Choosing a rifle scope can be tough.
Especially with so many different scopes... How do you choose? What is the best scope for a 30-06?
That's exactly why we have compiled this list of the Top 5 and best rifle scopes for the 30-06.
Top 5 Best .30-06 Scopes
1. Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 - View
2. Leupold VX-2 3-9x40 - View
3. Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16x42 - View
4. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 - View
5. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40 - View
Luckily for you, we've spend a lot of time researching and testing out a lot of different rifle scopes and we have been able to narrow down the list to the Top 5 and best rifle scopes for the 30-06. for the money.
Best Rifle Scopes for 30-06 in 2018 - Top 5
These optics may not be for everyone. Some people may think some of these rifle scopes are too expensive while others are looking for more features.
But no matter what you are looking for in your scope, we have done enough research and reviewing to know which scopes were good enough to make it into our top 5 when considering the best scope for 30-06 in 2018.
People are wondering why I didn’t include some of these other popular .30-06 rifle scopes that others have reviewed but aren’t on my Top 5 list? After reviewing them, the answer is simple.
- The Vortex Viper PST is extremely expensive.
- Honestly, when looking for a scope for a 30 06, a scope that is going to be up to $1,000 doesn’t really deliver any better experience compared to the less expensive .30-06 optics on the market.
- There are some extra features added on that aren’t necessary unless you’re in the military (ie. military grade materials).
- The Simmons 8 Point Truplex is too cheap. I don’t mind getting an inexpensive rifle scope, but the Simmons is too cheap and it shows in it’s quality.
Basically, you are either paying too much for unnecessary features that drive up the price or you aren’t paying for something that is built well. Some of you may not mind the extra features and don’t mind the higher price tag, and others may be ok with something that is just cheap, but for most, we want to find the best .30-06 rifle scope for the money.
For now, these rifle optics didn’t make our Top 5 list, especially if you are just looking for something to get the job done or are on a budget.
However, we believe that the premium rifle scopes are ok if you are the type of person who is not on a budget and wants the extra features as these scopes and other high tier scopes are definitely high quality. We also believe in finding some great budget scopes that are inexpensive as long as you don’t sacrifice on too much quality.
.30-06 Rifle Quick Overview
The 30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge (7.62 x 63mm in metric) was first introduced to the United States military in 1906 and remained in use for over 70 years until it was replaced by the .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51mm in metric) in the 80's.
The 30-06 is still one of the most popular sporting cartridges in the world because of its versatility and performance.
In addition, the 30-06 is affordable to shoot which makes it a popular choice for hunters and sporting professionals alike.
Scopes have come a heck of a long way over the years and we have reviewed some of the best scopes in 2018. If you like this post, make sure to check out some of our most recent posts for valuable insight and reviews on the best hunting rifle scopes.
What You Should Expect in a 30 06 Rifle Scope
You've all heard the old rule of thumb that says that you should buy a scope that costs at least as much as your rifle cost you.
In fact, I tend to agree with this statement when it comes to choosing a scope for your 30-06.
In some cases such as choosing the best scope for your pellet gun or the best scope for hunting varmint, you can completely ignore the rule of thumb.
But if you are serious about hunting or shooting, which I am sure that you are for reading this article and for owning a 30-06, then you should probably spend anywhere from $150-$500 on a rifle scope.
Though some guys equip a $40 Simmons 8 Point Truplex on their 30-06 rifle, I am under the belief that this is probably not sufficient to get the most out of your rifle.
The average hunter, especially for deer hunting, probably makes most of their kill shots within 250 yards or so. That being said, you probably want a scope that will allow you to reach out to 500+ yards with your 30-06.
Keep in mind that the 30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was first used by the United States military and was designed when shots at 1000 yards were expected so the cartridge (depending on the grain you are using) has the power, velocity, and trajectory to stretch pretty far.
When buying a scope for your 30-06 there are a number of things to consider in order to get the best bang for your buck. Our goal is to provide you with enough insight and scopes reviews for your 30-06 so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying the best.
Considerations for the Best 30-06 Rifle Scope
Your first decision will be what distance do you want to shoot at.
Are you hunting or shooting in heavy brush and don't expect to see your target if it is outside 100 yards? Or are you shooting in an open field where you want to be able to reach out to those long distances such as 500 plus yards?
These questions are key when deciding what a good 30-06 scope will be for your application.
Obviously for guys or gals that are mainly shooting at the range and have access to a bench or bipod and don't anticipate shooting in low light or heavy brush conditions can probably get away with a cheaper rifle scope than those that want to hunt when long distance shots are key.
You clearly don't need the same level of accuracy and precision that you would expect out of a higher end 30-06 scope.
I would say that 30-06 is one of the most popular and trusted hunting rifles for medium sized game such as whitetail deer and that you probably want enough power to reach out to at least 400 yards.
