Brocock Bantam Sniper HR/Range Test&Field Review
by Dana Webb
Over the past several weeks we have been busy with several new products that have arrived for review. Two of these products arrived swiftly from Airguns Of Arizona, a .22 Brocock Bantam Sniper HR and a MTC Optics Cobra F1 FFP scope. The rifle was packaged very well and had the Cobra F1 scope mounted and ready for the range. We were provided with the included Single shot tray, 10 shot magazine as well as an extended female foster fill fitting and spare o-ring set.
This all new Hybrid air rifle is short and does not require the long troublesome trigger linkages required in a traditional Bull Pup design. The Brocock bantam Sniper comes standard with features found on much higher priced rifles. The purpose built breech block is made from high quality aircraft grade alloy and finished to provide to an almost indestructible level. The ballistic nylon synthetic stock has shooter inspired features like a adjustable cheek piece and butt pad with a removable picatinny rail on the forearm. Performance features include a HUMA regulator for more consistent shot fps numbers that in turn creates a very accurate Air Rifle. The HUMA system is easily adjustable in pressure by the shooter for tuning purpose. The regulator can be adjusted without removal of the stock or any disassembly of the rifle from a port behind the fill nipple. The Bantam Sniper houses two pressure gauges that show the pressure from the carbon fiber bottle with the other showing regulator pressure. On the right side is a power adjuster with a large control knob gives the shooter the flexibility of long range varmint control to short range plinking in seconds with a satisfying click of the knob when needed. This feature is very useful when shooting in a structure sensitive or urban environment, or to conserve air consumption. The American market demands have been met with a picatinny scope rail with an included 11 mm option for more traditional shooters, and a large diameter barrel shroud system for reduced report. Further noise reduction is possible with the 1/2 UNF threads on the muzzle end. The all new Bantam Sniper will be equally at home or on the range with accuracy provided by the Lothar-Walther barrel and adjustable trigger unit. The ten shot magazine is cycled by the large tactical style bolt and single shot magazine is included for target work.
As mentioned the rifle came outfitted with the MTC Cobra F1 FFP Scope, a great combination for any small game hunting kit.
Designated ‘F1’ to mark its lenses’ optical configuration, the Cobra will prove popular with shooters who favor the less complicated sight picture offered by FFP scopes, where the relationship between target and crosshair size remains constant throughout the scope’s entire magnification range. This is particularly advantageous when allowing hold-over and hold-under on targets – scenarios aided further by MTC’s multi-stadia SCB2 crosshair that provides numerous aiming points to counter trajectory and windage deviation.
The Cobra F1’s First Focal Plane crosshair has MIL click-stop adjustments (1 click = 1cm @100m) via lockable, finger-adjustable elevation and windage turrets, and can also be illuminated to one of 6 intensity settings to suit any lighting condition in the field or on the range. The new F1 also boasts sidewheel parallax adjustment to eliminate aiming errors and assist in range estimation from 10m to infinity. To maximize light transmission and maintain a bright sight picture, the specially-coated lenses of the 50mm diameter objective have been matched to an oversize, 30mm tube – and besides a fast-focus eye-piece, the Cobra F1 also ships with the standard magnetic, flip-up lens covers with inbuilt magnifying pane to assist with turret scale reading.
- First Focal Plane reticle: aim-points do not change with magnification adjustment
- Glass-etched crosshair: design exclusive to MTC Optics
- Edge-to-edge multi-coated lenses: bright, clear picture quality
- Side parallax adjustment: eliminates parallax error and assists in range-finding
- 10-yard minimum focus: suitable for airgun use and ultra-close-range shooting
- Reticle illumination: assists with tricky background and lighting scenarios
- 30mm body tube: more substantial build quality and light transmission
- Fully water, fog and shock proof: increases longevity of the scope
- Nitrogen purged: internal regulation of scope’s high-end performance
- (NOTE) This scope works excellent in low light conditions, the lighted reticle is one of the best we have seen. For hunting purposes this is a very ideal scope with very useful features. +1
We took a trip to our local private facility to test the Bantam Sniper at the 55 yard range, the rifle was sent to us with the regulator set to 130 bar. Through testing several different pellets we found a thorough barrel cleaning was in order, immediately our groups were improved with the .22 25gr JSB Monsters.
The regulator is easily turned up externally with a small flat head screwdriver. The method for doing this is to cock the gun and turn screw counter clockwise very slowly while watching the regulator gauge. A chronograph is needed to achieve desired tuning results, we do not recommend going over 160 bar as efficiency will be poor. We were able to achieve very consistent velocity in the low 800’s with the 25gr and 880’s with the 18gr JSB’s. We found the heavier pellet to be a better match for accuracy as well as having a bit more weight against the slight wind.
