Finally! A superb example of the BSA Scorpion to add to the collection! This is the later model in .22 and is complete with the case, all the paperwork and accessories.
The BSA Scorpion was first introduced in 1973 although according to the Encyclopedia of Spring Air Pistols, full-scale production did not start until 1977. Controversially, some early .22 models were recalled as it was discovered that they were producing more power than the UK 6ft/lb legal limit for air pistols.
The pistol was available in both .177 and .22 calibres whilst some early pistols had smoothbore barrels. The serial number was prefixed with PA for .177 calibre pistols and RA for .22 pistols. Following the recall, .22 calibre pistols were given the prefix RB. Both the barrel and chamber are steel whilst the combined grip and frame is made from black plastic with the BSA logo embossed on the base of the grip.
In about 1985, the later variant was produced which had a dovetail rail machined into the top of the chamber. Production ceased in 1992.
The patented safety catch, British Patent 1,423,153, is automatically applied each time the pistol is cocked. Cocking is quite difficult hence a plastic cocking aid was supplied with the pistol by the manufacturer. In the box was supplied a tube of pellets, BSA gun oil in a tube, a set of BSA target cards and a BSA target holder. A removable front sight shroud is also supplied in the box.
At 1.5kg / 3.3lbs, the pistol is quite a heavy beast. Combined with a length of 40cm / 16″ it must have taken some effort to shoot accurately. Although the trigger is very crisp, I was only able to achieve rested groups of 2 inches! Mind you, the pellets landed mainly in a vertical line and I can expect that with some practice it would be possible to reduce the group size to something more respectable.
Running the pistol over a chronograph explains why the vertical point of impact was so variable. On average, the power was consistent at just under 3.5 ft/lbs. However, there was the odd significant rise and drop in power of about 1 ft/lb. That’s a 30% increase or drop in power! Perhaps a service is in order.
It would seem that air pistols were never BSA’s forte. They only produced two air pistols, the Scorpion and the Magnum. Whilst BSA designed some other pistols and went to the expense of raising patents for them, they were never manufactured for general sale. It has been mentioned to me by a reputable source that BSA had tried to become the UK distributor for Hy-Score air pistols. For some reason that was never to be.
To sign off, the Scorpion has a small claim to fame by appearing in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy as a tranquilliser gun used by Octopussy and her agents.
Until next time, happy shooting!