The Long-Term Test

optics_180

Weaver’s 3-15×42 Super Slam Has Been Giving
John Perfect Satisfaction since 2010

By John Barsness

Weaver scopes have been known as durable, basic and “affordable” scopes ever since Bill Weaver founded the original company in the 1930’s. Probably the best known was the steel-tubed K-series produced after WWII at the Weaver factory in El Paso, Texas. During the 1970’s Bill Weaver passed away and the El Paso plant closed, but the Weaver brand name stayed alive on scopes imported from Asia, mostly built along the basic and affordable theme.

Eventually the present Weaver company started selling scopes designed to compete in a somewhat higher price bracket. In 2010 they sent me several scopes, ranging from a supposed reproduction of the original steel-tube K4, but actually a steel version of the Asian-made K4, to some of the higher-market Grand Slams and a new scope called the Super Slam.

All were good scopes for the price, but the most intriguing to me was a 3-15×42 Super Slam, a hunting scope with turrets designed to be adjusted in the field. Weaver had offered scopes with very repeatable adjustments for many years, going back to the well-known “T” series of target scopes originally made in El Paso, but as far as I know the Super Slam was the brand’s first “modern hunting scope.” It had adjustments designed to be easily and quickly twisted in the field for taking longer-range shots.

optics2

It’s not often John gets to run a long-term test on a scope, so we are happy
to report this Weaver Super Slam 3-15X has been in use since 2010.

Stress Test

I generally try to “accelerate” stress by mounting the scope on a relatively hard-recoiling rifle. Unless it’s a rimfire scope, obviously not meant for general use, I typically mount test scopes on very accurate rifles generating at least 30 foot-pounds of free recoil, typical of a .300 magnum weighing around 9 pounds shooting 165- to 180-grain bullets. Long experience indicates this amount of recoil tends to shake scopes apart, and “very accurate” means averaging close to 1/2-inch for several 3-shot groups at 100 yards, not just occasionally shooting a group that size. Otherwise problems with a scope’s adjustments and durability can be lost in the statistical “noise” of semi-accuracy.

Often new scopes claimed to be “recoil and shock-proof” have gone belly-up during the initial range-test. In fact, over the decades I’ve had 17 different brands of scopes (not just individual scopes) fail through sheer shooting. Some failures occurred in the field, but probably 2/3 happened during range testing.

I decided to test the 3-15×42 Super Slam on my New Ultra Light Arms .30-06 with Hunting Shack factory loads featuring the 168-grain Berger Hunting VLD. These not only qualified as very accurate, but in the very light NULA rifle generated just about 30 ft-lbs of recoil—and in fact the rifle had shaken apart several other scopes.

The Super Slam held together during the test and the 1/4-inch windage and elevation adjustments proved to be very repeatable. Unlike some other such scopes, however, the Super Slam didn’t feature a “zero stop” on the elevation turret, allowing you to turn it back to the close-range zero after cranking up for a longer-range shot. Instead, the turret can’t be turned at all unless it’s pulled upward about 1/8 inch. It can then be twisted to whatever setting desired, then pushed back down again, locking the setting.

The scope’s optics also tested above average on my nighttime chart. The testing went so well I decided the Super Slam really needed to stay with me, which doesn’t happen with very many test scopes.

It soon ended up on one of my varmint rifles, a Remington 700 in .204 Ruger. Not only did the adjustments continue to work reliably, but the hashmarks coincided with the trajectory of a 40-grain Hornady V-Max out to 500+ yards. My usual procedure on field-adjustable scopes is to slap a piece of masking tape on top of the turret and pen-mark various ranges, but the standard markings did the job.

The Super Slam has remained on the .204 since 2010, except for a brief period when the barrel was replaced. The scope’s been on the rifle for several thousand rounds involving a lot of turret twisting, a pretty long “test,” and the adjustments remain just as precise and repeatable.

optics1

The Super Slam has been on John’s .204 Ruger for five years, through
both a barrel and stock change, and still tracks perfectly.

The only “problem” with my Super Slam is its 1-inch tube, limiting elevation adjustment somewhat compared to a 30mm tube. However, there’s still another full turn of adjustment with the turret set on 600 yards. According to Sierra’s Infinity ballistic program that’s enough to get a 6.5 Creedmoor with a 140-grain Berger Hunting VLD at 2,800 fps on target at 900+ yards. This is with the scope mounted in level Talley steel rings, not on a slanting rail.

Obviously this is only an example of my scope, but a couple of years ago, friend and fellow gun writer Michael Dickerson and I got into a discussion about scopes during a hunt in Texas. Mike also has a Super Slam, one of the apparently now discontinued 2.5-10X models, and has found it so reliable he’s used it as a test scope on several rifles up to .338 Winchester Magnum.

Come to think of it, I might just need another Super Slam.

Half of John Barsness’s dozen books are on firearms and shooting. Modern Hunting Optics was published by Deep Creek Press in 2014, and is available through www.riflesandrecipes.com, P.O. Box 579, Townsend, MT 59644, (406) 521-0273.
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/weaver-optics/

Weaver 3-15×42
Super Slam
Maker: Weaver Optics, 1 Vista Way,
Anoka, MN 55303,
(800) 379-1732,
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/weaver-optics/

Magnification: 3X-15X
Objective diameter: 42mm
Tube diameter: 1 inch
Weight: 20.8 ounces
Field of View: 33.9 feet (3X), 11.3 feet (15X)
Eye Relief: 3.98 inches
Click value: 1/4 inch
Internal adjustment: 41.89 inches elevation & windage
Water, Shock and Fog
Proof: Yes
Reticle: Dual-X, Heavy Dual-X, Fine Crosshair with MOA Dot, Illuminated Duplex, EBX Glass Etched ballistic reticle
Price: $832.95
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/weaver-optics/

The Hunting Shack, Inc.
4406 Rathbun Lane
Stevensville, MT 59870
(800) 856-2857
www.thehuntingshack.com

Talley Mfg.
9183 Old Number 6 Hwy
P.O. Box 369
Santee, SC 29142
(803) 854-5700
www.talleyrings.com

Read More Optics Articles

gn1216_400

Purchase A Password To Read The December 2016 Digital Edition
(Includes FREE Download of PDF version for your desktop or mobile device)

Purchase a printed copy of the December 2016 issue

Purchase a PDF download of the December 2016 issue now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(Spamcheck Enabled)

~