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.
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.
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.
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.