Best 30-06 Hunting Rifles – 2021 Guide

Jeff
| Last Updated January 20, 2021

"30-06" - the legendary cartridge that pushed America victorious through two world wars and has the reputation of being one of the most successful sniping rounds of all time.

Rifles chambered in the .30-06 have always been a reliable and effective choice to bring down living targets. Regardless of their size and strength.

Revered as an acclaimed battle and hunting cartridge, this article will talk about the best hunting rifles chambered in the caliber.

Our Top Picks for Best 30 06 Hunting Rifles

  • Easy to use
  • Accurate firearm
  • Comfortable carrying
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  • Accurate, reliable
  • Scope included
  • Lightweight design
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  • Better display
  • Very durable
  • Won't get stuck
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Comparison of the Best 30-06 Hunting Rifles

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Great reliability bolt-action with easy actions
  • Adjustable trigger provides fast release for better accuracy
  • Studs comes with a swiveling action for easy sling attachment
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  • With much better accuracy it is great for even beginners
  • Comes included with a nice scope of ease of use
  • Trigger guard and sling swivels are molded into the stock
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  • Stock is made from matt black synthetic materials
  • Strong and durable construction to last longer
  • Ejection port is enlarge to reduce chances of getting stuck
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What to Look For When Buying a 30-06

A 30-06 rifle is going to be used for hunting. That’s for sure. So basically, you should look out for the ideal characteristics of a hunting rifle. Let’s check out what they are: 

Not Too Much Weight

Tracking game on hunting trips can often be a tedious affair. Since the 30-06 rifle will mostly be used for hunting, you’d rather want to buy one that weighs less. All weights under 8 or 8.5 lbs are great. But anything above that will become a fatigue inducer. Especially if you had a long day just searching for your target. 

Ideal Barrel Length

As shooting experts and most hunters agree. The best barrel length for a 30-06 rifle is 22 inches. Maybe a couple of inches more if you prefer longer shots. But not less. 

Rugged and Reliable Design

Having a rifle with a reliable design and good ergonomics will do justice to the 30-06 cartridge. You don’t want your stock to be flexing or the swivels moving out of shape under strenuous use. It’s not that you’ll be beating your rifle with a rock. But having a robust and reliable rifle ensures accuracy and up-to-the-mark performance under all conditions. 

Crisp Trigger and Adjustability is a Plus

A trigger with too much over/pre travel or pull weight is certainly not acceptable for a hunting rifle. Especially if you plan on taking down big and dangerous game animals with it. A good, crisp trigger builds confidence and lets you take shots at just the right moment. Additionally, having an adjustable trigger can also be helpful. 

Quick Take | Best 30-06 Hunting Rifles

Review of the Best 30-06 Hunting Rifles

We’ve compiled a list of what we consider the best 30-06 hunting rifles available on the market today. 

PROS

  • Swivel studs for mounting sling
  • Pre-installed weaver scope bases
  • Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger
  • Rubber butt pad for reduced felt recoil
  • Durable composite stock with free-float barrel

CONS

  • A bit choosy with heavy loads

What Recent Buyers Report

The Ruger American is just the best rifle you can buy for the price. The stock is rigid and very durable. The rifle stays accurate and is just six pounds unloaded. This is an inexpensive but reliable rifle with an adjustable trigger that works.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ruger American is a proven hunting rifle and this specific model chambered in .30-06 is the best you can ask for under such an amazing price point. The rifle has a free-float barrel and a composite stock that can withstand abuse and weather without flexing. The extra buttpad on the rear helps with mitigating recoil. Plus, the adjustable trigger is an amazing value-for-money addition to the rifle. 

The rifle has almost every feature you’ll need. The pre-installed weaver base mounts and swivel studs are useful utilities. An accurate and pretty much complete rifle right out of the box. 

Bottom Line

This is a great budget rifle for entry-level shooters and casual hunters. You won’t mind it sitting inside your gun safe and will find it ready for action when you pull it out.

PROS

  • Adjustable CrossFire™ trigger
  • Detachable flush fit steel box magazine
  • Dual pillar bedding that free-floats the barrel
  • Comes standard with 3-9x32 factory mounted scope

CONS

  • Included scope is very generic

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the durability, lightweight design, and smooth action of the 783. The included scope is not very usable and you’ll have to replace it with a better scope. The magazine runs smooth and the trigger can be brought down to 2.5 lbs of pull weight for quick follow-ups. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Remington 783 is a very reliable budget rifle that shoots accurately right out the box. Remington has managed to include the wooden stock and give the gun a good finish even at such a reasonable price. 

