The .30-06 cartridge is one of the most respected and acclaimed cartridges of all time.
That has been an inspiration for many modern calibers. .30-06 rifles have proven effective for military and hunters alike. A caliber with a point-blank range of 500 yards and an effective range of 1,000 yards must have an appropriate scope on it.
And we’re here to discuss how to pick one out, followed by a list of the best options!
Comparison Chart of the Best Scope for 30-06 Rifles
Factors to Consider Before Buying Scopes for a 30-06 Rifle
This Section Written By:
Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.
The .30-06 is a far-reaching caliber. It’s mostly used for hunting these days because of its versatility to bring down anything from coyotes to bison. .30-06 rifles must have a scope to justify their power. But there are a few factors that must be pondered upon before choosing one.
The Power You Need
As I already mentioned, the .30-06 has a long effective range. The round has been used effectively by military snipers in the past. But with advancing ammo tech, there are a lot of better options than the .30-06 for long-range precision shooting. So that leaves us with hunting and range use.
As far as its major application hunting is concerned. Most games are brought down inside a range of 300 yards. With a majority of them inside 200 yards. Keeping that in mind, a 3-9x or 4-12x scope is ideal for hunting with .30-06.
Low power scopes also offer an amazing field of view and often a long eye relief which is essential for situational awareness. On the other hand, if you want to test the long-range potential of this caliber. There are a lot many high zoom options out there too.
FFP or SFP
The reticle of an FFP (First Focal Plane) scope changes its proportions with the power setting. Hence staying true to the turret adjustments, unlike SFP scopes. FFP scopes are great for quickly switching distances. But these are also a tad pricier than similar SFP (Second Focal Plane) scopes.
Simple or Busy Reticle
Again, this depends upon your intended application and personal preference. Hunters generally use simple reticle designs like a duplex or red dots for effective visibility and small distance of engagement.
However, if you possess a tactical rifle and want to shoot farther. More complex designs like the mil-dot or EBR with detailed azimuth reference markings and even illumination. Also, make sure that your scope features parallax adjustment if you’re planning a long-distance shooting.
Clarity and Objective Lens Considerations
Scopes with multi-coated lenses work best for delivering optimal clarity. Additionally, the size of the objective lens decides how much light will enter the scope and hence how bright the resulting image would be.
Large objective lenses are great for low-light use. But mounting them requires a high mount and such scopes are a tad cumbersome to handle, especially when undertaking strenuous hikes.
Review of the Best .30-06 Scopes
Let’s dig into the best .30-06 scopes on the market. We’ll get into what makes each one worthwhile and explain whatever flaws they hold in store so that you can make the most informed decision.
Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP Rifle Scope
If you want a nice balance between price and quality for an overall phenomenal scope, look no further than the Primary Arms 4-14 Rifle Scope. This is a tough, weatherproof item that can handle any conditions you decide to shoot in. It can handle water, fog, shock, and cold thanks to its tough aluminum construction and nitrogen-purged chamber.
The scope has variable magnification, always a plus since it means you can switch between different shooting distances. Magnification goes between 4x and 14x, offering plenty of wiggle room in between close-range and long-distance targeting. The reticle, crisp and clean, makes finding a target easy and smooth.
The ACSS Orion reticle is not illuminated, which is a small flaw but ultimately forgivable since the rest of it is so well-made and responsive. Its relatively light weight allows it to be used on a variety of rifles and models and it’s not so bulky as to obstruct your vision or make handling a weapon difficult.
The adjustment knobs on the side and top are easy to manipulate and don’t jut out from the scope’s frame too drastically. It also has a parallax adjuster to ensure accurate targeting even at very long distances. The elevation and windage adjustments can be modified up to 60 MOA, or Minutes of Angle.
This is a sturdy, capable offering that provides exceptional quality for an affordable price. It has variable magnification and excellent optics, although the reticle doesn’t glow. Adjuster knobs on the side allow for reduction of parallax and tuning for windage and elevation.
Best Power Scope:
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical
When it comes to power, you don’t get much better than the Diamondback. Its variable magnification can go between 6x and 24x, making sharpshooting and long-distance hunting possible and easy. The magnification switch is smooth and precise thanks to the rifle’s erector system.
The sight picture afforded to this product by its lens is crisp and clear. The lens is also multi-coated and made with extra-low dispersion glass. This means that incoming light will be transmitted in a focused beam right to your eye, preventing reflection and image distortion.
The scope is rugged and weatherproof, allowing use in any hunting environment. It’s also quite light despite its bulk. The only real flaw it has is that it’s a little pricey, but since it offers so much precise power at long range it’s hard to argue with the results.
The Diamondback is the best choice for you if you plan on hunting at longer ranges. Your sight will be clear and clean and you’ll be able to hit phenomenal shots at maximum range due to the smooth magnification settings and the excellent optics. Parallax, windage, and elevation knobs on the sides and top allow you to perfect your sight no matter the environment.
3. Leupold VX-R 4-12x40mm Riflescope
The Leupold is another versatile rifle product that’s perfect for .30-06 cartridges. It sits atop the rifle in a very balanced manner thanks to its durable construction and good weight. This device is long and provides a very wide eye box that’s great if you have a wide head or if you like to sit farther back from the sighting lens as you’re targeting. The field of view afforded by the eye box is great.
The lenses of this item are coated in a material that reduces glare and that keeps color behind the scope as pure and vibrant as the natural surroundings. This aids in quick target acquisition and tracking as a target moves through the wilderness or thick foliage.
