The lovely guys at Skirmshop have sent me out the new VSR/SSG10 Scorpion piston to have a play with and although I’m not able to get out to a site yet to try it on the range, I thought I’d have a look at it vs the original weighted piston, the WASP, which is currently in my VSR. Note that it’s the first edition WASP and I know it’s been improved since then, although the original for me has been pretty damn good.
The idea behind weighted pistons, of which there are now several on the market basically all trying to do the same thing, is that they impart more energy onto the bb, increasing the joules (though reducing fps, as the heavier piston travels slower. Imagine hitting a golf ball with a wooden stick vs hitting it with a heavy metal pipe; even though it’s still your arm swinging it, the pipe will hit it much further. In practical terms, you can therefore run a lighter spring, and have an easier bolt pull, then add weight to the piston to make up for the loss in power. There are a lot of things this allows you to tinker with in terms of power and energy. The earlier weighted pistons had one or two “sleeves” that allowed you to choose from set weights, which was simple enough but didn’t allow much fine tuning if you needed it.
My current setup uses the original Sniper Mechanic WASP, although I never actually added weight to it for two reasons. One, was to keep the noise down – I only really wanted it for the airbrake. Two, because I didn’t need to up the power, it sits just below UK legal limits on 0.45 and I’m not the kind of guy to try and creep over that by fooling the chrono on 0.20. Chrono cheats are a more widespread problem than is apparent, and I know a couple of well known snipers who’ve admitted to cheating. But that’s a story for another day. Play fair, and learn to play to the max inside the limits, not outside.
So, with the rifle stripped down, I’ve removed the WASP to compare with the new Scorpion and see how they shape up. The Scorpion does things a little differently…
In the pack, (which states on the back “plug and play”, it certainly isn’t) is a piston in kit form, so you can have a lot of fun putting it together first. I like this approach as it allows much more adjustment. The black sections are made from aluminium and are lighter, the gold sections from steel and are heavy. So you can set this piston up exactly as you want it. Every bit of it can be changed and adjusted, which is great. And rather than any fiddly little screws holding weights on, the weights screw together nicely in whatever layout you decide to form the piston, and are solid. Quality is great throughout, and it’s a very nicely thought out design. There are two sets of guide rings here too, for different cylinder diameters.
The spring guide looks nice, but is too thick for my stock cyma spring, so I’ll have to look at an upgrade to a Rapax spring in the near future. No part works in all setups because lots of things have slightly different measurements, and it’s clear this piston has been designed to be compatible with certain parts, though without spending my years earnings on buying everything under the sun to test it all out, I can’t say what just yet.
Those little black o-rings fit nicely on each section to help dampen the vibration travelling through the piston. Nice touch. Not knowing where to start with building this piston, I decided to try and 50/50 the weights on the piston, using my WASP to work out the length, and it came up a little short. So I’ve added another black section on, so as not to increase the power too much. As an interesting note, if you’re willing to sacrifice volume you can lengthen this piston to short stroke the rifle (reduce length of bolt pull).
Compared to the WASP, the cup on the end feels softer, more pliable, and is a rounded shape rather than a flat one, which I would imagine should help to reduce the noise, with a smaller contact point initially rather than a big flat one. I did notice early on that the airbrake feels very loose, until you pull the cup over the top which helps hold it in place. It’s adjustable for length too. On my current setup, I’m using a stock Cyma cylinder (until I get a replacement; my Maple Leaf cylinder buckled and thrown in the bin.) and an Action Army cylinder head with a Laylax sorbo pad on. First tests indoors, holding the gun, the new setup was very loud and I do feel having an airbrake that touches the insides of the cylinder head may be contributing to this, though Stalker say that my cylinder isn’t helping things either, which is fair. I must say though, the airseal is amazing and the piston moves really well in the cylinder. I think that with a bit of tinkering with the weights too, it’ll be a great performing rifle on the range, although I need to fix the noise issue to get it useful out in the field too.
I do have a lot of bits still to test out before finalising the rifle build, which has moved on a lot in the last couple of years. Although I’m an advocate of not relying too much on the rifle and that tactics are more important, I do like teching and playing with different setups and the Scorpion certainly allows for a lot of adjustment for that. With the WASP having always been difficult to get hold of, the Scorpion is a great alternative, seems good quality and easily available from skirmshop.nl
Obviously this hasn’t been properly tested yet, because I don’t own any land and society doesn’t appreciate guns out in public like it did hundreds of years ago. I will be looking to get out with it through the summer though to put it through its paces and will do a proper review of it once it’s seen some use, but I thought people might be interested to see what it’s like out of the box.