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Brocock Air Cartridges

Brocock FoxPictured above is the Brocock Fox, a novel air rifle very possibly inspired by the gun described in Frederick Forsythe’s The Day of the Jackal. There’s the skeleton design, the simple trigger, moderator, all the necessary bits for a minimal gun. But the inquisitive viewer might well ask, where’s the spring, or the air chamber, or the CO2 resevoir?

Brocock guns had none of these, owing to a very clever design – the air cartridge. This was a small reservoir that looked for all the world like a firearm cartridge, but was actually a self-contained airgun powerplant, containing pressure tank, pellet, and valve all in one package. The shooter would prepare a number of cartridges ahead of time, using a hand pump or SCUBA tank. This might be a little inconvenient for plinking, but hunters, who might only fire a dozen shots a day, found it very convenient. Given the difficulty of owning a real firearm in Great Britain, a lot of shooters were willing to put up with the inconvenience in order to shoot something that felt and functioned like a real firearm.

The Brocockcartridges functioned very much like firearms cartridges, too. Guns designed to use Brocock cartridges had a firing pin that struck a valve on the rear of the cartridge, releasing the gas and propelling the pellet forward. This design meant that not only was it simple to design guns that used the Brocock system- see the Fox above- but many firearms designs could be easily adapted to it. Brocock sold a number of very realistic handguns that were produced by European makers, including some stunning adaptations of percussion revolvers. The Brocock 6 was a standout- a Weirauch-made revolver that was essentially their .357 revolver with a different cylinder and a .22 caliber barrel. It looked and functioned just like its firearm cousin.

And that is what eventually led to the downfall of the Brocock system. The top-end guns were so like firearms that they could very simply be turned into firearms. A few gunsmiths made adapters on their lathes that allowed .22 cartridges and even .38 cartridges to be fired in Brocock pistols and rifles. This led to the banning of all cartridge air gun in 2004, and the surrender of all Brocock guns and cartridges to the police. (Today, firearms possession is essentially outlawed in Great Britain- even the British Olympic pistol teams has to practice abroad- but gun crime continues to increase.)

If you do find a Brocock gun or cartridge, hang on to it, as they’re becoming very desirable collectibles. Cartridge replacement and maintenance could be an issue, of course. I haven’t heard of anyone in this country making replacement cartridges, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time before some clever airgunsmith decides to service the Brococks still being shot here and in other countries.

29 Comments

  1. Dave MacFadyen wrote:

    Interesting write up on Brocock; actually, I just found your site today, and I just finished reading all the articles in your archives. Very interesting stuff; keep up the good work!

    take care,
    dave
    RAFB, Georgia

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  2. mje wrote:

    Thanks! Let me know if you have any interesting guns you’d like to see here.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  3. doug law wrote:

    can you help me with instructions on how to pressurize the brocock cartridges with teh slim jim pump for use in the fox?

    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  4. Javier Sanz wrote:

    I have plenty of brocock information to share reguarding replacement parts and other stuff. Feel free to contact me.

    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Clive Layton wrote:

    Actually the guns were not banned. You just had to put them on a firearms certificate, which was granted without a problem! I have a fox and a pair of uberti pistols which are both priceless and worthless, as they cannot be sold to anybody!

    Monday, April 21, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
  6. P. Luty wrote:

    You say that all Brocock guns were handed into the police. This is untrue as about 80% are now unacounted for. This is good news. This serves the police right for demanding such a futile law in the first place.

    Friday, November 7, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  7. codey wrote:

    how can i get a brocock self-contained revolver in the usa

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  8. dave wrote:

    Alludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator!!!how much and where do i get 1 brederin.. safe

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  9. Mick wrote:

    How much is a No4 Brocock .22 Fox valued at.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  10. Pete wrote:

    “If you do find a Brocock gun or cartridge, hang on to it”

    I wouldn’t advise that if you live in the UK. Its now a mandatory 5 year prison sentence if caught. Best to hand it in if you find one really

    Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  11. Anders wrote:

    Looking for a Colt Army 1860 brocock.
    Living in Sweden and there is not brocock banned yet.
    so if you have any present that you want to get rid of, I am Interested.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink
  12. Nate wrote:

    I have a Harper Classic in .22 looks like the Fox with 6 carts, spare seals, slim jim pump, Bisley scope and padded wooden case. Not very accurate shooter, but is really fun to shoot. Not sure of value…definite keeper for collection.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  13. francisco wrote:

    Hello I have a revolver brocock texan, I would like to know if it is possible to raise the potency somehow to pull to more of 15m at the canisters.
    A greeting

    Friday, July 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  14. Robert Lewis Gay wrote:

    Sir/Madem

    Is it still possable too get the Jackal air riffle, ever new or secound hand and was it any good for ratting ect..How did it work and what was it like too use.

