From the beaches of Normandy to hunting whitetails in Appalachia, the .30-06 and the rifles that fire it have been a staple part of American gun culture for the last 100 years.
You might consider it overkill for most deer hunting scenarios, but you’ll be happy for the additional power if you run up on a bear or an elk!
Let’s check out the specs of the .30-06:
The .30-06’s range of power allows you to choose the right bullet for your needs. It’s very popular as a hunting round for all types of game.
So, how did this historic military cartridge go from battlefield to backwoods?
A Flexible Veteran
The .30-06, developed by the U.S. Military for WWI, became one of the most beloved cartridges of all time.
It offered something no other bullet did at the time of its conception – a combination of range and power. This allowed hunters to take on all types of game, from muskrats to bears, all without changing rifles!
Because of this, .30-06 rifles became some of the most popular hunting rifles on the market. They come in a wide price range and have considerable reliability from their design for combat. However, many .30-06 rifles are equipped with “standard” iron sights, which can really limit the potential of your rifle.
So, how do you unleash the potential of your rifle?
How to Double (or Triple!) Your Range
How often have you seen game just out of range of your iron sights, only for it to scamper off before it was close enough to shoot? With the right scope, you’ll never lose your game again. You’ll increase your range and improve your aim as well.
When choosing the best scope for your .30-06, there are two main factors to consider – recoil and bullet drop.
The recoil of the .30-06 is significant. You’ll want to look for scopes with long eye reliefs to avoid hurting yourself worse than the deer.
Speaking of deer, if you want to actually hit one, you’ll need to consider the .30-06’s curved trajectory or bullet drop. It can be overcome through practice, but you could save yourself a lot of range time and pick up a BDC style reticle. It’ll do the adjustment for you.
And just like a BDC will save you range time, we’ve saved you research time by sorting through the crowd and picking out six awesome scopes that’ll take your .30-06 to the next level.
Which scope works best for your 30-06 Rifle?
|Best Ultra Long-Range Scope||VIPER PST 6-24X50 RIFLESCOPE — First Focal Plane|
|Best Budget Scope||Nikon Buckmaster II 3-9x40mm|
|Best Short-to-mid Range Scope||Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm|
|Best Hunter’s Scope||Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope|
|Best BDC Reticle Scope||Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40|
|Best Mid-to-Long Range Scope||Burris Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm|
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 15.5-in Length | Weight: 1.46-lb | MOA Adjustment Clicks: 1/10
- Lighted Fiber-Optic Reticle
- Great Build Quality
- Side Focus
- Parallax adjustment issues
If you made a list of every cool feature a scope could possibly have, the Viper PST would have them all.
It’s fully multi-coated, made with special low light dispersion glass, and machined to the highest standards. Sighting through the PST is extremely clear, regardless of the weather or lighting conditions.
The fiber optic lighted reticle allows you to see your mark in low light, and their Customizable Rotational Stop system makes it easier to account for elevation corrections on the fly.
The Viper PST also has an eye relief distance of 4 inches, so you won’t bonk your face after painstakingly lining up a shot.
This scope does have some issues with its parallax adjustment dials. They can be hard to turn and can be prone to sticking, especially in cold weather.
Another warning: the price. The Viper PST is the most expensive scope on this list. It’s well worth that expense for the lighted reticle and Rotational Stop System alone. Add in the high-quality glass and great build quality, and it more than justifies its price.
Is It the One for You?
If you’re a shooting enthusiast that’s willing to spend big to get the best, then this is the scope for you. It may be expensive, but it’ll also be the last scope you’ll ever need.
The features offered with the PST is unmatched. Additionally, the build quality is superb. If you want to get full use out of the range that the .30-06 offers, this is going the best scope for 30-06 rifles for you!
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 12.3-in Length | Weight: 13 oz. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼
- Great Turret Clicks
- BDC Reticle
- Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
- Lacks lighted reticle
- No side focus
Nikon and Buckmasters teamed up to make the highest quality scope possible built with hunters in mind.
