Airgun World - - Airgun People Doing Great Things -


‘When this project started, I was the gun­smith at Ron­nie Sun­shines, and I thought it would be good for busi­ness to il­lus­trate what could be done at the shop. A me­chan­i­cally-sound BSA Scor­pion came into my hands and I de­cided that it would be a great ba­sis for the project. The al­loy com­po­nents were in good con­di­tion al­though the an­o­dis­ing and blu­ing was un­der­stand­ably worn. The ac­tion was fairly crisp, the power was well down and the stock was noth­ing to write home about.


Whilst I feel that the Scor­pion is a bril­liant ri­fle, (I own one) from cer­tain an­gles it has a few draw­backs; the cylin­der is on the small side, out of ne­ces­sity, and it is un­reg­u­lated, but for the price it is su­perb.

I set about the task of work­ing out how to im­prove it. The shot count could be in­creased with a larger air cylin­der, but this would not im­prove the power curve, so I de­cided to fit a regulator. This in­tro­duced a prob­lem; the ex­ist­ing pres­sure gauge would then read the out­put pres­sure from the reg., and not the air re­main­ing in the cylin­der, so a new gauge would be needed.


I first fit­ted the longer air cylin­der, which as it turned out was a lit­tle longer than the bar­rel. I tested the ri­fle and got about 70 shots in .177, bet­ter than the orig­i­nal, but not where I wanted it to be. So a reg. was fit­ted, not with­out some fairly se­ri­ous ma­chin­ing on the cylin­der, and the cho­sen regulator. Of course, now the pres­sure gauge wouldn’t work so I chose a front-mounted gauge and fill assem­bly from the BSA Gold­star. With the reg. and the longer fill probe and gauge assem­bly, the air cylin­der was now longer than the bar­rel by sev­eral inches, which cos­met­i­cally was aw­ful, so a si­lencer, air-strip­per or shroud was in or­der to hide all this. My au­to­matic go-to on the si­lencer front is one of An­drew Huggett’s prod­ucts. How­ever, the di­am­e­ter of the si­lencer was too big and would push the bar­rel away from the cylin­der, but I had some al­loy tube kick­ing about on the bench so with that and an hour or three on the lathe, the si­lencer was born. In hind­sight I should have made it into a full-length shroud – hind­sight is just too easy!


I then turned my at­ten­tion to the air­flow through the ri­fle and smoothed, pol­ished and re­shaped ev­ery­thing to make it all go that much bet­ter. I fit­ted a dif­fer­ent trig­ger and put the safety on the left, just be­cause I pre­fer it there. When it was time to test the gun, over the chrono’ it was do­ing give or take 11 ft.lbs. with about a 5-7fps spread with which I was happy, and ac­cu­racy wise it pro­duced 7-8mm groups at 30 me­tres – very sat­is­fac­tory.


I stripped it all down again and pol­ished and chrome-plated the ac­tion and cylin­der, leav­ing a few bits black for con­trast. Ron­nie Sun­shines built the Plat­inum with BSA a year ear­lier, and I man­aged to find a new Minelli Plat­inum stock, which fit­ted the ri­fle per­fectly and gave con­ti­nu­ity from the plat­inum.


The ri­fle now shot re­ally well and looked lovely too. Neil Wells, a fel­low em­ployee, sug­gested raf­fling it for char­ity, which was agreed. I am a Bri­tish Le­gion mem­ber and that was the cho­sen cause. The ri­fle is en­graved:

LEST WE FOR­GET. IN AID OF THE ROYAL BRI­TISH LE­GION and car­ries the se­rial num­ber. RSCB1914-18. RSCB stand­ing for Ron­nie Sun­shines Chris Bartlett


The Bri­tish Le­gion as a whole is di­vided up into branches across the UK. Mostly in towns, Berkham­sted, Wat­ford, Leighton Buz­zard etc, each hav­ing a club­house and bar. The to­tal num­ber of these is enor­mous. I be­long to the Rid­ers Branch, (RBLRB) and we num­ber over 5000. All of us are mo­tor­cy­clists, but we do not have our own club­house to call home – in­stead, we visit dif­fer­ent clubs dur­ing the course of the year. All the branches carry out vi­tal fund rais­ing – not just at this time – and RBLRB is no ex­cep­tion, we are in fairly high de­mand to at­tend func­tions with our bikes and badged leathers, draw­ing peo­ple in and help­ing to raise aware­ness to the cause. All of the funds raised go to­ward look­ing af­ter ser­vice­men and women who need our help.’

What a re­sult. Mag­nif­i­cent ef­fort, guys.

Dun­can was al­ready a lucky guy!

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