Although not a hunters most confident shot, the 30-06 definitely has the power and as such I would get a good rifle scope that can get you to that distance. For that range, I would suggest that something like a 3-9x power scope would be in your wheelhouse.
You probably want low enough power on the bottom of the magnification range so you can still have a large field of view for those 100 yard shots.
Your choice of objective lenses is also an important thought when choosing a good 30-06 rifle scope. Too big, and it becomes a hassle carrying the setup around in the bush with the added weight and size of the scope, however too small and the scope doesn't gather enough light to shoot in those low light conditions.
A pretty standard and versatile objective lens is 40mm. Anything bigger and it becomes a bit of a pain if you plan on doing a lot of hiking however I know plenty of guys that swear by their 50mm scope.
What About Price Range?
The next consideration when choosing a scope for your rifle is the price range. It comes hand in hand with your application and shooting distances however it forms the baseline for a decision.
Can you get away with a $100 rifle scope for your 30-06? Sure, technology has come far enough that even in that price range you can get a decent scope.
However if you are more serious and have the money to spend, then you can get an infinitely better product for $500. After all, if you have a $100 budget, or even a $200 budget then there is no point in looking at a Vortex or Zeiss scope because you won't find anything in that price range.
An added point here which goes hand in hand with the distance that you want to shoot at and your price range is the intended target. Are you shooting medium sized game at 200 yards or are you on the range punching paper and expect more accuracy?
Once you make a decision on the best 30-06 rifle scope, you will need to match it up with a quality set of rifle scope rings. I know it seems like such a small item in terms of your overall rifle set up however don't be fooled.
I have sighted in a Leupold VX-2 with quality Leupold rings in 3 shots and after that it held zero and I was good to go.
However I have also spent hours trying to sight in a Tasco with cheap rings on a 30-06 and it was a chore. It never held true and was a complete pain which led to an unnecessary amount of frustration.
Be smart here - match a quality scope with quality scope rings, especially on your 30-06 because it delivers enough recoil to notice when using cheap mounts.
Best .30-06 Rifle Scopes Reviews
I have put together a good list of the Top Five 30-06 rifle scopes for the money because I know how difficult it can be to purchase a scope.
After all, it can be overwhelming purchasing a riflescope at Bass Pro or Cabellas, however, I don't think you should skip out on that experience. One of the best ways to purchase a rifle scope is by putting it up to your eye and get a feel for field of view and weight etc.
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40mm is one of the most popular and best reviewed rifle scopes on the market today.
Built with most of the same specs as the Buckmaster 3-9x40mm, this rifle scope works well with any 30-06 rifle and the only difference is the lens on the standard Nikon is slightly different however would not be noticeable.
This scope is tried and true and will outmatch most rifle scopes in the price range.
For ease of use, the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 uses a zero-reset turret which is quite nice. This rifle scope is versatile and can be used on anything from your .22 LR to your 30-06 and .308. The ballistics software on Nikon's website is also really useful and can be found here.
After testing this Nikon optic out at the range, I was very happy with how quickly I was able to zero, (within 10 rounds) at 100 yards. The turret reset capability was really useful when sighting this in.
If you are looking for a high quality, mid to long range scope for hunting and target shooting without paying more than your rifle, you won't be disappointed with this.
Looking through the scope was great. It has 98% light transmission and I wouldn't doubt it. The glass is very bright and crisp.
In my review I tested the scope at dusk to really see if it was still bright and clear in low light conditions and I was not disappointed in the least. I've tested both the Nikon Buckmaster (review a little later in this article) and Nikon Monarch and though these scopes may be a little bit better optics in different ways (hardly noticeable), the Prostaff is the better value.
A word of caution, the scope is a little larger than i expected. The housing is super beefy and rugged and is built like a tank. I needed higher scope rings on my 30-06 to cycle the action.
I really can't imagine why anyone would need a better scope, especially for the price.
My favorite part about this scope is I feel like I can hunt and different ranges and the scope will still work the same (focusing well, great clarity, etc.) I hadn't gone hunting with it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if I could get a white tail at 20 yards all the way up to 100 yards and probably beyond to 200 yards even.
Honestly, I could probably hit a target at 400 yards easy with this before needing a spotter. This scope is great.
Overall, this is the best rifle scope for a 30-06 for the money and probably one of the best optics on the market in terms of what you get for the price. It's definitely the best Nikon scope for a 30-06.
The Prostaff made #1 of my top 5 rifle scope for 30-06 for 2 reasons:
1. It’s a very high quality scope and can compare with some $400-$500 scopes, yet the price is much much lower.
2. The clarity of the scope is unmatched.
- Nikon Lifetime Warranty
- Very clear bright glass.
