Best 30-06 Rifles in 2020

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It may be a struggle to identify the right .30-06 rifle. But if you’ve got a clear understanding of what to look for, the quest may become a little simpler. .30-06 is a rifle renowned for being one of the most popular and accurate weapons for hunting purposes.

Many big game hunters would say you that if you’re out on the field and want to take down a good-sized deer, elk or some other large size animal, this is the kind of rifle you’ll want on hand.

If you’re a shooter searching for a particularly great .30-06 rifle, then you’ll want to look at the selection of six weapons we’ve put together. These versions are the best ones the market.

We’ll also explore how reliable these weapons are and give you a look behind the curtain on how we’ve picked these firearms for you.

Use cases for the .30-06 rifle

The .30-06 is better used for hunting, as described earlier. In specific, to list a handful, the hunters would use this for deer , elk, hogs and even bears. The explanation is that these weapons have a lot of heavy-hitting ammunition behind them, and if you plan to take down a big game target with one shot, you’ll need it.

It can also be used for casual target shooting away from hunting (which often involves test shooting so you can see with a different lens or sight).

How Accurate is the .30-06 rifle?

That is going to rely on the weight of the round itself. .30-06 bullets weigh between 140 and 180 grams. Since they are only shot from rifles with a lot of recoil, they’ll have the ability to travel very fast. How far are you asking?

Some users claim that they can fire their targets from somewhere from 600 and 800 yards away with accurate precision. This is a remarkable reach, especially for those who see themselves as long-range hunters.

How we selected the best .30-06 Rifles 

We did not pick these weapons purely at random. We picked these six on the basis of certain unique qualities that stuck out to us in any way. We suggest you use the same approach that we did when hunting for your own .30-06 rifle. Some of the things you need to hold your eyes open for here are:

Price

If you are a bargain shopper, you will still be aiming for a price tag that is reasonable. And don’t confuse this with “cheap.” Affordable means  The best firearm you can buy in terms of accuracy in your budget. Even if you’ve had to pay a little bit more on the budget scale, it’s a lot safer than opting for a lousy weapon just because the price was low.

Performance

The efficiency depends on many sub-factors: how light is the weight of the pull on the trigger? How much fire-power do you get for “oomph?” How far will the rifle shoot? There are certain concerns that need to be answered before getting a clear sense about how well it will do in a shooting scenario in competition and in prime time ( i.e., the actual hunting scenario).

Quality

We are searching for weapons which will last a long time for you. We are talking about years , or even decades. And make a weapon crafted from materials of good quality. For eg, although it has a synthetic stock made of polymer, most rifles would have barrels constructed from stress-tested steel.

Best .30-06 Rifles: Review 

The following is a selection of the six best .30-06 firearms currently available on the market. Although the list can shift between now and next year, this will offer you an opportunity to see what’s popular among enthusiasts and hunters of the .30-06 caliber.

Be sure to remember which features and options stick out so you can find the ideal rifle. Let’s begin this ranking now by announcing our “best .30-06 rifle overall”:

Best .30-06 Rifle overall: Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP .30-06 Spfd. w/ Nikon Scope

Pros

  • Very accurate Shooting
  • Really clear optics of the scope
  • Great for Hunting
  • Able to knock down even big game with a lot firepower
  • Nikon scope is very reliable & sturdy, can handle a lot recoil

Cons

  • Just the price, but quality always costs more

What recent Buyers reported

This weapon pleased many of the recent customers. When they noticed the Nikon scope is included in the set, they became much more excited. Most were hunters searching a perfect rifle for their next hunting trip. The scope enabled them to pinpoint accurate shots between 600 and 700 yards range. One user also mentioned landing a whitetail deer from this distance in one shot.

Why is it the Best .30-06 rifle overall?

This rifle is fitted with a sight that not only offers precise target shooting but the business’s most perfectly clear optics. That’s what is well known for Nikon scopes. ,There are plenty of scopes on the market  but if there has ever been a lens that can allow you a vast field of view, high-quality image pictures and the opportunity to sharpshoot this lens will do it.

Who should buy it

This is about the hunter who is searching a straight out of the rack perfect hunting rifle. Granted, before you can have it primed for the first hunt, you’ll need to sight it in. But make no mistake, you’ll feel more secure in hitting the next game once you get it set and ready to go.

Verdict

The Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP will certainly do exactly that if you’re searching for a .30-06 weapon that will stun you right out of the start. Who doesn’t love this rifle? With it you get a perfect scope, a lot of ammunition and a presence to be dealt with in the fields of shooting. Get the rifle and you’re going to be set for a long time.

