The SnowPeak P12 is a Chinese-made bullpup that is imported to the U.S. by Mrodair. It is important to note that the gun in this review is NOT a factory-stock P12. Mrodair gave it a tune-up, as well as a few upgrades – most notably a regulator. The price-point for a factory-stock P12 is around $500. The price for a tuned and regulated P12 is around $750. That puts this bullpup in “Marauder/Hatsan territory.” So, comparing the gun to $1800 bullpups is unfair (so, I won’t do it).
Barrel: The P12 comes with a Chinese-made barrel. I know what you are thinking – Yikes! But, let’s give the gun its fair shake before we start scrambling to replace it with a German barrel. Truth is that the P12 sent to me is a pretty dang good shooter. I can consistently get 1-inch, 10-shot groups at 50 yards. And, if luck is on my side, I can get a 1/2-inch 5-shot group (but, I have never gotten a 1/2-inch, 10-shot group). The most accurate pellet was the JSB 18.1 Exact. But, from what I have read from other owners, this is not “THE” pellet for the gun. Rather, it is much like the Marauder in that you need to try as many pellets as possible. With some guns you know which pellet will be most accurate, long before you even shoot it (eg. FX barrels are literally made to shoot JSB pellets).
And, while this .22 P12 also prefers the JSB 18.1 over all others, I have also seen numerous reports of this gun preferring H&N barracudas, Crosman Premiers, and others. I have also seen reports of the gun not being able to hold accuracy with any pellets (but, to be fair those guns were factory-stock). So, what is the bottom line? Well, from the information I have gathered, I think your expectation should be 1-inch, 5-shot groups (or better) at 50 yards. If you get better than that, consider yourself lucky (or skilled). Just know that you need to temper your expectations (compared to the Kalibr Cricket, FX Bobcat, and Edgun Matador). The P12 barrel is not in the same class as European barrels (for the price, no reasonable person would expect it to be). But, MrodAir seems to know how to get the most out of them.
Stock: There really isn’t a whole lot of fanfare re: this stock. Let’s start with the fact that the action and air tube do fit securely. The gun attaches with two screws – one near the trigger and one near the butt – so there is no fear of “wobble”. This is a smart idea because even if the stock isn’t a perfect fit, it still clamps down solidly (this was a problem that the earlier Edgun Matador R3’s suffered from, and it was corrected in the same way).
As far as beauty and durability…there isn’t much of either. The wood grain is light and bland and the shape is nothing to write home about. And, it is very easy to scratch it. But, again, to be fair, you couldn’t have expected a top-grade piece of walnut on a factory $500 gun. Still, I was a bit shocked when I saw this significant scratch caused by the P12 stock accidentally rubbing against the checkering on a walnut stock (a different gun). The walnut stock showed no wear, but the P12 was left with a scar.
My recommendation to all P12 owners would be to find a color you like, and give the stock a coat of durable paint or stray bed-liner.
I also did not like the size of the pistol grip. It is very small compared to all other bullpups I have shot. And, this is coming from a guy with small hands. This may be one of those “personal preference” things, but for me, the [undersized] grip made the trigger-pull feel somewhat congested. I prefer a mostly extended trigger finger, gripping the “meat” of the trigger blade with the tip of my finger. The P12 ergonomics makes me feel like my shooting hand is nearly in a fist when I pull the trigger, compared to a much flatter/wider grip on other guns. Here is a photo comparing the pistol grip to the Edgun Matador.
Mechanics and Trigger: Speaking of the Edgun Matador, the P12 was clearly designed by someone who had a Matador very close by. But, it isn’t an exact clone of the Matador parts (and it weighs nearly a pound more than the Matador) . The cocking bolt and block look almost identical to a Matador. But, the trigger, push bar, sear, shroud, and rail are all noticeably different.
The fill port is similar to the Matador, and is found in the front portion of the air cylinder, directly behind the air gauge. The gun includes the male fill probe, needed to fill the cylinder with air. But, unlike the Matador, the P12 has a dust cover that protects the fill port. It is removed by unscrewing. This is somewhat clumsy (compared to the slick, spring-loaded dust cover on the Kalibr Cricket), but it does its job well.
The air gauge I found to be mildly inaccurate – displaying a pressure reading that was 30-40 bar higher than the quality gauge on my carbon fiber bottle. For reference, the gauge on my Edgun Matador, Kalibr Cricket, FX Bobcat(s), and Evanix Max all were within 5 bar of that same tank gauge.
The shroud does its job well – reducing the noise as much as the more expensive counterparts, and it is easy to remove (to facilitate easier barrel cleaning).
The trigger is decent (again, given the price point), but it definitely isn’t without its compromises. While the pull weight is reasonable (at around 2 lbs), the smoothness leaves much to be desired. It is a little “mushy”, and there is a lot of spring and metal “creaking”, like something is just not quite aligned properly. This may very well be an easy fix. Or, it may be completely unique to my gun. But, it is something I noticed strait away, and my biggest hang-up on giving the trigger a full stamp of approval.
As for the shot string, the gun impressed me. With the MrodAir regulator installed, the gun yielded 55 consistent shots at 30 ft/lbs of energy.
This is comparable to my [regulated] Matador R2. My guess would be that without the regulator, the gun would produce “Marauder like” numbers ~ 30 usable shots (but, there have been reports of un-tuned P12’s yielding as little as 15 usable shots).
Conclusion: I think the P12 DEFINITELY has its place in the market. It has no equal (or competitor?) in the $500-700 bullpup price range. I think the build quality is comparable to a Benjamin Marauder, as is the accuracy. Personally, I would not buy this gun without a professional tune and regulator installed. There is just way too much uncertainty for the factory-stock $500 price tag. Better to pony up the extra $200 and get a gun that won’t send you to the loony bin trying to get the thing to meet your expectations.
But, even with a tune, I strongly encourage buyers to try several kinds of pellets, and consider painting the stock (or invest $89 in MrodAir’s “Black Max” upgrade). For the price, I would not consider the P12 to be a home run. But, I would say that it is definitely a ground-rule double (to you non-baseball players, that means I thinks it’s pretty good for the money). It fits the bill for someone looking to buy a short, quiet vermin whacker, while maintaining a safe distance from that $1000+ price range.
For more reading on this gun, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND a very detailed and honest series of posts from Mr. Dave G