    Was it a one shot wonder gun or was it good with a nice scope on top.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  15. mje wrote:

    You may be able to find a used one outside of Great Britain.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  16. Thegunman wrote:

    For Anders, I have repeated parts Brocock, Pietta and Uberti Brocock Air System, also I-Sportwaffen and LEPS, if interested please contact, I can send photos of them all.
    thegunman@telefonica.net
    A greeting.

    Monday, September 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  17. sandy reid wrote:

    need breakdown instructions for uberti 1872 open top BAC conversion

    sandy

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 4:00 am | Permalink
  18. mje wrote:

    Perhaps you could find the info you’re looking for on Uberti’s web pages: http://www.uberti.com/firearms/top_break.php

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  19. sandy reid wrote:

    my appologies, I was not clear enough.
    the pistol is an 1871/2 open top 6 shot, not breaktop, uses brocock air cartridges, have a jam between cylender and barrel so need to remove cylender, dont have handbook

    nothing in uberti web page

    sandy

    Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  20. sandy reid wrote:

    sorted it, thanks to all

    still need handbook

    sandy

    Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 6:27 am | Permalink
  21. Alan Berg wrote:

    Leder efter sider hvor jeg kan se revolvere og pistoler inden i, hvordan de virker og hvordan de forskellige dele ser ud

    Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  22. MIKE MACHIN wrote:

    loocking for manaul &parts for Brocock independent ie spring seals piston washers screws for stock front

    Friday, September 2, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink
  23. Thegunman wrote:

    Hello Sandy, to remove the cylinder, it must relax the screw, to do it, it must immobilize the same of the right part of the weapon, and, to unscrew the left side. EYE! when they leave the two parts the screw, it does not lose the small wharf, without him, will not be able to return to mount the weapon. Once removed the screw, it throws strong of axis, it removes it and it tries to remove the cylinder; if one moves but it does not leave, then it must oscillate the cylinder towards the left and to the right alternatively, that, it would be enough so that the pellet, good I imagine that habra like minimum one and between two and three within the barrel, leave without problems. A greeting

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink
  24. peter james wrote:

    First offence not five years.UK prisons now are over filled thanks to the london riots.
    You would get the gun taken away from you if caught then it probably be sold abroad for the inland revenue.But then again a lot people didn’t know the law had changed on a sub 6ft-lb air pistol!

    Monday, September 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  25. J.Holton wrote:

    I have a Brocock Texan that is on ticket and i’m looking for the slide that covers the firing pin, the hammer hit’s this slide which in turn hit’s the firing pin. Does anyone know where i might obtain parts for my Brocok?

    Monday, December 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  26. Pat wrote:

    Hello,
    I have been looking for a repro Brocock pistol/carbine for some time. Do you know of anyone with one for sale?
    Thanks
    Pat

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  27. Stoney wrote:

    Hi, I have a small Collection of Brocock guns. The prime being a 5,5″ 1873 Navy Colt from Uberti. Besides guns I have two slim Jim pumps, one RAM charger for filling from bottle and 80 cartridges.
    Due to the Danish government making all airguns with bore caliber larger than .177 equal to firearms. (FAC controlled) I have decided to sell all, if I can find the rigtht buyer, and we can handle it fully legally with respect for the different countrys gunlaws. (Even though they are queer). If interested I can mail you directly.

    Regards
    Stoney

    Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink
  28. Bruce007 wrote:

    Hi, I have a Brocock .22 Fox rifle w/scope, slimjim pump, and BAC cartridges w/folding carry case. Located in the U.S. Anyone have any idea what these guns are worth? Thanks.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  29. Robin123 wrote:

    To STONEY
    Hi, I live in Sweden so I have no restrictions on the brocock guns. Im interested in looking at your collection but i dont know how to get in touch with you.
    Please reply here when you see my comment so we can echange email for further “discussions” thanks

    To BRUCE007
    If you want to sell please reply aswell

    Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

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