There may be no rifle more ubiquitous with big game hunting than the 30-06.
For the hunter who wants a rifle that is capable of taking all measures of big game, the 30-06 is hard to beat. The fact that it is so popular means that there are a lot of different models to choose from.
Use this article as a guide throughout your search for the best 30-06 rifle.
Comparison of the Best .30-06 Rifles
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Factors to Consider When Shopping for 30-06 Rifles
Purchasing a new hunting rifle is a big event for many people. Make the right choice and you’ll have a reliable weapon to use on many a successful hunt. Keep an eye on the following factors when shopping for a 30-06 rifle for more confidence when making your decision.
This Section Written By:
Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.
Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.
Shouldering the Load
The importance of the weight of your rifle varies with the type of hunting you do. If you man a treestand or occupy a blind while waiting for that monster whitetail buck to creep in right before sundown, the weight of your rifle is less important. Same goes for any stationary hunting or situation where rest is available. However, if you cover a lot of ground on your hunts, stalk game over uneven terrain, or struggle to carry a heavy load for any reason, then rifle weight becomes an important factor to consider.
Even just one less pound of weight can make a big difference. Consider your typical hunting style as well as your physical fitness before laying down big bucks (the green kind) on a rifle that is either too heavy or too light for your needs.
A 30-06 rifle can benefit greatly by being paired with a high-quality scope. This is especially true if you tend to hunt at long ranges like those commonly found on Western hunts. However, iron sights do still exist on hunting rifles and they are still very effective for close-range hunting. You don’t need 10x magnification to hunt in the woodlots and farm fields of the East and South.
If you plan to mount a scope, make sure that the rifle you choose either comes with a scope mount, has a Picatinny rail, or can accept aftermarket mounts.
Ready for Action
When you think of a 30-06 rifle, you might immediately call to mind a classic bolt action with a wood stock and smooth lines. While that sort of rifle most definitely still exists, there are other action styles to be had in the 30-06 rifle. Choosing the right one again comes down to really considering your hunting style and needs. Don’t let the sales guy talk you into something you don’t really need.
I won’t bore you here with all the differences between the different action styles, but suffice it to say that whether you need or want a bolt action, lever action, or semi-auto 30-06 rifle, there is definitely a great option available for you.
It is fair to say that this factor won’t apply to every hunter or shooter looking to purchase a 30-06 rifle. This also simply won’t be important to many of you. However, considering the reputation and classic rifle status of the 30-06, buying a rifle with the intent of making it a family heirloom is a legitimate idea to consider.
Classic styling, a sleek wood stock, a silky smooth bolt action, and the smell of gun oil and gunpowder that has been developing for decades all come to my mind when I think of a rifle worthy of passing down. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a lower-priced rifle, but there is something romantic about the notion of buying a rifle that will be in your family well into the future.
Review of the Best 30-06 Rifles
Without any further adieu, let’s dive into the meat of this article and check out the reviews of the best 30-06 rifles on the market today. There are way too many 30-06 rifles available to list them all here, but I’ve done my best to focus on several models that represent a solid cross-section of the 30-06 market.
Best Overall and Best 30-06 Bolt Action Rifle:
Savage Arms 110 Classic
Action: Bolt Action
Weight: 8.1 lb
Barrel Length: 22”
Stock Material: Wood - Walnut
The 110 Classic from Savage Arms combines classic style with modern features which makes it an excellent choice for most hunters. The modern ergonomics of the solid walnut stock make it comfortable to shoot without sacrificing looks while the carbon steel barrel and adjustable Accu-Trigger deliver the accuracy needed for confidence on almost any hunt.
Equipped with a detachable box magazine, this rifle can hold 4 rounds. It also comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts. It is a shade on the heavy side tipping the scales at just over 8 pounds before adding a scope. Overall, it is hard to go wrong with the Savage Arms 110 Classic.
Classic design. Modern features. Highly adjustable. Those three things combine to make the Savage Arms 110 Classic one of the best 30-06 rifles available today. The walnut stock is adjustable for length of pull and comb height and the 22” barrel provides plenty of accuracy. While it can be a bit heavy, there isn’t much to complain about on the 110 Classic.
Best for the Money:
Tikka T3x Lite
Action: Bolt Action
Weight: 6.4 lb
Capacity: 3 + 1
Barrel Length: 22.4”
Stock Material: Synthetic - Matte Black
Although it tends to be a lesser-known firearms brand, Tikka is known for building accurate and affordable rifles. The Tikka T3x Lite is no exception to that reputation. Manufactured in Finland, the T3x Lite lives up to its name and tips the scales at only 6.4 pounds.
