BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 2

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

Part 1

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle
BSA Scorpion 1200 SE

We’re back to the BSA Scorpion 1200 SE. My hand has finally healed, and I can now work the Hill hand pump, but I stopped part of the way through the first fill and made the necessary changes to the carbon fiber tank hose, to attach BSA’s proprietary fill probe. I gave up because I just got tired of pumping! Those who encouraged me to do this from the beginning have won me over, I guess.

This PCP rifle takes a fill to 232 bar, which is 3,365 psi. We’ve looked at fill pressures for pneumatics a lot over the past month, and today we’ll see what this BSA rifle manages to do with its fill. The advertised number of shots is 25 per fill.

Because of the power potential of this rifle, I switched my backstop to the tough one blog reader Jim Contos made for me. If you want to read about this fine homemade quiet pellet trap that’s strong enough to stop the most powerful smallbore air rifle, here’s the link.

Familiarization with the magazine
After 10 minutes of trying (and failing) to load the 10-round spring-loaded magazine, I was prepared to blast BSA for creating a magazine that’s impossible to load. What we had, instead, was a B.B. who refused to learn new ways. The magazine loads easily once you do it the right way! I took a photo of the correct hold, so you won’t have the problems I did. Hold it like this and realize that BSA has designed this mag so the last pellet loaded holds the spring-tensioned drum in place until you’re ready to load the next pellet, and everything will be fine.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP aor rifle loading magazine
I’m holding both sides of the spring-loaded drum, making it easy to advance to the next pellet chamber. Once a pellet is loaded, it holds the drum in place until you advance it.

The magazine accepted all 3 of the pellets used in this test without a problem. They’re among the heaviest and longest .22-caliber pellets on the market, so I think you’ll be satisfied no matter what you try to shoot.

Pellet 1 — JSB Exact Heavy and the shot count
The 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet averaged 883 f.p.s. in the rifle. The velocity ranged from 875 to 888 f.p.s. over 25 shots. And 25 shots proved to be the limit, exactly as advertised. After shot 25, the next 5 pellets went this fast.

Shot….Velocity
26………876
27………870
28………866
29………866
30………860

Clearly, the rifle has just fallen off the power curve but in slow motion. So there are actually 30 safe shots on a fill, and that equates to 3 full magazines. I’m so glad BSA publishes accurate figures for these things, as many other airgun companies seem to have no clue what’s right!

At the average velocity, this pellet produced 31.34 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. And I bet this pellet is also accurate, though that has to wait until I get out to the range, because this rifle is too loud for shooting inside the house. I took a risk by chronographing it for today’s report, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

Pellet 2 — H&N Baracuda
The second pellet I tested was the 21.3-grain H&N Baracuda Match. These are longer pellets that sometimes have difficulty feeding through rotary magazines like the BSA’s, but there was no problem today! They averaged 815 f.p.s. and ranged from 811 to 819 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 31.42 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

The Baracuda is another pellet that should prove very accurate in this rifle. They should be the best pellet at 50 yards, but that remains to be seen.

Pellet 3 — Eun Jin
The third and final pellet I tested was the 28.4-grain Eun Jin dome. This is a very long pellet and may be the longest that will work safely in the BSA magazine. But they did fit perfectly and had no hangups once I learned how to load the magazine correctly.

Eun Jins averaged 718 f.p.s in the test rifle. They ranged from a low of 713 to a high of 726 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they produced 32.52 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In other rifles, these pellets have never been the most accurate at 50 yards, but they have often been accurate enough to use as hunting pellets. However, as close as H&N Baracudas are in power, I would choose the most accurate of the 2 pellets after we test them at distance.

The velocity remained very tight throughout the entire fill with all 3 pellets that were tested. That means BSA has balanced their valve to work with exactly the amount of air they recommend using. And the fact that they got exactly the number of powerful shots they advertised was a welcome bit of news. Also, 25 shots is a good number for a rifle in this power class.

Adjusting the trigger
I mentioned in the first report that I would be adjusting the trigger in this report. To do that, the action is removed from the stock. The sear is a direct-contact type, so care must be exercised to not get the engagement surfaces too small, or the trigger will be in danger of jumping off from a bump.

The owner’s manual is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides, but the instructions for adjusting the trigger are good and thorough.

BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle adjusting trigger
The screw on the left adjusts the trigger-pull weight of the second stage. The nut and screw in the center adjusts the sear contact area and then locks in place. That adjustment affects the length of the second-stage pull. The screw under the trigger blade on the right adjusts the first stage and should not be touched, according to the manual.

