BSA Scorpion air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Parts 1 & 2

BSA Scorpion
BSA Scorpion

This report covers:

• Powerful air pistol!
• How the test was conducted
• The trigger
• Crosman Premier lite pellets
• The next big test
• RWS Hobby pellets
• RWS Superdome pellets
• Overall evaluation

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the BSA Scorpion. In a moment, I’ll tell you what this test has inspired me to do. But first, let’s look at the Scorpion’s performance downrange.

Powerful air pistol!
We saw in Parts 1 & 2 that the Scorpion is a very powerful spring-piston air pistol. It pushed pellets out the spout at the same speed as my Beeman P1, which is another powerful spring-piston airgun.

We saw this Scorpion dominate my vintage BSF S20 Target pistol, which is probably in need of some TLC, and it also bested my Webley Hurricane, which was another contemporary during the day. The legend says the first Scorpions shot faster than 600 f.p.s. and exceeded the UK legal power limit for unlicensed air pistols (6 foot-pounds at the time).

How the test was conducted
I shot the Scorpion from a rested two-hand hold at 10 meters. I used the open sights as they were set when I got the gun. I shot at a 10-meter pistol target whose large bullseye gave me a good aim point.

The Scorpion sights are sharp and crisp. All I could ask for is a taller front blade and a wider rear notch; but as you’ll see, I was able to do pretty well.

The trigger
The trigger is single-stage and breaks at 3 lbs., 12 oz. While that sounds heavy, it’s actually not. This trigger is so crisp that the let-off feels like a full pound less than it is.

Crosman Premier lite pellets
The first pellet I shot was the Crosman Premier lite 7.9-grain dome. They fell deep into the breech. But from shot No. 2, I knew they were going to shoot!

I was holding at 6 o’clock on the bull and the pellet was hitting the paper about 2.6 inches high, which is above the top of the bull. Ten Premier lites went into 0.699 inches. For an air pistol this powerful, that’s very good!

BSA Scorpion Crosman premier lite target
Wow! Ten Crosman Premier lites went into this 0.699-inch group at 10 meters.

I was stunned by this first group. I hadn’t expected this big powerful pistol to be so accurate. This is rivaling what a Beeman P1 can do! And it inspired me to want to know more.

The next big test
I find myself wondering how accurate the BSF S20 Target and Webley Hurricane are. Now that I have this test to use as a basis for comparison, I think I’ll test both of those pistols under similar conditions. I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated to see how the other 2 air pistols will do in comparison.

RWS Hobby pellets
Okay, back to the report. Next up were RWS Hobby pellets. We learned in the velocity test that although Hobbys are very light, they did not increase the Scorpion’s velocity at all. Perhaps that’s because they’re very large compared to many other pellets.

The Scorpion put 10 Hobbys into a group that measures 1.016 inches between centers. It’s certainly much larger than the first group of Premiers, making Hobbys a poor choice for this pistol.

BSA Scorpion RWS Hobby target
Ten Hobbys went into 1.016 inches at 10 meters. Not the best pellet for the Scorpion.

RWS Superdome pellets
The most tantalizing target was shot with 10 RWS Superdome pellets. Ten of them landed in a 0.877-inch group, but 9 of them are in one hole that measures 0.592 inches between centers. That’s tight!

BSA Scorpion RWS Superdome target
What a tease! Nine of 10 Superdome pellets went into 0.592 inches!

Overall evaluation
This is pretty fabulous shooting for any spring-piston air pistol that isn’t a full-blown 10-meter target gun! It’s like discovering a Corvette that can corner, or a rock star who’s really a musician! You don’t expect it; and when it happens, you wonder why you never tried one before.

I compare this experience with some of the current crop of mega-magnum spring-piston air pistols that can’t hit a barn wall when shot from inside the barn, and I’m amazed by the difference. If I hadn’t done this test myself, I would have found it difficult to believe anyone else reporting accuracy like this.

I may be done with the Scorpion, but I’ll return soon with a test of both the BSF S20 Target and the Webley Hurricane, and we’ll all get to see how these fine vintage powerhouses compare on paper.

47 thoughts on “BSA Scorpion air pistol: Part 3


    • Me too! What do you think B.B.? 25-30% reduction in group size? That would be asking for quite a bit but it would make a nice sweet little verminating package! It sounds like a nice trigger. I think I’d prefer to be able to holster it though.


    • Why is it every air pistol with more than 10 meter performance level has to have a stock on it. I kind of understand because they tend to be huge. They actually should have been built as carbines in the first place, since everybody who gets one does just that. Look at the Marauder pistol and the Talon P. I myself have seriously considered picking up a P Rod to do just that.

