The Brocock Concept XR may be minimalistic in design, but Mat Manning reckons it takes functionality and versatility to the max
British gunmaker Brocock has developed a flair for making reliable airguns built for functionality and getting the job done. These rifles are the choice of pest controllers up and down the country.
But Brocock airguns aren’t just reliable, they also have an admirable track record in the accuracy department, and their modular design ethos means that many of their models can be tweaked and kitted out with accessories to create a bespoke shooting platform to suit whatever its owner wants from it.
The £1,247 Concept XR takes the Brocock ethos a stage further and boasts a raft of refinements that make for a go-anywhere shooting machine that is perfectly suited to field use. Its no-frills tactical styling may appear to be quite basic but a lot of thought has gone into the design of this versatile PCP, and the result is quite exceptional.
Brocock Concept XR – key specs
MAKER: Brocock, England (brocock.co.uk)
MODEL: Concept XR
PRICE: From £1,247
TYPE: Length-adjustable modular multi-shot PCP
CALIBRE: .177 (tested), .22 and .25
OVERALL LENGTH: 810mm to 900mm
LENGTH OF PULL: 330mm to 420mm
BARREL LENGTH: 430mm
WEIGHT: 2.6kg (without scope)
TRIGGER: Two-stage adjustable
POWER: 11.6 ft-lb on model tested (FAC versions available)
If you’re not a fan of tactical-looking airguns, then the Concept XR’s styling won’t be to your taste. But don’t be too quick to judge. I find it hard to embrace the new generation of stripped-down “black” airguns but a few have managed to win my heart through their practicality, and this looks like another one of them.
There isn’t really a forend on the Concept XR but the cylinder serves as a contact point for your leading hand. The rear section of the stock is similarly simplistic with no raised cheekpiece, although it still delivers decent eye-scope alignment.
There are gains to the minimalistic approach, and this rifle only tips the scales at a shade over 2.6kg. That should make it rather appealing to anyone who doesn’t want to be bogged down by a heavy airgun.
The butt stock features a handy length-adjustment system. Press down the locking button and the butt slides in and out, with six clear stops enabling you to adjust length of pull from 330mm to 420mm.
Those adjustments mean the Concept XR’s overall length is variable from 810mm to 900mm, which is pretty compact even at full extension. I have long arms and settled on a 390mm length of pull and 870mm overall, which increased when I added a silencer. The AR-style butt can be swapped out for other designs and you can add the folding mechanism seen on the Ranger XR for an additional £50.
Good trigger attack is a vital ingredient in consistent shot release and accurate shooting, and the Concept XR’s AK-type pistol grip (which can also be removed and replaced) does a fantastic job of guiding your index finger to the blade. The standard design is nicely sculpted and has patches of crisp stippling to aid grip.
In front of the trigger guard sits a 100mm Picatinny underside rail for bipod attachment. For an extra £55 you can add Brocock’s double side rail, which is very useful for shooters who want to clip on infrared illuminators, lamps or power banks for after-dark pest control.
Features and function
For a slimline airgun, this Brocock is packed with a surprising array of features – and the good news is that all of them have a useful role to play rather than just being sale gimmicks.
The Concept XR is also very solidly constructed. It feels robust despite being light, and its black anodised finish, which complements the stock’s components nicely, will shield the metalwork against rain, mud, blood and all the other crud that proper field work will throw at it. The same finish is applied to the barrel shroud, which is threaded to accept a silencer.
The standard dovetail rails straddle the magazine. Shooters who prefer a Picatinny attachment can add Brocock’s 140mm adaptor rail for £65, a good investment for anyone planning to clamp on a night vision unit which demands that connection.
Rapid reloading is assured by a very slick sidelever action. The lever is now adorned with an even bigger dropdown handle which makes for an extremely positive hold – especially useful for hunters who wear gloves. The Concept’s loading mechanism has always been a joy to use, thanks to its well-positioned handle – and the latest refinement has made it even more intuitive.
A single-shot tray is supplied, but the Concept XR now runs Brocock’s new self-indexing gate-type magazine, which holds 13 shots in .177 calibre, 11 in .22 and 10 in .25.
To load it up you simply open the gate, rotate the inner drum all the way round until it stops, drop a pellet into the bottom chamber to hold the spring tension and then fill the rest of the chambers. Flip the gate closed and it’s ready to snap back into the rifle. I have used this magazine in numerous guns and all variants have been kind to pellets and well aligned.
Performance gets a further boost from an improved two-stage trigger. The latest upgrade is a match-style blade that can be adjusted for height and angle to ensure perfect contact with the pad of your index finger.
The release mechanism can also be adjusted in both the first and second stages. The trigger on the review gun was very good on its factory setting so, as is often the case, I couldn’t see any justification for tinkering with it.
It had a fairly heavy first stage that came to a very distinct stop followed by a very clean and predictable, creep-free break. You can’t really ask for more than that.
Located just in front of the trigger blade is a paddle-type safety catch. Our regular readers are probably bored of hearing my thoughts on having safety catches positioned close to the trigger.
Prejudices aside, this one is easy to use and does what it is supposed to. It is in the safe position when over to the right and you nudge it across to the left when you’re ready to shoot.
Performance and power
The Concept XR is equipped with a Huma regulator, which means it is a very consistent performer. The .177 calibre review gun is a sub-12 ft-lb model and was producing a muzzle energy of 11.6 ft-lb with a variation of less than five feet per second over a string of 10 shots – and that was with pellets taken straight from the tin.
As for shot count, you can expect 100 per fill in .177 and around 130 in .22. When it’s time to refill, you just rotate the collar at the front of the cylinder to expose the inlet and plug in the supplied probe. Air pressure is displayed on a clearly marked gauge that sits within the front of that collar.
A power-adjustment dial enables you to wind output up and down, and you will obviously get more shots per charge on the lower settings. The dial is positioned just in front of the sidelever handle and the one on the review gun had three clear stops.
My feeling is that the ability to tweak output is far more useful to FAC shooters than owners of sub-12 airguns, and there are some interesting high-power options for the Concept XR. These include 18 ft-lb in .177 and 30 ft-lb in .22, both returning 40 shots per fill, and 40 ft-lb in .25, from which you can expect 28 shots per fill.
I really enjoyed shooting the Concept XR and have already taken it on a couple of hunting trips where it gave a great account of itself tackling grey squirrels from a hide.
I wouldn’t dream of targeting live quarry without spending plenty of time with a gun on the range, and I had a lot of fun acquainting myself with this one.
Its smooth, decisive loading mechanism, very consistent power delivery and clean trigger release made it a joy to shoot and easy to shoot accurately.
Fed a diet of Rangemaster Sovereign pellets, which most PCPs seem to shoot fairly well, the Concept XR gave a very good account of itself.
I was fortunate to have windless conditions for my main testing session, during which the gun was knocking out five-shot groups measuring 4mm from centre to centre at 20m.
That distance was really no test for it, but things still remained impressive at 30m and 40m, where groups opened up to around 9mm and 15mm respectively.
I only had the time, and the weather, to carry out thorough testing with the Sovereigns but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if more experimentation led to even better results, not that there’s anything wrong with the ones I got.
So, the Concept XR is certainly going to appeal to hunters who like minimalistic guns that are built for function, but don’t write it off if that isn’t quite to your current taste.
This airgun is a quality piece of kit and certainly offers the complete package in terms of performance. Anyone looking for a light and accurate airgun for serious field use would do well to give one a try. It may just have what it takes to convince a few traditionalists to set aside their prejudices and try a tactical airgun.