PUBLISHED: 11:08 31 October 2011 | UPDATED: 18:43 22 April 2012
Making the move from springer to PCP can be expensive, but the Brocock Concept might just be the answer thinks Terry Le Cheminant.
Making the move from spring power to a precharged air rifle is a big step. Shooting a PCP is a world away from shooting a springer. For a start a PCP is virtually recoilless compared with the savage recoil of a spring piston rifle. Many spring gun shooters who try a PCP for the first time are amazed at how accurate they are with a PCP.
But a common misconception is that PCPs are more accurate than conventional spring guns. Both are as accurate as each other; the only thing that affects accuracy of the springer is the shooter. Thats because it is more difficult to hold a springer steady with all its recoil than it is to hold a virtually recoilless PCP on target. Arguably shooting a springer keeps your shooting disciplined because you have to really follow your shot through and hold the rifle correctly to be accurate.
But its more than just the different shooting characteristics that makes moving from a springer to a PCP such a big step. The price of a precharged outweighs all but the most expensive springers.
On top of this you have to buy a stirrup pump or diving bottle and this can be cost an arm, leg and a head. But before I put people off buying a PCP let me explain that there is a rifle out there that is in the reach of most peoples pockets, which can make changing from springer to PCP that little less painful.
Please note that I said changing rather than upgrading from springer to PCP. I dont want anyone to that I think springers are a lesser form of airgun. As Ive said before theres always room for a springer in my gun cabinet. Springer help keep your shooting disciplined, so I would always recommend returning to a springer now and then to remind you about follow through and holding the rifle correctly.
MANUFACTURER: Brocock UK
CONTACT: 01527 527 800
LENGTH: 934mm (36.75ins)
WEIGHT: 2.5kg (5lbs. 8oz) unscoped
POWER: 11.5 ft.lb SHOTS PER CHARGE: 50 plus
TRIGGER: Two-stage, adjustable
ACTION: bolt action single shot TYPE: pre-charged pneumatic CALIBRE: .22 (tested) or .177 PRICE: 360
Anyway, now I have cleared the air of any springer/PCP prejudice, let me get back to the rifle in question. The Brocock Concept was revealed at the British shooting show at the end of February.
Developed from the Aim-X pistol and the Contourcarbine the Brocock Concept is an elegant, full-power PCP with made in England stamped all over it. Nothing special about that you might say, but if I told you that it only cost 360, then you might get a little more excited. That makes the Brocock Concept one of the cheapest single-shot PCPs on the market, rivalling the Air Arms S200 and S400, which are slightly more expensive.
As you know, Im an Air Arms fan. So you wouldnt expect me to say the Brocock Concept is better than the two single shot PCPs from Air Arms. My mate Bill would never forgive me. What Im saying is that the Concept will certainly give Air Arms a run for their money. At the end of the day, the Air Arms and the Brocock are rifles of a similarly high standard, for similar money and the best way to decide which one to buy is to see which one fits you better and which one you prefer to shoulder.
Back to the rifle in hand, which I am going to judge on its own merits. It is a superb piece of kit. When you pick it up, the hardwood stock has a silky smooth high grade finish with some superb chequering on the fore-stock and the grip. On the heel of the grip Brocock Concept have engraved their name. A nice touch. The grip has a slight swell for the palm and there is a thumb scallop for those that like to shoot in the thumb up position. If you prefer a more conventional shooting hold, then the neck of the grip is till not too thick to get your thumb over. The stock is fully ambidextrous because it has a beautifully sculpted cheek swell on each side of the butt and there is thumb scallop on each side of the neck of the grip.
Another feature that makes the Brocock Concept truly ambidextrous is the cocking bolt. It can be operated from either side and you just release the catch and pull the bolt back to cock the rifle. This will suit many left hookers, including my long-time mate, Terry Doe, who edits that other airgun magazine. Although, I believe Terry taught himself to shoot right-handed. Obviously he wanted to give other shooters in the competition a chance. But its not just left handers that are catered for. The adjustable butt pad allows the shooter to raise or lower the butt in your shoulder to make the shooters eye alignment with the scope more comfortable. My only criticism of this is that the rails on which the butt pad moves has some very sharp edges, which need to be filed down. That said, I have had rifles that cost twice as much and have the same problem.
Brocock Concept in the field
When it comes to handling, there is nothing better than the Brocock Concept . Itshoulders easily and is well balanced with the balance point being just two inches forward from the trigger guard. You could carry this rifle round with you in the field all day because it is so light (2.5kg without scope) and that is what makes the Brocock an excellent hunting rifle.
I took it into the field to see how it worked as a stalking rifle. Using it in late summer/ early autumn on some unsuspecting bunnies, I found the Brocock Concept to be an ideal companion. If necessary I could easily hold the rifle in one hand when monkey crawling to within a few metres of my quarry. The simplicity of the rifles design also helped make it a winner in the field. Because the cocking bolt does not protrude like on a lot of air rifles, it never got caught on anything.
Large side bolts often get caught on cammo netting, braches and goodness know what else, but the concepts neat bolt was cleverly out of the way behind the action.
However, there was one small draw back with this cocking system. When you released the catch, the spring loaded cocking bolt shot back and made a loud mechanical snick. Do this and you can see flocks of crows taking to the air, rabbits scudding to their Burrows and squirrels dashing for cover. Being a hunter means you have to be resourceful, so I easily remedied this by placing my thumb behind the cocking bolt when I released the latch and that eadened
Loading the Brocock Concept was easy. After pulling the cocking bolt back, you place a pellet in the loading channel and then push the bolt home. The pellet is pushed into the breech by a brass probe. This rifle does not have a safety catch, so take great care when the rifle is loaded. Of course one of the advantages of a PCP is that the often come in a multi-shot format. However, many of the rifles at the cheaper end of the market are only single shot. Dont let this put you off. A lot of shooters prefer single shot PCPs because they offer greater shot consistency because the pellets are less likely to be damaged loaded singly, than if they are fed into the breech from a magazine. Its a much contested point, but what you can say is that having a single shot rifle makes HFT a lot easier because it saves you removing a magazine when you move from peg to peg. Once loaded the rifle was ready to knock over some conies. And thats just what it did. The accuracy was phenomenal, even in the .22 calibre version I used, which has a more loopy trajectory than Im used to with my .177 rifles. This was in part because of the excellent two-stage trigger unit teamed with an excellent barrel. You can adjust the trigger for first stage travel and weight of pull by two
allen key screws at the front and rear of the trigger housing.
I used the trigger with its factory settings and found it quite satisfactory. The only improvement I would suggest making to this
rifle if you want to use it in the field, is to fit a silencer. There is a silencer designed to thread onto the barrel of the Brocock Concept , but Nigel at Brocock said that he thought it looked better without. I know what he means, but vanity doesnt count when you are in the field and a silencer would enable you to take shots without alerting every other animal in a ten mile radius.
The other essential is a scope. The Brocock Concept came with a Walther 3-9 x 40, which is the magnification most favoured by airgunners. The scope offered clarity, functionality and wasnt too heavy, so it didnt unbalance the rifle. Its not too pricey either and I would recommend it to anyone, not just beginners.