BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle
BSA Scorpion 1200 SE

Do you ever have preconceptions that are totally destroyed when you see what you thought you knew? That’s what happened to me with the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle. Pyramyd Air shipped this rifle to me especially for this review because they want to get the word out as quickly as possible. So, here we go.

First impression
I was expecting something completely different. Something more like the BSA Hornet of several years ago. I’ve tested 2 different versions of that rifle already and was calling up the memories when the box popped open, revealing something completely different.

This model is a repeater. It has a 10-shot magazine and an exposed bolt. The magazine sticks out the left side of the action, so sidewheel scopes with large wheels won’t work because the wheel will block access to the magazine. To remove the mag, you must first cock the bolt and second push a locking pin forward on the left side of the action. Then, the mag comes straight out the left side of the gun.

The barrel has a large jacket that ends in a threaded cap. Remove the cap to expose UK-spec 1/2-inch by 20 UNF threads for a silencer. I looked inside the jacket and cannot see any baffles or chambers, so I’m thinking this rifle is going to be loud. I do own a legal firearm silencer, but it’s set up with American standard 1/2-inch by 28 UNF threads that will not attach to this airgun. No doubt, an adapter could be made, but since most shooters don’t own a legal silencer, there’s probably no reason to make one.

Manual
The rifle came with a single piece of paper containing the operating instructions, and a CD with a bunch of videos…and they’re not necessarily specific to this gun (I saw one about the BSA Hornet). Also on the CD was a file named Start.exe. What a shame they didn’t make a PDF file so I could open it on my Mac. It can only be opened by Windows users. Not everyone owns a computer; of those who do, not all of them are Windows platforms. That left me with the paper pamphlet, which does contain the minimum information I needed. Edith will get Pyramyd Air to send her the Start doc in format we can use, and they will keep it in the online library if it pertains to the gun.

The rifle
This model comes in both .177 and .22 calibers, and there are 2 different power levels. A 12 foot-pound model exists, but they aren’t being imported. The rifle I’m testing is the .22-caliber FAC (a UK designation for Firearm Certificate — required in the UK for an air rifle that generates more than 12 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle) version. Marked on the the end flap of the carton this rifle came in is the velocity of 1,200 f.p.s., so it should be a screamer! Naturally, we’ll test that with several different pellets. The serial number of the rifle I’m testing is TH220104-13.

The manual says I can expect 25 shots per 232 bar fill. That’s 3,365 psi, so I’m either going to fill with a carbon fiber tank or with a Hill hand pump because nothing else goes that high. Because the rifle comes with yet another and different proprietary quick-fill probe, the Hill pump will get drafted. I need to reserve my carbon fiber tank for filling all my PCPs that have the now nearly universal Foster quick-disconnect fill couplings.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle pressure gauge
Pressure gauge is under the forearm. Fill to 232 bar, which is 3,365 psi.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle fill probe
Proprietary BSA fill probe (bottom) comes with 2 replacement o-rings, plus an Allen wrench for the gun (trigger) another o-ring (for the bolt?) and a small tube of moly grease for the o-rings on the filler probe.

The rifle is just over 44-1/2 inches long and weighs 8 lbs., 12 oz., unloaded with no scope mounted. The balance is decidedly muzzle-heavy, as the 24-inch barrel really sticks out far. The stock is black synthetic and seems quite solid. It has a rough finish that helps with your grip. And as can be seen in the photo, the shape is ultra-modern. A raised cheekpiece rolls over on both sides of the butt and gives a Monte Carlo profile. The butt ends in a thick black rubber recoil pad, and the pistol grip is both vertical with a palm swell on both sides, making the rifle as ambidextrous as possible, save the location of the bolt handle (right side) and the safety (left side).

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle butt
The butt has a futuristic shape with a rollover cheekpiece that doubles as a Monte Carlo comb.

There are no sights, so some kind of optical sight will have to be mounted. You need to know that BSA has a good reputation when it comes to air rifle barrels. Their association with Gamo hasn’t changed that one iota. Their barrels have long been used by other makers of precharged rifles because of the sterling reputation. So, when I say it will need an optical sight, I’m planning on mounting a fine scope, for I feel certain this rifle will do well out to 50 yards, at least.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle receiver
Receiver is flat on top. Magazine fits below the top of the receiver, making low scope mounting a possibility. The square button on the left at the rear of the barrel is pushed forward to release the magazine.

The trigger is 2-stage and adjustable for the length and weight of the second-stage pull. The sear appears to be direct contact, so care must be exercised when adjusting the trigger to ensure there’s enough sear contact to hold the striker safely. I’ll look at trigger adjustments in Part 2.

