Call me old fashioned, but I like my rifles to take ammunition that contains all the parts necessary to make a projectile pop out the end of the barrel. You know, powder, primer, case, and all. So when our fearless leader handed me a package from Air Guns of Arizona that contained a Brocock Contour XL G6 and a carbon fiber wrapped air tank, I was…skeptical. As I live in the great state of Texas, there are little to no restrictions on what I might own, unlike the land that produced this little gem, the recently Brexited UK.
At a hair under five pounds (right at five with a scope), and a stock geared towards shooting offhand, the G6 is a handy little bugger that shoulders easily and fits well. The Monte Carlo cheekpiece brings the eye into position perfectly for use with an optic which is good since there are no iron sights to speak of.
Air Guns of Arizona was kind enough to equip this rifle with 3-9X Nikon and supplied me with some 14.66 and 16 grain projectiles. I was responsible for taking the carbon fiber tank to the local dive shop to get filled. Total cost – $10.
The G6 feeds from a six-round cylinder that accommodates all kinds of .22 caliber pellets, and holds them securely with an outer band. As there’s a ball detent on one side, the cylinder can only go in one way, and cycling the bolt moves the cylinder to the next position as you reload.
While it’s not semi auto by any stretch of the imagination, the short bolt throw, bolt lift, and polished feel contribute to very fast cycling. The only thing that slowed me down was the magazine‘s proclivity for popping out of place slightly. Giving it a small tap to seat it fixed the issue every time, but it did limit my confidence on fast follow-up shots.
Where the G6 differs greatly from your run of the mill rimfire or centerfire rifle is that it lacks both a manual safety and the ability to extract an unfired pellet. This substantially changes the manual of arms to ensure safe operation. Where you can safely carry a bolt action rifle (excluding some Remington 700’s) around with the bolt closed on a live round and the safety on (just watch your muzzle), the G6 doesn’t have provisions for that sort of thing.
To safely carry this rifle, the bolt must be locked to the rear. Should you insert a pellet for firing, there’s no safe way to remove it without firing into a safe backstop. As the pellets are inert, you could reasonably argue that leaving one in the chamber with the bolt locked back is “safe enough” but there’s no good way to verify the chamber is clear like on a bolt action rifle, so you run the risk of a negligent discharge.
There are definitely safe ways to handle this rifle, but potential buyers should be aware that it will likely differ from their typical methods for safe handling.
As the G6 contains an onboard air tank that takes charges directly from the much larger carbon fiber-wrapped air tank I alluded to earlier, capacity is somewhat limited. I found that the G6 would go from fully charged (200 bar/2900 psi) to completely dead in about 40 to 45 shots. But after about fifteen, the point of impact starts to shift so dramatically that you’ll be forced to hook the big tank back up to get things back up to working pressure.
With a freshly topped off tank and using my MagnetoSpeed v3, I saw velocities right around 875 fps with the 14.66 gr. pellets and slightly slower with the 16 gr. pills. That’s on par l with what I normally see from my .22 LR pistols albeit with heavier 40 gr. projectiles.
While I never took the G6 hunting, I did successfully put the hurt on various pieces of wood and found that the lighter projectiles on a full charge have enough juice to penetrate a piece of OSB, fiberglass insulation, and another piece of OSB before becoming wedged in a piece of cedar. I have no doubts that this rifle has the ability to make ethical kills on birds, rabbits, squirrels, and other small critters.
At the range, I was pleasantly surprised to see the level of accuracy displayed with either the 14.66 or 16 gr. projectiles. At 25 yards, the G6 consistently turned in six-shot groups that measured from half to three quarters of an inch. The groups on the target above were shot with the 16 gr. projectiles and show the drop-off in point of impact as air pressure decreases. The circled group at the top left is on shots 19-24 on a charge while 25-30 are the middle circled group, and 31-36 are the lowest circled group towards the bottom with the sixth shot actually falling off the paper. If you were planning on taking this afield without the air tank, know that you’re going to get about fifteen shots in before your point of impact will start to deviate substantially from point of aim.
The groups in the lower left corner are indicative of another behavior I regularly noticed. On a freshly filled tank, the first two shots would normally impact a touch high — stretching the group size to a max spread of three quarters of an inch. After those two, shots three through fifteen would bore a half-inch hole in whatever I happened to be shooting at. While I’m no air rifle master, this level of accuracy is what I’d expect out of any bolt action .22 rifle.
What was pleasantly surprising was the overall level of fit and finish the G6 brought to the table. I can’t be alone in thinking of air rifles as the sort of cheap, junky pump-up pellet guns of my youth. The G6, though, is finely assembled from snout to tail with nothing, and I mean nothing amiss.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the impressively crisp stock trigger. When testing triggers, I normally take ten readings or so with my pull weight gauge to establish an average. It’s not out of the norm to see the readings deviate from the average by two to four ounces in either direction.
The G6 trigger either registered 2-7/8 pounds or 3 pounds on the nose each and every time. The shoe is pleasantly shaped, and the break is phenomenally crisp after a short and very light take up. For those considering an air rifle for at-home practice, know that this trigger easily replicates the feel of many of the big dollar aftermarket triggers out there on the market.
Which brings me to the question what nearly everyone asked me when they found out I had an air rifle to test. “Can you shoot it at home?” There are two schools of thought on that. The first: “It’s only a crime if you get caught.” That is to say, what you do indoors in the privacy of your own home is your business.
What I can tell you is that the combination of subsonic projectiles and the cute moderator on the end of the barrel make this a very quiet package. Very likely, the sound of a pellet hitting a hard backstop is going to be louder than the shot itself. Inside the confines of a house or garage, I doubt that your neighbors could hear you over the sounds of traffic, birds chirping, lawnmowers, dogs barking, or any of the other noises that suburbia has to offer.
