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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Brocock have created their own place in the PCP marketplace by bucking the trend for bulk, weight and complexity, and designing and manufacturing guns that, whilst no less accurate, are as compact, light and straightforward as you could wish for. Within their range the Contour epitomises this approach. It measures just 27.5” from butt pad to muzzle, weighs a mere 3 lbs 14 oz, and, as we shall see, is simplicity itself to shoot.
The base Contour rifle will already be familiar to many, with its short, slender cylinder, free floated barrel and ergonomic skeletonised thumbhole stock with its integral trigger-guard. The latter is a particularly pleasing design, whose appeal is enhanced by precise laser-cut panels of “tartan” skip-line chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip, which also bears the maker’s name etched into its base. The fore-end finishes in a nicely-rounded tip, whilst the butt is fitted with a height-adjustable rubber pad.
These features, in combination with the high roll-over comb, generous thumb-hole, well-shaped pistol grip and channel for a thumb-up hold, give the shooter total control of the rifle and make for quick and natural sight alignment and target acquisition. Or so I’m told by my right-handed shooting buddy. Unfortunately, there’s no L/H option, so southpaws like me who want a Brocock PCP are best catered for by the Concept, which places a longer version of the same action in an ambidextrous sporter stock.
No sling swivels are fitted to the Contour, after all it isn’t exactly a burden to carry, but I’d be tempted to fit one into the base of the pistol grip all the same and clip on a single-point sling so as to have both hands free when crossing obstacles or doing other tasks.
Made in England
As regards the action, the precision engineering involved in its manufacture is apparent throughout, with everything slick and smooth. The cylinder and barrel have been given an even black satin finish that complements the lightly-textured black of the action block. All the markings are sharply laser etched too, from the maker’s name over the legend “Made in England”, to the serial number and a stated maximum pressure of 200 bar on the left side, and the model name and calibre on the right.
Up front, neat caps with smooth spiral grooves protect the threaded muzzle and filler valve, the latter having a QD fitting that is compatible with Daystate rifles. The barrel itself is slender, but securely anchored in the action block and shows no sign of flex in normal use. The reduced diameter does mean that an adapter is required when fitting a silencer. I’d prefer to see this included in the base price but, as the Contour is hardly a budget-stretcher, this isn’t a major minus point.
Brocock gave me one of their own-brand silencers to test with the Contour. Just over 4.5” long and tipping the scales at a mere 2oz, it has a lightweight Delrin body and muzzle cap, and uses a pair of steel baffles (washers) held between three springs of decreasing length to dampen the rifle’s report. Silencer design is a trade-off between weight/bulk and sound reduction, and Brocock’s is no exception. It does the job, and does it very tidily, but if maximum stealth is your goal, you’ll need to go for something bigger.
The New 6-shot Action
Of course, the real reason for this review is because the test gun has a couple of new features that represent a significant move on from the original model. Most obviously, the Contour Super 6 is a repeater. But Brocock haven’t just added a magazine system: they’ve completely changed the way the action operates.
On the original Contour you flicked down an angular metal latch on the R/H side of the action to release the bolt, which then sprang back from the rear of the action block, at which point you gave it a further tug rearwards to cock the action, dropped a pellet into the loading trough and thumbed the bolt forward again until the latch caught it and popped up, confirming the gun was ready to fire.
Functionally, it was 100% reliable, and I’m sure would have continued to be so in repeating guise, but ergonomically it left something to be desired, both as regards the feel of the bolt latch, and in respect of the need to drop the rifle from the aim to cock the action. It was also unfamiliar, so took a little getting used to.
The new action resolves all these issues. First of all there’s a straightforward side-bolt layout, so you don’t need to learn any new moves, and you can get a firm grip on the bolt without having to lift your face off the comb. Then there’s the bolt itself. This has a stainless finish and an elongated “monkey nut” shape, with longitudinal grooves for extra grip. Like everything else on the Contour, it performs its function well yet is no bigger than it needs to be.
The bolt runs in a slot in the R/H side of the action block that has locking cut-outs at each end. To load the rifle, you simply lift the bolt handle and pull it rearwards. There’s no spring tension until you get to the last 5/8”, and once it resets the hammer the bolt runs forward again equally smoothly. You can also de-cock the action by holding the bolt to the rear as you press the trigger and allowing it to go forward under control.
The rear locking cut-out serves as the safety catch, since with the bolt secured to the rear the rifle can’t fire, whilst the forward cut out keeps the bolt securely in place when closed, ensuring that the seating of the pellet in the barrel and the position of the loading probe behind it remain consistent from shot to shot.