2nd Best .30-06 Rifle: Winchester- Model 70 Featherweight 30-06 Springfield 22IN 5+1

Pros

  • Bolt-Action rifle
  • Tight shooting groups, great accuracy
  • Good for hunting big game
  • Protection of shoulders through recoil pad

Cons

  • None

What recent Buyers said

Most recent buyers were fond of the rifle’s overall appearance. Some wrote, that it looks like a classic .30-06 rifle. According to one person the wood finish looks pretty fine and is very sturdy. As far as the shooting goes, they were able to strike objectives reliably from 100 to 200 yards even without both front and rear sights.

Why it is in the Best .30-06 Rifle ranking

This rifle is very lightweight. Especially for a hard hitting hunting rifle. But still, carrying even during the course of a day is very convenient. And with a sling added to that it makes it far simpler to carry hands-free. This is why we enjoy it and we can’t get enough of it.

Who should buy it

This would be a choice among anyone who doesn’t like bulky and inconvenient holding weapons. Hunters who want a rifle that will take down hogs, deer and all kinds of big game or even waterfowl will need this. Who says a rifle light can’t be a hitting heavy?

Verdict

One of the best hunting rifles in its class is the Winchester Model 70 .30-06 rifle. If you’re searching for a rifle that’s incredibly lightweight and offers exceptional efficiency like none else, you’ll probably want to look a lot more closely at this weapon. Big strength comes from lightweight rifles, to paraphrase an old word, really.

3rd Best .30-06 Rifle: Remington 783, Bolt Action, .30-06 Springfield, 22″ Barrel, 3-9x40mm Scope, 4+1 Rounds

Pros

  • Very easy to sight in, great for beginners
  • Accurate & tight shooting groups
  • Smooth & reasonable recoil
  • Nice & clear image of the scope

Cons

  • On the heavier side

What the Buyers reported

It has pleased most recent customers. The first point they listed was that the lens for a generic brand scope was remarkably clear, and that it was accurate in most hunting conditions. They were able to fire at various big game targets, including deer and hog, reliably from different distances.

Why we picked it for the Best .30-06 Rifle ranking

The weapon itself resembles the iconic hunting rifle. A rifle, which a  many years back, your father or grandparents might have went out with. tOf course with a lot bolt action hunting rifles you could say the same thing. The main distinction is that this weapon is modified for modern times. wThis ensures you ‘re dealing with a rifle that has a robust synthetic stock that will give you more protection even stuck in a bad weather it’s nearly impossible to destroy them.

Who should buy this rifle

This weapon is meant for those who believe they are strong advocates of bolt-action rifles. It’s probably one of the more common styles of weapons to use while you’re looking for the big game targets. If you want consistent feeding with one push of the bolt you would certainly want to give a closer look to this weapon.

Verdict

The Remington 783 Bolt Action .30-06 Springfield is definitely your ideal rifle if you’re searching for a weapon that can be your best hunting buddy out there. With up to four shots at your side, and a fast moving bolt action, you’ll certainly have fun knocking down the next target no matter how far you go.

4th Best .30-06 rifle: s

5th Best .30-06 Rifle:

Rifle cartridge .30-06 Springfield: Universal caliber for hunting and sport

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was once developed for military use. It is probably the most widely used caliber worldwide: a proven all-round cartridge for hunters and sport shooters. However, in view of all the new short rifle calibers for every purpose, the question now arises whether this classic is not now superfluous?

Americans have long boasted that the .30-06 Springfield is a “new” and “original” cartridge. In reality, however, it is merely a slightly (by 5 mm) lengthened 8 mm Mauser (7.92 x 57 mm) with a thoroughly American full-body .30 caliber bullet (7.62 mm).

How was the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge created?

First of all, connoisseurs of the subject may be surprised to learn that we will date the 110th anniversary of the .30-06 Springfield in 2016. After all, 1903 is usually mentioned in the technical literature as the year of introduction of the cartridge.

Basically, in that year, a predecessor of the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was introduced for the Springfield 1903 orderly rifle, based on the Mauser cylinder bolt action. This is also known as .30-03 or .30-45. Three years later, the case neck of the .30-03 was shortened by 1.8 mm, following international trends. The cartridge was also equipped with a lighter 150 Grains pointed bullet. The background: At 823 m/s, it delivered significantly more energy than the original .30-03 with its heavy projectile.