The second school of thought is to check your local regulations. Many don’t consider air rifles to be firearms and the regulations that govern them therefore don’t apply. If that’s the case, feel free to legally discharge your air rifle in the backyard or inside your garage. Just understand that the G6 is capable of powering through fairly stout barriers, so planning for a solid and safe backstop should be of chief importance. All four rules still very much apply.
At $740 for the rifle, about $200 for the scope and mounts, and nearly $600 for the air tank, owning an air rifle of this quality isn’t for the faint of heart or light of wallet. I consider part of my job in reviewing guns to ask “Who is this for?”
From a practical standpoint, my first thought was similar to the answer on reloading pistol ammo — those who shoot a lot and can treat the high cost of entry as an investment of sorts to be paid off within the span of a year or two. But at $0.03 per pellet and a couple pennies per air charge, you certainly won’t make up the cost on ammo vs. .22 LR (which currently runs about $0.07 – $0.08 per) unless you’re shooting something like 50,000 rounds a year or better.
The second category of potential buyers is the group of people who have the indoor or outdoor space set up to shoot this rifle safely, but not a nearby range for practice. There’s really no replacement for live fire practice and if a round trip of an hour or more to the range has your rifle shooting hampered, you could easily replicate various shooting situations at home to keep the rust off your skills. This rifle holds about 2 MOA so reduced size target shooting should easily replicate some of the necessary skills that will help you as a centerfire rifle shooter.
The last category of potential buyers (as I see it) is those who have grown bored with either hunting or long range shooting and are looking for a new challenge. While you can easily shoot a rabbit with a .22 rifle from fifty yards or more, you really need to be much closer with an air rifle to ensure an ethical kill.
I could see those looking to improve their fieldcraft enjoying the challenge that air gun hunting could bring to the table. On that note, the trajectory of these tiny pellets past the twenty-five yard mark turns parabolic pretty quickly. Shooting one at even 100 yards would be a worthy challenge, and at a nickel a pop, a fairly sustainable one as well.
Accuracy “issues” aside, I found this to be a thoroughly pleasant rifle to shoot offhand, seated, and kneeling. I had to shoot it off the bench for accuracy testing purposes which was a lot like work thanks to the rounded forend and short length of pull. Field accuracy was more than adequate for my needs, though it does require regular trips to the tank every fifteen shots or so to maintain that accuracy. Shooting it during the week between weekend range sessions could be an excellent way to keep the rust off those valuable rifleman’s skills.
The G6 pushes 14-16 gr. projectiles fast enough to be deadly to birds, mice, and small game at distances within 25 yards and has enough “oomph” to punch through OSB, plywood, and the like. Should you choose to buy one, know that it can do more than be a trainer in the garage, and could be the scourge of local pests.
The lack of manual safety or extractor presents a few issues. None are insurmountable, but worth noting. At this price point, plenty of rimfire manufacturers manage to make the safety thing happen, and I’d hope that Brocock could do the same.
Specifications: Brocock Contour XL G6
Weight: 4.8 lbs
Overall Length: 34.5″
Fit, Finish, & Build Quality * * * * *
At nearly $750, there’s a certain expectation of quality and I think the G6 measures up to similarly priced rifles that have been tested here. The stock, while not a Hogue, feels exactly like the Hogue OverMolded one that my Ruger 10/22 sports, and is nearly the same color. It has a pleasant feel and checkering in all the right places. The bluing on the barrel and onboard air tank is expertly finished with nary a sign of being anything other than perfect. The bolt moves smoothly through its short travel, and the trigger is one of the finest I’ve ever sampled.
Ergonomics * * * *
This stock gets high marks from me for being a “shooters” stock as it really does work with you for offhand shots and those typical of shots taken in the field. Due to the rounded and curvy forend, it does not play well with flat surfaces, preferring to list side to side like a cruise ship in heavy seas. Brocock did not see fit to fit this rifle with sling swivels, so fitting it with a bipod is out as well. That’s fine as this rifle is definitely geared towards the mobile shooter, one who doesn’t have the time to set up a shot with a bipod and a rear bag. That said, sling swivels would allow me to mount a sling, something I would definitely appreciate for offhand shooting. At a hair under six feet tall, I’m not giant, but the G6 felt like it was about half an inch too short in length of pull, similar to what I’ve experienced with AK-47’s and M4 type rifles with the stock in the compact position. Again, this is likely a nod to those who will shoot this rifle in an Isosceles stance.
Manual of Arms *
This isn’t a typical category seen on TTAG, but given that this rifle does not have provisions for a manual safety or extractor, something centerfire and rimfire shooters like me are accustomed to, it is worth noting. You cannot adopt the same bolt action manual of arms you use with your rifle today to this rifle and consider it safe. That said, this rifle offers a great deal of simplicity in its operation, so adapting to a different way of thinking shouldn’t be too difficult.
Accuracy * * * *
The five shot groups I put together at twenty-five yards after I’d shot the first two on a new charge were almost always half an inch in maximum spread if I did my part. The problem I could consistently replicate was that the first two almost always impacted a touch high. That said, this only opened up those groups to three quarters of an inch, more than adequate for small game hunting and general purpose target shooting. Should you require something more accurate, I’m certain that the folks at Airguns of Arizona would be happy to help you.
Overall Rating * * * *
At $739 for the rifle and a hair over $1500 as equipped above, this is definitely not the rifle for those looking to save some money on ammo. My math says you’d need to shoot something like 50,000 rounds to break even on this vs. the purchase of a bolt action .22 and the ammo to feed it (assuming you could find it). More likely, the buyer of this gun is someone looking to challenge their hunting and shooting skills or someone with an understanding municipality that allows them to practice in the backyard.