BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle: Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.