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Compatto goes to Texas

Posted by on March 14, 2016
I would have liked this gun if even a modest performance due to its dimensions. But add in great performance and this rifle had me at hello!

I would have liked this gun if even a modest performance due to its dimensions. But add in great performance and this rifle had me at hello!

The Compatto is a semi-bullpup rifle from the merged design team of Brococks and Daystate, that is loaded with new technology. If you’ve read this blog for long, you know I have a marked preference for compact hunting guns, and the Compatto is certainly compact. But performance-wise it can stand with the best full sized hunting rifles on the market. The rifles great trigger, a very smooth bolt action, three step adjustable power, an effective shroud, are all very impressive. However it is the semi-bullpup configuration with the trigger moved well forward of the receiver, that is the secret sauce in this rifle. The design allows a full length barrel on a rifle with a reduced LOA.

The ten shot rotary magazine worked flawlessly through multiple tins of pellets, and its fast and easy to load.

The ten shot rotary magazine worked flawlessly through multiple tins of pellets, and its fast and easy to load.

And all this in an airgun that really deserves the name “tack hammer”; on the bench the gun could punch five shot sub ½” groups at 50 yards all day long. It liked the JSB Exacts the best, though I did find the rifle to be fairly pellet tolerant. These days when I find a pellet that performs well it tends to be all I’ll shoot out of that gun when hunting. I find myself using several rifles at any given point in time, and it makes sense to remove variables whenever possible.

A couple buddies and I were hunting a ranch down in South Texas, about fifteen miles from the border with Mexico, holding great populations of coyote, fox, and bobcat. Our base was an old bunk house used for short naps during our otherwise round the clock hunting activities. Toward dusk one afternoon, I decided to grab a small bore rifle and go bag a few jackrabbits. Our primary predator hunting tactic is to call for coyote and cats, but I thought I’d try to lay out a bait pile as well. The primary livestock on this property is sheep, and while they don’t want to eradicate these big desert hares, there is a desire to manage the numbers. Three jackrabbits consume as much of the sparse vegetation as a sheep.

This rifle shoots very well offhand for me.

This rifle shoots very well offhand for me.

The gun I had along for small game duty was the Brocock Compatto, which I’d been shooting regularly for a couple of months and had built up a lot of confidence with. I thought this hunt would be a perfect application for Brococks compact hunting rig. The landscape here is rugged and covered with thick scrub-brush such as ocotillo and creosote that I’d have to crawl and push though in daytime. However going out at night I could keep to the roadsides where it was a little less dense, but still not a place for a long barrel or bulky gun. Our technique for this shoot would be to drive the truck slowly down the road working red filtered lights and I’d walk along in front of it. The rabbits would take off through the brush and away from the lights, occasionally stopping to look around and this is when you take the shot.

As we drove down the road, we started seeing jackrabbits almost immediately. They were uncharacteristically shy and took off as soon as they noticed us. At this point there was still enough daylight that the lamp wasn’t required. Coming around a turn in the road, I saw one run up a hillside and take cover in the thick brush. I had an open shooting lane as the rabbit hunched down 35 yards away from me. Shooting offhand I lined up the shot and let it fly. The pellet hit dead on target and the rabbit sprang up in the air, coming to rest feet up. I walked out and collected him, throwing the carcass up on the shooting platform before moving on.

Even with out a sling mounted, the Compatto was easy to move around with.

Even with out a sling mounted, the Compatto was easy to move around with.

Working our way along the road it started to get very dark, as there was no moon and overcast in any event. Using lights. I bagged another four rabbits at ranges from 25 to 60 yards, that offered pretty much a replay of the first rabbit taken in terms of terminal performance. The next rabbit took flight when we kicked him up, and ran out to the middle of a little airstrip used by bush pilots coming in with clients for mule deer hunts. Using my range finder I saw that he was 85 yards out, and from my workup of the gun and scope before the hunt, estimated the appropriate holdover would be the second mildot below the crosshairs. The illuminated reticle made it much easier to position the mildot on the rabbits silhouette, and when I squeezed off the shot he took a half dozen steps and rolled over. With this fifth bunny in the bag we called it a night. Check out the video at:

I am liking this rifle more with each passing day, going to take it for some long range prarie dogs in a couple weeks, and am expecting it to do very well on the wide open grasslands of South Dakota.

5 Responses to Compatto goes to Texas

  1. RidgeRunner

    Jim,

    OK! I have really been hoping this was going to be a real performer. This one has had my attention since I first heard of it. I am in the market for a nice PCP and this one is definitely on the short list.

    The Compatto does have some very serious competition on that short list though and one of them is it’s step brother, the Daystate Air Ranger. I am certain that the Compatto would be much nicer to carry around for a few hours, but as far as the trigger, action and accuracy, which of these would you consider the better air rifle?

    • Jim Chapman

      The Air Ranger is a superb rifle and the trigger is great, it is accurate and powerful. But it is big and heavy (compared to the Compatto). I haven’t shot them side by side and suspect the Air Ranger would edge the Compatto slightly, but both of these guns can out-shoot me on my best day so it’s the overall suitability to my field applications that would win the day (for me). I am falling in love with the Compatto, I have about twenty new guns I need to test and hunt with and I’m having a hard time breaking away from this gun….. but again, its a personal opinion. I will say the trigger on the Compatto is very good, the action is a smooth as any bolt action I’ve ever shot, and it is quiet.

      • RidgeRunner

        That is my dilemma.

        I too feel the Compatto would be much easier to use on a long walk in the woods and strongly suspect that if it is not as good as the Air Ranger, it is very close. However, the Air Ranger is also a nice piece of eye candy, which is also what I desire.

        I guess we will have to see which wins out when I decide to “pull the trigger”.

  2. Shadow Lee

    Hi! Jim. This is Shadow Lee from St. Paul, MN. I heard you talking about from state to state are different rule and regulation of using airgun for hunting. Some states are not legal using airgun for hunting and some states do. Also, some states legal for using a big caliber, but some only legal for using a small caliber. Since I was living in St. Paul, MN is legal for me to use either big caliber and small caliber airgun for hunting, too or no. Also, what about the silencer? Cause I heard that some states are not legal to use the silencer. What about Minnesota is legal to use the silencer or not.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hello Shadow;
      In MN you can hunt small game (squirrel and rabbit) and coyote with airguns, caliber is not specified. I hunt coyote here with a .357 generally. Silencers you get into a fuzzier area, I’ve talked with wardens that do not seem concerned with airguns that have a shrouded barrel, but I can’t find a clear statement in the regulations.

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