      The only time they stay as pistols is when a “collector” buys them and then they are not shot much anyway.


    • I don’t think the butt stock helps at all on this pistol. The stock is not stable side to side and droops down to far. I am bringing a Scorpion and stock to the Airgun Show this weekend. I may go ahead and mount the stock.

      What will help with accuracy is mounting a scope on the Scorpion.

      BB, I think you miss the fun of the Scorpion and Tempest/Hurricane if you only shoot them at 10 yards. They are much more fun at 20 to 30 yards shooting spinners or cans or other reactive targets.

      See you Saturday!

      David Enoch





        • Cool, In going to go check it now, got to reinstall the email app I had, needed the space but can put it back now. Did you see that I had gotten an nxg apx pumper? Well I ended up returning it, too flimsy and clunky in action too. I got a remodeled np I just found called a blaze? They have done a great job going over to sell the older nps with a hardwood stock and… get this…. open sights!!! Its a great gun, 132 after tax. Ill keep you all posted.


      • RDNA
        Its been a busy day. I will have to email you more than likely when I get home tonight.

        The barrel started out as a full length Discovery barrel in .177 cal. I had it on a 1377 with a steel breech and the 1399 stock.

        I kept cutting it down shorter and re-crowning it to find out what was the best length for 15 pumps. Its about 15.5” long right now. (18” to 23” was the best for velocity and accuracy was about the same at all the different lengths I tryed, mabe a little better with the longer lengths) And I did scotch bright the black off the barrel. I was going to primer the whole gun and paint it camouflage but didn’t. Just left the barrel polished on the gun. It looked kind of good that way so I left it.

        And do you still want that steel breech or do you have one already. Let me know if you want it and the barrel the way it is. You can still have it all if you want. Let me know. But I will email you later or tonight.


  1. Well, well. I’ve never managed to get anywhere near that with mine, but then I’m a rubbish shot with a pistol! I tend not to shoot mine too frequently, but I also have a BSA Shadow, the version with the built-in shoulder stock in .177 which I find shoots well. But it is in essence the same gun. There is also the Buccaneer, which was never hugely popular in the UK if I recall aright, with a full synthetic stock and a rifle barrel. In fact it was the development of a fault in the mould for the stock that gave BSA the idea of making the Shadow as a cut down version. Funny how thing turn out, the Webley Tempest was produced by machining the back projection off a Hurricane frame, I don’t believe nay were ever cast specifically as Tempests.

    Look forward to more of the ‘big dumb’ pistol series.


  2. First thing, YEAH, the blog is working!

    OK, now to the pistol. That really is pretty impressive for a sproinger pistol. Like you said, though my 46M is capable of such, I would be doing pretty good to beat that performance. This makes me hunger for another sproinger pistol. I have been kicking myself for some time now for letting that Tempest get away.


  3. I wouldn’t take nothing for my little RWS P5 mag. springer.I carry it for snakes,pop cans,Dragon flys,spiders etc.Dead on! Everybody should try just one good springer pistol.They also keep you in polished up on your powder pistol skills for hardly any money and no noise.


    • I wouldn’t take nothing for …

      {Hmm, will the new software still accept the blockquote tags}

      Watch the double-negatives there… Your comment literally means that you WILL take SOMETHING for…

      {Now if the new reply format could remember my name/address like the old one did — I suspect the field names don’t match so FireFox can’t prefill them based on the previous response}


      • Wulfraed,

        I’ll send your comment to Pyramyd Air’s IT department. If they’d like to correspond directly with you, do you mind if I forward them your email address?

        I believe the lack of pre-filling the fields has been reported before, but I want them to see another comment about it just in case I’m wrong.

        Thanks,
        Edith



        • Interestingly, today the fields came up populated — and the computer had been shut down during the day…

          I also noted that when I hit the main site this morning, I did not have to do a browser refresh to get the new page. Might be linked.

          My email is there for a reason, so if needed, forward it (though maybe we should wait to see if the empty fields reappear).



        • Double negatives?

          Your statement, without contractions is

          “I would NOT take NOTHING for my little RWS P5 mag.”

          Not taking Nothing means you will take Something. For the meaning you intended it should be “not take ANYthing” (or better, a complete rephrase — something like “Nothing would make me give up…” — as one could argue that “not take anything” could mean “taking nothing”).


          • baron wulfraed,I can’t help but wonder seance I see other miss spellings,phrases etc on here at times,why you fell it important to correct something that does not amount to a hill of beans anyway.Even I have said here that if it was not for spell check I probably would not be on here.There are people that are not good at some things such as proper wording and I am one of those and could care less that a person see’s it fit to correct me here in front of planet earth.I have many other gifts that I am blessed with when it comes to my hands and talent and gotten threw life just fine.Your needless comment on my minor error probably keeps some blog readers from posting due to potential criticising.Edith,If you delete this I understand or bar me from posting I get it.I’ll just read and not comment from here on out.


