Mk IV PCP Compressor

PCP Electric Compressors for your pneumatic air rifles.

PCP Electric  Compressors for filling your pneumatic air rifles are steadily gaining traction among air rifle enthusiasts Australia wide. With the prices that are lower than Carbon wrapped Scuba bottles in some cases, it is a no-brainer to opt for an electric high-pressure compressor for your PCP.

In this article I will lay bare the pros and cons associated with buying one of the Chinese compressors and what I would expect you to get from the experience. I will discuss only one model here, but you can apply most of what I will show you to other small PCP electric compressors. Note: when I talk about small PCP Chinese compressors, I am referring to the units that you can buy direct from China for under $500 – believe it or not, the freight costs more than the compressors.

High Pressure Hand Pump

Hand Pump

Hand Pumps and Scuba Bottles.

Going back a few years, if you had a PCP (aka Pre-Charged-Pneumatic air rifle), you had to charge the air rifle reservoir with either a hand stirrup pump costing $300 – $450 or decant the air from a Scuba bottle.

The hand pump was and still is the hard way of doing anything, I even get a sweat looking at one. Constant use of the Hand Pump and you will find you have muscles where you would least expect them. The leading hand pump several years ago was the Hills pump out of the UK, but it has recently been eclipsed by Chinese hand pumps at as low as 1/6th the price of the British unit. Of course, there are those of you who will say, “I would prefer to buy British as they are better than the Chinese models”. Well that is debatable, but if I had to revert to a hand pump, I would rather buy 6 units for the same money as 1 UK hand pump. Having worked on both the British and Chinese hand pumps, I will say this, there is very little to choose between them now.

Next option was the Scuba bottle in either 232 Bar or 300 Bar. The 232 Bar is the most accessible Scuba bottle second hand and priced anywhere from $50 upwards. The problem with these 232 Bar tanks is that most PCP air rifles now run on 240 Bar and hence you don’t have the pressure to fill one to capacity. The 300 Bar tanks are a lot more suitable, offering quite a few fills dependent on volume but these bottles cost a heap more than the 232 bottles do. Still, neither of the above perform better than our PCP electric Compressor by Mark IV.

Cons:

  • Bottom line guys, you cannot put more air pressure into your PCP than is in the Scuba bottle,
  • you are tied to the mercy of a Dive Shop for filling,
  • many dive shops do not have the capacity to fill to 300 Bar,
  • there are not too many dive shops out in the country,
  • there are the costs of filling and having the bottle tested regularly,
  • the aluminium and steel scuba bottles are heavy while the carbon wrapped bottles are light but very expensive.

Pros:

  • The Scuba bottles are very portable and suitable for trips to your club or to go hunting.

High Pressure (HP) PCP Electric Compressors, are they really the answer?

As PCP air rifles require air pressures ranging from 200 Bar (2,940 psi) to 300 Bar (4,410 psi) you need a 3 or 4 stage compressor to attain that degree of air pressure. That is where we get the term High Pressure Compressor from when discussing filling Scuba bottles or PCP air rifles.

For this article I am staying with the Chinese PCP Electric Compressors pictured and am in no way referring to the likes of (say) Bauer High Pressure Compressors as the two are worlds apart in performance, cost, duty cycle and longevity. Having owned a Dive Shop for years when I lived in Port Hedland, I owned 2 Bauer HP Compressors for filling Scuba bottles where we filled hundreds of bottles a month in the heat and humidity. I have a fair idea what I am about with HP Compressors as we apply them to PCP air rifles.

Cons:

  • With the PCP electric compressors you need 240 volts and that is not always going to be available when hunting or when visiting small bush shooting clubs,
  • You need at least 20 but preferably 40 litres of cool clean water to cool the compressor,
  • These Chinese units do not have a very high duty cycle, in fact I would NOT recommend running one continuously for more than 30 minutes,
  • The water trap is hardly what I would call a trap, having an absorbent filter no bigger than a tampon, (did I say that?….)
  • You cannot walk away and just leave the compressor running (as I will explain later).

The Pros:

  • No driving to and from a dive shop getting your Scuba bottle filled, you can now fill at home,
  • Running costs are negligible,
  • Fairly portable providing you can source 240 volts and water,
  • Cheap.

Buying from China direct.

Those of you who want one of these Chinese PCP Electric Compressors can buy direct, paying anything from $460 to $700 depending where you source one from. The gamble you take is warranty, as there are NO compressor agents in Australia that I know of and given the nett price of the compressors (excluding freight), finding someone who can repair it for less than a new one would be difficult. I wish you luck.

