Best Scope for 30-06 – The 4 Best Optics in 2018

If you spend your weekends hunting deer, bear, and another medium to large game, you are probably aware of the Springfield 30-06.

One of our favorite things about this particular cartridge is the range of rifles it has been chambered in, including names like:

  • Browning
  • Remington
  • Nosler
  • Mossberg
  • And more!

Going the Distance: Maximize your Shooting Range

The Springfield 30-06 can shoot up to 200 yards with less than 1 MOA. Although 200 yards is the general rule of thumb, other factors will cause slight deviations. Some factors come from your rifle’s specifications, others vary by grain.

In the field, there are several situations where you have to beat that 200 yards. With enough practice and the right scope, the 30-06 is capable of shooting up to 800-1000 yards. If you are not looking to shoot long range, a scope can be beneficial for you as well.

Here’s what you need to know when you’re ready to start.

A Quick Guide to Distance: How Far will Your Bullet Go?

From muzzle point blank with a standard 1.5” scope height, follow these rough measurements for the Springfield 30-06 caliber:

  • Long Range: 400 yards and above
  • Medium Range: 200 – 400 yards
  • Close Range: Up to 200 yards

After 200 yards, the bullet starts to drop significantly with less velocity. After 300 yards, the drop falls below one foot, which means you’ll require some help to get that long shot. Unfortunately, it will take a little bit more than just extra practice.

You’ll have to use a scope that fits your personal shooting parameters. With the right optic, your Springfield 30-06 rifle can go further than you ever thought.

What magnification do you need?

Whether that target is a few yards away or way out on the horizon, you can always use some help. While it makes sense to think that more magnification is always better, that’s not the case. It must match up with the distance you’re shooting.

If you’re trying to shoot on a longer distance, you’ll want more magnification. What is magnification and what does it mean? Check out our quick guide here to understand how lens measurements and magnifications work.

Which one of these sounds more like you?

  • Long Range (400 yards and above)
  • Like many proud hunting rifle owners, you probably lie awake at night dreaming of that 1000 yard goal. Lucky for you, it’s not impossible! Just find the best scope for Springfield 30-06 caliber with powers of 9x and higher.
  • Medium Range (200 – 400 yards)
  • The Springfield 30-06 is one of the most popular hunting calibers and for good reason. From this range, you’ll get the bulk of your beasts safely and ethically. Get a better view of this winter’s meat in the 4 – 9x power range.
  • Close Range (Up to 200 yards)
  • With the power of the Springfield 30-06 caliber, there isn’t much you can’t obliterate in this range. Most likely, you’re aiming for the dead-on bullseye that will win that bet on the next round of drinks. Ensure that win by using a scope that utilizes 1 – 4x power.

There are many options out there, but the 4 scopes below, we believe mate best with the 30-06.

The 4 Best Scopes for 30-06

Which one of these will be the next mount on your rifle?

  1. Leupold VX1 3-9x40mm Compact Water/Fogproof Riflescope
  2. Nikon Profstaff 3-9x40mm Riflescope
  3. Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42mm Riflescope (The Best for Long Ranges)
  4. Leupold VX2 4-12x40mm Compact Riflescope

A quick note: why do some scopes say “BDC” and others don’t? BDC stands for “bullet drop compensation.”

Simply, this means that you will not have to adjust the elevation for longer range shots. All you have to do is use the reticle that matches the distance you are shooting and pull the trigger. 

As you can see, our favorite choices are courtesy of the most reliable names on the market. No tricks, no games, just straight up the quality you deserve.

Finding Your Next Scope

Let’s get it going! 

1. Leupold VX1 3-9x40mm Compact Water/Fogproof Riflescope

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope, Matte Black

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What better than an all-American scope for the most versatile American centerfire caliber! Leupold is one of the top-rated brands and most people will not be surprised to see it on this list.

Our pick is their entry-level scope in the VX-1 series, the 3-9x40mm.

This is a variable power scope that’s built like a tank, boasts of Leupold’s Quantum Optical System and comes at a very affordable price. Yeah, we don’t believe that the scope must cost at least half of your rifle.

For the 30-06, the 40mm objective transmits enough light to hit targets up to 300 yards with ease. Unless you are looking at hunting over 400-500 yards, this scope offers the best bang for the buck.

Generous Eye Relief

Apart from the standard Leupold features like the 1-inch aircraft grade aluminum tube, matte black finish with gold accents (no gaudy brand lettering) and a lightweight form factor, the Leupold VX-1 has one of the best optical quality at this price point.

The Multilens 4-coating provides clear and crisp images with almost 92% light transmission. In a real-life hunting scenario, it allows you to spot and lock on to your target irrespective of the camouflage.

We love the 4.2-3.7-inch eye-relief on the VX-1 3-9. Even first-timers who haven’t experienced the extra kick of the 30-06 firearm will appreciate the generous eye box. It’s perfect for hunting situations and pretty good for bench rest shooting as well.

In simpler terms, fewer chances of the scope kissing your face.

Duplex/LR Reticle options

As we said earlier, this isn’t our pick for a long range hunting scope. So, the duplex crosshair reticle works great for more traditional hunting use.

Having said that, the VX-1 is also available in an LR Duplex version with the two dots that can be used as a barebones Ballistic Drop Compensator.

But that’s overkill unless you are looking to stretch north of 400 yards which is not what the scope is designed for.

Stick to the under 400-yard range and this will amplify the accuracy of the 30-06 caliber.  

Our two cents

This is a classic lightweight all-purpose scope that is accurate, compatible with a whole range of firearms and has an excellent optical quality that holds its own when compared to much higher priced scopes. To top it off, Leupold throws in a lifetime warranty.