The magazine system is similarly neat. The magazine itself is a diminutive alloy cylinder with 6 chambers, an O-ring that sits in a groove around its circumference to keep the pellets in place, and a pair of bearings, front and rear, on which it turns. .22-calibre magazines are anodised in an attractive “old gold” colour, whilst .177 magazines are red. Six shots may be less than most of the competition, but it is plenty for 99.9% of hunting scenarios and keeps the magazine in proportion with the rest of the gun, as well as avoiding the scope clearance problems that beset bulkier, higher-capacity designs. The magazine has no moving parts, either – so there’s nothing to break or jam.
The magazine fits easily into the rifle. The rear bearing is fixed and locates into a cup-shaped recess at the rear face of the breech cut-out, whilst the front bearing is a sprung ball that engages with a shallow horizontal groove in the front face. Thus, with the bolt locked to the rear, the magazine can simply be slid laterally in or out of the breech cut-out. As the bolt is moved forward, however, its tip centres one of the chambers, holding the magazine in place as it feeds a pellet into the breech. Once the shot has been fired, cocking the action for the next shot causes a ratchet to rise and engage with one of the “steps” in the side of the magazine, indexing the next chamber. During this phase the magazine turns rather than being lifted out of its seat because, as we have seen, the rear recess and forward groove only permit lateral movement.
The design isn’t perfect, however, as you discover when you come to mount a scope, because the ratchet mechanism is housed behind a plate attached to the L/H side of the action block that occupies about 50% of its length, leaving only just enough rail at either end to attach a scope ring - but nothing like enough to achieve correct eye relief with the majority of scopes. Indeed, the only way I could use the Compact Walther 4x32 scope that came with the test gun was to mount it by a single double-strap BKL ring clamped to the forward rail section. What’s needed is a re-design to the side plate or a dedicated add-on rail that will clamp to the front and rear rail sections and bridge the central section, giving the necessary room for manoeuvre. To be fair to Brocock, when I raised this issue with them they immediately embraced the idea of a re-design in this area, so it may no longer be an issue by the time you read this.
In the Field
With the scope mounted I was able to do some field testing. The Walther 4x32 is quite a basic optic, with fixed power and parallax, but its compact dimensions are in keeping with the Contour, and it proved easy to zero as well as having a mil-dot reticle that comes in very useful when compensating for the loopy trajectory of a .22 pellet at sub-12FPE velocities.
As regards accuracy, the Contour did not disappoint, easily dropping pellets into the kill zone out to 45 yards. The trigger helps here, of course, as it’s a nice, crisp, 2-stage affair, and adjustable for both first-stage length and second-stage weight of pull. It was worth testing a variety of pellet brands, types and weights, too, as groups tightened noticeably with the right ammo.
Over the chronograph the Contour Super 6 showed good consistency with all the pellets tested, but it was noticeable that the highest energy figures were obtained with those in the 15.8-16.1 grain range. Across the board, it was apparent that the test gun had left the factory comfortably near the legal limit, with typical muzzle energy (ME) readings being in the mid to upper 10s, and peaking at 11.43. After trying out almost a dozen different pellets, Daystate FT were identified as giving the best combination of ME and accuracy, but different guns will have different preferences.
It’s worth experimenting with fill pressures too. Filling to 200 bar showed muzzle velocity (MV) rising for the first 10 shots of the fill, so I dropped the initial pressure to 180 bar and got straight onto the “plateau” in the power curve, which lasted for 20-25 shots depending on pellet type. To be honest, I’d expected to get a few more from the Contour, but in practice it was enough for most hunting trips. Moreover, the compact Contour makes a great “truck gun”, and when used as such there’s no reason you can’t keep your pump or diving cylinder to hand if you expect a busy outing. [Note: I’ve subsequently learned that Brocock have identified a way to increase the shot capacity by up to 50%, so the latest Contour may now be better in this respect too.]
In the Field
As luck would have it, I had a request to sort out a load of feral pigeons and jackdaws in a cow barn on a new permission just before taking delivery of the Contour, and it proved an excellent tool for the job, being quick on the aim, fast to reload, and quite punchy enough at the sub-35-yard ranges involved to make short work of more than two dozen of the feathered freeloaders on the first outing alone.
The verdict: a great little gun… just give me a bit more room to mount a scope, and a L/H stock, and I’d have one like a shot!
Brocock Silencer £30
1/2” UNF Silencer adapter £9
Walther Compact 4x32 Mildot scope £45
Padded gun slip £18
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