I adjusted the trigger as light as it would go and set the sear as close as it would go and still be safe. The trigger still has significant creep in stage two, but it’s light and breaks at 2 lbs., 4 oz. I can work with it set this way.

50 yards next
Because of the rifle’s power, I’m going to skip the 25-yard test and go straight to 50 yards. If I’m successful, we should see accuracy that will override shooting at 25 yards, anyway. If I discover that’s the wrong way to do the test, I’ll change at the range and shoot at 25 yards first.

32 thoughts on “BSA Scorpion 1200 SE PCP air rifle: Part 2

  1. BB good to see that your hand healed looking forward for the 50yds accuracy test with these three pellets that are usually used for hunting any way. I just remember did you ever do the accuracy test for the beeman RX2 I can not seem to find it on your blog



    • Victor,

      Yes, it says that because that is what BSA forwarded to Pyramyd Air when they asked for the information. But in their owner’s manual, which is also online at Pyramyd Air, it says that the powerful version of the gun (this one) gets 25 shots. I was basing what I said on the full-power version of the gun — not the 12 foot-pound version.

      I think Pyramyd Air was waiting for my test before they changed their specs, as they didn’t know which numbers to believe and BSA was unable to tell them.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Yes, I expected that the Gaylords would not allow this difference to go unresolved. I agree that 30 shots is a reasonable advertised shot count.

        I think it would be good if you did a test showing how much of a drop to expect between the 25th and the 30th shot.

        Victor


      • I got the number of shots per fill directly from a spreadsheet provided by the president of BSA, and it was specifically about the gun imported to the U.S. I just rechecked the spreadsheet to see if I misread or typoed the max shots per fill, and I did not. That’s all I have to go on.

        Edith


  2. Looking forward to the 50 yd test too. I wish I had somewhere convenient to shoot aft this range. I work in the mountains, but after a 12 hour day I’m not usually too keen on stopping anywhere on the way home and my employer has a no guns policy so shooting at work is a no-no… :-( A TKO or Clague suppressor would top this BSA off nicely and make it a lot more back yard friendly for those with big back yards.

    I had hernia surgery Tuesday so I won’t be doing much shooting, working, or anything else for that matter… Can’t cock or pump up my rifles for 6 weeks, so I’ll be needing these reports! I should be able to shot the 2240 next week though, so that will help tide me over.

    /Dave


    • /Dave,

      Yes, I remember the aftermath of a hernia operation. You will feel the patches from now on.

      On the good side, you can walk right away. So you can get some exercise if you like — just no lifting.

      I only had a single hernia repaired. I imagine life is more complex with 3?

      B.B.


    • My brother works at a place which has a warehouse that sometimes become infested with pigeons. To ward of dirt and disease, the company has placed an air rifle on site, and anyone can take a shot who wants to. Sounds like your dream job. :-)

      Matt61


      • Yeah, Matt. The funny thing is, they have an fda exterminator come to take care of the marmots on the dams (the one who impressed me enough to get my S410E), and they allowed wrist-rockets with 3/8ths inch ball bearings for ammo to take care of pigeons in another plant (one guy broke his own front tooth with a ricochet…). That and lsd laced corn to give the birds a “bad trip” thereby making them not want to come back. But trusting the employees even with airguns at a fenced-off hydro plant in the middle of a national forest seems to be a problem… The division in the state where the company headquarters is still has a shooting club, but they made us shut ours down due to liability. Too many people behind desks over-thinking stuff again.

        /Dave



  3. Between the Marauder, the S200 with its magazine conversion, and this rifle, it seems like there is a lot of experimentation in magazine design. I’ll be interested to see the 50 yard test. With that target-style stock, this rifle looks ready to shoot.

    Victor, I believe you’re right about revolvers and and semiautos. I have always wondered how the cylinder that spins so freely can also lock up the cartridge tight enough to shoot. There has to be a drawback here. I should say, though, that the difference in accuracy I mentioned is very relative, at least in my guns. The SW686 and the Ruger Single Six shoot just as accurately as my 1911 as far as I can tell.

    RobertfromArcade, you’re kidding. I thought that revolvers were the height of reliability. In fact, I understand that the SW686 has been used by the Seals for marine operations. Maybe the reliability I’ve heard of has to do with the fact that you don’t have a slide which can cause failures to feed and fire. That moving cylinder does seem to expose the insides of the gun more like you said, but still the Seal recommendation is a strong one.

