Many things to make me happy on this day: I love the desert and here I was hiking the canyon country landscape of Northern Arizona, I love a small compact rifle and this little Brocock is the definition of the type, and I love rabbit hunting and I’d seen many before even stepping out of my truck!
It was another warm dry day in Northern Arizona, much appreciated by a Californian that had found himself dropped in the frozen northern climes of Minnesota! I worked my way through a constantly changing landscape that transitioned from piles of jagged rock interspersed with clumps of desert grasses into rolling hills covered in native cedars. This has become one of my favorite rabbit hunting locations, especially in those years when the cyclic rabbit populations are up. I’d been taking both jacks and cottontails on this vast track ranchland for a long time, and have had days when you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a rabbit and other where I’d get a couple of shots if lucky. There was a lot to see here besides rabbits, I’ve kicked up mule deer and elk grazing, with antelope in the lower regions.
The gun I was carrying on this outing was the Brocock Specialist, a rifle that is a tad over 34” LOA, with a 12 ¾” barrel, and weighing in at 5lb it is a very compact little multishot pcp rifle, that generate a bit over 20 fpe and approximately 24 shots per fill. The gun feeds from an alloy 6 shot rotary magazine, which is very reliable having now digested several hundred rounds with nary a misfire in the bunch. I believe the Specialist is the lightest weight full power rifle I’ve ever shot, and it’s intrinsically very accurate. The fact that the cutaway stock with a functional and ergonomic pistol grip allows for a fast mount and rock steady hold, makes it that much easier to realize the accuracy potential in the field. My gun is in .22 and quite likes the JSB Exacts, though it fairly projectile tolerant and digest several brands of pellets. The only two things Ill criticize on this gun are 1) even with the diminutive shroud it’s loud, and 2) there is not a pressure gauge. However, the shroud is threaded and it can be quieted significantly when there is a need to do so, and the gun is so compact and light that giving up some of the bells and whistles is acceptable…..The gun gives up nothing in performance.
Stepping up to the top of one of those rock jumbles, before starting up the cedar covered hill, I spotted a big jackrabbit at 70 yards. Resting on one of the sun heated rock. I brought the crosshairs of the little Hawke 3-9×40 AIM scope up to a point about 3” over the rabbits back in line with the shoulder, and from my stable rest squeezed off the shot. The big desert hare sprang straight up in the air, ran 15 yards, and rolled over. In terrain like this I have no problem taking a lung shot, because even if the rabbit bolts under an adrenaline surge, he’s not hard to find on the barren shale and sand floor. Walking up I found that the 15.9 grain pellet had taken the jack broadside, double lunged him, and was resting just under the skin on the offside. I consider this respectable performance on a rabbit weighing in at about 9lb and at a long (for a mid-power airgun in standard caliber) range.
I spent the balance of this beautiful day hiking this airgunners paradise, taking a couple more rabbits and passing on many more, watching the birds and big game, photographing the cactus flowers, and wishing I didn’t have to climb on a plane back to the snow-belt the next morning.