Like the 8 mm Mauser, the .30-06 Springfield caliber developed in a long process to its present form. At the beginning of this development was the .30-03 cartridge mentioned above.

The birth of the .30-06 Springfield

The improved version of the .30-03 was introduced under the official name “Ball Cartridge, caliber .30, Model of 1906”. Strictly speaking, this was the birth of the legendary .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge. It was the first rimless ordonance cartridge to replace the .30-40 Krag.

Although the .30-06 could be fired from the old Springfield rifles with .30-03 barrels, the precision was extremely modest due to the short case neck.

In 1926, again following trends from Europe, a new .30-06 military laboratory was introduced in the United States with 172 grain heavy projectile. To improve external ballistics, it had a 9-degree torpedo stern. The muzzle velocity of this “Ball Cartridge, caliber 30, M1” was 823 m/s, the same as its 150-grain predecessor. However, due to gas pressure problems it was reduced to 805 m/s.

But there were functional problems of the Garand self loading rifle with the 172 Grains M1 ammunition. Thus, in 1940, the 150 Grains was finally reintroduced as the “M2” version.

Universal caliber .30-06 Springfield for hunters and sport shooters

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge was used in the two world wars, where it gained a good reputation. After the wars, the military had so much ammunition left over that it was also made available to private customers. As a result, the popularity of the universal caliber exploded – an all-round cartridge for both hunting and sport shooting.

The service career of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge as the primary ordnance caliber of the US Army ranged from the two World Wars to the Korean conflict. It only ended in 1957 with the introduction of the first Garand rifles in .308 Winchester, after the caliber 7.62 x 51 mm had already been chosen as the official NATO orderly caliber in 1954. The roots of the .30-06 Springfield, like those of many other cartridges, thus lie with the US military. The name also reveals the real date of its introduction: While .30 indicates the caliber, 06 stands for the year 1906.

Even though the .30-06 Springfield has been out of military service for over 60 years, this versatile civilian classic is still one of the world’s most popular rifle calibers. Based on its metric dimensions, the rifle cartridge is also known as 7.62 x 63 mm. Currently, the caliber still leads the sales list of the major ammunition manufacturers in third place after the military used .223 Remington/5.56 x 45 NATO and .308 Winchester/7.62 x 51 NATO.

Even after 110 years, the .30-06 Springfield is still more popular – and more effective – than ever before: no manufacturer of hunting or sport ammunition can afford to do without the universal caliber in its range.

What are the technical details of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge?

With bullets weighing between 130 and 200 grains, this cartridge offers a wide range of applications in hunting. Thanks to the extensive range of charges and components for reloading, it can justifiably be called “the most versatile ammunition in the world”. To this day, the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge is a true milestone among gun and ammunition platforms due to its many advantages.

The .30-06 Springfield is also one of the few calibers available for almost all civilian weapons – from single shot rifles to semi-automatic rifles, from cylinder-breech rifles to double-barrelled rifles. Even in military use, it has not yet become obsolete: many older .30-06 Springfield caliber rifles are still in stock with armed forces around the world. Therefore, the .30-06 Springfield can justifiably be called a universal caliber.

.30-06 Springfield (7.62 x 63 mm) cartridge profile

Bullet diameter: .308″ / 7,82 mm
Year of introduction: 1906
Maximum sleeve length: 63.35 mm
Maximum cartridge length: 84.84 mm
Sleeve base diameter: 12.01 mm
Maximum gas pressure (CIP): 3,500 bar
Maximum gas pressure (SAAMI): 4.1237 bar
primer: Large Rifle

The .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge is the first choice for wild boar hunting. Particularly in Europe, passionate hunters are convinced of the stability and power of the appropriate hunting ammunition. Their success in selective hunting methods, however, is rather mediocre – at least in Europe.

In principle, it performs solidly in this area, but hunters prefer lighter and faster ammunition – which is a pity, because with the wide range of bullet weights, the .30-06 Springfield really doesn’t have to hide behind the competition.

The application areas of the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge

… are absolutely versatile. The large caliber cartridge is suitable for medium to large game – except for pachyderms and large buffalo. In the USA it is a kind of “national cartridge” and the most sold and most shot hunting caliber of all. In principle it is “shot at everything that moves”.

In addition, the .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber is also extremely popular as precise competition ammunition. With bullets ranging from 150 grains to 180 grains, it delivers the best performance, even at long distances.