Overall impressions
This is a BSA PCP, so I anticipate accuracy. The balance is very good, and this feels like a hunter’s rifle. Given the advertised power, that’s exactly what it should be. If the trigger bears out in testing, the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE will be another fine PCP for your consideration.

24 thoughts on “BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    This review has me so excited, I might just need to go to the nearest Wally World (a mere 1/4 mile, by the way) and buy some adult moisture protection!!! This report is something of which I have I dreamed (or, “dreamt,” to those who might yet care) for some time.

    It is late at night as I write this, well past this old man’s bed time, so this must be kept short. But for the next several or more weeks I will check this ‘blog late every school night to see when the next installment of this report appears.

    Sir, you have me hooked (line, sinker, and, well, you know)!

    Michael


  2. BB,

    How much distance is there between the end of the barrel and the end of the shroud?

    It is a nice looking rifle. The newest BSA/Gamo stock design lends it’s appearance a certain elegance. This is much more eye appealing than the skeletonized thumbhole type stocks.

    I have heard nice things about BSA in the past. Hopefully Gamo hasn’t ruined things.


  3. Looks like a decent gun and even with some sketchy instructions I found guns aren’t that hard to figure out how to use them. They might be if you never saw one before and you have no IQ to speak of and end up putting the muzzle to your shoulder instead. Sadly there are people like that and they usually sport several bullet wounds to their shoulder. What I’m waiting for though is for somebody to come up with something better than my Airforce Condor. God knows I have tried and I simply cannot do it with what I have available to work with.


  4. Looks nice! Can’t wait to see how it shoots! BSA’s were one of my top choices when I picked up my S410E. My list for pcp’s went something like AA, FX, Falcon, BSA, AF, Benjamin…. None really carrying a lot more weight than the other except that I had seen an S410E in action. I hope to own at least one from each maker some day.

    /Dave


  5. Matt,

    Items not so much “being able to stand up to the recoil” of a DE, as it is being able to hold it up, or just hold it at all…. It weighs over 4-1/2 lbs empty, has a massive slide which together with the rotating bolt absorbs much of the recoil energy and the grip is huge!

    Pockets are for tape measure, Leatherman, knives, spare pens and markers, rags, daily medicines, wallet, pistol, keys, change, gloves, sunglasses, comb, etc, etc… You really don’t want to be cursed with the “be prepared” genes…..

    /Dave


  6. BB,

    back at the Windsor, CT airgun show earlier this year, Kevin Hull had a Scorpion on his table for sale. At least I’m pretty sure it was a Scorpion, definitely a BSA. It was going for a lot less than the TX 200 I was lusting after but when I decided to pull the trigger and buy it, someone had beat me to it! I had to “settle” for the TX. Boy, am I glad someone wanted that BSA more than me!

    Now I look forward to seeing what I missed.

    Fred DPRoNJ


  7. B.B., so how exactly did this rifle differ from your preconceptions? I suppose that has to do with the BSA rifle you mentioned that I can’t call too mind.

    How interesting that you mentioned the function of the slide stop pin for the 1911. After my struggles to get it in (getting better thanks to your tip), I was wondering what would happen if you didn’t get it in right. My conclusions were pretty much the same as yours, except that I figured the recoil spring would dampen most of the recoil from its original Mach 2 speed or maybe throw the slide away from a line directed at your head, but still. I take very scrupulous care that the slide stop pin is seated correctly.

    John, something I’ve always wondered about safety testing for guns. Just because the gun does not blow up on one test firing, how can you be sure it’s not going to blow up the next time around?

    My final exam for adjusting the Mosin scope.

    Q: If I’m zeroed to a center hold, and I want to switch to a 6 o’clock hold, what do I do?

    A: Hold center and dial the reticle down to the 6 o’clock aimpoint. FTW?

    All you who are down on California and its gun laws (with good reason), consider this. Some billionaire is creating a new form of mass transport called Hyperloop or something like that seems to involve placing people in capsules and firing them down rail lines to their destination at 800 miles an hour. Human projectiles! San Francisco to LA in 20 minutes! Don’t believe I’ll be the first to try it if it ever gets built.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      This rifle is longer and more svelt than the Hornet. Also, it doesn’t have the unusual cocking feature that I really hated.

      I don’t think you can assemble the 1911 incorrectly. It won’t go together.

      B.B.


    • something I’ve always wondered about safety testing for guns. Just because the gun does not blow up on one test firing, how can you be sure it’s not going to blow up the next time around?

      Proof loads are significantly “hotter” than the standard pressure level for ammo.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_test#Firearms

      As you go down, you’ll notice between 25% and 30% overpressure standards. And the gun is then inspected for damage…


  8. You should order yourself one of those:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Venturi_Male_Quick_Disconnect_1_8_BSPP_Female_Threads_Steel_Rated_to_5000_PSI_Incl_Delrin_Seal/3550

    and save yourself all the pumping. You sure it’s not the same fill probe as the Hatsan PCP’s ? Because in picture it looks a lot like it.

