Weaver Grand Slam Scopes
By Chuck Hawks
The modern hunting scope was developed in Germany and improved in the United States. W. E. "Bill" Weaver introduced the first affordable scopes in the U.S. in 1930. The Models 330 and 440 riflescopes became best sellers and the Weaver Company was off and running. The Weaver name has been prominent in the telescopic sight business ever since. Weaver scopes became known for delivering good value in the medium price (3-star) range.
Over the years the company has changed hands several times and, for a while, fell on hard times. Blount, Inc. acquired Weaver in the 1990's and restored Weaver's competitive position. The product line was modernized and the premium Grand Slam line was introduced. Weaver is now owned by Meade, a U.S. telescope manufacturer.
Weaver produces several lines of telescopic sights, and an extensive line of mounts and rings for telescopic sights. In 2005 the Weaver Grand Slam riflescope line included the variable power 1.5-5x32mm, 3-10x40mm, 3.5-10x50mm, 4.5-14x40mm AO, and 6-20x40mm AO. Plus the fixed power 4.75x40mm.
Grand Slam riflescopes are made in Japan to Weaver specifications and design. They represent Weaver's entry into the deluxe (4-star) scope market, and an auspicious entry it is. The Weaver Grand Slam line competes with such prestigious names in scopes as Zeiss, Leupold and Nikon. And competes very nicely, thank you.
All Weaver Grand Slam scopes are built with one-piece main tubes of aircraft quality aluminum 1" in diameter. Metal parts are machined to close tolerances. Lenses are camera quality optical glass, and fully multi-coated to reduce glare. Windage and elevation adjustments "click" in 1/4 minute of angle (MOA) increments and can be turned by the fingers alone, no coin required. Grand Slam scopes feature Weaver's four point Micro-Trac adjustment system. They also feature a rubberized, European style, fast focus ring. The sure-grip power ring is easy to grip even when wearing gloves, and has power indicating numbers that face the shooter so the scope can be adjusted in the shooting position; this is also true for the parallax adjustment ring on AO models. The Grand Slam line is shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. All models are parallax free at 100 yards except the AO scopes, which have adjustable objectives that let the shooter eliminate parallax at any distance from 30 feet to infinity.
The standard finish for Grand Slam scopes is matte black; selected models are also available in silver. Grand Slam scopes can be identified by the green ring inside the front of the objective lens housing.
Weaver Grand Slam scopes come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. This warrants the scope to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for as long as it is owned by the original owner. Weaver will repair or replace any defective Grand Slam scope at no charge under this warrantee.
In my experience, Weaver customer service and technical personal have always been very helpful when I have had questions. I have never had grounds for a complaint about any Weaver product.
The 4.75x40mm is the only fixed power scope in the Grand Slam line. It comes in matte black only with a Dual-X reticle. Weaver considers 4.75 to be the optimum magnification for an all-around fixed power scope. Sometimes simpler is better, and the 4.75 Grand Slam should be even more rugged and offer even better optical quality than the Grand Slam variable power models. It should be entirely suitable for use on all-around rifles chambered for such cartridges as the .260 Remington, .270 Winchester, 7mm-08, .280 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06, and 8x57JS.
The 1.5-5x32 Grand Slam comes with a Dual-X reticle. The scope is intended primarily for use in wooded or brushy terrain, but where a long shot may occasionally be necessary. It combines a wide field of view at low power with sufficient magnification for long shots at big game animals at high power. I see it as a good choice for rifles chambered for cartridges such as the 7x57, .30-30, .308 Winchester, .338 A-Square, .338 Winchester Magnum, .358 Winchester, .350 Remington Magnum, .376 Steyr, and .444 Marlin. It is a reasonably trim scope well suited to rifles such as the Browning BAR, BLR, and A-Bolt II; Winchester Model 70 Featherweight; Marlin Models 336 and 444; Ruger Models 1A, 77RSI, and 77RL; and Remington Models 673, 7400, 7600.
The 3-10x40mm is probqbly the best selling of the Grand Slam scopes. It is supplied in both matte black and silver finishes with a Dual-X reticle. The 40mm front objective lets in as much light as the human eye can use, even when fully dark adapted, at magnifications up to about 6x. Most importantly, it allows the use of low mounting rings on most rifles for fast alignment and good cheek to comb contact. This is a good scope for a wide assortment of varmint, all-around and ultra-long range rifles in calibers such as .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .240 Weatherby Magnum, .25-06, .257 Weatherby Magnum, .264 Magnum, .270 Winchester, .270 Magnum, .280 Remington, 7mm Magnum, .30-06, .300 Magnum, and 8mm Magnum.