I am bringing them in with bulk buys, marketing to my PCP customers of Gunroom only as I am not making a profit and only providing a service by supporting customers that support me. The compressors cost me $460 landed here, I then must pay 10% GST, $20 for synthetic oil, pull the compressor down and do 3 modifications and then test them. The $50 that I put on each compressor taking the retail to $580 including GST, barely covers my time making the modifications and on top of that, I must warranty the units. So, you see I am hard pressed risk wise with warranty and so this compressor is only available in a package price with a rifle or direct to a customer who has purchased one of my air rifles previously.

PCP Compressor strip-down

Modifying a PCP E;ectric Compressor

PCP Compressor

PCP Air Rifle Compressor

To understand warranty with regards to firearms and the like, we only get the faulty parts replaced and must pay the freight (chargeable to the customer) and do the labour at our cost. Yup, that is correct, we need to factor in our anticipated labour costs into the margin.

Running these PCP Electric Compressors.

I have said this already, but I cannot stress it enough, do NOT run the compressor for more than 30 minutes at a time. You must also dip your hand into the water tank and check the temperature regularly as these PCP compressors will get quite warm and become less efficient in hot weather.

With the humidity we get in places like Queensland, regular draining of both drain points is highly recommended while running the compressor. I leave these drains open when I have finished using my compressor to allow complete draining of moisture.

Do NOT attempt to fill a Scuba bottle with one of these small PCP compressors, they are not made for it. What I do, is I fill the rifle to be tested and that takes anywhere from 40 to 90 seconds depending on the residual air in the PCP if any, the outside air temperature, humidity, water temperature and air surrounding the compressor. I fill/top up the gun and then switch the compressed air valve over to my 300 Bar Scuba bottle which I run for 10 to 15 minutes or until the water starts getting hot. I do not allow the compressor to get over 75 degrees in head temperature: this is visible on the temp gauge beside the lifting handle.

Brocock Huma Regulators

Huma Regulators

After filling around 10 PCPs over 2-3 days and adding 10-15 minutes of run time onto my 300 Bar tank, it is then full and can be used for quick fills should the need arise. I mainly use the 300 Bar tank to supply air at a regulated 240 bar air supply via a Huma regulator (inset) and a 2.5 metre whip lead plugged directly into a PCP for pellet testing at a set pressure for tuning air rifles.

So, should you buy one of the Chinese PCP Electric Compressors for your PCP air rifle, I feel you will be very pleased with the purchase providing you follow my tips and try not to re-invent the wheel with the unit.

I have recorded the following fill times for your interest:

  • Kral Puncher Mega & Maxi filled to 200 Bar from empty took 95 seconds, and from 50 Bar to 200 Bar took 45 seconds.
  • Kral Puncher Knight from empty to 250 Bar took 140 seconds.
  • Weihrauch HW110 from empty to 200 Bar took 58 seconds.

    Kral Puncher Mega

    Kral Puncher Mega available in .177, .22 and .25 cal

Running the compressor on concrete in the glaring heat of the day will provide longer fill times, while running in cool to wintry conditions will reduce filling times. Remember to keep an eye on the water temperature as this also affects the fill times. Do not walk away from the compressor while it is running as the water pump is only a fish pond centrifugal plastic unit and sure as shooting it will malfunction if you are not there to keep an eye on it.

Some guys are putting in ice to cool the water, well, if you do this you risk very chilly water hitting a very hot head and prompting damage to occur. I am not saying don’t put ice in the water to cool it, that’s ok in moderation like everything, but knowing some of the clowns that I know, they will overstep the mark for sure… Keep the water cool but making it cold on a sweltering day is not recommended. I can also supply a temperature gauge for the tank water should you want one.

As the air filter is basically non-existent, I am hopeful of sourcing a larger unit that can be retro fitted to the compressor for better filtration. Long whip leads, Foster fittings, BSPP adaptors and fittings are available ex-stock to suit these PCP Electric Compressors.

Author

Ian McIntosh

Brocock Bantam

Brocock Bantam PCP from Gunroom, Part 2 of 2.

The Brocock Bantam PCP Range.

Following the introduction of the Brocock Compatto into Australia, they have now followed up with the Brocock Bantam in several different power and air cylinder packages and a choice of wood or synthetic on a modern design of their ladder frame stock. Then, more recently they have changed to the MKII models and introduced a new air rifle, the Commander which will be to feature of another review in August 2018.

At the time of writing this, I have on order more of the extremely popular Compattos and a range of Brocock Bantam MKIIs that should arrive late July 2018. Those of you with an interest in the Brocock Compatto or the new Bantam PCPs, please contact me early as these Brocock PCPs disappear very quickly.

The Bantam CF PCP.