The matte black synthetic stock features a modular design that offers hunters the ability to change out pistol grips to their preference while its asymmetrical texture offers a firm grip in any conditions. While the design is simple, there are plenty of features that make this affordable rifle the best 30-06 for the money.
For hunters in search of the best bang for their buck, the Tikka T3x Lite is an excellent choice. Weighing in at only 6.4 pounds, this bolt action rifle is packed with features including a modular stock with interchangeable pistol grips, a built-in recoil pad, a widened ejection port for single bullet loading, and pre-drilled holes for attaching a scope mount.
Best Semi Auto 30-06 Rifle:
Benelli R1 Big Game Rifle
Weight: 7.2 lb
Capacity: 4 + 1
Barrel Length: 22”
Stock Material: Wood - AA Grade Satin Walnut
Benelli is known to most hunters as a shotgun brand. However, the company also makes several rifle models including the semi-auto R1 Big Game Rifle. With sleek lines and a reliable ARGO system, the Benelli R1 stands out from the competition.
The free-floating barrel helps improve accuracy while the steel upper receiver provides a sturdy platform for mounting a scope or other optics. The anodized aluminum lower receiver keeps the overall weight of the R1 to 7.2 pounds. With no iron sights, short range hunters will want to consider a red dot or reflex scope instead of traditional scope options.
For hunters seeking a semi-auto 30-06 rifle with a classic design, the Benelli R1 Big Game rifle is hard to beat. An ergonomic design reminiscent of the popular Benelli Super Black Eagle combines sleek lines and sharp angles. The action is based on the innovative M4 military shotgun and offers shooters rapid follow shots on game. No iron sights mean that optics are required.
Best 30-06 Lever Action Rifle:
Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81
Action: Lever Action
Weight: 7.25 lb
Barrel Length: 22”
Stock Material: Wood - Black Walnut
Watch a cowboy in a Western fire off some quick rounds with a lever action rifle and it won’t be long until you want to do the same while hunting. The Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81 stays true to that classic lever action design while offering hunters some modern bonuses such as a detachable 4 round magazine.
Although it is tapped for mounting a scope, this rifle comes equipped with iron sights. The weight of this rifle might affect handling speed for some shooters and the straight grip stock might take some practice to be efficient with if you are used to pistol grips.
The Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81 calls to mind images of the Wild West and is perfectly at home in the field for hunting deer, hogs, and other big game. Included iron sights offer a truly classic experience, but this rifle is also tapped for a scope. The detachable 4 round magazines make this rifle even more useful in the field. Just keep the overall weight in mind before purchasing.
Best 30-06 Hunting Rifle:
Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic
Action: Bolt Action
Weight: 7.5 lb
Capacity: 5 + 1
Barrel Length: 24”
Stock Material: Synthetic - Griptonite
The Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic rifle is guaranteed to shoot a sub-MOA three-shot group at 100 yards from a cold barrel. That guarantee shows you just how much confidence Weatherby has in this rifle. You can be confident that your shot will be on target no matter how long you’ve been sitting on the stand.
The synthetic stock will endure through any weather conditions and the match quality trigger offers a clean break when you are ready to fire. The Vanguard Synthetic holds 5 + 1 rounds and features a cold hammer-forged 24” barrel. The rifle has a total length of 44.5” which might be a little long for some situations such as hunting from a blind.
The Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic is extremely accurate and exceedingly durable. For the hunter who spends a lot of time in the field, it is one of the best 30-06 rifles available. The accuracy guarantee of a sub-MOA 3-shot group at 100 yards is impressive while the array of other features, including a match grade trigger, make the Vanguard Synthetic stand out from the competition.
Top Brands in the 30-06 Rifle Space
The 30-06 is one of the most popular rifle rounds for hunting and that means that there are a lot of options when it comes to which brand of 30-06 rifle to buy. Let’s take a look at some of the top brands in the 30-06 rifle space.
Started in 1894, Savage Arms has a long history of producing firearms. Despite that long history, Savage Arms has stayed current with modern trends and set itself apart through innovation and quality. The company has developed several technologies that help their rifles to some of the most accurate around.
Their Accutrigger and Accustock both help to greatly improve the accuracy of their rifles. The Accutrigger helps to minimize the negative impact the shooter can have on accuracy by offering a very light trigger pull weight without the safety concerns.