    On the subject of airgun penetration, self-defense expert Michael Janich just ran an article about using airguns for defense. He had a collection from semiauto tactical look-alikes to a Beeman spring rifle! Much of his test had to do with calculating whether the pellets would penetrate skin (which, by the way, is tougher to penetrate than what’s underneath). The thinking was that penetration of the skin was the threshold for doing significant damage. I believe that all of the guns passed the skin test at close range, some just barely. There were also some tests on ballistic gelatin, and I think the guns would penetrate up to 5 inches where a .22 LR would penetrate 10 inches the way it was set up. Still, they weren’t judged to be especially effective. The Beeman was judged most effective because of its power. But the general strategy advised was to shoot the opponent in the face! Your semiauto could supposedly make up for low power by number of shots. But ultimately Janich came out on the side of a machete over any airgun.

    Edith, I’ve been thinking about Jean Auel living and eating like a caveman. I do believe she set a high standard for herself and got herself in position to write about the subject evocatively, but I still suspect that whatever she did fell short of the real thing. In The Forgotten Soldier, the writer says that German soldiers with their supplies faltering learned how to eat things that a billy goat could hardly stomach. That is pretty intense, but these people were only a few years or even months removed from modern living. That is still worlds away from surviving outdoors for your whole life. There are also Indian captivity narratives (written by colonials captured by Indians who lived to tell about it) who describe the Indians moving through the forest and scavenging roots and insects as they walked along, sort of like the Neanderthals, and the captives said that the foulness of what they ate beggared description. And I don’t think the colonials were talking from a standard of high cuisine themselves. But even the Indians were still modern humans. I think the Neanderthals may have had slightly difference digestive organs than we do. For example, the appendix is now a vestigial organ in modern humans for digesting certain kinds of vegetation that may have had a working function in Neanderthals. This reanimates my thesis about the extra capabilities of primitive man. I think a full-on attempt to live like them would leave someone psycho.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      I believe that revolves are considered to be more reliable than auto-loaders, but under “normal” dry and clean conditions. Auto-loaders can more easily jam just because they need regular cleaning. The more “accurized” the semi-automatic pistol, the more it needs to be kept clean and lubricated. Some pistols can begin to jam within a couple magazines if not properly and regularly cleaned.

      The other issue with auto-loaders is that they are sensitive to ammo pressure. If the round is not high velocity enough, the lack of pressure will cause the pistol to not cycle properly, resulting in a jam. You don’t have this situation with a revolver because the gun cycles as a function of trigger pull.

      Victor


    • Matt, not kidding at all. Both types of guns have their points, but generally a semi-auto will be a more reliable weapon, The model 1911 is the classic example. BTW, if you drop your revolver in the crap, and don’t wish to dis-assemble it to clean it, you can just remove the grips and suspend it it a pot of boiling water. Blow out the excess water best you can ( an air compressor helps here), the heat from the boiling water bath will dry the gun . Then use a good water displacing spray oil on it, and throughly wipe off any overspray.


  4. Looks like my Condor smokes this gun in power, speed and accuracy. I think I’ll pass on the BSA products. I’m trying to sell off my airgun collection as it is. I’m only keeping what I use. I discovered I have way too many airguns I just do not use.



    • Ton,

      Once again, the information Pyramyd Air has was from BSA, who gave them the wrong stuff for the rifles they received. I tested an actual gun and that’s what I got.

      I don’t think it has a regulator, though I can’t be sure. The reason I say that is they don’t mention a reg in the advertising, which I think they would do if it had one. They say it has a self-regulating valve, which is not the same thing.

      B.B.


    • Ton,

      B.B. just showed me the manual (one sheet of paper) that comes with the Scorpion SE 1200. It’s obviously not the gun he tested or the gun Pyramyd Air references on the Scorpion SE 1200 product page. In fact, it’s the manual for a Scorpion carbine! It’s different in just about every way you can imagine from the gun that comes with it in the box.

      The information supplied on Pyramyd Air’s site did not come from that one-sheet manual. It came from a spreadsheet sent by BSA’s president.

      So, we have 3 different sets of specs: The actual gun, what I got from BSA and what’s in the manual (admittedly for a completely different gun).

      Are you confused? My world, and welcome to it :-)

      Edith


      • Ooh, ooh – I got a great joke concerning the English and their math skills but it’s not family friendly. I’ll tell Tom when I see him at the show in VA and he can tell you!! :)

        Fred DPRoNJ


  5. B.B.
    If you could predict the accuracy of an air rifle based on the extreme deviation of the F.P.S. I would predict that this rifle will be very accurate. I suspect it will be anyway. We’ll see.

    Unfortunately, you mentioned one word that automatically excludes any rifle from my potential purchase list. That word is “loud”. Based on that I am much more interested in a test of the BSA R-10 Mark II. Any possibility of that?

