly is heavy compared to other 22lr pistols in various formats; such as, the S&W 22a, Bersa Thunder or 1911 conversion units.

In addition to earlier suggestions on lubrication, the solutions follow from the above observations:

1. Round the corner on the slide rail, and
2. Use a reduced power (lower rate) mainspring

Unless you're familiar with BM takedown, this might best be done by a qualified 'smith.

Or, just shoot the heck out of it and have fun loosening it up!

Good luck,

May 23, 2011, 12:24 PM
There is another fix for the hard to cycle slide. An alternative slide is available for the Buckmark models that have the slides with serrations but nothing else to grab on the back of the slide. The alternative slide has a "T" bob on the back of it, so there is something to stop your fingers from slipping off the slide while trying to pull it back. Evidently this alternative slide comes installed on some of their guns that cost more than the Camper model that we purchased.

My wife can't rack her Buckmark slide herself because her gun has the slide that only has the serrations. The very stiff spring combined with the skinny slide make it extremely difficult for her to rack when the firing pin isn't cocked. I probably will buy this different slide for her so I won't have to stop what I'm doing and go over and rack her slide for her when a failure to fire occurs. I've found it for around $80.00 on line. I wish I had known about this before we bought our Buckmark Camper. I would have spent a little more for a gun with the different slide already installed. Oh Well...

May 23, 2011, 01:21 PM
Any mechanical advantage helps!

Here's someone else's idea of making it easier to grab the slide:

It doesn't lighten anythng, but getting a good grasp is a really good start to the solution.

May 23, 2011, 01:55 PM

when you reassemble your gun, use a small dab of theadlocker. Those hex screws WILL back out.

I also leave the proper size hex wrench in the range bag

May 24, 2011, 02:29 AM
Check slide and hammer for wear especially where they impact each other.

May 24, 2011, 10:59 AM
Where exactly would that wear show?

May 24, 2011, 12:59 PM
Any mechanical advantage helps!
from this thread:

May 24, 2011, 02:28 PM

Great idea and I like the aesthetics better on your version!

I was thinking with the right washers under that round head hex, it would be possible to "tune" the height of the bolt head for optimum racking.


May 24, 2011, 03:58 PM
THe only way I was able to solve the problem was to sell my Buck Mark. I thought the problem was only with my gun.

May 24, 2011, 04:20 PM
Where exactly would that wear show?

May 24, 2011, 07:42 PM
Lots of good advise and ideas already. I've got a bit of griptape stuck on either side of the rear of my slide. Mine is not and never was excessively hard to pull, but the tape gives a bit better purchase, is super cheap, and completely undoable.

Not really a close up of it, but you can see it in this pic:

May 24, 2011, 09:04 PM

Great idea and I like the aesthetics better on your version!

I was thinking with the right washers under that round head hex, it would be possible to "tune" the height of the bolt head for optimum racking.

Naw, that's not my idea, just passing along the info. Credit goes to cstuard on rimfirecentral. I do think your idea of adding washer to achieve optimum performance is excellent.

Speaking of rimfirecentral, gvf here's a link to a forum you asked for in your original post:

You might want to contact rusty22 there about his BMT (Buckmark Maintenance Tool):

Magoo, that's a nice BM. Are those some of rusty22's grip adapters there?


May 25, 2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks everyone - very helpful replies! I got a pair of nitrile gloves which really help. Then just shooting it will loosen the spring a bit. On a good-hand day, I can open it with Atlas-effort with no gloves. I also keep it cocked whenever possible.

Love the gun. I'll put up with the inconvenience as it wears in - and the grip-tape sounds like a good idea. I imagine Home Depot or some such place would have it.

(I used one side of velcro tape for awhile on the back of my Colt Detective for better grip. Like glue, but kind of prickly.)

Thanks all again!

May 25, 2011, 06:01 PM
Yep, those sre Rusty's 1911 panel adapters. His mag release too. He makes good stuff :).

And yes, I got the griptape at Lowe's. It's "Shurtape" brand and I don't know how long the roll is, but a lifetime supply was less than $10. For that matter, if you PM me your address I'll send you an 11-inch strip or two gratis. It's a bit too grippy for my tastes, so I just rub it with something round and hard like a screwdriver handle 'til I get the balance of grippy vs. no bleeding I want.

May 26, 2011, 02:30 AM
Thanks! very nice of you, the grip-tape strips - but I have a Lowes close by, I'll get a roll - sounds handy for a lot of uses - (including a few people I know. ha, ha)

May 27, 2011, 01:25 AM
Sounds like my Buckmark, too. I've thought about adding something like the one off the forum. Since I haven't added the holographic sight just yet and since I still have the strength of my youth it's not that big of a problem right now. I just try not to drop the hammer on an empty chamber.

May 27, 2011, 02:07 AM
Dropping hammer on empty chamber not recommended? Why is that. Think I only know of revolvers in terms of that.

May 27, 2011, 02:18 AM
Well, if you drop the hammer on an empty chamber you'll have to deal with the difficulty of racking the slide against the full power of the spring. Not a safety thing, not a mechanical thing, just to avoid the problem of the pulling back the slide. Keep it cocked.

