As you know there is a strong school of thought in IHMSA Field Pistol
shooting that more magnification is better magnification. I certainly canít
disagree as it seems that a lot of the top contenders in that area certainly
subscribe to that philosophy. More than a few Field Pistol shooters will often
send off their scopes to custom shops to be bumped up to even higher
magnifications than whatís available from the factory.
For the most of us, factory scopes, some with relatively high
magnification numbers, that come right out of the catalog are more often the
norm. Those scopes usually fall into three categories i.e. inexpensive, middle
priced, and "Hold onto your purse mama".
The inexpensive scopes are much better than they used to be, but when
you buy something like a 32X variable scope for under $125, you have to be ready
for some realistic compromises. First of all, the image at the very top end is
not going to be very good. In fact, itís likely to be downright poor. However,
if you crank down the power to 24X, the image will probably be fairly decent.
However, if you wanted more magnification than 24X, you probably need a
different scope. Additionally, the mechanical components in the inexpensive
scopes are often not as robust as found in the more expensive models and so you
take an increased risk as to whether the scope on your competition gun will hold
up or not.
A the top end, youíre getting the best of the best - and paying for
it. However, even the best scopes have to deal with the laws of optics. One of
those laws basically says that at very high magnifications, the available light
is being spread apart like a small amount of butter on a giant piece of toast.
The resulting image is going to be a thinner, darker image, with less distinct
color and fidelity. Even the very best lenses and coatings canít compensate for
that effect under those circumstances.
Visually, the T-36 is a very handsome piece of gear. The tube has a
very nice, hard coat glossy matte finish, with gold lettering on the objective
lens adjustment ring and on the windage/elevation turrets. While not as starkly
visible as white lettering, the gold treatment gives the scope an understated,
classical look. I particularly liked the fact that the scope came equipped with
a set of very nice, metal, screw on lens covers that perfectly matched the
finish and color of the scope body, and an equally nice 4 inch metal sun shade.
As you know, a lot of scopes skimp when it comes to the quality of their lens
covers (if they have them at all).
The target turrets measured an inch and a quarter high and were
equipped with a rubber gasket at the base to insure a good seal when the cap was
screwed down. Not all scopes will have this touch. Once you establish your zero
with your rifle/scope combination youíll want to zero adjust the elevation and windage turrets. It was particularly easy to do this with the Weaver. The top of
the turrets have a coin slot for this purpose. Just insert the coin (a nickel is
a perfect fit), remove the retaining screw, lift off the turret and place it
back on with the "O" aligning with the index mark, and then snug down the
retaining screw once more.
Clicking up and down, right and left was very positive, perhaps even a
little stiff, but not a problem. There was also plenty of audible feedback when
a click engaged. I like nice loud clicks, especially when wearing ear
Thereís also plenty of built in adjustment travel available as well -
60 inches, even for the windage. Lots of vertical adjustment is handy when the
scope is going to be placed on a high mount. Each click equals 1/8th of an inch.
The T series of scopes is equipped with Weaverís "Micro-Trac"
elevation and windage system. Essentially, itís a design that uses two separate
mechanical assemblies that work independently to move the adjustments either up
and down or right and left. Many other scopes use one assembly for both jobs.
The problem with using a single system is that in some instances as you start
running out of clicks, moving the windage can affect the elevation and vice
versa. Since the T scopes are using two totally separate systems, one canít
affect the other no matter what.
In going through my little check list, I found that the front AO lens
assembly adjustment moved very smoothly with no binding. Sometimes they can be
really stiff, making the adjustment process a hassle. The AO was also equipped
with three, separate, deeply knurled rings which provided an excellent grip.
Another nice feature that one usually doesnít see was the fact that the AO
assembly is equipped with a lock ring to ensure that once the objective lens is
in the correct position, itís not going to be moved by the recoil of the gun - a
good idea. The rear eyepiece lens assembly also moved smoothly and had the
normal lock ring.
After going through the external examination of the scope, I then
proceeded to the range with one of the home made resolutions targets that I
often use when evaluating optics. As you can see from the photo, the target is
made up of several lines of "O"s in decreasing size. The smallest being 9 point
type which is as far down as my computer will go. The idea is to determine the
smallest line of type that a given scope can consistently resolve. The chart is
then placed at 50 yards. The beauty of the chart is that anyone can make one of
these on their own home computer to check out the capability of their own scopes
and compare results. (Just in case youíre wondering, the reason I donít place
the chart at 100 yards is because mirage is a real problem at my range and at
that distance it will distort the accuracy of the readings.)
In looking through the scope, I noted that the image was crisp and
nicely bright for a 36 power scope. Indeed, in an article written by Todd
Woodard for another publication, a optical instrument was used to test
brightness on a variety of scopes. Woodard noted that the Weaver was only just
slightly less bright than two other big name 36 power scopes that cost far, far
more. (Interestingly, neither of those two other scopes is made any longer,
while the T-36 is doing very well indeed. Kind of tells you something, doesnít
it.) Additionally, I found that edge to edge definition of the image was
visually perfect with no discernable flaws or distortions.
When I trained the big scope on the resolution target, I found that I
could consistently read the smallest line of type on the chart (9 point). Very
few rifle scopes can match this level of performance. In fact, now that I think
about it, I donít recall any other rifle scope that I have reviewed in these
pages that has been able to do that. I then checked the elevation and windage
tracking by shooting a group, then clicking up 25 clicks, right 25, down 25, and
finally left 25. The next shot then went right into the original group. Tracking
was perfect. Consequently, you should have no worries about click repeatability
with this scope.
The T-36 is currently offered in either a fine crosshair with a 1/8
moa dot or a standard fine crosshair. Most silhouette shooters will probably
prefer the dot reticule.
One last point. If you feel you need more than 36 power for your
Weaver T series scope, Bill Akerman of the Optical Services Company
(505-589-3833) can accommodate you. Bill has been doing custom modifications on
Weavers and other scopes for many years. He can not only increase the horse
power, but also supply just about any kind of reticule you can imagine. He can
also blue print your scope as well.
In summary, if you want a 36 power scope for Field Pistol competition,
varmint shooting, rifle silhouette, bench rest, or what ever, the Weaver T-36
will provide you with plenty of quality performance at a very reasonable price.
It deserves a very serious look from every serious shooter. In fact my good
friend, Dr. Jim Williams is so happy with the T-36ís capabilities and price,
that he owns five of them. No kidding. Check it out and who knows how many you
might end up buying.