For the 30-06 user, this offers unparalleled accuracy and fast focusing at short to medium range distances.

It would be a suitable choice for the 30-30 and one of the best scopes for 243 as well.

2. Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40mm Riflescope

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)

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This Nikon is a perfect choice for hunters looking for a budget scope for their 30-06 rifles.

Top quality construction clubbed with excellent optics and a BDC reticle makes this a great choice for short and medium range shooting.

Sturdy, all-weather scope

Nikon has been one of the forerunners in making scopes that require minimal fiddling-with on the range. The Prostaff is no different. It is a reasonably light all-aluminum scope that is nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed. Water and fog won’t affect the glass and it can easily absorb the recoil of larger caliber rifles.

The spring-loaded zero reset turrets allow easy adjustments on-the-go.

It features Nikon’s multicoated optical system that enhances light transmission and the optical quality is the best in-class. Clear, crisp images with excellent contrast give you the edge in a hunting scenario. The eye relief is 3.6 inches which once again, is perfect for the 30-06 rifle. Some of the casual shooters that we spoke to, mentioned that they wouldn’t touch any 30-06 caliber firearm without a scope with at least 4 inches of eye relief due to the extra recoil.

BDC Reticle calibrated to 600 yards

The BDC reticle clubbed with Nikon’s Spot-On app makes it effortless to hit your targets with precision at distances up to 300 yards. The reticle is calibrated up to 600 yards. But even with the calibration, achieving a good shot at that distance with this scope would take some brilliant shooting skills.

It’s not impossible but seems like a stretch.

For any distance lesser than 400 yards, the Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 is one of your best choices for the 30-06.

Our two cents

Great image quality, sturdy construction and reliable performance, the Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 is completely worth every penny that you’d spend on it.

It can take more than a few bumps and easily holds zero despite the recoil of the firearm.

3. Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42mm Riflescope

Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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This is a worthy upgrade from the versatile 3-9x40s that have remained a favorite with hunters over the years. There’s a bump in the magnification, great quality turrets that have a resonating click and a clean reticle that allow you to stretch the capabilities of the 30-06 to its full capacity.

The Dead-Hold BDC Reticle

Vortex sticks to the traditional 1-inch aluminum tube construction with its proprietary ArmorTek weatherproof coating. It’s argon gas purged and O-ring sealed. It feels like a brick though it isn’t as heavy as it appears to be.

It features a very clean reticle with vertical crosshair hash marks corresponding to 1.5, 4.5, and 7.5 MOA and horizontal ones corresponding to 2, 4, and 6 MOA. Personally, we love first focal plane scopes because they tend to be more accurate when you are looking to use it for anything below maximum magnification.

But despite being a second focal plane scope, the Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16X42 allows you to accurately hold for elevation. This eliminates any guesswork about wind-drift that comes into play over longer distances

In simpler terms, if you have never shot beyond 100 yards, this is the set of glass that you need on your 30-06 rifle to hit that target accurately beyond 350 or even 400 yards.

Bright and clear even at Maximum magnification on a cloudy day

Thankfully, we have had the opportunity to look through some of the best scopes that money can buy. Those are all priced above $1000.

The Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16X42 can easily be compared to some of those glasses in terms of clarity, light transmission, and contrast.

The images are clear, crisp and there is no tinting or fuzziness even at sunset on an overcast day. Even if you are at the maximum magnification of the range, you will easily be able to spot your target in low contrast surroundings. That’s pretty much what any shooter would demand from a hunting scope.

Our two cents

The Vortex Diamondback HP is a lot of scope for the money. The objective clubbed with the increased magnification and the easy-to-use reticle put targets at longer ranges well within your reach.

The rugged construction can easily tackle the recoil of the 30-06 and there’s a generous 4-inch eye relief.

If you are looking for a reliable hunting scope for longer ranges with your 30-06 rifle, we highly recommend the Vortex Diamondback HP.

4. Leupold VX2 4-12x40mm Compact Riflescope 

Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish, Black (114396)

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Here we have the sibling of our other Leupold VX1. Although they share a lot of similarities, there are very important distinctions.

If you like everything about the other Leupold on our list, but want to shoot long range, this is your scope. Although the objective lens is the same size, you can’t deny that the view is innately superior. It offers more magnification power so you can catch that long shot.

Lucky for you, this improved vision comes with the same unique Leupold features that make it phenomenal.

An index-matched DiamondCoat and blackened lens edges give this scope an excellent 94% light transmission. You’ll never notice any flaws since the DiamondCoat provides complete protection from scrapes and scratches (even during hard use).  

Of course, you can’t forget the custom dial system (CDS) either! It adjusts to your specific cartridge so you never have to worry about elevation and holdover!

External Eyepiece and Comfortable Eyebox

Get swift, unbelievable eye relief with the external eyepiece made just for heavy recoil. Finally, you can blast your heavy duty power without waking up with a black eye! If you’re hanging around the medium to long range, you’ll get the perfect shot effortlessly.

It’s so effective and so simple, it almost feels like cheating!

The Bottom Line

If you want a tried and true USA scope, this is it. Leupold has been a family-owned company for four generations. Beyond all of the unique, technological features, the distinct gold ring on the objective bell is their real mark of quality. You can trust this fine machine to deliver consistent results without hitting your bank account hard. What more could you ask for?

What are you waiting for?

Don’t wait any longer to make the most out of your favorite rifle!

You may find interesting our guides about the best scopes for ar-10 and best m1a scopes interesting.

Get up close and personal with the Nikon and Leupold models or go all the way with Vortex. No matter what choice you make, you can’t go wrong with these Springfield 30-06 optics.