Even with heavy 220-grain bullets, the results are still quite acceptable, but this is the limit. A 150 grains bullet from a .30-06 caliber cartridge achieves a muzzle velocity of about 850 m/s and a performance factor of about 400 kg/m.

How good is lead-free hunting ammunition in .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber?

Even in the age of lead-free hunting ammunition, the .30-06 still has a right to exist. All well-known manufacturers offer the corresponding factory ammunition as well as reloading components. Some popular brands can be mentioned here: Barnes TSX, TTSX, MRX, Norma Kalahari, Norma Ecostrike, Hornady GMX, RWS Evolution Green, RWS HIT and Winchester Power Core 95.

In principle, copper, brass or tombac solid bullets provide a higher penetration depth in the target than conventional lead core/jacket projectiles. The result is an increased probability of a reject.

In addition, lighter bullets can be selected – in terms of penetration depth, these are also in no way inferior to conventional bullets and also have a more rapid trajectory.

Our conclusion on the .30-06 Springfield rifle caliber

To answer the question asked at the beginning: There are certainly some wonderful new cartridge developments with potential. But even after more than 110 years, hunters and sport shooters alike do absolutely nothing wrong with this tried and tested classic in the shape of the .30-06 Springfield.

After all, it is not without reason that this is probably the most popular all-round caliber with which almost all game species worldwide have been shot. Accordingly, this rifle caliber will probably continue to be available in abundance for the next 110 years.

30-06 – American Versatility

The 30-06 (7.62 x 63) cartridge was introduced in 1906 as a US military cartridge. Until today it is one of the most popular hunting cartridges worldwide. Most authors describe it as a kind of universal cartridge for medium-heavy game – with the weaknesses and limitations that such a claim entails.

Ernest Hemingway described the 30-06 in “The Green Hills of Africa” as a girl for everything and used it accordingly versatile. Just how much the claim of the universal cartridge really applies was demonstrated by the legendary American hunter J.Y. Jones, who, as described in his book “One Man, One Rifle, One Land”, hunted down every American species and subspecies with the same 30-06, a Remington 700 ADL – from polar bears to jaguars in Mexico.

The 30-06 originated as a military cartridge for the US Rifle, .30 caliber M 1903, manufactured by the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. After three years (1906) the ammunition for this weapon was revised and the 30-06 Springfield cartridge was created (with a bullet weight of 150 grains).

After the First World War it was reworked and was called (now with 174 grains) .30 M1 Ball cartridge. A further revision (now with 152 Grains bullet) led to the .30 M2 Ball cartridge in 1938.

The 30-06 has always been a very American cartridge and still is. Further inspired have such hunters as J.Y. Jones or US shooting legends like Jeff Cooper have further enhanced the cartridge’s fame, who stated: “The classic 30-06 of the United States will do anything that a rifle may be called upon to do, which includes the taking of all forms of live targets, from prairie dogs to Alaskan moose, and it is superbly suitable for fighting.

Contrary to this myth, he chose the newer .308 for his concept scout rifle on the grounds that “The ideal cartridge for a general purpose rifle is the 30-06th.

The 308 however, offers nearly the same performance in a shorter package, reducing the total amount of metal necessary in the action. So little is the myth valid in the face of similar performance.

Nevertheless, for the author of this article it was of course not only, but also the American aspect of the cartridge that made it desirable to own a weapon of this caliber. Just as it seemed desirable to him to own a Colt and a Smith & Wesson – other American legends.

Expert opinions

Bob Forker describes the cartridge in his standard work “Ammo & Ballistics” as follows “The 30-06 is the standard by which every other U.S. cartridge is judged. Conceived in response to the embarrassment inflicted by the 7 x 57 mm Mausers in Cuba in the Spanish-American War, this cartridge, when first developed, was little more than a 7 x 57 necked to a .30 calibre. … The basic design of U.S. military rifle ammunition changed very little until the 7.62 NATO cartridge (.308 Winchester) was adopted in 1952.

Manfred Rosenberger writes about the 30-06: “No other ammunition has ever been offered in such a large number of different laboratories, and no other ammunition proved to be more versatile in hunting practice”.

And Norbert Klups states: “With the right bullet, the .30-06 is a universal caliber for medium-heavy game at normal shooting distances. … As far as the powders are concerned, the medium-quick types dominate … but with heavy projectiles, the somewhat more progressive burning propellants … can be used very well. … The choice of bullets is enormous”. To say that the 30-06 is highly controversial is certainly wrong.

