The British government very nearly put the lights out on the Brocock airgun company in 2004. The company, which had been famous for the manufacture of its “air cartridge” airguns, which were loaded with metallic cartridges that had been pressurized with air and loaded with a pellet, had been virtually wiped out by a change in British law.
On 20th January 2004, it became an offence to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon using a self-contained gas cartridge system, so Brocock could no longer make or sell the product that was at the heart of the most profitable part of its business. Then, in May 2004, it became an offence, punishable by a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, to even possess a self-contained gas cartridge weapon without the necessary firearm certificate.
But the Brocock folks are neither slackers nor dummies, so they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. One of the smartest things they did was to hire the chief designer for now-defunct Falcon Pneumatics. His charge was to create a new line of precharged pneumatic air rifles and pistols.
The second really smart thing they did was to design one really good basic action that would serve as a modular base for creating a whole line of air rifles and pistols. Starting from an excellent action, they could then swap barrels, reservoir sizes, and valving to produce a full product spectrum that would please a wide range of airgunners.
The new Brocock line of precharged air rifles and air pistols was launched in January, 2009, and the AIMX Atomic pistol is the latest model to fall into my hands. It is very similar to the Grand Prix, which I reviewed earlier, but that Atomic is fitted with front and rear sights.
The Atomic is about a foot long from the tip of the muzzle to the trailing edge of the rear sight or about 13.5 inches measured diagonally from the tip of the muzzle to the lowest rear edge of the pistol grip. Dangling from my Lyman digital trigger gauge, it weighs in at 2 lbs 12 oz.
It has an ambidextrous wooden “stock” with checkering on either side of the pistol grip. The stock overhangs the pistol grip at the rear by about an inch. The trigger guard, which is an integral part of the stock, is wood. The metal trigger is wide and slightly curved. Forward of the trigger guard a single Allen head bolt secures the receiver into the stock and the rest of the stock, which is flattened. flattened.
The air reservoir has a screw-off metal cap, and under that is a male foster fitting for charging the air reservoir from a SCUBA tank or hand pump. Above that is the .177 cal. Barrel which has a screw-off fitting for attaching a silencer where legal. On top of the muzzle end of the barrel is the fiber optic front sight which is surrounded by a cage of metal that protects the sight but also has cut-outs that allow light to reach the fiber optic rod.
In the middle of metal receiver is the opening for the breech. At the rear of the receiver is a metal notch rear sight which is adjustable for elevation and windage. On the right side of the rear section of the receiver, there is a lever, and at the very aft end of the receiver is a knurled knob. Like the Grand Prix, the fit and finish of the Atomic are excellent and very appealing.
Getting the Atomic ready for for shooting is easy. Remove the protective cap on the foster fitting and charge the reservoir to 200 bar/2900 psi. Press the lever at the rear of the receiver down, and the knurled knob springs backward, opening the breech. Pull the knurled knob backward until it clicks, and you have cocked the action. Insert a pellet into the breech, push the knob forward until it clicks to close the breech, and you’re set.
Now, here comes the really nice part: the Atomic has one of the nicest air pistol triggers I’ve shot in a while. At 9.4 oz, the first stage comes out of the trigger. At One pound 7.8 oz, the shot goes down range. It’s crisp and predictable. If you miss, it sure isn’t the trigger’s fault. Filled up to 200 bar, the Atomic will deliver 30 shots, launching JSB 8.44 pellets at an average of 540 fps, which is about 5.8 fp of energy at the muzzle.
At 13 yards from a Creedmoor position I found myself shooting small groups that probably would have been one-hole clusters if I had been using a scope. In all, I liked the Atomic a whole lot. It’s the kind of pistol that just begs an airgunner to take the UJ Challenge.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott