Weaver V3 Classic, 1x - 3x X 20mm

Jeff H

Active Member
No pics, sorry. Will try to get a comparison shot of this one with the Leupold VX-Freedom it replaced.

I've wanted one of these for a long time and they've hovered around $200 as long as I've looked at them. Other priorities (primers, powder, etc.) kept me strapped but I sold a revolver and decided to catch up on optics I've needed for a long time. As I explained in the Leupold thread, I'm no scope expert, but I don't need to be because I don't need the "best" and wouldn't be able to tell some of the differences between the "best" and just what works for me.

This Weaver is now on a Contender Carbine with an MGM 18" bull barrel chambered in 357 Mag and this scope is the PERFECT scope for this application. The 1x is much more useful than I thought it would be. I usually like 1.5x on the low end, but now I like the 1x a lot for this carbine. The 3x had me a little concerned as the high end, even though I prefer lower powers than what seems to be popular today. I had the 1.5-4 Leupold on it before and felt 4x was good. I actually like the 3x better and I can see 35 caliber bullet holes in cardboard targets at fifty yards through 3x very clearly.

The Weaver is fully the equal of the new Leupold in terms of brightness and clarity when I examine them side by side - and I did that a LOT before dismounting the Leupold and installing the Weaver. The reticle is very slightly different from the Leupold, but both are plain old duplex reticles, crisp, well defined and uncluttered. They are sightly different but fully equal if that makes sense.

The eye relief on the Weaver is slightly less but it actually works better on this rifle and I get one crisp, round, concentric black hole before my eye when I snap the carbine to my shoulder - no searching or adjusting my head. No knock on the Leupold, just that the Weaver "fits" better for this gun and my physiologic structure; short arms, bad neck, bifocals,....

The clicks are positive and easily distinguished as compared to the Leupold and the height/width of the scope at the turret caps is a full quarter inch smaller on the Weaver. I've gotten clumsier as I've gotten older (but my reflexes have improve, so what I drop, I catch! Weird.) and I snagged the caps on the Leupold on the scope cover bungees, gun case, RIG rag, my knuckles, etc. Much happier with the more compact and more traditional Weaver. The finish on the Weaver is a little like the Leupold in that it's like a chalk-board and it does show marks from anything that touches it. It's annoying but it wipes right off. The Weaver is about 50% better in that respect but I'd still prefer a smoother finish. Aesthetically, well, it shouldn't matter and usually doesn't, but the Weaver is much less,.... ugly than the Leupold. Sorry. I know it shouldn't matter.

Since I modified a Weaver base to accommodate the bulk of the turret boss on the Leupold, I swapped bases too and thought I'd use the Leupold on the yet-to-be-fired 20" MGM 357 Max barrel. Maybe the 4x would be more appropriate for the longer-ranges I intend to seek with the Max. I'm not hating the Leupold and think the only thing that really bugs me is the lack of definition in the clicks, which may not matter, BUT, I am so much happier with the Weaver all the way 'round that I may sell the Leupold off and get another 1x - 3x X 20mm Weaver V3 for that barrel too.

What am I missing or trading off? Well, I guess the warranty on the Leupold is probably (maybe) more reliable than on the Weaver. I don't know. I've never had to use the warranty on either brand. I do know that I returned a Tasco World Class to have a broken reticle replaced several years ago and they sent me a replacement immediately and without questions even though I offered to pay fr the repair. The problem was the replacement wasn't Japanese, it was Chinese and it was definitely not the same quality as what it replaced. I'm not sure if, within the budget line of scopes I tend to buy, that Weaver or Leupold would not eventually do that. I'm pretty certain I could get either repaired if I had to, but it would likely be almost as much as I paid for either scope - $174 for the Leupold and $154 for the Weaver.

I can't say if one of these two scopes is "better" than the other and I am not particularly brand loyal either. What I can say is that the Weaver, in this case and for me, is definitely the better scope for this application - considering what is available within my budget. I will also say that either scope is really pushing the limit for value because I got both at a significant reduction over both MSRP and what the "going rate" is on them. I feel I;m getting a lot of scope in either case for what I am paying. I wonder how long that will last and if the next cost-compensating change will push me into some really low-grade optics. These are in a middle-ground when considering what's out there, how much it costs and the perceived advantage of a $400 scope versus a $200 scope.