The Accustock engages the action along the entire length of the action and partially along with the stock via an aluminum chassis instead of at only one or two screw points like other brands. Those are just two of the innovations that make Savage Arms stand out in the 30-06 rifle space.
Tikka isn’t one of the most well-known rifle brands in the United States. However, once someone shoots a Tikka rifle they tend to wonder how they aren’t better known.
A branch of the Sako company, Tikka makes high-quality, accurate, and affordable rifles at their manufacturing facility in Finland.
They focus on creating highly modular rifles that can be adapted to fit the needs of any shooter or hunter. The machining, design, and technology they employ also help their firearms to stand out from the crowd. One feel of the silent and smooth bolt action, the crisp and finely tuned trigger, and the overall fit and feel of a Tikka rifle will make you a fan for life.
You might expect to see the Benelli name show up in an article about shotguns, but their rifles also earn them a place on this article about 30-06 rifles. Offering both semi-auto and bolt action rifles, Benelli takes the same design and manufacturing processes that make their shotguns, such as the iconic Super Black Eagle and innovative M4 military shotgun, such a pleasure to shoot and applies them to their rifle platforms as well.
The last thing you will question with a Benelli rifle is the quality or the reliability. These are the types of rifles you can be proud to own and hunt with for years with comfort, success, and confidence.
Price Points of 30-06 Rifles
Hunting rifles can vary wildly in price which can lead to some confusion during the shopping process. Whether you are on a budget or are looking for something high-end, there is sure to be a 30-06 rifle available for you.
$500 and Below
There are several good quality 30-06 rifle options to consider when you want to keep your budget at $500 or below. While rifles in this price range may not have some of the features that more expensive rifles have, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of owning and it doesn’t mean they will let you down in the field.
While you might not be driving tacks at 500 yards, rifles in this price range will be plenty accurate for hunting purposes at reasonable ranges. Bonus: Several rifles in this price range, such as the Savage Axis II XP, come equipped with a scope that eliminates at least one extra expense.
$500 to $1000
This tends to be the sweet spot for a lot of hunters when it comes to 30-06 rifle price points. Rifles in this range tend to strike a good balance between value and the inclusion of higher end features. Fit and feel tend to be improved from cheaper options and you’ll also usually find more features and innovations. You can find an extremely high-quality bolt action 30-06 rifle that will serve you well for a lifetime in this price range.
$1000 and Above
Crossing the $1000 threshold is where the best of the best 30-06 rifles are found. That doesn’t necessarily mean rifles at this price point will be significantly more accurate than their lower-priced counterparts, but if you are in the market for a legacy rifle or simply a rifle that doesn’t cut any corners, then this is the price point you’ll want to be in.
You can find bolt action, semi-automatic, and even lever-action rifles in this price range. Benelli, Weatherby, and the high-end offerings from companies such as Savage Arms all have rifles that fit the bill in this category.
Buying a new rifle can be a challenging undertaking. With a huge variety of brands, features, specifications, and price points, it can be difficult to feel like you are making the right choice. Luckily, there is a plethora of information out there to help you decide and this article is a great place to start as you begin your rifle buying journey. Remember to keep weight in mind, to factor in optics, and to consider build quality as you shop and you’ll be hard-pressed to go wrong in buying the best 30-06 rifle for your hunting needs.
People Also Ask
Shopping for a new rifle tends to bring up a lot of questions as a lot of different info is thrown at you all at once. Here are some of the most common questions people tend to have when researching 30-06 rifles answered for your convenience.
What Does 30-06 Mean?
The term 30-06 refers to the cartridge that a 30-06 rifle fires. The first number refers to the caliber of the round while the second number refers to the year the round was adopted. In the case of the 30-06 (pronounced thirty-aught-six), it is a .30 caliber bullet and was adopted in the year 1906.
How Far Will a .30-06 Bullet Travel?
Any bullet fired from a rifle has the potential to cover miles of distance if fired irresponsibly. A responsible shooter will always be sure of their target and what lies beyond it before pulling the trigger. It is more important to learn the effective range of the 30-06 for ethically harvesting big game. While this answer can have a lot of variables such as the specific gun, load, and shooter, the 30-06 can have an effective range of about 400 yards.
What Caliber is a 30-06?
The caliber of a rifle is a measurement of its bore and the cartridges designed to be fired from it. The 30-06 is a .30 caliber rifle cartridge. The caliber of the 30-06 is measured in inches.