Rifle scope technology has evolved since William Randolph Weaver built his first model in 1930. Modern scopes are composed of aircraft-quality aluminum and coated high-quality optics. But vintage Weaver rifle scopes remained functional well into the 21st century.
W.R. Weaver Co. began in a modest shop at Newport, Kentucky, in 1930. Weaver’s first scope was built by hand and led to production of the 3-30, a 3x magnification scope made from a 3/4-inch steel tube, and later the 4-40 with 4x magnification. His American-made scopes were smaller, lighter and cheaper than scopes imported from Germany at the time.
Weaver moved his company to El Paso, Texas, in 1933 and produced 36,000 Model 3-30 scopes for the U.S. military during WWII, designated M73B1. Weaver produced a K series after the war that had fixed magnifications and featured models such as the K2.5, K3 and K4 that had 1-inch diameter tubes. Vintage Weaver rifle scopes had a steel-tube construction.
Vintage steel-tube Weavers were once considered premium rifle scopes, but ever-changing technology made them obsolete. Steel scopes were sturdy, but tubes made from aluminum alloys were smaller, lighter and strong enough to last a lifetime. Vintage Weavers are also prone to fog, glare and other environmental issues. But higher-quality optical glass, coated lenses and factory-sealed tubes made scopes waterproof, fogproof and shockproof.
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