- Great value for the money.
- Built like a tank and very durable.
- A little bit big and bulky. You will definitely need high mounts.
Objective Lens: 44mm
Tube Diameter: 1”
Eye Relief: 3.6"
Again, Leupold continues to make it to the top of the list when comparing the best rifle scopes in any category.
A lot of guys ask me what the difference is between Leupold's VX-1 vs VX-2...
When holding these rifle scopes in hand side by side there isn't a whole lot of difference but the main difference is the quality of the lenses and the optical clarity in the VX-2.
Now, if you are on a budget and can't decide between the two for your 30-06 then go with the VX-1 and you won't be disappointed.
If you do have the extra money to be able to spend $100 more, the VX-2 will be the way to go. This optic will give you better bang for the buck in the long run.
The VX-2 gives optimal light transmission and clarity not found in many other rifle scopes for the price. For those of you switching from Nikon to Leupold, you will be amazed at the clarity and field of view that these rifle scopes provide. The VX-2 3-9x40 is another optic that compares to other scopes that cost $1000 or more!
At the range, sighting in the scope was pretty easy and took me only a few round to get a 1" grouping.
After I had it sighted in, I was consistently shooting sub-MOA out to 300 yards and MOA at 400 yards.
I usually don't try and shoot above 400 yards when I'm hunting, usually only at the range, as my average deer shot is around 200 yards, but it's sure nice knowing that I could get that extra distance if I needed to.
As I was testing this out more and took it hunting, I dropped an 8 point buck at around 150 yards at dusk. It was 5-10 minutes to sun down and I was very happy with the picture as it was still very bright enough to see the deer. It's a good hunting scope for a 30-06 for sure.
A downside, and probably the only one, is that the adjustments may not hold up to a lot of continued use over a long period of time. Many shooters like to dial-in adjustments for varying reasons instead of holding over or under.
Overall the Leupold VX-2 is a great optic and is particularly a great rifle scope for a .30 06 if you are a hunter. It's the best Leupold scope for a 30-06 in my opinion.
It was close on my list to take the top spot, but in the end, the Nikon Prostaff took the lead as I felt the glass was just slightly better (barely) and almost $100 cheaper, so a better valued scope for the money.
In short, the Leupold VX-2 is the perfect and best 30-06 rifle scope for hunters. You will hit your target at most long ranges and the glass is extremely clear. Your investment in this scope will stand the test of time as its durability is one of its top features..
- Lifetime Warranty
- Extremely durable and will last years.
- Very clear picture and high quality glass.
- Considered the standard in hunting and for good reason.
- Adjustments won’t be able to handle continued use over a long period of time.
Objective Lens: 40mm
Tube Diameter: 1”
Windage/elevation: 1/4 MOA
Vortex is an industry leader in sporting optics for your riflescope.
It is often a direct competitor with Leupold as it produces high quality rifle scopes for the price.
The Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16x42mm offers an array of features that will give confidence to any long range shooter or hunter.
It comes with XD extra-low dispersion glass which increases resolution and the XR multi-coated lenses maximize light transmission which helps when hunting in low light conditions.
The Diamondback HP 4-16x42 has a great profile which fits with most 30-06 rifles with the appropriate mounting rings.
What I mean by this is that it basically looks good as it is not too big and definitely not too small. I would suggest that this rifle scope is superior to the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40mm scope, but in regards to this top 5 list, didn't take the #1 spot due to it's higher price tag.
The HP stands for high performance and it definitely is a step above the standard Diamondback.
If you are looking to buy a good rifle scope for your 30-06 and looking to push it to its limit at 1000 yards than you will require the additional power that the 4-16x42mm gives you.
A lot of guys find it hard to make that distance of shot with your standard 3-9x40mm magnification with any accuracy. This scope will provide the clarity at long distances that most other won't and comes with a 5 star rating which is almost unheard of when reviewing the best rifle scopes.
A big draw back to this scope when considering it for your 3006 is that it is pretty heavy (2 lbs) when compared to other rifle scopes for mobility.
It also isn’t the best scope to take in the brush, sometimes it would have a hard time focusing.
Overall, I was very happy with this scope. It comes with a BDC reticle, something that is a must for me when hunting at long range because I don't have time to mess with the elevation adjustments in the field, and I personally like Vortex's BDC reticle (hash marks vs circles).
The glass is probably my favorite feature on this Vortex optic. It's super clear and crisp.
It really is the best Vortex scope for a 30-06.
In short, the Vortex Diamondback HP is the perfect and best 3006 rifle scope when shooting or hunting at long ranges. It is a clear high quality scope that is worth every penny when you only get one shot.
- Unconditional Lifetime Warranty
- Super high quality for the price.
- Very clear glass and sometimes more clear than other scopes from quality brands..
