I am very new to the scope world, and do not possess a vast majority of past experience with magnified optics, thus i decided to go the Russian route to get accommodated and better familiarized with these pieces of glass.
I got me a PO
3.5x21 (Prizel Opticheskiy) Optical scope 3.5x21
few weeks ago via one of their exporter's from Russia.
Thanks TX-Zen for the hook up
the scope came in a very nice European man purse with appropriate camo pattern, manual, (1) CRV-123 Lithium battery, a cheat card for proper field use, and a nice anterior lens cover.
card is great, and works fantastic in the field if you
were to forget the trajectories and bullet drops.
The optical factory in Minsk produces a
few different versions of this same scope, calibrated
for different AK variations. To my knowledge they
include recticle for RPK-74, AKM and AK-74. I have
heard people mention existence of another variants,
which are calibrated for other calibers, but
I have yet to see them.
PO 3.5x21 attaches to standard AK side rail via a modern NPZ style clamp that can hold zero and is extremely easy to take on or off. In case you bust the optic in the field, all you have to do is quickly remove it and finish your job using good old irons. No screwdrivers, allen wrenches or uber-complicated mounts. Once again- simple, and what works in the practical world.
The scope was
nitrogen filled at the factory, and can be operated at
temperatures varying between -50C to +50C degree
Celsius. The magnification factor is 3.5x and lens
diameter is 21mm. The field of view is HUGE. By far
the biggest field of view I have ever seen. It
leaves the PSO-1 in the dust. This is extremely useful
while engaging multiple MOVING targets both in CQB and
at formidable distance. The scope features both
elevation and windage adjustments that can be moved by
a coin or a flat-head screwdriver....or a fishpaw
(uber-strong guerrilla hands) with
increments of 1 centimeter @ 100 meters (approximately
1/2 minute clicks for out western readers).
What I discovered a later time was that once
you remove the caps that protect the windage and
elevation turrets, you simply use other side of the
cap to physically move the turrets. The cap has a
notch that allows the shooter to adjust both windage
and elevation, and not needing a separate tool such as
a coin or a screwdriver to operate the dial.
PO 3,5x21 features a very
well-thought through reticule that is very user
friendly. It features a BDC for 16 inch barrel AK-74
that can be used during the day with no batteries and
at dusk/night using illuminated reticule.
Basically, imagine the setup of PSO-1
produced for the SVD, and now apply same idea for
the 5.45x39 and the proper barrel length. BDC is
calibrated for the trajectory of 7N6 (now 7N10) and
works like a charm.
Sorry for the picture challenged taker (need to improve by skills there), but here are the examples of what a humanoid silhouette looks like @ 100 meters, both illuminated and clear.
You can clearly see the wide field of view compared to other high-end optics like Leupold or Aimpoint.
The recticle is split up into
1)Center is calibrated for the BDC of 7N6 and zeroed @ 100 meters. The center cross-hair corresponds to actual bullet impact @ 400 meters.
The very small top plus with 3 hash lines through it is very clever. Once the scope is properly calibrated and zeroed, it can be a great asset in a pinch or for making that 800 yard shot.
Keep in mind, this is not a tactical bench rest scope to hit a mosquito's left nut @ 1000 yards, but rather a tool to hit a man sized target from 25 to 1000 yards.
- if you aim center of mass and align your center cross hairs there, you will get get head shots @ 100 meters. The same procedure @ 200 meters will get you mouth/chin hits, while @ 300 meters will get you neck shots. @ 400 meters you will be center of mass.
Right above the center cross
hair, you will see the triple plus sign with 3
horizontal dashes. This is for more accurate shots for
distances between 100 and 300 meters, with each hash
line determining the distance.
2) the bottom left and right feature a standard Russian range finder that works similar to any PSO-1 type of scopes. You align your man-size target with the dropping horizontal and now you know the distance to it. Simple. And it works well
Of course all
this is well and great, but what about the actual
field use with harsh conditions?
lucky for me, today as soon as I got to my range we have a freaking windstorm with heavy downpour. Perfect opportunity to check the robust structure of the new optic.
After the zeroing was complete i wanted to see how well the scope holds zero after it has been removed from the rifle. I decided to take a 5 shot group and see the results:
take a close look at the target. my POA is the black half inch dot, and the POI is 22 cm above it (@100 meters, head shots as mentioned below)
the 5-shot groups yielded in 1.47 inch group (see the 223 case for comparison)
Ammunition used is always 7N6 @ approximate 39F
wind was damn strong, that explains the 4 mm shift to the right.
i then decided
to employ the scope for a very practical application
and see ow well it holds up in the rain and @ 340
meters (about 370 yards) on a humanoid target. I
wanted to see the POI shift at greater distance and
Unsupported, prone and shooting off elbows i decided to empty the rest of the magazine into the target.
out of about 20 shots 18 made is center of mass. Scope held zero and had no problem being soaked in the Pennsylvania rain.
so whats the down-side?
-weight. The optic weighs exactly one kilogram. But at the same time the light weight of the AK-74 along with this optic does not exactly make unbearable. I had no problem lugging my clunky stamped POS AK around the field and did not really feel the weight change.
-size. Its not exactly small...unlike its brother Kashtan or the PK-AS black/red dot it puts this optic in its own class.. But on the flip side- look at the field of view. Trading weight and size for the expanded field of view.
Practical? yes. Very. In my opinion at least. Durable, accurate and easy to use.
Cost: I paid about 500$ for this scope and hoping to acquire the RPK model in the future. These are true Belarus Military grade optic that i currently being issued to the Venezuelan troops, with the only difference being calibrated for the AKM.
Lastly, for those who don't quite feel that this scope is worth the money or demand co-witnessing, please stick with western optics as they are so much more superior in both quality control, maintenance and reliability.
part2Last weekend I was helping out a friend put on a long distance DMR class this weekend and got to shoot a bit longer distance that is usually available.
we had these kickass re-setting targets (approx 30x20 inches) that are radio controlled and could be setup for all kinds of different scenarios. These were setup @ various distances (400-650)
we also had steel and paper setup @ 450 meters and 600.
hitting a resetting target @ 450 meters using 1976 7N6 and PO 3,5x21 in the sitting position usupported was pretty easy.
shooting prone off elbows @ a paper target (trying head shots) @ 400 meters was decent
5-shot group with 3 head shots and 2 center of mass with a miss.
however, when going to 600 meters today...i had hell of a time hitting the silhouette. Wind was sure there, but didnt seem to bother us @ 450....
prone, off elbows
600 meters was crappy
5-shot group deserves an ass kicking.
on the good side, i had this old dude hitting the reduced silhouette using my SVD @ 600 meters!!! he was blown away by he own results. He first tried using other instructors tricked out suppressed AR-10 with badass 10 or 15 leupold scope...no luck
gave him 4 power PSO-1 and Full length SVD he nailed it!
anyways. PO 3,5x21 is pretty damn good glass. within 300 meters we had no problems hitting this..uh..it was a reduced US military target..f-class something steel target (used for US Army qualification)
450 meter sitting was easy done ...but 600 was a bitch. Combination of 3x scope and direction changing wind made it a challenge to properly engage these little silhouettes for me that day.