One of the most popular and enduring rifle cartridges in history, the .30-06 Springfield provides a great balance of long-range accuracy and effective terminal performance. There are literally thousands of scopes on the market that you can pair with a rifle chambered for this hard-hitting cartridge. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to find the best scope for 30-06.
If you want to maximize your success with this cartridge, you need a scope that matches its capabilities. We’re going to show you what makes .30-06 so effective, what kind of scope it requires, and share some of our favorite models.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated scope for .30-06:
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical FFP 4-16x44mm
- Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm
- Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm Scout Riflescope
- Monstrum G2 1-4×24 FFP Rifle Scope
- Swarovski Z3 3-10×42 Riflescope
- Steiner Optics GS3 2-10×42 Riflescope
- Schmidt & Bender Zenith 3-12x50mm
- Bushnell Elite Tactical HDMR II 3.5-21x50mm
- ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x Digital Scope
Table of Contents
- What the .30-06 Springfield Can Do?
- The Effective Range of the .30-06
- Best Scope for 30-06 on the Market Reviews
- 1 Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Riflescope
- 2 Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical FFP 4-16x44mm
- 3 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm
- 4 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm Scout Riflescope
- 5 Monstrum G2 1-4×24 FFP Rifle Scope
- 6 Swarovski Z3 3-10×42 Riflescope
- 7 Steiner Optics GS3 2-10×42 Riflescope
- 8 Schmidt & Bender Zenith 3-12x50mm
- 9 Bushnell Elite Tactical HDMR II 3.5-21x50mm
- 10 ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x Digital Scope
- Final Thoughts
What the .30-06 Springfield Can Do?
The .30-06 Springlfield was first released by Springfield Armory in 1906 (that’s what the -06 stands for). This hard-hitting cartridge saw combat in both World Wars, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
The qualities that made it effective on the battlefield (particularly its consistent accuracy and deadly terminal performance), also make it a highly effective hunting cartridge.
Today, the .30-06 remains a popular cartridge among deer hunters. However, the .30-06 is perfectly capable of taking down any animal on the North American continent, including elk, bear, and moose.
It is impossible for us to crown one optic as the absolute best scope for the .30-06 Springfield. However, we can help you narrow down the possibilities until you can find an option that works for you.
The Effective Range of the .30-06
The .30-06 Springfield was originally designed to have an effective firing range of 1000 yards. However, it had a certified extreme reach (with a 150 grain projectile) of 4.75 miles. Few of the original rifles chambered for this military cartridge could achieve decent accuracy at these ranges. However, today’s sporting rifles can achieve some impressive feats of accuracy with this blistering cartridge.
.30-06 rifles have been used to win many long distance target competitions, However, most modern competitions are dominated by cartridges with flatter trajectories than the venerable .30-06 can muster.
Today, the .30-06 makes its most common appearances in big game hunting circles. To get the most of this cartridge’s long range potential, shooters need a scope that allows them to place precision shots at those ranges.
3-9x is the most popular magnification range for deer hunters. If you plan to pursue game across open grassland, this cartridge can certainly help you fill your tags. However, you’ll want an optic with a little more magnification power to get you there.
Best Scope for 30-06 on the Market Reviews
1 Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm Riflescope
Leupold is one of the most respected names in the optics industry. Every single scope in their line-up is top-notch. However, we’re partial to the VX-5HD in particular, because it is one of the most versatile riflescopes the company produces.
The 3-15x magnification range covers what you’ll need for most hunting scenarios. Dial the magnification down to 3x and you have the perfect scope for thick woods. If you’re trekking across the open prairie, you can crank it up to 15x to pop antelope at extreme distances. The scope also performs well at every magnification level in between.
The Leupold VX-5HD has superb glass quality and features fully multi-coated lenses. Hunters will particularly appreciate Leupold’s patented Twilight Max HD Light Management System. The system uses unique coatings to prevent glare and light loss for incredible brightness and clarity, even in low light. Twilight Max can add up to 20 minutes of extra shooting light at dawn and dusk, when trophy animals are most active.
2 Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical FFP 4-16x44mm
It’s hard to believe this awesome FFP riflescope from Vortex is available for under $500. While Vortex stripped away some of the high-end “extras” on this model to keep the price tag low, they certainly did not cut corners on quality.
With extra low dispersion (ED) glass and fully multi coated lenses, the Diamondback Tactical FFP has crisp, bright images, even in dim light.
Hunters will really appreciate the EBR-2C glass-etched reticle, especially on those tough, long range shots. The reticle is available in your choice of MOA or MRAD, and it lets you make quick, accurate windage and holdover corrections.
Vortex made this scope with a rugged construction perfect for rough hunting conditions. The housing is made from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The 30mm tube is nitrogen purged and sealed with strong o-rings for reliable fogproof, shockproof, waterproof performance.
3 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm
Obviously, the Nikon Buckmasters II riflescope was built for deer hunting. However, when paired with a good .30-06 (like the Remington 700), it works nicely on elk and mule deer, too.
This is the scope I have mounted on my own .30-06. While it is nothing fancy, it is well constructed though inexpensive (under $200). This means I don’t have to worry about banging it up when I’m deer hunting. It has been bumped, dropped, and jostled endlessly and it still holds its zero surprisingly well. Of all the optics on our list, the Nikon Buckmasters II provides the best value for the money.
The Nikon Buckmasters II features fully multi-coated lenses and a respectable 40mm objective lens. Nikon uses their own proprietary coatings to deliver 92 percent light transmission for an impressively bright image, even in the low light conditions when deer are most active.
4 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm Scout Riflescope
This quality scout scope from Burris makes a great addition to your .30-06 rifle. Designed for a forward mounted scout set-up, this scope offers plenty of eye relief for easy both-eyes-open shooting. If you’re a fan of Jeff Cooper’s scout rifle concept, the Burris Ballistic Plex riflescope is just what you’ve been looking for.
