POSP 6x24 Rifle Scope w/ 1000 Meter Rangefinder Review
Guess what?! That weird contraption on the left side of your WASR receiver is not just mounted there to scrape your coat while you carry your rifle on a sling! It is, in fact, an AKM scope rail. We at WASR-10.COM decided to mount a full investigation into this "novelty". To do this, we got a Belarusian 6X24 POSP Scope with 1000m Dragunov style range finder from Steel City Armory.
If you're thinking about buying a POSP scope (or really any PSO-1 variant) we recommend you at least skim over this POSP review. Most of the information in this review is not POSP specific, but also applies to other PSO-1 variants like the PSO, PSL, LPS, PSO, ZRAK, JJJ or even the North Korean "Type 78":-). This review will, at the very least, bring you up-to-speed on the basics of Russian Optics.
When we started preparing for this review we didn't expect to learn so much about Russian optics. Or about the psyche of the AK owner for that matter...:-)
Figure 1: Here it is; the WASR-10 Scope Rail.
Why Lord Why?!
WARNING: If you buy any kind of optics for your WASR, especially large (13"+) scopes like the POSP, be prepared for a good dose of criticism from both the AR-15 and the AK crowd... The consensus among the AR crowd seems to be that the AK is too inaccurate to warrant optics. While the average Eugene Stoner groupie's attitude can easily be traced back to platform insecurity and caliber-envy, the criticism from the AK side of the isle is more puzzling.
Our inclination is that AK owners criticism of WASR-10 optics stems from some sort of macho-Kalashnikov-fundamentalism that dictates that real men shoot iron-sights while the women stay home and make hearty potato soup. In any case, be prepared; whether you like it or not, you have a real rifle range conversation piece on your hands.
Figure 2: POSP Scope on the WASR-10. Note the modified Tapco 5 round "Sub Compact" Mag
On the bright side, with a talking piece like this, you won't burn through ammo as fast the next time you go to the range. You'll be too busy explaining to every passerby why you have a scope on your AKM. But seriously... Why exactly would you put optics on your WASR-10? Why?! Because you CAN! That's WHY!!
POSP vs. PSO-1
Let's start with one of the most popular POSP questions; "What's the difference between a POSP and a PSO-1 scope?" Here's the scoop: In 1964 Soviet Russia introduced the Pritsel Snaipersky Optichesky (translation: "Optical Sniper Sight") or PSO-1 scope into it's military - for use with the famous Dragunov sniper rifle. When the Russian NPZ Optics Plant started production this particular scope was arguably the best sniper scope ever mass produced.
Soon several Soviet vassal states started to follow suit and produce their own versions of the scope which each country gave it's own designation. Belarus called their locally produced version the POSP. The fall of the iron curtain left the POSP factory in Minsk out of work and scrambling for a new ruble stream - which they found in the commercial export of the POSP Scope.
For legal reasons this scope is now "intended for aimed firing with a hunting gun, for approximate estimation of the distance to an object as well as for observing the objects of nature". But besides the adjusted scale of the range finder (see below) for all intents and purposes, its still the same sniper scope.
Figure 3: Our lens-grinding comrades in Minsk leaving the POSP Optics factory.
When buying a POSP scope (or any AK scope) there are six variables that you should weigh when making your decision; "magnification", "aperture", "focus", "mount","pro turrets" and "reticle configuration". Confused already? That's ok; we never liked to do our homework either. That's why we did it for you:
The POSP is available in many different magnifications. The most common ones available today seem to be the: 4X, 6X, 8X and 3X-9X, but we have also seen a 2.5-5X, a 2-6X and a 4-10X! We even heard of a 4-12X(!) but were unable to confirm that that was ever produced in any quantity. What does this mean to you? For example, a 4X magnification simply means that any object observed through the scope looks four times as close. So if you are looking through a 4X scope at 100 yards your target appears to be a 25 yards distance. 3X-9X means that the user can adjust the magnification from 3X to 9X. The 3X-9X is the only POSP scope that has an adjustable magnification.
One important thing to mention while on the topic of magnification is "field of view". As your magnification increases, your field of view often becomes narrower. Compare it to looking through a toilet paper tube vs. a kitchen-roll tube. While the 4X POSP has a field of view of 6 degrees, on the 8X version this is reduced to only 3 degrees. A narrow field of view makes your target acquisition slower and can be disorienting, causing you to "loose" the target between shots. The field of view is influenced by the optical design of the scope, so make sure you check the spec sheets before you buy a particular scope. Field of view is often expressed in number of meters or feet at 100 yards, or in degrees.
