Classic Gun: Brocock Predator

Jeremy Cooke reminds us that legally owned air cartridge guns are still being used regularly today, including the Brocock Predator

The Predator may look like a conventional powder-burner, but nothing could be further from the truth

Many airgun shooters will recall that air cartridge guns were all the rage years ago; however the Government introduced a ban that restricted their ownership. Only those who had their guns recorded on a Firearm Certificate (FAC) by the end of April 2004 were able to continue to own and shoot them legally in the UK.

A moderator can be fitted, just like a regular rifle or rimfire

Brocock, along with some other manufacturers, had created an amazing range of pistols and rifles that were chambered to use special ‘tandem’ air cartridges, known as TACs. These brass cartridges could be filled with high-pressure air from hand or stirrup pumps, or by loading them into a ‘ram’ charger connected to a 300 bar diver’s bottle. With a pellet fitted into a screw-on nose cone, the cartridge was ready for firing.

TAC cartridges are made of brass, the same material as most rimfire and centrefire cases

After the ban, air cartridge guns became something of a taboo subject and very little has been written about them since. The subject here is my legally owned Brocock Predator six-shot bolt-action rifle. This beautifully finished piece resembles a sporting firearm. The metalwork is blued and is housed in an elegant walnut stock.

A TAC takes quite a long time to prepare for firing, so it helps to have spare magazines

Cycling the bolt is a real joy as the spent cartridges are ejected and new ones chambered from the magazine. This incredible piece of engineering performs well on shooting forays and takes pride of place in the gun cabinet.

It’s just a shame that these wonderful creations are now only being enjoyed by a few privileged enthusiasts.

Jeremy’s Predator fires air bullets that were specifically developed for the TAC system

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Posted in Features, Gear, Vintage

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