BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle

Today, we’ll look at the power of the BSA Scorpion PCP. You’ll recall that this rifle is advertised to hit 30 foot-pounds, so we’ll see how well that works today.

Now, for the first time I found myself short of air. My carbon fiber tank only had about 220 bar in it, and of course this rifle fills to 232 bar. I do own a Hill pump that could do the job, but until my hernia is repaired I don’t think that’s such a good idea. So I can’t report on the maximum shot string today. It’s supposed to be 20 shots but my rifle started to lose velocity after just nine shots. So, we won’t count that against the rifle; we’ll just have to see to it another day when the tank is full.

Quick thoughts
The cocking is harder on the Scorpion than on other bolt-action rifles, and that’s because of the high pressure at which the valve operates. On the plus side, BSA gives you a nice long bolt handle to grasp.

The trigger has some play in stage two. It releases at about 56 oz., but I’ll adjust it for the accuracy test. Okay, let’s get on with the test. Remember, the Scorpion is a .22 caliber air rifle.

Beeman Kodiaks
The first pellet to be tested was the Beeman Kodiak. Kodiaks weigh 21 grains in .22 caliber and are usually among the most accurate pellets in powerful PCPs, so they’re a good place to begin. I’ll probably use them in the accuracy test, as well. In the Scorpion, Kodiaks averaged 847 f.p.s. The spread went from 841 to 849 f.p.s., which is pretty tight. At the average velocity, they’re giving us 33.46 foot-pounds, so BSA is already off the hook for power. It breezed through with ten percent to spare! That result is giving me good feelings about the rifle.

Crosman Premiers
The Crosman Premier dome is a 14.3-grain pellet. That’s right in the center of the middle-weight range. PCPs don’t generate their most power with lighter pellets, so I didn’t expect these to hit the 30 foot-pounds mark. They averaged 978 f.p.s. and the spread went from 975 to 985 f.p.s. Once again, a tight spread. At the average velocity they generate 30.38 foot-pounds at the muzzle, so we have another winner. Clearly, this Scorpion wants to shoot!

Gamo TS-22 pellets
The next pellet I tested was the Gamo TS-22 pellet. At 22 grains, it’s heavier than the Kodiak and is another domed pellet. In the Scorpion, they averaged 830 f.p.s. and the spread went from 829 to 831 f.p.s. Talk about tight! At the average velocity, the TS-22 pellet generated 33.66 foot-pounds, the highest of the test by a slim margin. What that tells me is that if I shot 28.4-grain Eun Jin pellets, I would probably top 35 foot-pounds. Oh, what the heck. Let’s do it!

Eun Jin pellets
This last test was with 28.4-grain Eun Jin pellets, and I expected to be surprised. My tank was even lower by this time, but I do believe from the performance I saw that it was still getting up into the power curve. Eun Jins averaged 748 f.p.s in this rifle. They ranged from 746 to 750 — another very tight spread. At the average velocity, they were developing 36.29 foot-pounds at the muzzle, so this Scorpion is way ahead of its advertised numbers! And, Eun Jins can be surprisingly accurate at this speed, so maybe I’ll include them in the accuracy test, as well.

Clearly, this Scorpion wants to shoot!

Observations thus far
I thought the Scorpion was going to be like another BSA Hornet, and indeed it is. It’s not just a 30 foot-pound gun. It’s really more of a 35-38 foot-pound gun when the right pellets are used. BSA knows how to make a good air rifle barrel. So, I’m expecting surprising things in the next test.

You know, at the price, this isn’t such a bad little PCP. It’s got oodles of power and a very simple design. If it’s also accurate, we’ll have a winner.

As you read this, I’m traveling but will be back home Wednesday evening. I’ll be logging on periodically during the day but would appreciate it if the regular blog readers would chip in and help with answers to any questions. Edith will also monitor the blog more closely than usual.

33 thoughts on “BSA Scorpion PCP air rifle: Part 2”

  1. Good Morning B.B.,

    Say hello to Mac from us. Hope that you both find something interesting in that airgun collection. My son and I were in Atlantic Guns last Saturday. He was looking for and bought a 1911A1. Joel was working that day and looking the same as always.

    This BSA Scorpion is looking better and better. Its tight spread with all the pellets you tested is impressive to say the least!


  2. BB:

    Based on your and Mac’s recommendations, I went and bought that BSA Supersport in .25 from Pyramyd . It got here Saturday and I just had only a little time with it due to work . Ran about 20 pellets through it , only the JSB Kings, and it, like the Scorpion, wants to shoot as you say. I also have some H&N Target Trophy’s to try that I got with it. Never had a .25 springer before, and I didn’t want to buy a China made gun. The BSA is very well finished and even though it isn’t broken in yet ,it is quite smooth and the trigger is about like my Diana’s in feel. Only plastic is the sights and one thing that sold me on the gun was that the front sight is not a fiber optic blob, and it is reversable. I will shoot up the tin of JSB’s to break it in a bit over the next week or so . Did Mac have a favorite pellet for his? The reveiws I read on the web said that the barrels and breeches of these gun’s were to tight compared to other .25’s, and the guns were very hard to load. All complained that the BSA needed smaller dia pellets, but this one loads easy . Have a good trip and take care,Robert.