The 24 part of 6X24 indicates the "aperture" or the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The larger the diameter of the objective (aperture) the more light the scope lets in. More light makes for brighter images in low light conditions. It will also resolve more detail in all light conditions. The diameter of the objective lens determines the diameter of the scope. This means that scopes get a lot bigger if the aperture is larger. So basically a wider objective on a scope lets in more light which makes for a brighter picture.
Most POSP scopes do not have an adjustable focus. While this might not be a problem for most people, some have a hard time getting the reticle in focus. If you are unlucky enough to experience this, it's a big problem. If you do, or fear you might, buy a POSP with a "D" in the designation. "D" Stands for "Diopter" and it means that the eyepiece has an adjustable focus so it can be tweaked to better match the shooter's eye.
Although they are now available with Weaver mounts as well, the POSP scope historically comes with two different mounts; the "SKS and SVD(Dragunov)" mount and the "AK, Saiga and RPK" mount. Guess which one you need for your WASR-10 (or any other AKM or AK-74 with side rail)? Right.
AK vs. SVD Mount.
Look for the word "Pro" in the item description. POSP's with Pro Turrets allow finer adjustment steps than the regular POSP scope turrets. If you are shooting at really long distances with a really accurate rifle this can make a big difference. We'll leave it up to you to decide if you are going to be making 1000m shots with your AKM... Word to the wise: The "Pro" editions we saw did not have the cool Soviet Reticle Configuration you may be craving.
The POSP comes with two different reticle (cross-hair) setups; the 400 meter Simonov and the 1000 meter Dragunov. On both configurations the primary aim point is a Chevron (inverted "V") in the center of your sight. If your scope is correctly zeroed, the main chevron is your aim point when engaging targets at 100 meters (with the elevation dial set to "1").
Figure 4: The POSP SVD Dragunov 1000m reticle layout.
The 400M Simonov configuration has three additional "holdover aiming marks" (chevrons) underneath the main chevron. When shooting 7.62X39 each lower chevron functions a bullet drop compensated aim point for respectively 200, 300 and 400 meters. They are intended to function as "battle sights", allowing the operator to quickly engage targets at variable distances without adjusting the elevation turret (dial) on the scope itself.
Figure 5: The POSP Simonov 400m reticle layout
Tip: Unless you're buying a scope for a true sniper rifle like the Dragunov or SVD rifle, we recommend buying a scope in the 400M Simonov reticle configuration.
The exact POSP specs can be found here. Please note that the pictures on this website are somewhat out of date.
Using the POSP scope
Installing the Reticle Illumination Battery
This scope has a built in LED which lights up the reticle under low-light conditions. To be clear, this is not infrared, night vision or anything like that. It's just a red LED that shines on your cross-hairs so you can see them against a dark background under dimly lit conditions. You don't need the LED during normal daytime shooting. In fact, in daylight conditions, you won't even be able to see if the light is on or off.
In case you don't read Russian, the switch on the front sight post works like this: Up = On, Down = Off. The tiny crew cap on the bottom of the scope contains the LED light - should you ever need to replace it. You probably won't, so just make sure it's screwed in tight, and leave it be.
Don't expect batteries to be included - they won't. So when you buy your scope, add some batteries to the order. The scope needs two watch style batteries to run the light. Buy some spares. They are D-357 1.55V batteries. Just Google "AG13/357A" if you need more.
The batteries are inserted underneath the screw cap on the back of the rear sight post. Counter-intuitively, the side of the battery with the text goes in first.
Mounting the Scope
Use a flat screwdriver to slide the retaining clip that holds the mounting lever to the side. You can now slide the clip off the mounting lever. When doing this, be careful not to lose the tiny washer that can come loose.
Slide the scope all the way forward onto the rifle's side rail. Use a bit of oil to lubricate - if necessary. Now use the unattached lever to tighten the screw. Do not over tighten. Put the mounting lever back on with its tab behind the cutout in the scope rail. Reattach the clip. Not getting it? Kalinka Optics has you covered with this very detailed POSP Scope Mount Manual.