May 27, 2011, 02:54 AM
My Buckmark has thousands of rounds through it, and does the same thing. I make it a rule to never dry-fire it; as long as the hammer's still up the slide racks very easily and smoothly. I love this little pistol, and am glad to read it's not only mine doing this!

May 27, 2011, 04:17 PM
Right, got it.

So, why is the spring so tight on Buckmarks? Altho come to think of it, my Colt 1911 wasn't that much easier for me to open slide with hammer down. I usually cocked it first. Now it's a bit easier - (of course that was just before finding that the slide was chamfered hopelessly, anyone want a Bright SS, one of a thousand run of the Colt Silver Star? Great door stop.)

May 27, 2011, 04:37 PM
So, why is the spring so tight on Buckmarks?

I don't know and I don't care since the silly thing likes to shoot even the cheapest and dirtiest ammo I can find with zero issues. :) I seem to be happiest the federal competition bulk packs. The price is right and the accuracy is pretty close to CCI minimags. If I switch to CCI, I have to adjust the sights as the POI shifts. I found my ammo and I'm stocking up on it. Between myself and my son, I can't keep the accumulated stash very high. :) I like it so much, I may get a second one and a race tree.

My son has the same problem, though. I experimented and dropped the hammer before letting him shoot. He had a heck of a time racking it.

May 27, 2011, 10:30 PM
So, why is the spring so tight on Buckmarks?

There are 2 components:

1. hammer - and this is a function of the mainspring, which seems as stiff as the Browning HP spring, and the design of the hammer itself, meaning the point at which the spring acts in relation to the fulcrum (pin) point.

2. slide rail - the operator racks the slide, which in turn pushes the hammer back. It depends on where the slide pushes on the hammer.

As an analogy, let me use the example of loosening the lugnuts when I get a flat. If I have a short wrench, it takes me actually jumping on the end of it to loosen the nut. If I have a looong wrench (or a cheater pipe to slip over the short one) I can actually break the nuts loose with just leaning on the end.

The same principle works in the BM. The slide rail comes from the factory cut at virtually a right angle, i.e., very small radius on the end of the rail. [Aside: in my earlier post, I posted pictures of the slide rail, pointing to the corner of the slide which acts against the hammer.]

This places the "push" we give the slide very close to the hammer fulcrum point, or where the pin is. This then makes the mainspring feel heavier than it really is, because of the lever effect, or leverage. [Another aside: In 1911s, the firing pin stop comes in a variety of radii, increased on purpose between wars because the older models were "hard to rack". The BHPs had a similar development on their firing pin stop.]

The explanation ends here. It's important to understand why the darn thing is so hard to rack before any intelligent solution can be proposed....and there's a few out there.

May 27, 2011, 11:22 PM
Huh, good info here! I just thought my Buckmark didn't like me.

May 28, 2011, 02:56 AM
Well, MISTER2, you certainly know the answer to my question.

On my Buckmark, the hammer is closer to one side of the slide than the other, as close to touching as you can get - perhaps it is touching. This normal? (I see no unusual marks around there on either the side of the slide or the hammer - or the rear of the slide shown in your photo.)

Also, on your photos of the places that would show wear, aside from the locations, do the views also show actual wear marks?


May 28, 2011, 10:38 AM

A couple of things:

I've replaced the photo with a larger one that shows the correct edge that works on the hammer. It's hard to say what it started as, because I got my BM used with an unspecified round count. How much of that edge came from the factory versus how much is wear and tear, is uncertain.

The hammer is closer to one side of the slide (the right side) because it is offset slightly, and this is evident looking directly down on it with the slide removed.

Having said that, let me add to my response to your question,
So, why is the spring so tight on Buckmarks?

You asked "why", I earlier answered with a "how". Here's my attempt at the "why".

Consider the BM and the 1911 conversions, and let's include a popular pocket 22, the Bersa Thunder. All these 3 designs work on a blowback principle. The BM slide, compared to the 1911 conversion slide, or a BERSA Thunder slide, has less mass, which means the slide of the BM would "blow back" sooner, and faster, than other designs. In order to slow down this recoil impulse, the designer has three options: 1) a stronger recoil spring, 2) a stronger mainspring (and thus, greater hammer resistance), and 3) locating the point at which the slide pushes back on the hammer to increase the hammer's leverage.

1. Recoil spring cannot absorb the entire blowback impulse alone, otherwise it would slam the slide forward as hard as it came back, so it works in combination with the hammer,...

2. ...using the force of the recoiling slide to work against the mainspring and cock the hammer.

3. By configuring the slide rail so it contacts the hammer close to its pin or fulcrum point, the design makes it initially very difficult to push back the hammer but as it moves back the hammer gets easier and easier to push, because of the changing geometry.

By combining all three, the pistol has used the energy of the 22lr cartridge to extract, eject, cock hammer and chamber another round (or lock back in the case of the last round). As a side effect, it also becomes initially difficult to rack the slide with the hammer down.

And that's why, compared to other pistols, it's hard to rack the BM slide.

May 28, 2011, 10:52 AM
Thanks. Very interesting!

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