best scope for 30-06

The Best Scope For 30-06 Rifle (Top 5)

The 30-06 is a beast of a deer hunting rifle, and one of my personal favorites. It is versatile and high-powered and is able to achieve almost anything you would want from it. It goes without saying that a rifle like this needs a good quality scope to match it, to assist in the achievement of the loftiest or simple shooting goals. 

So, what is the best scope for 30-06 rifle? Take a look at our top five choices and see if you find one that would best suit your rifle’s needs to give you the best hunting experience and success. 

History Of The 30-06

The 30-06 was so named because it’s a .30 caliber projectile that was developed in 1906. Before it’s appearance there was the 30-03 which was a heavy bullet, so the lighter-weight 30-06 Springfield cartridge was developed by Winchester and introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and remained a military standard round until the early 1980s. 

Militarily, the 30-06 round was used in a multitude of different guns, for everything from standard military rifles to sniper rifles and even machine guns. It is just a very versatile round.

Today, when we think of the 30-06 the hunting rifle comes to mind. It is very common for deer hunting but is also powerful enough to take on larger game, such as elk, bison, and bears, mostly at medium hunting ranges. 

Distances And Magnification

A 30-06 is mostly considered a medium range hunting rifle and is good for that 100 to 500-yard shot. For hunting, this is just about perfect because most hunting is actually done at between 200 and 400 yards. Some people prefer longer distance hunts or long-range competition shooting. About the max distance you would want to shoot with a 30-06 is 1000 yards. You don’t want to sacrifice accuracy for distance. 

Accurate shooting distances are an important factor when looking at which scope to fit to your rifle, as you will want a magnified scope, but you don’t want to overdo it. Your best magnification setting is the smallest power range you can set it at that still provides a nice, clear view of the entire target. If your power setting is too high and you’re really zoomed-in, you may have a hard time finding your target if and when it moves. 

For a medium range hunting rifle, a 3x or 4x powered scope or a combination scope that goes up to 10x power should be more than sufficient. Anything more than this and the scope is going to be more expensive, bigger and heavier. If you are never going to need magnification power more than 10x, why have it? 

best scope for 30-06

Bullets And Reticle

The reticle in your scope can be anything from a simple cross-hair to a range-finding BDC reticle. The reticle that you chose for your application is important. BDC reticles are nice, as they assist you in calculating bullet drop and predicting where that bullet is actually going to hit. Many people prefer BDCs for longer distance shooting, though they are generally best functioning out to about 300 yards. 

The problem with the BDC reticle is that it is tested and set for a very, very specific set of control factors. To be perfectly accurate with them, you need to be shooting the exact same caliber bullet of the exact same grain weight from the exact same rifle, at the exact same distance and environmental conditions. They are type, caliber and load specific. This could be inconvenient if you ever wanted to switch-up your bullet grain. 

Other things you would want to consider are thin or thick lines in the reticle? If the lines are consistently thin, you may actually lose the cross-hair in the image and not know where you’re shooting at. If the lines are consistently thick, you may actually cover up your image and not get an accurate shot. In light of these two complications, my favorite style of reticle is a 4-plex. The outer most lines are thicker about halfway in and turn into think lines for the cross-hair section. This solves both problems. 

Other reticles to consider are illuminated or etched, MIL dot or MOA marks, which are all great reticles. It ultimately will just come down to which suits your purposes the best. 

Durability

Without question, a good scope has got to be durable enough to withstand recoil and the elements. You would want a scope that is scratch and abrasion resistant, waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. A single piece constructed body is best for overall durability. For waterproofing and fog proofing, the scope would need to be gasket sealed and gas purged to starve all the oxygen out of the tube. 

Lenses should be clear and bright for optimal viewing, but also need to be multi-coated, or fully multi-coated. The different coating layers and treatments all play a different role in lens protection. Some make the glass scratch resistant, some help to shed water from the outside of the lenses, and some assist with brightness and clarity, and help cut back on glare. 

What you would want for you turrets is a matter of personal opinion. I personally, love the exposed, tactical style turrets, and find them to be rugged enough. I like the ease of a finger-adjustable turret that I can just reach up and adjust as needed. 

Capped turrets are a bit more common. These provide a little bit better protection to the adjustment knobs, but you have to unscrew the caps and, more often than not, use a penny or fingernail or some other tool to make your adjustments. And if you lose the caps, like I did, then you have exposed turrets without the easy adjustments, which sort of defeats the purpose. 

Best Scope For A 30-06

Now that we have explored a bit about the 30-06 and some of the qualities you would want in a scope, let’s have a look at our top five. 