The scope's two adjustment dials are sometimes called "turrets". The one on top of the scope adjusts for elevation, the one on the right hand side adjusts for windage.
The top dial adjusts your elevation. It is numbered 1-20 (only even numbers are shown). Each number represents 100 yards. So when you're using the primary chevron to shoot at a target 200 yards away, the top dial should read "2". The dial moves in 50 meter increments. For example, moving it from "0" to "2" takes four clicks. You want to zero the scope at 100 yards with the elevation turret set to "1". That way you can adjust for 50 yards or point blank range if necessary.
The scope's right side dial allows you to adjust for windage. The dial is split up in black and red numbers. Turn it to the Red side and the reticle moves to the right; turning it to the black side moves the reticle to the left. For example, if you had a cross wind coming from left to right you would move the dial to the right by moving it towards the red numbers.
Here's another way to remember: turning the dial clockwise moves the reticle to the left, while counter clockwise moves the reticle to the right.
Zeroing the Scope
Get Your Aim Straight
Zeroing a scope is the process where you reset the dials to reflect reality. There's loads of information available elsewhere on how to sight in a scope, so we'll give you just the summary.
- Take 3 shots from a heavily supported position.
- Adjust windage and elevation 1 click at a time until your group lands exactly where you aim the main chevron.
- Start out by sighting the rifle in at 50 yards, then move to 100 yards and repeat.
- When you can shoot consistent 100 yard groups that land where the main chevron is pointing you are done with this step.
Adjust Your Dials
Use a small screwdriver to loosen the two silver screws on both dials (don't touch the black center screw!). This will allow you to move the silver part of the dial without moving the reticle. Move the silver part of the dial to "1" for elevation and to "0" for windage. Then tighten the 2 silver screws again. Your scope is now zeroed!
Using the Range Finder
One of the coolest and most distinguishing features of the POSP scope is the Soviet SVD style "stadiametric" (height based) range finder and metering grid. Just like the AK this range finder is brilliant in its simplicity. It is simple in the sense that it uses no lasers or electronics.
Instead of lasers the stadia rangefinder relies on perspective (targets further away appear smaller) and common sense (most people are roughly 1.70M (5'8") tall. The range finder consists of a bottom, straight, horizontal line and a curved line. Together these lines form a wedge. The marksman simply "fits" a standing enemy combatant between the horizontal line and the curved line. The number above the curved line, closest to the place where the enemy soldier appears, tells the shooter the approximate distance to the target. Here too, the numbers represent distance in multiples of 100 meters. If an enemy fits in between the straight and curved line and the number closest to the fit reads "4" that means the distance is approximately 400 meters.
Figure 6: Don't worry; this scary looking guy is clearly 400 meters away.
Most scopes have a second lower curved line which is used to estimate the distance to a crouched enemy combatant or to any any object known to be +-1 meter tall. Here too, the shooter fits the object between the horizontal and curved line and reads off the closest number.
We found it somewhat disappointing that the POSP 6X24 used for the review had a 1.5M and a 0.5M metering grid instead of the military 1.7m/1m setup. This is probably better for hunting (Elk & small deer?), but not what we wanted.
Figure 7: The POSP 6X24 1000M reticule layout. No "quick reaction shooting chevrons" and a non-military 1.5/0.5 range finder.
Once you've estimated the range, you can use this information to adjust the bullet drop compensator (BDC) dial on the top of the gun. In the example above where the target is 400 meters, you'd set the dial to 4.
The Horizontal Hash Marks
Finally, we need to discuss the horizontal hash marks. These allow you to quickly adjust for windage and lead corrections - without changing the windage dial. Very handy in case you get a sudden sidewind or when your study subject is in a hurry to be somewhere else :-).
This is how they work: The windage dial is numbered 1-10. Without getting too technical; each number represents a 10 centimeter (+-4") horizontal reticule adjustment at 100 meters. You have 2 clicks per number so when shooting at 100m you can adjust in 5 centimeter (2") increments.
Off to the Store! (Or Range if you already bought a POSP)
This should give you a general idea of the POSP scope and the basics on using it. Kalinka Optics made a very good manual in English that goes into full detail. Very helpfull stuff. Just like in the scope mounting manual the pictures are a bit out of date, but the info is good.
If your interest is peaked and you decide to get serious about AK optics, you need to report to our brethren over at Dragunov.net. At once!