I'll add a little off-topic tidbit in that Nikon A-Series vertically split aluminum rings look mighty attractive for simplicity, lightness and lack of bulk, but their "low" rings are about twice as high as the old Weaver low rings with the steel "cap" (strap) and two slotted screws. The Weavers can be aggravating to mount and get the cross-hairs straight, but they are LOW, simple, light and very unobtrusive. They've always worked for me and have never slipped, but then the hardest pounding I've ever given a set is a USRAC Featherweight in 30-06 with 180 grain loads. The new Nikon rings went into a parts bin and maybe someday they'll become part of a donation to get a new shooter started where a little more height might be necessary. I'm back to the old Weaver rings on this carbine. The Nikon rings are nicely made and made in the US - nice rings, but too high for my application with the Choate/TC composite butt-stocks, which have significant drop for scope use.

By the way, I'm open to any comments or criticism on scopes, but understand that I will not pretend to know enough to argue the finest points on them. I just know I'd personally not get the benefit of another $200 worth of quality in a "better" scope. I can't be the only one in that boat and maybe my expenditure and recent experience can help someone else. Feel free to steer others in another direction if I'm way off base. If these scopes don't pan out or one takes a dive on me, I'll make sure I update here.


Well-Known Member
My favorite scope is the Lyman Alaskan 2 1/2 power with Weaver 7/8" rings. Eye relief is from 2.5 to 6 inches, very strong system and I have them on 32/20 Savage, 357 Magnum Cadet, 358 Norma Magnum and 450 Watts Magnum. Before "Tactical" and "Sniper" became popular you could buy them for $20. I don't find variable power scopes useful and they are big and ugly, to my eyes.

Leupold is now sending out new scopes for anything they don't make anymore, no repairs when production parts run out, see below.

I have bought New Redfield, Vortex and Leupold scopes in the last year. All have clear nice lenses and work OK, but would still like to get a new Weaver 4X made with new lenses but built from steel and strong as a tank like the older ones.


Well-Known Member
Wish I was younger and hungrier $$$ wise.

Repairing,restoring,building from scratch,and designing scopes isn't that big of deal....

Twds the OP,part of the issue with a scopes price IS it's repairabilty. The "cheaper" the scope,the less it wants to be messed with. Optics co's figured this out about the time China became a "player" in the mkt. It's like comparing a harbor freight 29$ "purple" spray gun to an 800$ Sata. In an experts hand the HF will lay down paint. But start twisting knobs for adjustments and taking it apart for cleaning 3 times a day,5 days a week.... see how long it lasts.

Guys who are constantly dialing scopes.... using them daily.... dragging them around hunting have more than likely, or will, left a trail of cheaper optics. Scope companies won't build in any more quality than is required to meet "X" amt of warrenty work that has been decided,by bean counters to be an acceptable loss. Gone,at least in the rank n file manufacture,is the day of producing outstanding products on which to build/improve the company's standing within a community.

Jeff H

Active Member
.......Guys who are constantly dialing scopes.... using them daily.... dragging them around hunting........
Good points, and thank you. They reinforce the validity of my rationale. I'm not just being cheap - I need a lower-middle-ground scope. Something that's not junk but also not way more than I can benefit from and your comments make me feel I'm not missing out on anything. I'm a little lost on scopes these days because the market seems to have exploded since I was buying/selling/trading regularly. The "repairability" factor is a good point. I hadn't thought about that but it does make a lot of sense.

I don't tend to mess with my zero once set and don't shoot at ranges which make holding over impractical, so I'm more of a "don't touch that dial" user. I haven't had a chance to hunt in years but I'd trust what I have for the kind of hunting I'd do, meaning that air fare, lodging, tag and guide fees would not be at stake. What I use can takes some lumps and bumps and I have a few which were roughed up before I got them and they've survived.

I'm with Ric on the old Lymans (and some of the old Weavers) but it seems everyone else is onto that gig too and the prices for used.....

I think the actual glass is generally higher quality in even lower-end scopes today, which is a plus. At that point, it comes down to holding zero, standing up to some bumps and not leaking anything either in or out. "Features" presents a mind boggling selection these days and finding something without a lot of features is a challenge. It's tough to find a scope without a lot of stuff I don't need.

I also prefer the simplicity of a low, fixed power scope, but the challenge is even greater in that they all seem to have some kind of specialized reticle meant for turkey, hogs or zombies. I'm not that easily confused but I prefer to see the bare minimum when looking through a scope - a reticle appropriate to short range target/hunting use and what I'm aiming at.