Paper Ballistics

As I said, the ammunition supply for the caliber 30-06 is huge – especially in the US. Comparing the 30-06 with the 300 Winchester Magnum and the .308 Winchester, it becomes clear how close the three cartridges are today:

Overview (all three cartridges from Norma/Oryx)

Bullet weight
1) 30-06: 200 Grains (there are also 180 Grains)
2) 300 WM: 200 Grains (there are also 180 Grains)
3) 308: 165 Grains

Muzzle velocity in m/s
1) 30-06: 800
2) 300 WM: 850
3) 308: 835

Muzzle energy; or energy after 100 m in joules
1) 4162; 3321
2) 4698; 3772
3) 3728; 2978

Shot at 100 m results in a deviation in mm at 150 m of
1) – 49
2) – 41
3) – 42

As little as “paper ballistics” is meaningful. It becomes clear that in standard hunting situations the 30-06 has more energy and higher bullet weights than its more modern sister 308. At 150 m, the deviations from a 100 m spot shot gun are similar for all three cartridges – namely between 4 and 5 cm.

Different use cases

Without a doubt, the 30-06 is an absolutely suitable cartridge for German hunting grounds:

  • Almost all manufacturers and importers operating here offer weapons and interchangeable barrels in this caliber
  • the range of ammunition easily available here is gigantic (“Der Jäger” lists almost 150 currently available types in November 2011 – including about 1/3 lead-free bullets) and inexpensive ammunition is available
  • not least because of this range of ammunition the caliber is suitable for small predators up to heavy cloven-hoofed game
  • the characteristics of the ammunition match the conditions of the hunting grounds (distance) and the game (resistance and size)

The 30-06 is suitable not only for the Ansitz and stalk-hunt (that comes too briefly anyway in the US), but also for the driven hunt. As Norbert Klups correctly writes: “The common standard cartridges .30-06 Springf., 8×57 IS and the 9.3×62 have proven themselves.

The same applies to the 8×57 IRS, .30 R Blaser and 9.3×74 R rim versions. Of course, there is nothing to be said against using Magnum cartridges such as the .300 Winchester Magnum or the 8×68 S on driven hunts, and many hunters do this with great success, but these calibers cannot play off their real advantages here and the hunter has to accept the disadvantages such as heavy weapons, high recoil, expensive cartridges and greater game destruction at short distances”. There is nothing to add to this.

Apart from the domestic hunting ground, the 30-06 is also a good choice for hunting abroad – unless it is defensive big game (e.g. the Big Five or brown bears) or larger antelopes or it is a question of larger shooting distances.

As Gregor Woods writes in “Rifles for Africa”: “Your safari may be for nondangerous game only and may take place on one or two bushveld game ranches, in which case a .30-06 loaded with 220-grain bullets will be sufficient for everything, unless you want to include Eland.

The author can agree to this with restrictions. Not only did he see an already welded eland that – in an emergency situation, fired at with the only weapon available – could only be shot after six hits with the 30-06 (three of which were very well placed). He also saw an Oryx that could not be killed despite a lung hit with a 30-06 (but a 180 grain bullet).

Therefore he would agree with the restriction that the 30-06 is certainly very well suited for smaller antelopes like Impala, Bushbuck, Reedbuck and secondly in a terrain like the Bushveld of South Africa with shorter shooting distances also for larger antelopes.

It is similar with black bears at relatively short shooting distances (i.e. at the bait and with dogs, but not with Spot and Stalk). There, the cartridge is recommended by many of the most experienced guides (as in the excellent book “Ask the Blackbear Guides”):

  • Outfitter Joe Jakab says “There are many good choices, and I don’t have a favorite. Any gun that shoots a bullet over 150 grains will work well, although a heavier bullet is better. I like the 30-06, the .35 and the .45-70.”
  • Outfitter Horace Lane explains “For bears, caribou, or moose, I unequivocally recommend the .30-06. It’s my personal choice and I find it really effective”.
  • And Claude Turcotte adds “A 30-06 is ideal if the hunter can shoot it well.

Less specific are the men’s statements about the best shots at Schwarzbär. One recommends the Nosler partition (180 grains), another says “heavier bullets are prefarable”.

Craig Boddington, despite the hunting legends that have killed all North American game with the 30-06, says “If you could do it with a .30-06, you could probably do it more effectively with a .300 Magnum”. If it is not necessary to shoot at a distance of more than 150 m, this may be doubted.

However, one of the main reasons for him (besides the safety reserve of a stronger cartridge) is the joy of considering and handling the special weapon and ammunition for the respective hunting operation – who could not understand this?

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