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm

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Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof...
  • A versatile 3:1 zoom ratio erector system that is ideal for virtually any situation.
  • 1/4 MOA precision finger click adjustments for windage and elevation offer absolute repeatability and dependability over a lifetime of extreme use.
  • Absolute waterproof and fog proof integrity - each is ready for a lifetime in the field, in all conditions.
  • The Multicoat 4 lens system delivers extreme clarity from edge to edge of the visual field, outstanding contrast, and a bright sight picture even in extreme low-light conditions.
  • Made with Leupold's Proprietary nitrogen sealing process, which has become the industry standard. Rugged and absolutely waterproof.

The Leupold VX-1 is a rugged 3-9x variable zoom, 11.2 ounce lightweight and compact rifle scope. It boasts absolute waterproof and fog proof integrity, made possible by Leupold’s Proprietary nitrogen sealing process, making it ready for a lifetime in the field in all weather conditions.

Treated with the Multicoat 4 lens system, this scope delivers extreme clarity from edge to edge of the visual field, outstanding contrast, and a bright sight picture, even in extreme low-light conditions. 

Some other great features of this scope are the ¼ MOA finger click windage and elevation adjustments for absolute repeatability and dependability, a versatile 3:1 zoom ratio erector system that is ideal for virtually any situation, and a fast-focus lockable eyepiece with low profile lock rings that makes reticle focus easy to achieve and maintain. Plus, it is available with the Leupold Ballistic Aiming System to help you master the art of accurate, long-range shooting by providing multiple aiming points for longer ranges and varying wind speeds, and infinite power selector settings to match your rifle’s ballistics. 

Customers of this scope just love the quality of the Leupold, praising everything from the easy, no-nonsense duplex reticle, the awesome eye relief, and the bright, crisp images with crystal clear, dead-on accuracy.

The only complaints about this scope were inconsistent, but there may possibly be a windage and elevation adjustment issue to watch out for, but it seems to be very hit and miss. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • high-quality, rugged and lightweight
  • absolutely waterproof and fog proof
  • Multicoat 4 lens system treatments
  • ¼ MOA finger click adjustments
  • versatile 3:1 zoom ratio erector system
  • lockable, fast-focus eyepiece
  • Leupold Ballistic Aiming System

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • possibly a windage and elevation issue, but inconsistent

BARSKA 3-12x50 Huntmaster Pro

BARSKA 3-12x50 IR Huntmaster Pro 30/30 IR Cross Riflescope
  • Ideal rifle-scope when lighting conditions are less than ideal, combining advanced optic technology
  • Fast-focus eye bell, large objective lens, and multi-coated optics deliver clear, high-contrast downrange views
  • 3 to 12X magnification, water, fog and shock-proof, adjustable for wind-age, elevation and rheostat
  • 13-Inch tube length and one-Inch tube diameter, 50-Millimeter objective lens
  • 2.7-Inch eye relief, 0.25-Inch click value and 21.3-Ounce weight, limited lifetime warranty

The BARSKA Huntmaster Pro is a great, rugged scope option. It’s a little on the heavier side at 21.3 ounces but comes packed with great features for a smooth hunting experience. The advanced optic technology is ideal for when lighting conditions are less than ideal. It features a 30/30 illuminated center-lit infrared cross reticle with eleven easily adjustable brightness settings. 

The BARSKA’s large, 50mm objective lens combined with fully multi-coated optics provide maximum light gathering and brightness, allowing your view to stay sharp and clear in the poorest of light and weather conditions. This scope is also waterproof, fog proof and shockproof.

Other features of this scope include a fast-focus eyebell and is parallax-free at 100 yards. The scope includes scope caps, a battery, lens cloth and is backed by BARSKA’s limited lifetime warranty. 

Customers of this scope are mostly happy with the optical quality you get at the price point. Others say it has a nice clear sight picture and is easy to zero and accurate. 

Some of the negative comments state that the scope is pretty poorly made and becomes blurry when the magnification is increased. Also, apparently it eats through batteries very quickly and has a hard time maintaining zero after about 40 rounds. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • 30/30 illuminated center-lit infrared cross reticle w/eleven adjustable brightness settings
  • large, 50mm objective for maximum light gathering
  • fully multi-coated optics
  • waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
  • fast-focus eyebell, parallax-free at 100 yards
  • limited lifetime warranty

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Heavy 21.3 ounces
  • poorly constructed
  • becomes blurry with increased magnification
  • eats through batteries
  • won't maintain zero after about 40 rounds

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC

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Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC 1in Waterproof Matte Black...
  • Extremely bright sight picture
  • Fully multicoated lenses
  • Patented BDC reticle
  • Generous, consistent eye relief
  • Waterproof, fogproof, shockproof

The Nikon Buckmasters II features a dead hold BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle trajectory-compensating system that is designed and calibrated to provide fast, simple aiming points for various shooting distances. This durable and versatile rifle scope provides a brighter anti-reflective system of fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflection capabilities of over 92 percent. 

The Nikon Buckmasters has a 100 percent waterproof and fog proof housing that is O-ring sealed and nitrogen filled to ensure that moisture never penetrates the interior. The turrets are precise, hand-turn ¼-inch at 100 yards click adjustments for quick and easy adjusting. 