    Speaking of my potential purchase list, I have a question for you. In your experience (hopefully), knowledge and opinion which PCP rifles does Pyramyd Air sell that are equal in accuracy to anything that Daystate or FX offers? I am a loyal Pyramyd Air customer and intend to stick with them regardless of anything. That’s why I ask about the BSA R-10. I may already own one of your answers. I’ll let you know if I do.

    By the way. A couple of weeks ago I asked about which breakbarrel without a doubt was the most accurate on the market. You replied the Walther LGV. Well, yesterday I received my new Walther Master Ultra LGV (in .177 from Pyramyd Air). It is absolutely the finest spring piston rifle I have ever shot. Believe it or not I prefer it to the TX200. Out of the box anyway. The trigger is fantastic, shot cycle is smooth as silk and that makes it so much easier to follow through. I have not mounted a scope yet but based on shooting it with iron sights I expect it to be extremely accurate with a scope but final judgement on that is still to come. Maybe the TX200 will remain my best spring piston rifle after I shoot the LGV with a scope. I am still learning how to shoot with iron sights so I cannot make any accuracy judgements based on that.

    Anyway, if you would attempt to answer my questions above regarding the BSA R10 and PCP’s I would greatly appreciate it. Your comments carry great weight with me. Note that I do plenty of personal research on everything as well. That is my nature.

    G & G


    • G&G,

      I have shot many of the high-dollar PCPs you mention and here is the thing. When I test one of those rifles the dealers always have to give me lots of direction and encouragement about how accurate their gun is going to be. It often is, I will admit, but when it costs three times as much as a Marauder that can do the same thing AND MORE, why would I pay the difference?

      I don’t get any of that “instruction” when I test a Marauder or a Talon SS. I just test the thing and it does whatever it does. Then I write it up and make my report.

      I have said it before and I will repeat it now, I don’t think any European PCP can beat the Marauder. Now, maybe I have only gotten the good ones, because the forums are filled with complaints about things I have never seen in the guns I have tested. The guns I have tested have had the best triggers, the most accurate barrels and so on.

      Many years ago I did test an air rifle from the UK that was superb. It was called a Skan, as I remember it, and it actually (not “literally” but actually) put 5 shots into a hole the size of a single pellet at 40 yards. I then shot a spider that crawled out on the target frame.

      It was a slide-action rifle, and the action wasn’t very smooth, but that gun was one to reckon with. It was the most accurate air rifle I every shot. Here is a short report on it:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/11/scan-m32-powerhouse-repeater-from.html

      B.B.


  6. B.B.

    I have read your posts along with everyone’s responses and learned probably most of what I know about the airgun sports from you and this blog, enough to never doubt what you have to say. I will put what you say to the test but I have never found your instruction or opinion for that matter wanting.

    In fact I find your response today to be exactly what I was looking for. Plus, it is good old common sense. Thank you.

    However, since I will not spend money for the sake of it I find it too risky to put your experience and judgement to the test regarding European airguns. What about the possibility of testing the BSA R10 Mark II anyway? I say anyway because it is British but not extremely expensive.

    I have to admit that the Marauder is as accurate as any Air Arms PCP I have. That is one reason I guess that I continue to search for a more accurate air rifle even though it sounds as though I already have as good as it gets as far as what is out there right now (for the money anyway). Actually, I keep looking mostly because it is fun. So please bear with me.

    I hope you can help me with this. The trigger on my Marauder does not have a definitive stop to the first stage travel. That has been my only problem with this rifle. Can you point me to where I can learn how to adjust the trigger to achieve a definite stop to the stage one pull? That would be great.

    I really enjoy this sport and participating in this blog. It is great fun and truly rewarding. Thank you for everything.

    G & G



      • Slinging Lead,

        Thanks for that attachment. It tells me what I need to know. Curiously, I have searched the Marauder numerous times and that blog never came up. It was well before my time here.

        I’m really glad I read the whole thing, I had no idea about the o ring in the barrel. Fortunately I have not had to clean it yet. That could have been a disaster and I’d have never known why.

        Thanks again.

        G & G


        • G&G

          Glad I could help.

          The blog changed format a while back. The old blogs that were on Blogger software do not show up using the new search box. To search these older blogs, click on one of the links under “Historical Archives”. This will bring you to one of the older blogs. Then use the search box on the old blog. The old search box works much better than the new one.


    • G&G,

      Sure, I can test the BSA R10. Many years ago I tested the first BSA PCP rifle and found it to be accurate, but not overly so. The R10 resembles it more than a little. I may test it, but I don’t hold my breath that it will best a Marauder.

      B.B.


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