This Brocock Bantam CF PCP air rifle comes with a Carbon Fibre wrapped air cylinder of 480cc that is just over 3 times the capacity of the Brocock Compatto air cylinder. This increase in air capacity is going to notch up the shots per air fill from that of the Compatto that we have found to be 48+ shots on the High-Power setting. Before you get out your calculator to do the maths on this, save yourself the trouble because it will not work out at 3.2 x 48 Shots because of the increase in power with the Bantam (and so more air).

Some of the first things you will notice when comparing the Bantam PCP with the Compatto apart from the air cylinder, is the side mounted air gauge and the adjustable cheek piece.

I shall be reviewing each of these new bantams once they get in and as usual I will give you the results, be they good or bad. In saying this however, the Compatto with it’s slim line air cylinder is a joy to fire, very accurate and with 48 usable shots it is comparable to the Weihrauch HW100K. Put up the energy by 5 Fpe and with the increase the shot count, the Brocock Bantam will eclipse the HW100K’s shot count as well the larger and more powerful HW100 while equalling the latter’s energy output.

By fitting the Bantam air rifle with a carbon wrapped bottle the overall weight will be reduced somewhat and that will be more noticeable in the balance than in carrying it. The 2 images below are the synthetic ladder frame stocks similar to what we have seen in the Compattos. These differ in the fact that they have an adjustable cheek piece and a wider fore-end to accommodate the fatter air cylinder. It is worth noting that the Bantams with the synthetic stocks are referred to a “soft touch” while the Brocock Compatto is referred to as a Polymer stock. I will elaborate on any difference when these guns arrive here.

Brocock Bantam CF

Brocock Bantam CF Model in ‘soft touch’ synthetic.

Bantam CF

Brocock Bantam CF

Based on the Bantam above there is also this stained Beech wood stock for those purists who haven’t yet made the transition from wood to synthetics. Set against the matt black action and shroud the wood does have an appeal that is difficult to overlook.

Bantam CF in Beech

Brocock Bantam CF in Beech

Bantam CF Beech Stock

Bantam CF in Beech with a MTC Viper Connect

The Bantam 400.

Below is the Soft Touch version of the Brocock Bantam PCP with a 400cc air cylinder. What the advantages or disadvantages are between the 400cc and the 480cc carbon wrapped bottle I have yet to establish, apart from cost that is.

Bantam 400 Facing Left

Bantam 400 ‘soft touch’ synthetic.

Brocock Bantam 400 synthetic

Brocock Bantam 400.

The Bantam 400 in wood below looking much like the Bantam CF model with the exception of the air cylinder.

Bantam 400 with Beech Stock

Beech Stock On A Bantam 400

Brocock Bantam 400 Beech

Bantam 400

The Bantam 500 PCP with the large capacity Cylinder.

One look at this PCP and you can see where Brocock are going with this large air cylinder that will surely benefit the .25 Calibre shooters in shot count. The .25 Cal does not come with the sling-shot ‘self regulating’ inertia hammer of the Compatto, but with a solid hammer to squeeze out 40 Fpe of energy with a 40+ shot count.

With the market moving away from springers and into PCP air rifles we have also noticed a shift upwards into .25, .30 and .357 cal air rifles. With Brocock now establishing their footprint on the .25 cal PCPs and Daystate having the Wolverine 303 in .30 cal, Gunroom Pty Ltd will be stocking these as they become available, as I find these larger calibre PCPs more attractive for the hunting fraternity.

Bantam 500 Facing Left

Brocock’s Bantam 500

Bantam 500 synthetic

Right side view of the Bantam 500

The Brocock Bantam 500 looks quite foreboding in Beech with the large cylinder fitted and should prove to be a good hunting air rifle with the additional power and shot count.

Bantam 500 with Beech Stock

Bantam 500 in Beech

Bantam 500 Beech

MTC Viper Connect on a Bantam 500

Brocock Bantam line up summary.

Brocock’s line up of PCP air rifles now starts at the Compatto in synthetic followed by the Bantam 400, the 480CF and the 500 in .177, .22 and .25 Calibres. The Bantam range also offers the Beech stock variant from the soft touch synthetic. However, the new MKIIs are dropping the Beech and Soft Touch stocks in the Bantams and only becoming available in a newly designed synthetic model. The Compatto will still retain its synthetic stock but will also have an optional Soft Touch version.

Those of you looking at the Bantam range as a future PCP purchase will no doubt have noticed the MTC Viper Connect scope used on all the above Brocock Bantams. This is an upmarket scope developed principally for the PCP market where weight and optics are paramount. Gunroom Pty Ltd will be offering the MTC Viper Connect and the MTC Viper-Pro scopes in package deals with the new Brocock Bantam MKII models when they arrive in July 2018.

Author

Ian McIntosh