The MROD-AIR P12 Bullpup
Jim Chapman        http://americanairgunhunter.com
I was down at the Texas Airgun show put on by my friend and
colleague from American Airgunner, Tom Gaylord, last
summer. There was some shooting at this get together, but
the stars of the event were the sellers tables, representing  
individuals, hobbyist showing their collections, small
companies, and the big names. Eveyone was talking airguns
and promoting their wares. As I cruised the tables I meet
Michael Esch form -Mrodair, and looked at the products he
had for sale. One that caught my eye was the Mrod-air P-12
bullpup, and the reason it caught my eye was that it meet my
prime criteria for this type of gun, it needs to be light and
easy to carry. And this one looked to be, and for this reason
I wanted to use this gun in the field.

Let me say that right now there is a subset of the airgun
market that only want bullpups. But many of the bullpup
designs I've shot are chunky, provide poor shooter
ergonomics and fit, and make me feel like I'm holding a fence
post. Now I'm willing to give up my bias towards looks in the
search for a compact gun, but not if that gun doesn't perform to
the same level as a traditional rifle design. But I reckon that since
a bullpup is a reconfigured rifle, with same barrel length and
performance specifications, the likely culprit if it doesn't match the
rifles performance is the trigger or the overall fit of the bullpup
stock. At least standing at the gun show the fit of the stock
seemed nice and the dimensions of the gun reasonable.... there
are some design constraints such as housing the trigger
mechanism, that have to be worked around.

The P-12 Is a single shot .22 caliber rifle. The stock is a plain
beach with a light colored finish. The barrel is 18" and the LOA is
28.5 and weighs in at 6.8 lb without a scope. The barrel
incorporates an effective and light weight shroud. The air
reservoir is Titanium, with a capacity of approximately 320 cc and
fills to 200 BAR (2900 psi) using a proprietary fill probe. The
onboard pressure gauge is situated at the muzzle end of the air
reservoir.

The P-12 is well balanced, tucks comfortably to my shoulder,
provides a good cheek weld and sight alignment. The pistol grip
provides a good purchase and access to the trigger. The trigger
is an adjustable two stage design, and the trigger blade is wide
enough to comfortably engage the pad of the trigger finger. The
more I shot the gun the more impressed I was with the trigger,
again not the greatest in the world but right up there in the
context of a bullpup.

There are several little things that impressed me with the P-12,
such as the fill port cover that screw into the distal end of the
reservoir and protects the manometer  and the filling port. And
while I'm not a fan of proprietary fill probes, the really clever thing
with the P-12 probe is that it incorporates a quick fill connect right
into the probe. As mentioned, the shroud on this gun is very
effective making the gun whisper quiet.
I show the P-12 with my .25 caliber Evanix MAX-ML bullpup for
comparison. This gun is heavier, more powerful (related to caliber),but
the sidelever is easier to cycle with the gun mounted.
The P-12 is a very compact design, and the skeletonized
stock helps to further reduce weight.
The gun is cycled with a bolt action. This is not my favorite
action for a bullpup, but it works well enough..
The onboard manometer was accurate and compared well
to the gauge on my CF tank.
The under-barrel reservoir hold a 318 cc volume of air,but
with the bullpup design hides the bulk and centers the
weight.
The ergonomics of this bullpup are quite good, it fits me well
and is very comfortable. The sight alignment is good, my only
complaint is that putting my cheek against the bare metal
receiver is not so  ice in the cold Minnesota winters.
As a Hunting Gun:
The reason, and for me the only
reason, I want a bullpup is for a
compact hunting tool. From a
perspective of aesthetics I still
prefer more traditional rifle
designs, so a bullpup has to be
more than just a bullpup to
appeal to me and find a home in
my gun room. Besides power and
accuracy which are a given, I
want a gun that's easy to carry,
easy to maneuver in tight spaces,
easy to shoot from weird
positions. The P-12 is light, well
balanced, reasonably
proportioned. It;s accurate,
powerful, quiet and I've been
enjoying it in the squirrel woods
this season. The trigger is quite
good, and while certainly not a
target grade is more than
adequate for field work, where I
like a slightly heavier triigger
anyways for when I'm hunting with
gloves or with numb fingers!
Three aspects of the gun I'm not enthusiastic about are that 1) I don't like laying my face directly on cold metal when getting a
cheek weld..... I'm afraid I might actually leave my cheek cold welded to the receiver, 2) The bolt action is not as easy to cycle
as a side lever in the bullpup configuration, and 3) a single shot is a bit challanging in the extremely cold conditions I often
hunt in. But these are pretty minor points when looking at this in the context of a mid $750 gun, quite a bit less than most of the
bullpups out there. In general I was impressed with the P-12 and enjoy shooting it. If you are either one of the growing number
of bullpup fanatics, or want a compact hunting gun, I would say this is a gun you should consider!
I think this bullpup is a very shootable example of the
breed, well made, solid performance, it offers the
accuracy and power of a full sized sporter in a light and
compact shooting platform. Bullpup fans like a bullpup
for what it is.... as a practical hunter I like this gun for
what it does!
At Home on the Range
I found the accuracy of the P12 quite good. The targets above
were achieved using my Evanix MAX ML .25 caliber bullpup as a
control (left target column) and the P-12 on the right. Each target
represents a 20 yard 5 shot group, and I used the MAX as a
benchmark because I've put hundreds of pellets through this gun
and both trust and have a pretty good idea what the gun can do.
The P-12 did not quite match the Max, but from a practical point
of view did just fine, and every shot from the gun would have
been a very dead squirrel! The target above shows the result
which were obtained with the gun rested and me shooting three
groups in a row with each gun.

The photo on the left are five shot groups, again  with the gun
rested at 20 yards, using five different pellets; JSB Jumbo Heavy,
Baracuda Match, Baracuda Hunter Extreme, Baracuda Hunter,
and H&N Crow Magnum. All gave good groups, but the Baracuda
Match, JSB Jumbo's, and surprisingly for me the Crow Mags were
consistently the best. As a point of reference the inner ring is the
diameter of a quarter, so again each of these pellets would be a
viable hunting projectile!

It is very cold outside right now so I didn't go out to shoot a lot of
long distance groups. However, I set up a 2" spinner at 50 yards
at a field by my house, and shooting out my car window (and this
is a situation in which a bullpup shines) I could hit it everytime
with all of these pellets. Not quantitative, but the best you're
getting of me until it gets warmer!
The first string that I shot was
using Baracuda Match pellets,
and It had me worried at first
because I was getting
velocities in the low 600's off a
200 BAR fill. It slowly and
consistently plotted upwards.
It wasn't until about 140 BAR
to 110 BAR that the velocities
stabilized at around 790 fpe
for approximately 45 shots. I
measured 120 shots at fill
pressures in the green on the
pressure gauge 200-100
BAR, but extrapolating I
probably had 20 more usable
shots.

I produced 10 shot groups
from a 130 BAR fill to look at
the relative performance of
my five pellets. The JSB
Jumbo Heavy pellets
produced slightly higher
velocities, and the Hunter
Extreme produced the best
consistancy shot to shot. But
it is a matter of degrees,
every one of the pellets would
perform well in the field.

I had the impression this gun
is very pellet tolerant, and I
will try a few more, but the one
I'll end up using is the one
that has the best terminal
performance on small game.
One advatage of a single shot
design is that it can handle
longer pellets, so I'll give the
Polymags a try next!