The scope is backed by Nikon’s no-fault repair or replacement policy and their limited lifetime warranty. Also offered is Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology, which allows you to discover all of the exact aiming points on your scope’s reticle at various yardages for your specific ammunition and load. 

Customers of the Nikon Buckmasters II claim that the scope has excellent, clear glass, easy zoom operation, handles recoil and holds zero great. Nikon is known for making excellent optics, and it seems that this one doesn’t disappoint. 

Customers complaints are sort of varied with some reporting that the reticle malfunctions after a certain amount of use and that it’s difficult to zero. Other complaints are that the turrets seem to have different issues.

Positives Recap for This Product

  • dead hold BDC reticle
  • fully multi-coated lenses with 92 percent anti-reflection capabilities
  • 100 percent waterproof and fog proof
  • hand-turn ¼-inch at 100 yards turrets
  • no-fault repair or replacement policy/limited lifetime warranty
  • Nikon's Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • possible reticle malfunctions
  • difficult to zero
  • various turret issues

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm

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Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with...
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Dusk &
  • Low-light riflescope with 3-9x magnification and 40mm objective lens

The Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn rifle scope has an impressive 3.3-inch eye relief and the optics are coated with Bushnell’s proprietary Dusk and Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coating process to give you the brightness and clarity you need to fill your tag in those critical first and last moments of daylight. 

The high-quality one-piece tube construction is dry nitrogen filled to be 100 percent waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. It also features ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation turret adjustments, a fast-focus eyepiece, and a multi-x reticle. Also, it has the added bonus of being a budget pick. 

Most customers of this scope love the quality for the price. Other praises are the great optical clarity, that it zeros easily and holds zero well. Other customers claim the opposite, that it has trouble zeroing and has problems with the reticle malfunctioning. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • 3.3-inch eye relief
  • coated with Bushnell's proprietary Dusk & Dawn Brightness multi-coatings
  • tough, one-piece tube construction
  • waterproof, shockproof and fog proof
  • ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation turret adjustments
  • fast-focus eyepiece and multi-x reticle
  • Budget pick

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • may have issues zeroing
  • possible malfunction of the reticle

TAC Vector Optics Arbiter 1-4x24

TAC Vector Optics Arbiter 1-4x24 SFP Hunting Riflescope...
  • 30mm Monotube
  • Wide Field of View
  • Fully Multi Coated
  • DND Etched Glass Reticle
  • w/ Flip-up Caps , Mount Rings

The TAC Vector Optics Arbiter 1-4x24mm is a uniquely constructed scope designed for the heavy recoil of the 30-06 caliber. It is constructed with a 30mm Monotube high-durability aluminum alloy with fully multi-coated lenses and a nice wide field of view. It is shockproof, waterproof, and nitrogen purged to be fog proof. 

This streamline scope has DND etched glass reticle and eleven levels of brightness illumination system. The direct low finger adjustable windage and elevation turrets are measured in ½ MOA. 

Other features of this scope are a fast-focus eyepiece at the ocular lens adjustment and a nice long 3.5 to 4.1-inch eye relief. Included with this scope are flip up caps and mounting rings

We didn’t come across many customer reviews for this product.

Related Read: Our list of the best 1-4x scopes.

Positives Recap for This Product

  • 30mm Monotube high-durability aluminum alloy
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • wide field of view
  • shockproof, waterproof, fog proof
  • DND etched reticle
  • eleven levels of brightness illumination system
  • finger adjustable ½ MOA turrets
  • fast-focus eyepiece
  • 3.5-4.1-inch eye relief
  • comes with caps and mounting rings

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • none noted

Commonly Asked Questions

What is an etched glass reticle? – An etched glass reticle is a cross-hair reticle that is actually laser-cut into the glass lens. It is sandwiched between the lens it’s on and another, which keeps it very clean. This type of reticle is very tough and stable. To disrupt your reticle in any way, you would physically have to break the lens, it is very permanent and always accurate. 

What is the difference between ¼ MOA and ½ MOA? – MOA means Minutes Of Angle and is just a measurement for adjusting your scope to distance. The ¼ refers to ¼-inch at 100 yards, and ½ MOA would be ½-inch at 100 yards. So, if you have a ¼ MOA scope and are shooting at 100 yards and need to move your reticle 3 inches to the left, you would adjust your windage turret 12 clicks to the left. (¼ inches per click.)

Related Read: How to clean a rifle scope.

Conclusion

I hope this guide has been beneficial for you in learning a little more about scopes and what you’d want to look for in the best scope for 30-06. Whichever scope you think would be best for your needs, it is still only a tool to help you and your rifle hit a dead-on target. Keep practicing! See you at hunting season. 

If you enjoyed this article check out our review of the best 1-6x scopes.