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A Test and Evaluation of the Russian VOMZ-P8x56 Rifle Scope

A few months ago, Aaron Zelman called to ask me if we could field test a couple of Russian rifle scopes he had just bought. Considering that we think a $300.00 TASCO is a "medium grade" scope, and that we use LEUPOLD-ULTRA and/or NIGHTFORCE-NXS scopes for our Precision Rifle classes, we thought it might be fun to play with a couple of the currently available commercial grade Russian scopes.

Though the VOMZ-P8x56 is being sold in the USA as a "Soviet Sniper Scope", we had serious doubts, since the scope only retails for $85 nationwide. As is usual here at ROC, we would test, and would see for ourselves just what "reality" was.

From the outside, the VOMZ-P8x56 is not a bad looking scope, though I personally have no use for shiny scopes out in the field. With an overall lenght of 12-inches, this is not your typical Russian, or ChiCom "combat-compact" rifle scope, especially since this scope has a full 56mm ID objective lens. I didn't expect to find any type of parallax correction on the scope, therefore I wasn't completely disappointed when there was none. One can only assume that the Russians try to meet USA industry standards for fixed power scopes by guaranteeing their scopes to be parallax free out to about 150m.

The main tube body has an OD of 25mm (1-inch), with the occular eye piece having an ID of 36mm. Usually, the combination of a 56mm objective lens, with a 36mm occular lens, is a pretty fair package for light transmission, which means that the scope might work well during dusk and dawn lighting situations. In our opinion, the eye piece adjustment range is quite long. In other words, you have to do a lot of screwing before you see any major changes in the focal lenght, ie; focusing. It was a bit like using a low grade scope for your .22 rifle when you were a kid. Eventually, you will hit your focal length "sweet-spot". With regard to the eye piece locking ring, there is no "stop" on the forward end of the thread guides, ergo, it can walk-off of its threads, which can get interesting. Like the vast majority of Russian/ChiCom rifle scopes, the adjustment range for eye relief is terrible. You can expect to get 1-inch total eye relief adjustment with this scope.

The elevation and windage adjustment turrets appeared to be strong, and did have positive "click" indexes. Unlike most scopes, the windage adjustment turret on the VOMZ-P8x56 is located on the left side of the main tube body, which makes it easy to get at with your supporting hand.

We think that the elevation click value is 1/2-Minute of Angle (MOA) per click at 100m. With regard to the windage click value, we saw such erratic shifts during our field testing that we still have no idea what the true value per click is supposed to be. Yes, there was a 19-page instruction booklet with the scope, however, none of us read Russian. As for any English translation, there was a two page pamphlet, but it only described the range finding scale. (Note: When I talked with Aaron on 20Nov01, he informed me that this scope system now comes with a completely translated 19-page booklet, with understandable English). Since all of our shooters were very familiar with military type reticles, we had no problem working with the various scales, which the shooter sees within the field of view. However, for the person who is only familiar with a 30-30 type reticle system, they might find this scope reticle a bit confusing, since they will be seeing the range finder scale in one quadrant, a windage/lead scale in the center quadrant, and the primary aiming point "chevrons" (arrow heads) also in the center quadrant. By using a 72-inch tall B-24 Police silhouette target as our standard, we found that the range finding scale was fairly accurate out to 300m. As for the windage/lead scale, you would have to determine exactly how that would translate to your cartridge performance. With regard to the three primary aiming point chevrons they are straight forward, as you have one at 100m, one at 200m, and one at 300m. Directly below them is a long verticle bar, which we found almost impossible to use as an accurate aiming post for distances beyond 300m. The VOMZ-P8x56 does not have a night light capability, but what do you want for $85?

For our test rifle, Aaron suggested that we use one of the British .303 SMLE's, which we had converted to Russian/CiCom 762x54R via our hand rechambering process. Good idea. I ran the concept by Tom Adams, who was the co-inventor of the rechambering process. Tom thought it might be an interesting project, and suggested that we use the No.4, MK.1 SMLE, we had used in our "How-To" video on converting the .303 British to 7.62xx54R, since we knew that this particular rifle had produced sub-MOA group after the conversion.

In attempting to mount the scope to the rifle, we ran into a couple of problem areas: (1) Due to the 56mm Objective Lens we had to use medium to high rings. (2) Due to the height of the rings we had to add a high roll-over cheek piece. (3) There was a heavy back shadow, which ran from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock within the field of view. Regardless of what we tried to correct this problem, we could not change it. Obviously, something was not right here, so we decied to work around it during field testing, ie; even with bad sights, or a bad scope, if you are consistent in your shooting fundamentals, you should be able to produce respectable groups somewhere on your target paper. Time to go to the range.

Tom had the honor of being the first shooter and after 18 rounds he was able to establish a consistent group on the zeroing target. Though well away from the target center, the elevation was almost dead-on. Now it was time to determine what the windage click value was, and which way to turn the dials. On our first correction we went 8-clicks clockwise (CW), and saw our group shift to the far left edge of the target. We then dialed in 16-clicks counter-clockwise (C-CW), which took our group to far right edge of the target? Interesting, the windage click value seemed to be somewhere between 1/2 MOA and 1-MOA per click at 100m. Playing it safe on our new shift left, we dialed in 4-clicks CW, which moved our group only 1-1/2 inches left? Hmmm... We then added another 4-clicks CW for our next shift left, but this time our group moved a full 4-inches to the left! OK, now it was my turn to see what I could do. After I had fired 40 rounds and witnessed some very strange group shifts, I gave up. To be certain that Tom and I were not having the world's worst 'bad hair day', we put Larry Lucero behind Aaron's scope. After firing 30 rounds and totally duplicating what Tom and I had gone through, we decided to move on and run test on the scope's super elevation scale system.

Thanks to Larry, our starting elevation was almost 0-0 at 100m, and roughly centered on the target. In theory, when we shifted our point of aim to the 200m chevron, our impact group should move up the target by about 3 to 4 inches maximum. Wrong! Even now, we are not certain exactly how the scope could produce what we saw, unless the reticle was actually designed for use with .22LR ammunition. Though our groups were still centered on the target, they were a full 8 to 9 inches above the point of aim! After conducting several more test and getting the same results, we saw no point in wasting more ammo on this project. All three of us came to the conclusion that VOMZ in Russian, must translate to CRAP in English. THUMBS DOWN!!!

My thanks to Tom Adams for his assistance and patience. My thanks to Major Lawrence Lucero (NMSDF), for not throwing Aaron's scope down range once we were finished with testing!

For those who are interested in purchasing a VHS video copy of the entire "How-To" convert a .303 British SMLE to fire the Russian/ChiCom 7.62x54R cartridge, please send a Money Order in the amount of US$30.00 PPD to:

P O BOX 1164

Mr. Hohlfeld is the senior SWAT instructor at Ranger Outreach Center. If you have questions or comments:

Fax 505-757-8456


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