    As for the 1911 I’m sure it can be incorrectly assembled I did it myself. I had no idea how it worked and I’m not the one who took it appart and I was over complicating things and couldn’t figure how the sear spring fitted the gun. I had to look it up and had a facepalm moment when I realised how simple and easy it actually was and that’s when I fell in love with the pistol, I already like the way it looked and was shot but the ease of stripping it was like icing on that beautiful metal cake.

    J-F



      • Hmm gotta admit a field strip would be hard to get wrong.
        Everytime I think that pistol is greatly made and how it’s well designed I remember that it was made over a hundred years ago and I’m just flabbergasted and have dreams of lottery numbers, a house in the US and a few handguns (OK a LOT of handguns).

        J-F


        • Well, if one were to be yakking with friends, for example, during a (gratuitous, for the sake of science) field strip, and accidentally let the spring and bushing fly off down range, that could be a little wrong :). His friends might give him a hard time about it for a long while…


          • A friend recently sent me this:

            We’re best friends
            Where you go, I go
            When you cry, I cry
            When you laugh, I laugh
            When you fall down, I help you up…

            after I’m done laughing!!!

            That’s what friends are for ;-)

            J-F


  9. Matt61,

    I just saw your post on this forum from yesterday and it occurred to me that your difficulty getting though to me on the Another Airgun Blog comment section is probably caused by our settings. All blog comments require approval before they are published on our blog. You can probably imagine why that filter is turned on. And, trust me, it’s not to make us look good.

    Derrick


  10. Just got a Beeman P17 today which is a miracle since I live in Michigan. I’m surprised that it’s such a fine gun for the price and it’s made in china. I was actually expecting it to be more toxic plastic trash from china. I’m not a pistol guy and I’m putting pellets in a dime sized target at 15 feet. From in living room to second hall closet. Farthest my indoor range goes unless I can find a way to shoot around corners accurately.


    • I ordered a P17 this week from PA. Looking forward to trying it first on my 15′ range in the basement, then at 25′ in the real world.

      I read the reviews on this gun, and there seems to be only one problem with a possible burr in the compression cylinder. I’m going to pull the piston and smooth this spot, and grease the cylinder with white lithium grease. PA tells me the o-ring is a standard size available almost anywhere.

      The gun it is replacing (NOT a P17) could only shoot 5″ groups at 15′, and broke altogether after about 120 shots.

      My wife’s GAMO P23 has a rifled barrel and is quite accurate shooting pellets. If the P17 can equal it, I will be pleased.

      Les


      • I don’t have any issues with mine. It is firing just fine and putting them all in a dime size area. For what it’s worth I am not normally a pistol guy. My pistol work normally is all over the place to the point it looks like I’m lucky I hit the target. But somehow this gun seems to just work for me. I don’t know how this might be at 25 foot since it’s only a 410 fps gun. but indoors short range it seems to be a decent gun.


  11. 3300 psi fill is bit too much for me. My custom made .177 pcp operates at 1800 down to 1000 psi for 25 shots, 860fps avg with 20fps extreme spread. Is there any real benefit for high initial fill pressure BB ? In my understanding, lower fill means easier to pump (no scuba yet) and no super strong spring needed to crack open the valve.


    • I’m curious about this too. Why the higher pressure? Wouldn’t higher pressure tank be heavier? How about all those people who have 3000psi tank? I have a 4500psi tank but it’s regulated at 2900psi. I couldn’t fill this rifle to more than 2900psi, I would end losing a lot of precious shots no?

      I guess if the rifle is regulated it just gives you that many more shots but if it’s not… it’s still a shot count vs velocity isn’t it?

      J-F


  12. Lee and J-F,

    As long as the velocity is the same, the fill pressure doesn’t do anything except add more shots. But that’s only true if the valve is tuned properly to do that or if there is a pressure regulator in the gun. If not, higher fill pressure may just be a waste of energy.

    B.B.


    • If it’s regulated there’s no problem with putting a little less air pressure in it other than a few missed shots but if it’s not or if the valve is tuned to be used at the higher 232 BAR but you can’t put more than 200 BAR you’re stuck with a rifle that can’t be used to it’s full potential.

      I must also say that I don’t like that air pressure gage too much. There’s no red line or marks other than the fill pressure inside it so I’d be tempted to fill it to 250 BAR (if I could) since that’s where the gage stops.

      To me it’s kinda like a car owners manual telling that you’re going to get X mileage out of a 3/4 tank of gas… you know what people are going to try to fill it and see what happens.

      J-F


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