            • I only pointed that one out as the /meaning/ is literally the /opposite/ of what you meant to say. It was meant to be an educational moment — not a flat out criticism.

              Spell checkers are not full-proof — they don’t check grammar; there is a big difference between a bare great (a nude public figure), a bear grate (a metal grid to keep bears out), and a bare grate (an empty fireplace).


  4. That’s one of the reasons I want a decent holstered pistol. Back in my East Texas deep woods trekkin’ days I came to a creek with a 5′ cliff on either side, it had ledges about halfway down that were perfect to jump across from and I was crossing it this way on a daily basis without difficulty or fear. Until one day! That Cottonmouth was as big around as my ankle and about 5′ long! Ifroze for a moment while it awoke and rapidly dove into the creek as he decide I was too big to mess with. I had nothing, not even a walking stick! As I continued my trek I remembered they’re Pit Vipers and that freezing left me open to a serious risk of catching a healthy dose of their highly necrotic venom. I’ve also stumbled across a few Rattlers( at least I knew they were there) and Copperheads(meh) but I’ll never forget how intimidated I felt by the size of that thing! And the fact that he could easily have struck me above the knee. Rendering most snake boots worthless.


    • I would totally mess with a moccasin or rattler… not kidding i love snakes an the bigger and badder the better! my emails up in reply to gunfun so next time you see that big white mouth you can put a 25 grain pellet and scare future guests with the new taxi floor peice! lol


    • Reb,this year while small mouth bass fishing I was wading as you have to do and to my left in was a huge copperhead not more then ten feet beside me laying on a rock sunning.I was up to my waist and wasn’t for sure if he was protective of his area after he slid off that rock.Then as I looked around there was a few more heads sticking up from under rocks.OK time to get out of the water.I happened to have that DianaRWS P5 “the one I’d take nothing for” in the ATV.After a short while there was two less Copperheads.And still caught a mess of bluegill and small mouth.I new a old man that was bit buy one and did not get medical help and for the rest of his life his hand was horribly twisted and unusable.


  5. The Scorpion is ungainly but the power it generated no other air pistol
    could equal at that time.I was lucky to find two of them in both .177&.22
    They came with a scope mount and a loading handle.The models also came
    with a sample of pellets,bell target,oil,and all Uk laws in the box.
    I did read in the Beeman Catalog that the UK Goverment did request that BSA
    reduce the power,I think I have the reduced power ones because not too
    soon after they were off the market,none the less they were equal to the P1
    and I am glad I found them in 1989 because it was rare then to find air guns
    other than the USA standard brands.
    I was shocked to see how restrictive the UK laws were then and now they
    are even worse,but living in the Peoples Non Rebublic of New Jersey then,Even
    the UK laws were fairer.
    All in all the only thing I have noticed after 35 years is that a brown patina has
    formed on the .177 one,which by the way got the most use of the two of them
    they still are the equal of any springer out now with a few exceptions IE:
    the Browning and the P1.etc.



    • Aireng,

      B.B. did a super article some time back with attached video clip. Its titled “how to hold your pistol for the greatest accuracy” if I remember correctly. You will come across it if you Google it. I became a decent shot by following his instructions. You have to follow them to the letter & it takes some doing, but the results are well worth it.

      Errol



        • Aireng,

          You are welcome. Also remember when aiming at the target LOOK AT THE FRONT SIGHT and concentrate on keeping it in the center of & level with the rear notch. The target should be slightly blurred in the background if done correctly. Sounds real odd but the result if done correctly is amazing. Also, hold it on target for a second after it fires. This is called follow through & is very important with springers as the pellet is still in the barrel for a split second after it fires. Good luck!

          Errol



    • Aireng,

      Different pistols call for different grips. I hold a P1 like I hold a 1911 firearm. I hold this pistol in two hands, with the off hand being under the bottom of the grip. Yo0u just have to experiment.

      Consistency is the key.

      B.B.


