BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle looks a lot like the BSA Hornet.

Every time I test a BSA PCP, I like it. They have accurate barrels and simple actions. They don’t offer frills that I don’t care about, and the things they do have are usually very good. I’m looking forward to this test of the .22 caliber single-shot BSA Scorpion air rifle.

Unfortunately, the Scorpion needs a 232 bar fill. That means you either need a Hill pump or a carbon fiber tank. I have the latter, but I wonder how many other airgunners have one…or are they willing to put up with the expense of buying either one just to operate this rifle?

The Scorpion lists a muzzle velocity of 860 f.p.s. But no muzzle energy is given, so that number means very little. But the print owner’s manual tells me the rifle delivers 24 foot-pounds in FAC trim, which is the gun I’m testing for you today. That number means something, and it’s a good power for hunters.

The reviews all say the rifle is loud. Well, duh! This is a PCP with a short barrel and lots of power, so of course it’s going to be loud. Only a shroud or silencer is going to take care of that. I dry-fired it already, and I can assure you that this rifle is very loud.

Special things
The reviews also praise the trigger. I want to look into that in the velocity test. I tried the trigger and, thankfully, it’s adjustable. As it came from the factory, it had a huge amount of creep in stage two. I will attempt to adjust that out in Part 2. The barrel is free-floated, which should make a lot of people happy because of the potential for greater accuracy.

The rifle comes packed with a CD manual. It may work on a PC, but it doesn’t on a Mac. So I used the paper owner’s manual.

There’s also a Scorpion T-10 that’s a repeater (guess how many shots?), but I’m looking at the single-shot.

BSA has its own proprietary fill probe, so you have to adapt it to whatever filling system you’re using.


BSA has a proprietary fill probe that has male 1/8″ BSPP threads on the other end.

General description
The BSA Scorpion is a single-shot PCP that comes in both .177 and .22 calibers. The .22 I’m testing makes the most sense at this power level. The reservoir is on the small side, and they advertise 20 full-power shots per fill. The rifle reminds me of the Hornet and that was also a good one, so I’m hoping this one will be, too.

This is a carbine-length airgun and just 36.5 inches overall. The barrel is 18.5 inches long, but a muzzlebrake adds two more inches. As a result of the short length, the rifle feels very compact and you’ll want to consider that when you scope it. No long scope on this one. I’m going to use the Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder Tactical scope, because I want to see every bit of accuracy this rifle has to offer.

At 7.7 lbs., the Scorpion is no lightweight. Add a scope and the weight will increase by at least another pound. My unscoped rifle weighs 7.5 lbs., exactly, so I reckon the density of the beech wood in the stock is different.

The finish of the overall rifle is subdued, as a hunting rifle should be. The metal is finished matte black and the wood is a low-gloss satin. The finish overall is even and without any flaws. Both the grip and forearm are checkered with an aggressive pattern that lacks any sharp diamonds, but feels very rough to the touch. It works well at giving you a firm hold, which is what checkering is supposed to do. There are also three BSA logos laser-engraved into the stock — two at the butt and one on the bottom of the grip.

The rifle comes with the bolt for righthand operation, but it can be switched to the other side — making the gun completely ambidextrous. The Monte Carlo profile features a raised cheekpiece that rolls over to both sides of the butt.

Because of the 232 bar fill pressure I’m going to need to top off my tank before testing velocity. But I do look forward to testing this rifle, because BSA PCPs have always done well for me.

33 thoughts on “BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle: Part 1

  1. BB

    The page for this rifle on the PA gunmall states that the bolt handle is reversible to suit left-handed shooters. Thoughtful, no?



    • SL,
      Your up late or early depending on how you look at it. I haven’t heard from Milan in about 2 weeks now, let you know if I do he’s a good mate.

      rikib :)


  2. B.B.

    Nice little rifle. Not too large. Good looking. Moderate power.

    I had considered this one, even though I have two other rifles that run in roughly the same power range. What killed it for me was the fill requirements.
    The fairly low shot count is not an issue for a hunting rifle when used for game, but could bite on a good day of pest hunting, playing with the scope, testing pellets, or plinking. Otherwise the low count does not matter much.

    By the way, there is a spam that needs to go that popped up last night. Looks like an add for smut, but could also be a trap to give you a virus. Edith needs to dump it in the trash.

    twotalon


  3. Morning B.B.,

    If your suppressor will fit this gun, would you give it a try and let us know how what the gun sounds like? If it doesn’t fit what size are the threads on the this gun?

    Thanks,
    Bruce


    • Bruce,

      It doesn’t fit. My silencer has a thread pattern of 1/2 by 28 and this gun is 1/2 by 20.