With fully multi-coated lenses, this scope will keep going in adverse conditions. The knobs provide satisfying tactile feedback, so you’ll never have to guess if you’ve adjusted it – you’ll know from the click.
The BDC Reticle is perfect for the .30-06, and it gets better. Nikon offers an app called the Nikon Spot on App. You input your loadout, including what type of ammunition you’re using, and the app will tell you how to sight the BDC reticle. It takes the guesswork out of using a BDC, so you get the perfect shot every time, no matter the bullet drop.
On the downside, in low light conditions there are some focus issues, but in daylight, it performs wonderfully.
The Buckmaster is also somewhat light on features. It has no side focus, and it lacks adjustable parallax. However, it’s also one of the least expensive scopes on this list. It’s obvious that Nikon chose to put their effort towards their glass and easy to use app rather than an extensive features list, and they’ve delivered a great scope at a low price.
Is It the One for You?
If you’re looking for a BDC scope but are spooked by the amount of math that might involve, then the Buckmaster II is the scope for you! Nikon’s Spot-On app is great for beginners to BDC, or pros looking to take it easy on the calculations.
The Buckmaster lets you utilize the range of the .30-06 without breaking the bank, making it one of the best scope for 30-06 rifles. It’s a great choice for your first scope or your 50th, so check out the Buckmaster and go master those bucks – without spending too many of your own.
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 12.6-in Length | Weight: 11.2 oz. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼
- Long Eye Relief
- Familiar Duplex Reticle
- Made in the USA
- Hard to turn knobs
- Small Objective lens
If you’re going from iron sights to a scope for the first time, the Leupold VX-1 will make that transition smooth and painless.
The Duplex reticle is extremely simple to use: put the crosshairs on the target and pull the trigger, no math involved. However, the BDC reticle does offer some advantages, especially with on a .30-06. That said, after using your .30-06 for a while, you’ll be familiar with the bullet drop, and at short enough ranges it won’t matter very much.
Additionally, it boasts one of the longest eye relief distances for a scope in its price range, though that distance does decrease on higher magnifications.
The Leupold VX-1 does its best work at short to mid ranges. At shorter ranges, this scope shines because of its superior clarity. As a result of its multi-coat glass, looking through is a joy. Though it can go up to 9X, it performs best at 3X, with some loss of field of view and brightness at higher magnifications.
There are also some issues with the adjustment knobs. They can be a little hard to turn, especially right out of the box. However, after using the scope for a while, the knobs do loosen up considerably.
Is It the One for You?
If you’re looking for a great entry level scope with everything you need to start out, the Leupold VX-1 is a great choice. You can hook it on your rifle and head out hunting without spending a lot of time fiddling with adjustments.
It’s simple to use and offers a lot of features that are great for newcomers, including a simpler reticle and increased eye relief distance. The Leupold VX-1 is the scope that will do everything you need it to do, all without breaking the bank – or your brain.
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 12.5-in Length | Weight: 18 oz. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼
- Dead-Hold BDC Reticle
- Shockproof, Waterproof, and Fog Proof
- Generous magnification range
- Difficulties at higher magnifications
- Dials are “soft”
Vortex is known for making stellar scopes, and the Diamondback is no exception. And by “stellar,” we mean you could use this scope as a telescope if you wanted to (just joking)!
The Diamondback has the same exacting build quality as Vortex’s top of the line scopes, without the top of the line cost. This scope is a great pick if you’re looking for something that’s a step up from entry-level, without trying to spend more on your scope than you did on your rifle.
The reticle on the Diamondback is a unique and functional mix of Duplex simplicity combined with BDC accuracy. It’s simple to use and doesn’t take much getting used to.
Vortex’s great glass and finishes also contribute to the excellent quality. Add in the generous eye relief of 4 inches, and you’ve certainly got a real contender for the best scope for 30-06 rifles.
