Though you don't hear about them as often as some of their competitors like Nikon, Leupold, and Bushnell, Weaver Optics were one of the pioneering manufacturers of American hunting scopes, and the fact that average hunters could afford their early products is actually one of the reasons that the use of scopes by hunters and sportsmen became so popular in the first place.
Their name might be more synonymous with the mounting system they developed, but they still put out high-quality glass, and their Grand Slam line is a great example. These scopes are designed with hunting in mind, and if you're looking for a versatile optic that will serve you just as well in dense brush as it will on open prairie, this might just be the scope for you.
Let's take a closer look at this scope and what it has to offer.
The Grand Slam line of scopes are considered to be Weaver's flagship optics, and it's easy to see why—these are rugged, versatile scopes with all of the features you'd come to expect from high-quality hunting glass. These scopes have also recently undergone a redesign from the ground up to bring them in line with the latest developments in optical technology.
What does all of this mean in practical terms? Let's start with the glass itself—the lenses are precision grounded and fully multi-coated to cut down on glare and prevent dust, dirt, and grit from scratching up your new investment. Sharpness is great edge-to-edge throughout the entire magnification range, and overall I'd say the clarity and light transmission rival anything being put out by Leupold and Zeiss in the same price range, which is high praise.
The 2-8x36 model we're reviewing comes equipped with the Ballistic-X reticle, providing convenient holdover markings for easy adjustments in the field, though other variable-power versions of the scope are available with the Dual-X or EB-X reticle as well.
This magnification range gives you a ton of flexibility for all sorts of hunting situations – at 2x, it's ideal for deep woods shooting or other close range work, especially thanks to it's huge 50-foot field of view. Meanwhile, 8x power gives you plenty of reach for the kind of plains and mountainous terrain you find out West.
What's In The Box?
When you open your Grand Slam, expect to find the following:
- The scope itself
- Instruction manuals
- An Allen hexkey
This is pretty bare-bones, and I will say that it's one area I think Weaver could improve on. While plenty of scopes in this price range don't include rings, it would be nice to at least get some lens caps and a cleaning cloth.
In addition to the scope, you are going to need to buy a set of 1-inch tube diameter rings (I'd highly recommend just picking up a set of Weaver rings, since they are designed to match perfectly with this scope), and if you are in a particularly sunny part of the country, you'll probably want to pick up a sunshade too.
Weaver Optics Grand Slam 2-8x36mm
The price of Weaver Optics Grand Slam 2-8x36mm varies, so check the latest price at
Micro-trac Erector System
All riflescopes use an erector tube, but not all of them are created equally. In cheaper optics, the 1-spring system means that adjusting elevation can have a minor impact on your windage setting, and vice-versa. Weaver riflescopes’ micro-track system uses a 2-spring design so that these adjustments are independent of each other, meaning you get more precision and consistency and better control over crosshair adjustments.
The Ballistic-X reticle offers holdover hashmarks for quickly eyeballing point of impact when you're shooting at variable ranges, and it doesn't fall into the trap that some other BDC-style reticles do by making your sight picture too cluttered.
The crosshair itself is on the thicker side, which makes it hard to lose, but not so thick that it becomes a detriment at long range.
Side Focus Parallax Adjustment
The Weaver Grand Slam 2-8x36 offers a side focus parallax adjustment knob instead of an adjustable objective, which is a feature I look for in all of my hunting scopes that I plan to use at medium and long ranges.
When you're out varmint hunting, being able to adjust parallax without taking your eye away from the eyepiece is crucial for maintaining visual contact, and without this feature you risk losing smaller, fast-moving game. The knob is positioned in a spot that feels intuitive to reach for without the risk of being bumped on accident, which is something I can't say for some other scopes at this price point.
As I mentioned already, clarity, sharpness, and contrast are excellent, and while the objective lens is on the small end and doesn't let in as much light as a big 50mm would, brightness is still good enough that you can get away with shooting in low light conditions.
Eye relief is slightly shorter than average, but on the flip side it's completely consistent throughout the entire magnification range, which means that once you've found the sweet spot, you don't have to worry about constantly readjusting your cheek weld.
In terms of durability, it feels nice and solid, and is in fact on the slightly heavy side. It has a one-piece tube construction, a durable matte black finish (nice for reducing glare), and it's argon-purged to make it shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof.
And since Weaver upgraded the internals to use fewer moving pieces, it should be more than able to take some bumps and still keep ticking, though I didn't personally test that out. In the off chance that something does happen to it, Weaver's warranty is fairly comprehensive.
I will admit that the zoom ring design is not my favorite – it's the slightly old-fashioned kind that involves turning the entire eyepiece—but there's definitely an argument to be made for this feature on a dedicated hunting scope, where cold-weather shooters need to be able to adjust the zoom even with thick gloves on.
The turrets feel solid, but not stiff, and have audible clicks when you're adjusting them. Click value is ¼ MOA and the adjustment range is 80 MOA, which is definitely better than some of its competitors. The included Allen hexkey can be used to reset the turrets to zero, as well.
Pros / Cons
- Excellent tracking thanks to unique erector system
- Crystal clear glass and excellent optical fidelity
- Versatile zoom range
- Quality-of-life features with hunting in mind
- Shorter than average eye relief
- Doesn't include rings or lens caps
A Good Alternative
Weaver Kaspa 3-12x44mm Tactical Riflescope
If you're looking for something with a slightly more modern flair to it, Weaver's Kaspa might be a solid alternative. It shares many of the same features with the Grand Slam, including the Micro-Trac erector system and the Ballistic-X reticle, though in this case that reticle is also illuminated.
The quality of the glass is not quite as nice as the Grand Slam, and the tradeoff for the illuminated reticle is a hefty 1.5 pound total weight, but it is a slightly more affordable option and seems to be more widely available.
If you're on a budget, don't mind the weight, and don't think that an illuminated reticle on a hunting rifle is sacrilege, the Kaspa is an alternative to consider, especially for varmint hunting.
Weaver Kaspa 3-12x44mm
The price of Weaver Kaspa 3-12x44mm varies, so check the latest price at
All in all, I'd say the Weaver Grand Slam 2-8x36mm is a very solid hunting scope with a few minor quirks. I was very impressed with the quality and sharpness of the glass, the fine crosshair, and how precise the tracking is thanks to Weaver's 2-spring erector tube design, which made sighting it in fast and hassle-free.
The magnification range gives you plenty of flexibility, whether you're bagging whitetail inside of 100 yards or pronghorn past 300.
With a solid set of rings, zeroing is simple and you don't need to worry about it wandering or getting bumped out of position. Eye relief might be an issue if you tend to mount your scopes farther forward than average or are used to having your cheek weld farther back on the stock, but it shouldn't take too long to get acclimated to it.
At this price point, it's definitely an attractive option for a dedicated hunting optic. For target and competition shooters, there are other scopes that would probably suit your specific needs a little better, but this scope is good enough to function as a general-purpose optic as well if you can’t afford to shell out for multiple optics.
Weaver scopes often get overlooked in discussions about hunting optics, but they are still turning out high-quality products just like they always have, and their glass in particular is often much nicer than what you can get from competitors at the same price point.
I have noticed that it’s a little harder to find their products in stock sometimes due to their distribution model, but if you poke around OpticsPlanet or Amazon you can almost always find them, and usually at a slight discount.
Our goal at Hunting Mark is to provide readers with no-BS coverage that helps you make an informed decision based on experience and honest feedback instead of just a manufacturer's marketing buzzwords.
If you've had any hands-on experience with one of the optics we're reviewing, we're always happy to hear a second opinion, so feel free to sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think!
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