Face Off : Rotex RM8 vs Brocock Compatto

Walther Rotex airgun

This month on Face Off, Steph Brooks compares two mid priced PCP rifles – the Walther Rotex RM8 and the new Brocock Compatto.

The RM8 has been on the market for a couple of years now and is often a go to gun for people seeking precision grade accuracy at a reasonable price. The Compatto is very much the new kid on the block with Brocock designing it, and pricing it, to compete with the RM8 and Air Arms S400 range. Lets load up with some Diabolo pellets and compare.

Best Looking Airgun?

The RM8 is definitely the more traditional looking of the rifles, and combines a wood stock that has been expertly crafted by Minelli in Italy. It is a bit cliché to talk about passion and aesthetics when talking about Italian manufacturing, but the stock on this rifle really does look great, with flowing lines and rich staining for great texture. I would however like to see the stock being made from a walnut wood for some even nicer tiger striping.

If the RM8 is a classic Alfa Romeo, the Compatto is a Caterham kit car:  instantly recognisable, functional, lightweight and also great looking if you like that sort of thing. The  stock is closer to a skeleton style, and has a couple of surprises waiting in store.

Brocock's Compatto : A Mid Priced PCP Rifle with great accuracy

The first of which is a small weaver rail mounted under the air bottle, that is suitable for torches and lasers, and a welcome addition to this more tactical looking rifle. The second surprise is the one detraction I have from the stock and that is some pretty prominent mould lines along the stock. This would be something I think you would get over, but it is not something I would expect from a rifle of this price.

Looks are not the most important factor when it it comes to making a decision – It’s all about personality, but you can’t fall in love with personality at first sight. If I was to choose between them I would personally go for the Rotex, as I prefer the traditional style over tactical designs and Brocock’s designs of late have not been to my personal taste. The Compatto does however looks miles better than its ugly sister the Bantam.

Winner : RM8

Gun Handling

Despite losing the looks battle, the Compatto handles absolutely fantastically, and weighs a shade under 3 kilos for exceptional control when shooting, something that is often underestimated by shooters. People often think accuracy is solely down to the barrel and pellet choice, but how the rifle sits in your hands is almost as important as these factors.

The Compatto also features a generous thumbhole shape that provides exceptional control over over grip, and the textured stock is super sticky in the hands, making this rifle perfect for outdoor use, even in the driving rain. Another great thing about the Compatto is that the weight of the rifle is concentrated towards the back of the stock, allowing you put that weight into your shoulder so your lead hand can focus on aiming, rather than holding the gun up.

The RM8 is much more front heavy than the Compatto and despite being of similar weight, it actually feels heavier, because your lead arm is trying to carry the rifle and aim at the same time. Neither are as heavy as the Weihrauch and neither are hard to handle, but after a day’s shooting, the Compatto is going to be easier to handle and more precise to aim with.

The bolt and magazine on the Brocock are outstanding, truly some of the best features on the gun. The bolt is both easy to cock and feels robust, with no hesitation in the mechanism. The Compatto also features a 10 round magazine that is primarily metal, and feels strong and robust  – it never faltered during testing. The magazine also features a red dot that will tell you when you are empty. The bolt action on the RM8 also features a smooth action, although the bolt is not as nice as the Brocock, and the magazine holds just 8 shots instead of 10.

Clear winner this one, the Walther is no slouch but the Compatto is one of the nicest shooting rifles I’ve ever tested under £1000, and it is way under. The action is slick and the great weight distribution makes this rifle a real joy to shoot.

Winner : Compatto

The Important Bit

Both rifles were in .177 calibre and were tested using Air Arms 4.52 pellets. Both rifles are advertised as full power, but the Rotex was pulling around 11.5ft/lbs with an average fps of 786 exactly. The Compatto shot at an average of 788fps for a ft/lbs of 11.58. Not much difference between them to be honest and both are about as powerful as I expected.

Side Note : Although the legal limit is 12ft/lbs, no manufacturer will push this with mid sized pellets because if I was then to put in some heavier grain pellets the rifle would be shooting over the legal limit, so 11ft/lbs with Air Arms field is not bad.

It’s worth noting that the Compatto had a difference of around 16fps between its fastest and slowest shots, which is more than I would expect, especially with pellets as consistent as this. The Rotex shot with a maximum difference of 7 fps, which is much more in line with what I was expecting. Reports online state that Compatto doesn’t like taking light pellets, so I decided to move up to heavier Daystate Field Target pellets that weigh 10.25 grains and the deviation between shots dropped to around 4fps. Interesting…

It was brought to my attention that because the Compatto is unregulated that this may be because the Compatto was getting into its so called “sweet spot” where the amount of air being let through is perfect for the pellet being used. However, the Rotex is also unregulated and didn’t produce the same level of deviation between shots. After some experimentation I found that filling the bottle at around 150 bar lead to me to get off around 45 shots that were right on the button, more than enough for a day’s hunting. Having spoken to Brocock, the good news is that a regulated version of the Compatto is on the way.

The RM8 also has a sweet spot of between 180 – 120 bar, with very little deviation between shots. This offers a similar number of optimal shots to the Compatto.

The Compatto comes with a Hugget silencer in the complete kit, which reduces the noise levels drastically. The RM8 doesn’t come with a silencer but is fitted with a 1/2” UNF thread and features a thicker wooden stock that actually does a good job of muffling the sound of the shot. Both would be more than serviceable for hunting but the fact that the Brocock can come fitted with a silencer gives it the edge in noise reduction.

Winner : Compatto

Ownership

There is a difference in the price of these air weapons with the RM8 coming in at £430, and the Compatto weighing in at the best part of £600. This is a significant difference between the rifles and although the performance from the Compatto is undoubtedly ahead, whether is that far ahead is a matter of debate. Part of this maybe due to the fact that the Compatto is a relatively new rifle where as the RM8 is a few years old at this point.

I have hear some reports of RM8s also leaking occasionally. Now the one I tested had no problems, and I know a couple of people who own the .22 version, who also confirmed they had no complaints. The Compatto has a fairly good reputation amongst air gunners, with very few problems, but again this might be down to it being a new rifle, with any problems in the manufacturing  yet to surface due to there simply being less of them around.

I honestly think the RM8s are better value for money, but which would I rather own? Taking everything into consideration I would choose the Compatto, as the rifle I’d have but I might wait and hold out for the possible regulated version in the future depending on price, and depending on whether it ever reaches production.

Winner : Compatto

You can grab the Walther Rotex RM8 here, and the Brocock Compatto here.You can also learn more about Walther here, and discover more about the Brocock brand here

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