  6. At various times I’ve shot shoulder-stocked pistols to include a replica 1860 colt, a 8″ barreled Luger, and even a 1896 .30 Mauser. More realistically and historically more recently, I’ve fooled around with a Smith & Wesson model 41 with longer barrel, and a Tau Bruno CO2 pistol equipped with home-made non-attached (meaning held in place by my grip…keeping it legal) stocks.
    What I found, as those who went before also found, is they’re not really very useful. They tend to be clumsy, and wobbly, not to mention breakage prone.
    Aside from the aforementioned relatively minor problems having to do with carrying one (as opposed to shooting one) there are several really big problems;
    A shoulder stock completely negates the entire concept of a pistol, aka, a handgun. Think about it.
    If you want a carbine, get a ’94 Winchester, or an M1 carbine. Don’t fool around stocking what was never meant to be stocked. Or to put it another way, you can always use a hammer to pound a screw into a switch plate but a screwdriver is a much easier tool. Neater, too.
    Use the right tool.
    Honestly, there’s little, if any real improvement in accuracy. The sights for a handgun are very different than a carbine and usually don’t do well with what we could call the “Rifle Hold” which would be leaning into the recoil, with face up close the rear sight, and squinting through the peep sight (like say an M1 Carbine.)
    Believe me, you REALLY don’t want to affect having your face close-up and personal with a percussion-capped 1860 Colt spraying tiny bits of copper into your face and eyes. I’m pretty enough the way I am without any industrial modifications.
    A C96 in full recoil, gently kissing the tip of your nose can be…somewhat distracting.
    So, using the pistol stock, one has to manifest a bolt-upright and heads-up stance, getting that rear sight far enough from my eye to have even a semblance of keeping front, rear, and target in view.
    Well, maybe that may work for some, but in almost any scenario I can imagine does not include me, bolt-upright, wearing a top hat, addressing an off daguerreotype bunny or some sort of target with my shoulder stocked Webley Vickers 50.80.
    Your time is much better spent, whether air gun or firearm, perfecting pistol or rifle technique.
    Contemplation and comparison of the forces involved with air guns and firearms should always make us stop and think, and then proceed cautiously, especially when a mechanical device is accomplishing something potentially hideous right next to your face and eyes.
    (This is written by the guy that gets to read ALL the things that can go wrong with eyes for an ophthalmological surgical practice. Whether air guns, firearms, or stupid, dumb playing tennis, wear your safety glasses, kids. You wouldn’t believe what can and does happen. Really.)
    No wonder those shoulder-stocked pistols never became very popular.


    • 103David
      You make excellent sense in your comments concerning our eyes. I was informed a couple of years ago that I have macular degeneration affecting my right eye to such a degree I was forced to learn to shoot left handed. I Having just one good eye has shown me what I took for granted with two. I now have almost zero depth perception. This means I occasionally have to consult with my passenger about the distance of a car heading towards me before I attempt to pass another vehicle. I know I am a better driver now, because I concentrate on my driving more. No more radio, or long, casual glances out the window at the scenery. I pull over to the side before I give the scenery my full attention. Don’t wait until something drastic happens to your sight. It only takes a second to don a pair of safety glasses.
      Ciao
      Titus



      • I hope you keep up with your Eye-Doc and are checking in regularly.
        VERY regularly.
        It’s a really fast moving field and things are updated constantly. What was not possible a year or two or three ago are almost routine today.
        Not being the D.I.C. (the Doc In Charge,) doesn’t mean necessarily listen to me, but check in no less than every six months with your eye Doc. One day, you may be amazed at what you can learn.


        • 103David
          Yes, I see my Dr. every 6 months for an injection. He numbs my eye, and then injects the stuff directly into the lower white area. I used to see him every six weeks for this procedure, but because my eye has stabilized, he suggested a six month regime. Also, because my prognosis is chronic, I will be receiving these injections for the foreseeable future. However, like you say, the advances in procedure and technique make a “cure” very possible in my time.
          Fred DPRONJ
          Yes, it is amazing how common these eye problems are. Especially amongst the baby boom generation. I saw 2 people I knew personally one the first visit to my Dr. office.


    • David,I to am centrally blind in my left eye.Twelve years ago just walking down the old gravel road and out of no were this lighting type of flashing started in my left eye.Everything had a halo of what looked like electric around it and it was blues and yellows .It went on all that night,next day I went to the eye doc.and he was amazed to see that the vessels in the back of my eye had burst and at my age was odd I was 45 and he said it usually happens to men in their 70s and older.To this day there is a gray woolly worm looking image in the very center of my vision.I can see only around it but not center.I’m thankful it was in my left eye instead of the right ”shooting eye”.OK here is the really strange part.For one year after that,at night when my eyes were closed and my wife made a noise,the sound would flash light in my eye.The louder the sound,the brighter the light would flash in my eye.And the fainter the sound,the weaker the flash.Weird!


  7. B.B.,

    I’m trying to make the show. If I want to be an early bird do I just show up and pay the extra cash? Or is there some sort of registration? I may not get into FW until later tomorrow evening.

    Mark N


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