- Great for long range shooting.
- Be aware that this optic is a little heavy (2 lbs).
- Has a hard time focusing in certain environments, such as the brush.
Objective Lens: 42mm
Tube Diameter: 1”
Windage/elevation: 1/4 MOA
Nikon teamed up with Buckmaster to build this 3-9x40mm rifle scope which is durable, versatile, and features an anti-reflective optical system with multicoated lenses that allow 98% light transmission.
The Buckmaster is waterproof, featuring Nikon's BDC reticle, and comes with a lifetimes manufacturers warranty.
The Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40 has a consistent and comfortable 3.6" of eye relief which is a perfect fit for your 30-06.
Now I can't guarantee that you won't scope yourself but I can tell you that 3.6" should be plenty and will give you a great field of view throughout the magnification range.
Nikon is a leader when it comes to building quality optics and they are consistently one of the best scopes for the money.
With the right techniques and using a bore sight, you should be able to zero this scope in using less than 12 rounds and expect to hit the same target whether you are using 3x power or 9x. This scope is a good buy for the money and will compete with others that are double the price.
The Buckmaster is considered the entry level Nikon scope behind the Prostaff.
The first thing I noticed when testing the Nikon Buckmaster rifle optic was how bright the glass was! It seems ultra bright compared to glass on other optics.
And when I was testing the same scope on the .308, I accidentally dropped it pretty hard a few times. I thought for sure it would lose zero, but to my surprise it didn't move zero at all! That was definitely impressive since most scopes closer to $100-150 will lose zero in these cases.
This Nikon scope is very easy to use and install and zero at any range, so I was very happy as I was testing it out.
A draw back to the Buckmaster is that it loses its focus and gets blurry at 30 yards or less at 3x. So it’s strictly a longer range rifle scope and nothing more. (or less, for that matter, when talking about range)
Overall, if you're looking for the best 3006 rifle scope for the money, the Buckmaster is it. At around $100-150, it is not a high dollar scope, but it does not need to be for a rifle that does in the woods.
If you are a low maintenance hunter, all your scope needs to be is accurate and able to stay on zero, and the Buckmaster does both.
This Nikon optic is not a night vision scope, but it get decent enough light collection at dusk. Just don't use it too close to dark as it'll get blurry around 5 min before sen set.
In short, the Nikon Buckmaster is the perfect and best .30-06 rifle scope for the money at around $100-150.
- Nikon Lifetime Warranty
- Very bright glass.
- It’s nice to be able to use the Nikon app.
- Surprisingly holds zero for a cheaper scope.
- Issues with focus at anything under 30 yards at 3x.
- Eye relief not very forgiving.
Objective Lens: 40mm
Leupold is an absolute leader when it comes to building quality rifle scopes.
There aren't a lot of other scope brands that build a product that beats Leupold within its respective price range.
If you ask your buddies what their favorite brand is for rifle scopes I would bet that over 75% choose Leupold.
And, if you ask enough, one of them may offer to sell you their used rifle scope!
Amazon offers 2 different models of their VX-1. One is the 3-9x50mm and the other which is slightly more expensive is the 2-7x33mm.
A couple notable differences are obviously the magnification range at the size of the objective lens. No one can tell you that one is better than the other because it is a personal preference and will depend on the type of shooting or hunting you are doing.
If you are looking for a lighter rifle scope and that is a key decision making criteria, then choose the 2-7x32mm. If you want to shoot at long range distances and require the additional light transmission that the larger objective lens will provide, then the 3-9x50mm will be the best rifle scope for you.
Personally if I had to choose between the 2 for my 30-06, I would probably go with the 2-7x32mm because I often find myself shooting whitetail at 300 yards or less. For that reason, I am willing to pay slightly more for a lighter rifle scope than something as big as the 50mm.
Magnification: 3-9x (or 2-7x)
Objective Lens: 50mm (or 32mm)
Final Thoughts - Best Rifle Scope for 30-06
The 30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge is the "go to" for a lot of hunters worldwide. It has the speed and trajectory to make long range kill shots on medium and large sized game.
After all, this is an ex-military cartridge that was used heavily to make shots at 1000 yards. If you don't already own one, buy yourself a quality 30-06 rifle, and if you are lucky, you can probably buy a used one of these rifles from a buddy.
The best rifle scope for your 30-06 is shared by two rifle scopes - Nikon's Prostaff 3-9x40 and Leupold's VX-2 2-7x32. Each of the scopes have their pros and cons, however each one are quality rifle scopes and definitely worth the money.
If you want to buy one of the most popular 3006 rifle scopes from Amazon, buy the Nikon Prostaff optic. They sell a lot and for good reason.
Stay safe and happy shooting!
Check back next year for the best rifle scope for 30-06 in 2018 Top 5 List!