The Diamondback does have some difficulties with focus and light transmission at higher magnifications. However, that’s only compared to much more expensive scopes. Compared to other scopes in its price range, it performs just fine.
Is It the One for You?
If you’re looking for something that’s as good on the range as it is in the woods, this is the scope for you. With the Diamondback on your rifle, you’ll be able to take on just about any shooting scenario.
The magnification levels are made with the hunter in mind, though if you want to try your hand at sharpshooting, the upper levels are there. This is the scope for your 30-06 if you plan on doing a lot of deer hunting but want some flexibility for the future.
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 12.4-in Length | Weight: 1-lb. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼
- Quick target acquisition
- BDC Reticle
- Minimal Eye Relief
- Blur at full zoom
The Prostaff is a great choice if you’re looking to take a step up from entry-level, without taking a step over your budget!
This scope also comes with the same Nikon Spot-On App functionality as the Nikon Buckmaster II. However, the Prostaff is a step up from the Buckmaster in many ways. The Prostaff boasts better glass clarity and improved light transmission compared to the Buckmaster, but these differences will be most noticeable at night.
Additionally, this scope features standard full multi-coating, as well as Nikon’s Quick Focus feature that allows you to bring your target into focus quicker. This feature is particularly useful if you’re shooting small to mid-sized game and need to get your shot off quick before they scamper out of sight.
However, the eye relief on the Prostaff, like the other Nikon scope on this list, is a little short at 3.6 inches. While that length is definitely doable, with the kick of a .30-06, it’s something to take into account.
There’s also some blur at full 16X magnification. However, this is only noticeable because all the magnification levels up to that point are crisp and clear. The Prostaff’s glass also means there’s no issue with light transmission through all magnification levels.
Is It the One for You?
If you want to try bagging deer at night with confidence in your shot, then the Nikon Prostaff is the scope for you. The BDC reticle and Nikon’s coatings take this scope to the next level.
With excellent glass and a great app, the Prostaff is a favorite for long range and night hunting. Overall, this is the .30-06 scope for you if you want something that’s a cut above the standard.
Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 15.2-in Length | Weight: 15.3 oz. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼
- Innovative reticle
- Great glass clarity
- Side Adjustable Parallax
- Prone to scratches
- Reticle requires adjustment
If you like to be the first one of your friends try out the newest and hottest tech products, then the Fullfield is the scope that will scratch that itch.
Burris has developed one of the most unique reticles out there. It’s designed so that the shooter can quickly center their target, but it also provides bullet drop lines. Therefore, you’ll get all the information that a typical BDC reticle can provide, but much faster.
Additionally, this scope will also allow easy parallax adjustment from the side, making it even simpler to dial in your shot. Compared to a top adjusted parallax, side adjustment can make all the difference to dialing in the shot comfortably.
However, the new reticle design will take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to shooting with a Duplex reticle. The ideal scope ought to have all the precision that a BDC can offer coupled with the simplicity of Duplex. With this in mind, the Fullfield’s reticle is a perfect blend if you’re willing to put in the time to adjust.
The casing also is prone to scratches. This doesn’t affect the use of the scope at all, but if you like your loadout to look snazzy, it’s something to consider.
Is It the One for You?
If you’re an early adopter and like to try the newest innovations, then the Fullfield might just be the scope for you. It’s got a brand, spanking new reticle along with great glass.
With magnification starting at 4.5, this scope is powerful on even the lowest setting, which makes it an undeniably good fit for the .30-06’s range. Taking into account all the little “quality-of-life” features, the Fullfield E1 could be the game changer for you!
That’s NOT All, Folks!
It all comes down to what you need.
The .30-06 is one of the most flexible cartridges out there, and this list reflects that variety. With scopes for every situation, in every price range, and with hordes of features, which one are you dreaming about?
Whatever you pick, it’s sure to take your shooting to the next level!