More full disclosure, as I am not trying to say I've got it all figured out and everyone else should follow - and one of you fine gentlemen commented recently that I "live a very different life" than he does. This is true - it's by choice and for various reasons. My current preference for variables comes from having scaled back my battery, where each piece serves multiple uses. In the case of this 1-3 Weaver, to be honest with myself and others, it is on a gun that's 99% goof-off gun and 1% "business" gun for varmints and predators, up close to buildings and other valuable personal property. I've found myself mere feet away (like five to ten) from a PO'd coon way too often to have more than 1.5x available. I shot one that was actually ambling straight toward me at about five feet with a 6x on a 222 once and it was more of an "instinctive" shot than aimed. I loved the fixed-six on that rifle but it was useless up close. I still have that scope but don't know what to put it on because I only have one dedicated varmint rifle and it already has a fixed-six on it; a Scope Chief with the Command Post from some years ago. The 3x on the Weaver will do me for 50 yard target and squirrels (if I ever get back into the woods) and the 1x is a boon up close around the place. I bought iron sights (peep/post) for this gun but found that the 18" barrel leaves the front sight right in a "fuzzy" spot on the blended bifocals.:(


Well-Known Member
Jeff,ordered a set of Weaver tip off's yesterday. Got gloss,low.

Variables and A.O.'s...... got a bunch,like them and use them but,it's another cpl spots that hunting in rain can cause problems. Wish manufacturers would offer more,"plain" duplex reticles. And the ones that do,aren't that finely crafted. The point of a duplex is wide,leading to thin. Nowadays its fat and fatter? Or,how many ..... ------ ..... lllll can we put in here? Todays cartridges are shooting flatter than ever.... but,we have more reticle hash mark's than ever?


Well-Known Member
I'm no elitist when it comes to scopes. I own one Leupold, a 1.5-4 IIRC, 1 Lyman Junior Targetspot that sits atop a Win 52, a couple old Redfields, a great big buncha old to older to really old Weavers and a few oddballs and cheapies. I never had a complaint with a properly working Weaver, ever. I have a K4 that so old the adjustment knobs are open, no caps. Absolutely beautiful glass and perfect on an old Savage Sporter. No sense worrying about brand name IMO. If you like it, that's all that matters.

Jeff H

Active Member
I'm no elitist when it comes to scopes...................No sense worrying about brand name IMO. If you like it, that's all that matters.
I have quite an assortment as well, but they had to be collected over time. Kept the ones I liked, moved the ones I didn't. Quite a patchwork of bands. One of my favorites is an older Redfield 2-7x32, which has ended up on one of my favorite rifles - 30-30 Contender Carbine. It's clear, bright, compact and has a crisp/uncomplicated reticle. Leupold, Redfield, Weaver, Bausch & Lomb, Sightron, Bushnell (old Japanese Scope Chief), an untrustworthy Korean Swift. Come to think of it, Leupold and Weaver are the only scopes I have more than one of.

Not to just grouse all the time, but that's exactly the problem I have and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks we don't have enough plain ol' duplex reticles that don't obscure the target. Since I use mostly lower-powered scopes, this issue is exacerbated. I don't shoot at extreme ranges, but a nuisance skunk at 300 yards isn't very wide through 6x. And I speak of a specific scope, which may have seemed a novelty at one time, but it has a fine cross-hair for just such situations, plus a pop-up tapered post ("Command Post") for bigger stuff closer in less light. It's sort of a bulky scope, but it's a keeper. That scope, as well as any other I've owned for any length of time, has been on anywhere from two to half a dozen different rifles. I'd find that impossible to do with a specialized reticle.


Well-Known Member
I'm just gonna say it..... the reason for all the fat reticles and dots/dash/hash stuff is to fool the purchaser.

They ain't cheap cheap,like case of beer cheap but...... used Hunter benchrest straight 6's are a well kept secret. Usually top of the line lenses with great mechanics inside. Leupold and Burris were the major players.

With everybody going to side parallax adjusters these days..... keep an eye on prices of used AO versions. And adjusting "non adj" scopes for parallax isn't any big deal...... ON SOME MODELS. Leupolds are one of the easiest. The front most ring,the part ahead of the gold stripe.... is the "jam nut",or lock ring. Loosen it,make a gauge metal "key" to fit the slots on the front lense carrier and turn. Study how an AO turns for help on directions,it will be more apparent than me yappin about it.

I bought a minty '69 Weaver AO 3-9X40 (first year production) for beer money at a gunshow one time cause the AO was turned past zero and was completely "wonked" looking through it.... I never took my eyes off seller whilst turning it,grinning like a fool. Scopes just aren't that dang complex.


Well-Known Member
They ain't cheap cheap,like case of beer cheap but...... used Hunter benchrest straight 6's are a well kept secret. Usually top of the line lenses with great mechanics inside. Leupold and Burris were the major players.
Good point about Hunter-Class scopes. Competitive game and those guys spent real money on gear. Almost got into it myself.