  3. Here is a testimonial–

    Mrs. Slinging Lead (who has had just about enough of all these airguns clogging up the house) was walking past when I was reading part 1 about the Scorpion and said,”WOW! That’s a pretty gun.”

  4. B.B.,

    This is a PS that I should have added to my previous comment. The second PA reviewer said that he likes the adjustable power that this gun has. Can someone clarify his comment for me?


    PS Slinging Lead, Sounds like she’s hinting for you to buy her…..

    • SL,
      The pellets look interesting but did you watch the vid on the Royale FX Independence? It’s a PCP “field rifle” with its own on-board charging pump (a built in side lever pump) and a smooth-twist bore. This is not a multi-pump PCP. With this one you get multiple shots per charge. It also can be charged with a tank if desired. And pumping is supposed to be effortless according to Nigel. I’d like to see more of this critter.

      • Chuck

        I have watched all of Nigel’s videos. Multiple times. I also watched your ‘fiddly-fingers’ video at least three times.

        The FX Independence is indeed a very interesting air rifle. As is the FX Royale 400. Perhaps PA will carry the FX line soon? (hint, hint)

        • Slinging,

          I am guessing PA will not be carrying FX products anytime soon. However as you may know, the Webley Spectra is a re-badged FX Cyclone.

          The bad news is PA only has .177 caliber remaining. The walnut Cyclone runs about $1500, so at $895 that new old stock Webley is a steal for someone that can live with .177 caliber.

        • Lloyd

          As I understand it, a ‘smooth twist bore’ starts with the barrel being smooth bore at the beginning, and is rifled for the last few inches. I would ordinarily think it is a gimmick, but FX is top notch.

          • Slinging lead,
            That IS very interesting. With a pellet/projectile matched to the barrel configuration, that can reduce friction in the barrel and put more energy into the projectile. I’ve used a barrel lap on some of my big bore barrels and essentially tapered the height of the rifling. The rifling starts at about .0010 tall at the breech and increases to .0025 or .0030 tall at the muzzle. The bullet normally achieves 3/4 of its velocity in the first 1/3 of the barrel length, so reduced friction at the beginning of travel can show quantifiable velocity gains. Sounds like FX is capitalizing on that phenomenon.

        • lloyd,
          slinging lead is correct. A smooth-twist bore is one that starts out smooth and then has rifling the last few inches.

          What’s the url of my fiddly-fingers? I’ve rebuilt my computer and lost a lot of my stuff. I need a good laugh at myself.

      • The thing that botherd me most about this FX Independence configuration is how long will the pump mechanism will last based on current knowledge of the problems with today’s discrete pumps. Worst case though is that one should still be able to fill with a scuba tank – unless it’s a main pump seal that goes bad and vents the compression chamber.

  5. To everyone that remembers,

    I’m sorry for spouting quotes that may have hurt people. Please forgive me. To those that don’t know what it’s about, it isn’t worth knowing.


  6. B.B., hope you’re enjoying your trip. “Good little pcp” is all to the good, but with the abundance of pcps, I’m oriented to the best which are still the Marauder and the S510 series and for target, the Crosman Challenger.

    Does anyone shoot .303 for any other reason than to shoot the SMLE. The ammo is kind of pricey.


  7. All right sports, the definitive word on neck tension for semiauto cartridges and exact cartridge length. I asked Clint Fowler about this, and he says that the regular resizing process provides enough tension and that there is no reason for any extra measures like crimping or bushing dies–just like Mike said. Some people just love to tinker I suppose. As for measuring exact cartridge length, he suggested seating a bullet long in a dummy round and smoking the bullet so as to deposit a layer of soot. Then after chambering the round and extracting, you get a very precise measurement of seating depth although exactly what you are measuring–whether it’s a ring on the base of the bullet or the imprint of the rifling on the bullet was not quite clear to me. Even better, Sinclair International sells some sort of plastic bullet type device that allows you to measure the exact cartridge length for your individual gun to the thousandths of an inch. All pretty ingenious and worthy of Vince I would say.


    • I mainly shoot the .303 British because it is chambered in the Enfield series of rifles. This includes the “sleeper”, the No. III or Pattern 14. It is basically the same as our 1917 30-06 “Enfield”. The Pattern 14 is very accurate, some were used as sniper rifles. As to cost, factory ammo tends to be high. However, it doesn’t cost any more to handload it than any of the other common calibers. Say, there’s another great reason to handload and it’s fun too! Still, it is an effective cartridge that will get the job done. Old technology isn’t necessarily bad technology.


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