      But because I can thread it on by a thread or so the sound was cut drastically. It’s quieter than a Sheridan Blue Streak on five pumps.

      B.B.


  4. Speaking of BSA products , does any of the blog readers have an opinion on the BSA Supersport ? Any problems ? I’m looking at one in .25 for indoor and short range pest shooting, and I want the open sights. I’m not scoping it ever. Thanks in advance ,Robert.


    • Robert,

      The BSA Supersport is a wonderful light breakbarrel. Mac loves it in .25 caliber. His got in the low 600s years ago without tuning.

      B.B.


  5. I’m a big fan of my BSA spotting scope, so I will be interested to see how this rifle performs.

    Victor, yes the old shooting coach was a piece of work. I used to wonder about him. He was not a happy guy. He smoked compulsively. Though he was of Asian ancestry, he seemed as far as I could tell to be trying to fit the mold of salty old Virginia shooters of the kind who go to Camp Perry where he often attended. Every other word out of his mouth was g—n this or that. He would wear a gaudy USA shooting jacket in bright colors although I don’t know that he was that good. His much younger wife/receptionist for whom he threw over his first wife was apparently quite an accomplished shooter. The word was that long after I left during the team’s year-end banquet, he got drunk and was cursing them all out with special emphasis on their captain as useless mediocrities and this was all at a religious school no less. One of the weirder characters I’ve come across. Anyway, the experience was not entirely a loss since I picked up some fundamentals and certainly read my share of gun magazines. :-)

    I have wondered what it would be like to be a coach. I could hardly do worse than some of what’s out there. If someone has a talent for motivating youth like Knute Rockne, then I believe they should. But my way, that I used for teaching martial arts, was to try to focus on the material instead of my personality and present it in a reasonable and appealing way. Martial arts training too often devolves into a cult of personality.

    PeteZ, thanks for the info about radiation. Awful. Now I’m thinking in terms of a flexible suit of lead sort of like the old garment they used to cover you with during x-rays. Would that stop the gamma rays? I have a suspicion that the Japanese are calling on their culture of sacrifice and atonement and sending their workers into the breach way beyond the safety guidelines that you pointed out–probably with the full approval of the workers themselves. I understand that there is a certain kind of poisonous fish in Japan that is considered a delicacy. Preparation is very intricate and if it works right one gets a distinctive numbing sensation on the tongue. What fun, maybe it’s the thrill of flirting with death. But if things go wrong and the customer dies, the chef is supposed to commit suicide–although I don’t know that he always does.

    Mike, thanks for the reassurance about neck tension for the M1. It looks like all systems are go. Say, what kind of sights does your SMLE have? Are they aperture sights?

    Loren, my buttstock is flexing in a way that does not provide a solid platform for the cocking lever. But you’re right. I don’t believe this is the whole story. The roughness and crunching sensation make me think that I have a broken mainspring. I’m more than overdue for one. Now the question is do I send it back to Mike Melick for fixing, partly out of curiosity, or to PA. I will say that PA in the person of my favorite technician Stacey Greene is sending me a new buttstock. If anyone has had difficulty communicating with PA, I would advise them to call. The service is personable and outstanding in every way. I wish PA would post photos of its staff. I think there was a blog about this a long time ago, but I can’t remember.

    B.B., is Crystal pursuing her film career out in California? There’s a low percentage career field to be sure.

    Matt61


    • Matt,
      I believe she is, though I don’t know for sure. She graduated with a film degree from a college in Ithaca, NY, so she is on that track.

      B.B.


      • I wish her the very best in her endeavors. She is a true beauty from every angle.

        I only hope she will make a cameo on AA every now and then after she makes it big.


    • Matt61,
      It sounds like your coach was badly defeated by his life experiences, and unfortunately, never learned many valuable lessons. Instead, his head is still in the fog. Very sad indeed. I’ve had great coaches and also some really bad ones. Allow me to give you one example that I think shows how misguided a coach can be. My son played football his freshmen year. The freshman coach made a decision, even before the very first game, as to who he would play throughout the year. Once that list was made, he NEVER deviated from that list until the last half of the last game of the year. They lost EVERY SINGLE game, BUT almost won the last game, AFTER he switched in his bench warmers. I can give you many examples on this level, but I’ll spare you. In the case of my son, who made the list of bench-warmers, he turned out to be an excellent athlete, including; grappling, Karate, boxing, distance running, etc. I’ve been a member of many elite organizations, and if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it is that both success and failure are directed efforts. In other words, success is by design.