The 3.5-10x50mm is also available in both matte black and silver finishes, and comes with a Dual-X reticle. It is larger and heavier than the 3-10x40mm. The big 50mm objective provides all of the light grasp the fully dark-adapted human eye can use up to 7x. Medium to high mounting rings will be required on most rifles. Since it will be mounted higher, it will influence the rifle's handling more than the 3-10x. Its application is similar to the 3-10x40mm Grand Slam.
The big 4.5-14x40mm AO Grand Slam comes with a Dual-X reticle in either matte black or silver finishes. AO means that this scope comes with an adjustable objective for parallax correction. The objective is provided with a wide sure-grip area that makes it easy to turn even when wearing heavy gloves. As with other scopes having a 40mm front objective, low mounting rings may be used on most rifles. Weaver considers this scope suitable for use on ultra-long range big game rifles at low power as well as medium and long range varmint rifles at the higher powers. I would suggest that it is a good varmint scope and possibly a combination varmint and big game scope. Suitable calibers would include numbers such as the .22-250, .223 WSSM, .243 Winchester, .240 Weatherby Magnum, .25-06, and .257 Weatherby Magnum.
The 6-20x40 AO is the biggest and heaviest Grand Slam of them all. It comes only in black matte finish. It is the only Grand Slam model that comes standard with a choice of reticles. The Fine Crosshair Dot or the Varminter (a plain, very fine crosshair) are the options. Like the 4.5-14 AO, the adjustable objective of this scope is provided with a wide sure-grip area. This scope is intended for long range varmint shooting. Specialized varmint rifles in calibers such as .223 WSSM, .220 Swift, .243 Winchester, .243 WSSM, and 6mm Remington are its natural home.
The ergonomics of the Grand Slam scopes are excellent, about the best I have ever used. Their windage and elevation click adjustments are simple to adjust using just a thumb and forefinger, and accurate. The 1 1/8" wide sure-grip (rubberized) area on the zoom ring really does afford an excellent grip, making the zoom ring very easy to adjust. The magnification index mark is on the left side of the tube (in the 9 o'clock position as viewed by the shooter), making it possible to accurately adjust the zoom range with the rifle at the shoulder. A right-handed shooter can see the numbers with his left eye while his right eye remains behind the ocular.
It is interesting to compare the Weaver Grand Slam line to the Leupold Vari-X II line, which are similar in price. It is my impression that in terms of materials and construction there is little to choose between the two. They are also functionally equal in terms of their optics. The lens elements of both brands are fully multi-coated for maximum flare suppression.
The Weaver Grand Slam scopes are ergonomically superior. Their sure grip zoom rings are more convenient to turn, they are much faster to focus, and their windage and elevation adjustments are easier to use because no coin is required. The 1/4 MOA adjustments of both brands have a positive feel and seem to be quite accurate.
The Leupold Vari-X II scopes generally offer somewhat greater eye relief, a particular advantage with hard kicking rifles. And Leupold offers a much larger choice of reticles for specialized purposes. The Leupold Custom Shop can do things to a scope that other manufacturers won't even attempt.
The Vari-X II line also offers a greater variety of finishes: gloss black, matte black and silver are available on half of the VX-II models. Gloss black is a particularly nice option for high end rifles with high luster blue metal parts, such as the Weatherby Mark V Deluxe and Browning Medallion models. Weaver should make gloss black a finish option for the Grand Slam line, as many of these scopes are likely to end up on premium rifles.
Both lines are waterproof and fogproof. Both come with a lifetime warrantee. Both manufacturers have a fine reputation for customer service. You could not go wrong with either brand, and I own both. Certainly the Leupold Vari-X II and Weaver Grand Slam riflescopes are worth comparing before purchasing any scope in their price range.
I have used Weaver scopes for decades, and this Grand Slam riflescope is the best Weaver yet. Weaver scopes have always represented solid value at a reasonable price, and the Grand Slam line extends this philosophy into the deluxe 4-star class. In my opinion the Grand Slams are not only competitive with the other fine riflescopes in this class, they are perhaps the best of the bunch.
Copyright 2003, 2010 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.