This Air Rifle has a great design and allows for easy adjustments via the “power wheel” on the right side of the breech. We kept our power at max levels throughout most all of our shooting at the range, we were setting the gun up for our several days of hunting. (Note) The gun needs to be filled very slow, no hot fills. The reason for this is the male foster fitting on the rifle has a small debris filter as well as a spring, if the gun is filled to fast the spring can get stuck open. This happened to us as the foster fitting had to be removed and manually closed. These are the things that are important for us to learn here at the range and not out in the remote wilderness. The trigger on the gun came to us set just under 1.5 lbs, perfect for me and ideal for most shooters. I have been told that Brocock has improved the trigger over the older design and the trigger on this model is highly adjustable, but felt no reason to change it. The safety on the Bantam Sniper is one of the best I have seen and is a paddle style, something new that I very much enjoy. Very quick on and off with a solid and smooth “click”, very well designed system.
The performance of this rifle grows on me the more I use it, the weight of the gun balances very well and the synthetic stock feels extremely sturdy in the hands. The guns weight is just over 8.5 lbs with scope and our Accu-Tac bipod.
|Barrel||18″ Lothar Walther -Choked/Crowned|
|Magazine||10 shot capacity|
My good friend Claudio Flores had been staying with us for several weeks visiting from Chile, you may recognize him from his popular YouTube channel “Patagonia Airguns“. Claudio has hunted with many well known Airgunners from around the world such as Matt Dubber, and is one true professional Airgun hunter. Claudio had brought his Brocock Bantam Sniper that Airguns Of Arizona outfitted him with for our several day trip into the remotes of Southern California wilderness.
Claudio and I packed the Jeep Thursday night and headed out early Friday morning where we would spend several days hunting a variety of small game in some very remote terrain. The weather was much cooler than weeks before but still extremely hot in the first location of the high desert. We unpacked our Air rifles, loaded our magazines and set out to pursue some large Blacktailed Jackrabbits. We started our hike into the mountains a bit late unfortunately just as the sun had brought temperatures up into the high 80’s by 8:30am.
Claudio, Marley and I hiked up a steep ridge that overlooked the valley floor with hopes of getting a better vantage point over the large Jackrabbbits. We spotted several that were far out of range and the few that were close soon disappeared in the thick brush. I spotted a good size one at 80+yards but as we set up the camera it soon sprinted away and far out of range.
Over the next few hours we unfortunately had very little luck even spotting any as by this time it was much to hot and the Jackrabbits have moved to much thicker cover. The temperatures were by now in the mid to high 90’s and making hiking around near unbearable. After taking a break at the truck I decided to pack up and take Claudio to a different location 1 hour South of us, an area with more shade and cooler temperatures.
This area is fairly new to me and has plenty of small game opportunities such as California Ground Squirrels, Cottontail’s and Jackrabbits. We drove near 15 miles on dirt to an area that has tons of fallen trees, rocks and a much more mountainous terrain.
Claudio was much happier here with the cooler temperatures and the possibility of hunting some California Ground Squirrels. After setting up our camp, Claudio, Marley and I took a very short walk and soon spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about over the many fallen trees that scattered the area. Most of the shots were between 45 and 65 yards, nice range for getting good video and scope camera footage.
The rest of the day was fairly slow with the Ground Squirrels, they were not as active as from previous trips. We stayed fairly close to camp most of the day and had planned to venture away as the evening came, was nice to just sit and relax with not a care in the world. That evening around 5:30pm we headed out from camp into the mountains where we spotted a covy of some California Quail, a beautiful bird that can be hunted with Air Rifles. We didn’t take any unfortunately due to being more than a month out of season. We spotted a large Bobcat, Deer as well as many different types of birds. We spotted no rabbits or Jackrabbits on our hike but Claudio did get to see the beautiful wilderness California has to offer Airgunners. These areas are somewhat difficult to hunt but I will say the Brocock Bantam Sniper was a pleasure to carry, the MTC Cobra F1’s glass was a perfect match and the illuminated reticle at lower magnification made quick acquisitions very easy. After our hike we made way back to camp where Claudio and I made a small campfire that I used to make some toasted Turkey sandwiches. The evening sky was super clear and not very cold at all, perfect camping weather.
The plan was to get up early and hunt for the many large Jackrabbits that roam the area in early mornings.
Saturday morning I awoke to Marley licking my face and her whining, “C’mon dad, GET UP, lets go hunting”. I climbed out of the Jeep quietly as Claudio was still asleep in the tent, I sat with my coffee drink and had my morning cigarette. The sunrise was absolutely stunning, after several minutes I pulled out my monocular to glass the nearby hillsides for Jackrabbits.
