Edit: I saw a buffer on a video that was yellow and thought I didn't have one but I actually have a black buffer I thought was hard plastic. The question still stands as it is possible to still function without one.
I have one, and it’s nearly clear plastic. I never really paid a lot of attention to the part, but I do recall a few times I did not seat the back of the plunger in there correctly and couldn’t get my pins to line up. You might notice that when/if you get one.
Have you ever noticed differences in how you work the action? I’d think that if the plunger wasn’t lined up it would be more difficult to pull the bolt back- but in doing so, it is possible that would line the plunger up.
I did a reply or thread on it. the bolt will bind in the rod.
I need to correct myself in that I do have the buffer. its all black so I didn't know it was the buffer.
if you remove the top rear but pad screw, and push the OP rod forward, it will move about an inch.