      By the way, I think you’d be an excellent coach. You’re obviously motivated, and you not only do your homework, but you understand it. Sometimes a coach just has to have “knowledge of”, as opposed to “knowing” through personal experience. I don’t believe that my rifle coach knew a lot of things, but he did his homework and relayed what he learned from the then best. It was up to me to understand it through my own personal experience as an active shooter. If my coach told me that “Dave Kimes” said “This, that, or the other, …”, then I’d just make a hard effort to try it myself. My coaches did a lot of that (relaying good information from the best that were around, and from printed material, like the Army Marksmanship Training Unit manual). Coaching is about caring, wanting to see kids get the most out of their experience, and doing what they can to contribute. Lots of our student’s surprise us. In the real world, we get surprises all the time. Lots of diamonds in the rough.

      Victor


    • Matt61

      I am terribly sorry to hear about your IZZY. Perhaps this would be the perfect time to seek out a metal receiver version for a comparison. Coming from someone who has shot so many thousands of rounds through the newer version, your opinion would carry alot of water. Or hopefully it can be fixed, it would be a shame for that action to just sit there…


    • Yes it has aperture sights. All of the No. 4 and 5 rifles do. There are three common types. The first is a milled unit adjustable for elevation. Number two is a similar unit but make from stamped parts. The third type is a simple “flip” site with a short and long range aperture. This last one is a “war emergency” short cut. Also the rifles make by BSA, Long Branch (Canada) and Savage (USA) are generally found to be the most accurate.

      Mike



  6. B.B.,
    This looks like a very nice rifle. However, looking at the butt-plate, relative to where a scope would be mounted, it’s clear that this rifle is made for offhand shooting. Unless it’s adjustable, I can’t imagine this rifle being used in the prone position, which someone might want to do for a precise long range shot. Is the butt-plate adjustable?
    Victor



    • Heh… From trigger guard to muzzle, my impression was “lovely”…

      But somehow I just don’t take to that extreme drop-off behind the Monte Carlo ridge, nor the faint S-bend on the bottom line of the stock (hollowed out just behind the pistol grip, curving down to the sling swivel, and then a non-tangent straight line to the toe). It looks like a weakness — as if parts of the stock are going to split off under pressure.


      • This is just a continuation of the “in your face ugly” trend in guns started by Roy Weatherby. It is like modern art or haute cuisine — one is supposed to display one’s sophistication by appreciating what the hoi polloi find distasteful :).


  7. BB,
    That is not a bad looking rifle, per se, but I have to wonder why PCP’s continue the trend of springers in using 3x as much wood as necessary — a slender bit of attractive wood is nice; a huge expanse of wood, e.g. paneling, can be ugly and oppressive. In the case of springers, the extra wood arguably adds strength necessary for cocking, but a PCP could be pretty thin. That said, this one looks well set up for precision offhand shooting, which I applaud, although I believe the same end could have been accomplished in a more attractive way. Looking forward to more testing.


    • I think that’s a beautiful stock , looks like it would fit me just fine. If all stocks looked alike rifles would be boring.

      Loren


    • BG_Farmer,
      Precision offhand shooting is exactly what I see with this rifle. I’ll bet this rifle is very easy to shoot like a target rifle (i.e., with your elbow rested on your side). It also helps that there is such a huge drop off between the butt-plate and the sights (when installed). With this configuration, you can easily hold the rifle up, while keeping you neck almost straight up. That said, and considering that it’s not the heaviest rifle out there, I don’t object to such a meaty stock. On the other hand, this is the opposite of something that lends itself well to prone shooting, which I think is your best option accurate long range shots in the field. With such a drop off, the butt would miss your shoulder almost entirely. However, an adjustable butt-plate would help fix that problem.
      Victor


      • Victor,
        I figured you caught the drop — I get too boring sometimes droning on about LOP and such, so I just left it out :)! It does help keep your head up offhand. The only downside is that on some heavy-recoiling rifles, too much drop (as well as inappropriate pitch) can split your cheek, but that would be no issue here.
        I’ve never shot much prone, although I can follow your argument from what I’ve been able to gather about chunk shooting (which is what I’m going to take up when I get old :)), where excess drop is the same problem as you detail. Anyway, I agree this would be excellent for silhouettes and offhand target shooting. I think an adjustable buttplate would add too much pull if it took out enough drop on this one unless the butt was modified severely.


  8. The swoopiness in the buttstock reminds me of the new AA S510. Be interesting to get B.B.’s take on how it shoulders. If this bsa shoots anything like the bsa lonestar in .22 cal that I’ve shot it’s a winner. The lonestar is a sleeper. I see them on the classifieds occasionally $500.00 and they dit there. Not sure why that gun doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

    kevin



    • Joe,

      As far as I know, the BSA Scorpion is made in the UK. I believe the R10 is as well, but they change their manufacturing situation frequently and I’m often the last to know.

      B.B.



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