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