I spotted several moving about several hundred yards from camp, so was quick to wake up Claudio. After a few minutes he was ready and we headed slowly away from camp where we stopped at 120 yards from the several Jackrabbits standing in the open field. I had the large 4k Cannon movie camera in tote, along with the quite heavy tripod to be able to film the action as it unfolded. Claudio took a shot on one that went a bit low sending them both running in different directions, the smaller of the two stopped just behind a small bush with just it’s ears visible.
Claudio took the shot on the smaller one hitting it just behind the shoulder putting it down with authority. Nothing like the sound of a loud THWACK echoing through the canyon, very distinct sound. Marley didn’t waste any time going for the recovery, took her a few minutes to locate as she was not able to see exactly where Claudio had made the hit. We made our way over the small ravine and into this big open field where Marley had finally recovered the expired Jackrabbit.
I was so happy for Claudio as I felt he was starting to get frustrated with the very slow and difficult few days we had with hunting. I did explain to him that California can be a difficult place to hunt, the terrain and hot weather make for quite the workout. When we hunt with Airguns we are trying to stalk in close, especially with the smaller calibers such as .22. The Bantam Sniper performed wonderfully and in some ways Claudio almost made it look easy, fabulous 120 yard shot!! We spent the rest of the morning hiking around where we both were able to take several more Ground Squirrels before packing it up and heading to another location.
Our next stop is a very familiar place to me and one that offers one of the best natural Ground Squirrel habitats in California. The area is nestled high in the coastal mountains and has some very rugged terrain with both Pine trees, Oak trees and miles of open pastures to roam.
Claudio and I parked the Jeep and proceeded along a small animal trail that was very close to several large Oak trees.
Claudio and I both almost immediately spotted several Ground Squirrels moving about through the many holes under the Oak trees, most were around 60 yards or so. Claudio missed his first shot going just high nearly missing a perfect headshot. We continued down the small trail that weaved through the center of a large field where I was able to take a Ground Squirrel sitting atop a fallen branch at 45 yards, THWACK, lights out. The trail took us further down a hill where we spotted several moving about next to a small fire road. Most of these shots were all over 100+ yards.
Claudio and I both sat patiently under a nearby Oak tree that provided some good shade from the heat of the day as well as some cover to hide us from the Ground Squirrels.
After taking more than 15 Ground Squirrels we moved back up the hill to the Jeep where I drove us to a more secluded location to take a break and have lunch in the shade. After my quick lunch I decided to up the power of the Bantam by turning the regulator up to 150 bar, WOW what a difference in power, this thing was fairly beastly now and still holding great accuracy. The gun was near 42 fpe now and made longer shots much easier with the extra power. The 10 shot magazine was a breeze to load and gave no feed issues so far, easy to see red dot on side to keep track of how many shots left.
I had filled the gun to 250 bar and had gone through about 4 or 5 magazines with no POI shift, this 480cc bottle holds a TON of air. This is near the perfect gun for this type of varmint hunting where we may be hiking most of the day. Very pleased with having such a high shot count, somewhere near 90+ shots is pure awesome. To be honest I probably could have filled the gun at home and gone on this trip without a tank, hypothetically of course. After shooting the gun a bit more Claudio spotted a large adult Ground Squirrel climbing on a fallen tree at 65 yards.
THWACK, blew him right off the log with a plume of dirt from it’s fur flying up in the air. The power increase really shined and this Air Rifle is no doubt deadly to any varmint within 85 yards. The past several days with these Brocock Bantam Snipers has been an absolute pleasure, so thankful Airguns Of Arizona gave me the privilege to review such a beautiful kit. The rest of the day was spent taking some photographs and enjoying this amazing wilderness we have here in California.
My final thoughts on this rifle are as follows:
- Well made and rugged
- Very accurate
- Massive shot count
- Easy loading reliable magazine
- Externally adjustable power
- Adjustable stock
- Picatinny rails top and bottom
- Easy to read gauge’s
- LDC ready (quiet as is)
- Magnetic dust cap for foster fill
- Excellent placement of safety
- Fairly heavy
- Slow fill only
- Barrel needs to be cleaned frequently
- Can double load
- No magazine stop when empty
Over the past several weeks I have enjoyed my time spent with this beautifully made Air Rifle, I want to once again thank Airguns Of Arizona for setting me up with such an awesome kit to review. I hope you enjoyed our adventure and won’t hesitate to reach out to them for more information on the Brocock Bantam Sniper HR.
Enclosed is a video of our Airgun Adventure with this rifle and would appreciate you SUBCRIBING if you enjoy our reviews.
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