It is water and fog-proof, allowing you to use it in almost every scenario imaginable. All of its adjuster knobs are also very easy to manipulate and turn, requiring very little effort and marking their changes with loud, affirming clicks.
The zoom levels are nicely-variable, adjustable between 4x and 14x magnification, just like the previous product we reviewed. The biggest thing against this option is its price, which is quite a bit higher than the Primary Arms offering.
The Leupold is a little too expensive to recommend it over the Primary Arms model, but if the price is no object and you want quality at any cost, you won’t go wrong with the Leupold Scope.
The Leupold is a great choice if top-tier quality is what you’re after. It’s a bit expensive but offers excellent optics that are coated to reduce glare, sturdy construction that can be used in any weather, and a balanced design that makes it appropriate for virtually all hunting rifles that use .30-06 cartridges.
Best Nikon Scope:
Nikon ProStaff 3-6x40 Riflescope
Nikon makes quality budget broducts and their ProStaff Riflescope is the best of that bunch. The optics are the biggest plus; they’re coated to boost light transmission so that 98% of the light coming into the tunnel is returned to your eye, improving clarity and color. Accuracy will be greatly improved due to the high contrast views the device affords.
The reticle is a sharp, see-through type that lets you track the path of your round at long distances and better measure the proper firing angle for game at far ranges. The adjusters on either side of the riflescope are very precise, requiring only ¼-inch turns to make them click and switch. It is durable, too, and entirely weatherproof.
The magnification isn’t as far as some other models, but it is variable, able to switch between 3x and 9x magnification, depending on your exact needs. However, the furthest zoom isn’t as clear as we’d like.
It’s very small and lightweight, making the ProStaff a great pick for smaller rifles or if you’re going hunting for game that will be closer than 12-14x magnification ranges.
Accessories included with the Nikon are a lens cap, along with windage and elevation caps to protect the more sensitive parts over long periods of time or during travel.
This affordable offering is a great choice for lighter rifles or for hunting smaller, closer game. The optics provide a fantastic picture and great color contrast, making tracking a target through green or brown backgrounds is easier than ever. This product is tough and compact, but its furthest zoom level isn’t as crisp as some other models.
Best Hunting Scope:
Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Riflescope
Another great scope from Nikon is their Buckmasters II. This item has the same variable magnification as the previous offering, 3x-9x. However, its furthest magnification level is quite clear, making this option a bit better for long-range hunting.
The sight picture is extremely clear on this scope to the multi-coated lens, which is rated for scratch-resistance and for transmitting maximum color and clarity through the tube. The lens provides a very bright picture for you as you track your targets, and there’s plenty of eye relief afforded as you use it.
The BDC reticle is see-through, just like the product above. This is fantastic for hunting since opaque reticles can get in the way of seeing small targets, especially if you’re shooting at a distance and they’re on the move. This item comes with a 100-yard parallax adjuster, too, to eliminate that issue should you run into it.
The adjusters as just as sensitive as Nikon’s other offering and turn easily. The top knob is a little big for our tastes, but this is an altogether minor flaw in a great product, especially since it’s so affordable.
The Buckmasters II is a very affordable offering that has a good place in any hunter’s repertoire. Its minimal weight and compact size allow you to use in on a lot of different rifle models and its optics are second to none; the bright sight picture that’s on display is perfect for hunting in forests or against monochrome backgrounds.
What is a .30-06 Used For?
The .30-06 cartridges were first used in the United States military in 1906. These were made for long-range rifles as slugs that could reach high velocities with pointed tips. The rounds were also developed to be lightweight, furthering their effective range.
In today’s day and age, these cartridges are primarily used for hunting and sporting due to their accuracy and price. The rounds do not generate recoil too strong for most hunters and are strong enough to be used to take down most North American hunting game as the pointed tips of .30-06 cartridges give them extra piercing potential.
Pairing these slugs with a good scope improves your accuracy and lethality at long range. These cartridges, paired with a good scope, are excellent choices for novice and experienced hunters alike.
Considerations When Buying a .30-06 Scope
Before you purchase a scope to be used with .30-06 cartridges, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind. These will help you avoid purchasing sub-par products that aren’t worth your time or money.
This is the most important factor in any scope. Power refers to the magnification level the product provides, or how far it zooms. A higher power will zoom in farther and is better for hunting at extreme ranges. Meanwhile, lower power offerings have less magnification and will be better for hunting or shooting at closer distances, such as shooting ranges.
Some scopes are fixed or single power. Either of these terms means that the magnification cannot be adjusted at all, while variable power allows for magnification switching. Variable power is always a good feature since it increases the effective range and adaptability.
Lens and Scope Size
The size is important because it affects the balance of the weapon. A scope that is too bulky might impact your performance with your preferred weapon. Lens size, often referred to as objective size, refers to the overall size of the lens. Larger lenses let in more light and might result in better magnification or clarity at the cost of increased bulk atop your rifle.
Lens Coating and Composition
Some lenses are coated in scratch-resistant or other materials that assist with durability or sighting down the scope. Certain lenses can block out types of light or reduce reflection or other distractions that can impact your overall accuracy. These are always great things to look out for when choosing a good product to add to your cartridge.
Scopes are an important part of accurate rifles, and .30-06 cartridges can benefit from the improved precision you’ll gain when you use one. These slugs are best when placed in the perfect spot on a target, so pick up a great scope and never miss an easy shot again.