Featuring a rugged aluminum alloy housing, the scope is purged 24 times with high quality, laboratory grade dry nitrogen. The housing is then o-ring sealed for true fogproof performance, no matter what temperature or weather conditions you may face.
Although the Burris Ballistic Plex Scout Scope comes with a budget price tag, it is far from budget quality. Lightweight, yet tough as nails, this scope can handle just about anything the backcountry can dish out.
5 Monstrum G2 1-4×24 FFP Rifle Scope
Monstrum is always able to surprise us with the amount of quality they can pack into a scope and still keep the price tag affordable. If you’re looking for a close to mid-range scope to top your .30-06, Monstrum’s G2 rifle scope is an awesome option.
We particularly love the FFP (first focal plane) reticle on this model. The subtension remains the same through the entire magnification range, so there is never any guesswork. The ranging information and BDC marks are easy to read and allow you to make faster, more accurate corrections no matter the range of the target.
The reticle also has illumination in both red and green. You can choose between the two to maximize visibility for virtually any target backdrop. The scope also features multiple brightness levels, ensuring you can easily see the reticle in bright sunshine or low light.
6 Swarovski Z3 3-10×42 Riflescope
Swarovski Optik riflescopes are known for their incredible glass quality and light gathering abilities. The Z3 is one of the company’s more affordable options, although the image quality will still take your breath away. With a versatile 3-10x magnification range, the Z3 is well suited for pretty much any shooting situation you might encounter with a .30-06.
Swarovski coats every air-to-glass surface with multiple anti-reflective coatings. The result is impressive 90 percent light transmission for bright visibility, even in fading light. However, this scope also performs brilliantly in sunlight, featuring an internal microstructure surface to prevent residual light reflection for better bright light clarity.
The Z3 features a lightweight, streamlined body design that is perfect for hunting, especially from the tight confines of a treestand. Hunters will also appreciate the scope’s generous field of view and user-friendly second focal plane (SFP) Plex reticle.
7 Steiner Optics GS3 2-10×42 Riflescope
The GS in the model designation of this high-quality Steiner riflescope stands for “game sensing.” While the scope won’t exactly alert you when game animals are in the area, it does make their color pop against leafy or shadowy backgrounds. Steiner accomplishes this not through magic, but by using unique lens coatings to amplify color contrast in the peak human vision sensitivity range.
The GS3 is a great option for big game hunters of every variety. Not only does the scope make it easy to spot game, it also has a magnification range perfect for hunters seeking eastern whitetails or western big game(either in alpine conditions or on open prairie). If you want a scope that can pull double duty on deer and elk, this is a smart option.
8 Schmidt & Bender Zenith 3-12x50mm
A German, family-owned company, Schmidt & Bender holds their optics to some of the strictest quality standards in the industry. In fact, it is generally accepted by the competition that Schmidt & Bender sets the gold standard for optical quality. The company pays strict attention to quality and detail and produces only a limited number of rifle scopes annually. Although Schmidt & Bender optics are expensive, they are well worth every penny you’ll invest.
Engineered specifically for big game hunters, the Schmidt & Bender Zenith offers a generous magnification range ideal for long distance shooting. It is built to enhance light transmission for bright, clear images from dawn to dusk. It also features an illuminated FFP reticle for pinpoint accuracy across the entire magnification range.
9 Bushnell Elite Tactical HDMR II 3.5-21x50mm
Bushnell had humble beginnings as a simple mail-order birding binoculars business. Today, the company is one of the top names in the outdoor industry. Their riflescopes are built with the rugged outdoorsman in mind, and their Elite Tactical HDMR II is one of the company’s best offerings.
Capable of taking harsh weather and rough use, the HDMR II is o-ring sealed and argon purged for reliable fogproof performance in every weather condition.
Both lightweight and compact (especially considering that generous 50mm objective lens), the HDMR II is a welcome addition on tough backcountry hunting trips.
It features a highly versatile 3.5-21x variable magnification range, dependable long range precision without sacrificing your ability to engage targets at closer ranges.
The scope’s extra low dispersion (ED) glass is covered in multiple layers of Bushnell’s own Ultra Wide Band coatings for increased light transmission and crystal clear images. The HDMR II also features a special Throw Hammer Lever for the fastest, easiest magnification adjustments you’ll find on any rifle scope.
10 ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x Digital Scope
If you need to see what’s going on in the dark, this digital night vision optic from ATN is perfect for nighttime hog hunting or after-dark tactical maneuvers. Unlike traditional night vision, the X-Sight II HD has both day and night modes, allowing you to smoothly and easily transition from daytime to nighttime shooting.
Far more than a simple riflescope, the X-Sight II HD has some serious high-tech features. Not only does this optic allow you to make precision shots, it also has a built-in rangefinder, ballistic calculator, and Recoil Activated Video (RAV) recording.
RAV captures all the exciting, adrenaline-pumping shooting action. You don’t even have to remember to switch on your video camera. The optic automatically captures video from 30 seconds prior to your shot and continues recording the excitement for an additional 30 seconds. The device even joins all your footage into one continuous video, so you can easily share it with all your friends.
If you’re interested in thermal optic, check it here.
The .30-06 Springfield is one of the most versatile cartridges ever designed. Due to its effective performance and extreme popularity, there are tons of scopes available in every price range and for nearly every shooting application.
However, even the best scope for 30-06 won’t magically make you a better shooter. The secret to accurate shooting is practice. After you’ve found your dream scope and have it properly mounted to your rifle, be sure to spend some time at the gun range perfecting your shooting skills.
Greg Davidson says
Thanks Alice for the wealth of information on rifle scopes. much appreciated.