Our Own Experiences
This is a POSP review after all, so lets talk about our feelings...:-)
Look and Feel
The POSP scope has a very distinct cold war look and feel to it. It's construction has Seventies written all over it. The funny part is that most likely the POSP factory does not deliberately go for this vintage look and feel. In all likelihood their machinery and production techniques have been frozen in time like a prehistoric ice man - sometime in the early 80's when the Rubles started running out. We really liked the vintage look and the Cyrillic letters on the sight post and thought it matched the overall WASR-10 appearance.
And, when we say "Seventies Feel", we mean heavy, rugged, old-school quality. If you ever find yourself in a really tight spot you can use this scope as a club - after which you can remount it and use it until you pass it on to your grandson - that sort of quality.
The included manual is doubtlessly very informative - for someone who can read Russian.:-). Fortunately there is the Kalinka Optics PDF manual in English. The scope comes in a nylon padded camouflage carrying case, which seems a little too modern for the scope, but is actually very practical as it has a strap that can be used to fix it on the rifle while the scope is mounted.
Figure 8: The POSP Scope bag can be strapped over the scope while it's mounted.
The bag also has a belt carry loop and a zippered compartment to hold the included lens cleaning cloth and some spare batteries. As we mentioned earlier; batteries are not included :-(.
Ease of use
It doesn't get much better than this. Mounting the scope was quick and easy. The only thing to watch for is to not lose the tiny washer lurking underneath the mounting lever. After slapping it on the WASR, we headed straight to the range where we were "in business" almost right away. A few clicks up and to the right and we had the scope zeroed! This scope also leaves the iron sights exposed - although it's not very convenient to shoot iron sights with the scope mounted.
Optical and Reticle
As mentioned above. We were disappointed by the lack of a military style range finder with the 1.7m height finder. We also missed the lack of additional aiming chevrons, although these would have done us little good shooting with 7.62X39 (on the 1000M range finder the aiming chevrons are setup for the 7.62X54R Dragunov Caliber). Lesson to be learned: Don't buy a 1000m range finder for an AK!
Picture brightness and clarity was good enough for daytime conditions. The 6X magnification was good, but, we'd like something stronger.
This scope does no have an adjustable eye relief mount, but with a 68mm eye relief and a long rubber eye piece, you don't have to worry about the scope kicking you in the face while shooting the AK.
The biggest problem the main contributor to this article had, was an inability to consistently focus on the reticle. While I had no problem focusing on the target, no matter how I moved my eye back and forth the reticle kept drifting in and out of focus making it very hard to see the chevron - let alone aim it. Other team members helping with the review did not have this problem. For me, however this was a serious problem. More research showed that the POSP scope also is sold in a "D" version. "D" Stands for "Diopter" and basically means that the eyepiece has an adjustable focus which allows the shooter to tweak it to get it "just right".
This scope offers a lot of value per dollar. Its style and feel are compatible with the classic cold war look and feel of the AK. However, it's not actually built in Russia. While this might matter for Saiga purists, if you have a WASR we just want to remind you that WASR-10 was not built in Russia either. :-)
If you buy a scope for an AK, make sure not to buy the 1000m range finder. The only real drawback we found was my problem getting the reticle in focus. If you can't consistently focus on the reticle, any scope will be of very limited value...
Overall, we recommend this scope (with the 400M range finder configuration and the "D" model). Or, see if you can find someone at the range who already has a POSP scope, and ask if you can shoot it. Don't be shy, after all, it's not your fault that these posers bought a 13" conversation piece!:-)
Figure 9A & B: This is the 400 meter POSP model on one of this site's members WASR-10. Nice! (Click here http://wasr-10.com/node/163 for more pictures).
POSP Scope Specs ~ 6X24 1000 m Range Finder
|Objective Aperture||24 mm|
|Field of View||4o|
|Field of View at 100 m||7 m|
|Eye Relief||68 mm|
|Eye Relief Diameter||4 mm|
|Mount Type||AK, AKM, Saiga, SLR|
|Temperature||+50 to -50oC|
|Power Source||3V (2 x D-357)|
|Battery Life||50 hours|
|Overall Dimensions||343x185x79 mm|
|Item Weight||714 gram / 1.55 pounds|
|Rifle Range Conversation Piece||Absolutely!|