The custom adjustable trigger is a great addition and the long 22-inch free-floating button-rifled barrel is a great helper with performance. The included recoil pad claims a recoil reduction by about 54 percent. But that depends upon your personal preference. The flat handle of its bolt is very easy to use and the action runs impeccably smooth.  

Bottom Line

The Remington 783 is a durable, accurate, and value-for-money rifle that features a traditional wooden stock with a satin finish. The trigger is adjustable to your taste and the mag cycles flawlessly with a match or cheap loads. 

PROS

  • Crisp trigger with virtually no creep
  • Well cut-out and ergonomic design
  • Best for long duration hunting trips
  • Delivers legitimate sub-MOA accuracy
  • One of the most lightweight 30-06 rifles

CONS

  • Recoil pad could’ve been better

What Recent Buyers Report

The Tikka t3x has no match in its class when accuracy, ergonomics, and light weight are concerned. The rifle is the absolute favorite of everybody who uses it. The 2.5 lbs trigger is extremely crisp and the rifle sticks to its promise of being a 3 shot sub-MOA group gun. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Tikka T3X is the lightest 30-06 rifle on this list. It is an incredibly accurate rifle with a very smooth cycling bolt and a user-adjustable trigger. The 3 round magazine fits flush and feeds flawlessly. Plus the large ejector port ensures reliable ejection of spent cases. 

The two lug bolt cycles like a hot knife through butter and the interchangeable pistol grip allows you to change the angle of the grip to suit your taste. While the rifle runs with most loads you feed it. It will work wonders with high-quality match grade loads over medium or even long range. 

Bottom Line

The Tikka T3x lite is a true lightweight rifle that can be taken on long hunting trips. The rifle offers unmatched smoothness and guaranteed sub-MOA accuracy. 

PROS

  • Three-position wing safety
  • Match grade adjustable trigger
  • Reliable Mauser claw extractor
  • Pillar bedded FDE composite stock
  • Exceptionally lightweight for a hunting rifle

CONS

  • Slight kick due to lightweight design

What Recent Buyers Report

Negative buyer reviews about the Kimber Hunter are exceptionally rare to find. The gripes a few users had was with the lightweight design that affected recoil mitigation. But they also seemed to trade it for this amazing design. The rifle is safe, smooth, and a tack driver at appropriate distances. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Kimber Hunter is a rugged and lightweight rifle that offers a three-position safety with a red dot that sits right in the shooter's peripheral vision. The full-length claw extractor and smooth cycling magazine make the operation impeccably smooth. The one-inch recoil pad on the rear is of some help, but handling the recoil will take some practice. 

While Kimber guarantees sub-MOA groups, it is the shooter that will bring out the best potential of this rifle. There’s nothing majorly negative about this rifle, except a few personal taste issues with the magazine and weight. 

Bottom Line

The Kimber 84 Hunter features a stainless steel bolt with reliable safety and extractor. The rifle is very lightweight, accurate, and stands up to your expectations on all terrains. Great potential to be your go-to rifle. Especially for mountain hunting. 

PROS

  • Externally adjustable trigger
  • Strong action and very accurate rifle
  • Drilled and tapped receiver plus swivel studs
  • Crowned muzzle and very strong construction

CONS

  • Not everybody will like the factory trigger

What Recent Buyers Report

The Remington 700 SPS has received a very positive response from buyers. Especially people who have been using this rifle chambered in other calibers. The build quality is said to be solid and so is the accuracy right out of the box. One among the best sub $1,000 rifles out there. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

While the Remington 700 is a very popular rifle, it is a bit uncommon to see this SPS being used in 30-06. However, the rugged construction and a cold-hammer-forged barrel make it a deadly accurate and reliable rifle. This spot would’ve been occupied with a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06, but we decided to include the SPS instead. 

This Remington 700 SPS is a 22-inch barrel rifle featuring an externally adjustable trigger to help you bring down the pull weight. The ergonomics are great and feature a mix of wood and polymer for the right weight balance. The muzzle has been crowned and the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. 

Bottom Line

The Remington 700 SPS is a rifle with unmatched potential and a trusted design. It can withstand the worst of conditions and still emerge to be an accurate rifle. A rifle for classic lovers that has been modernized to meet modern expectations. 

What Can You Hunt With a 30-06?

The 30-06 is among the most versatile rifle cartridges available today. Manufactured by every major ammo company and available in about 100 different variations. The 30-06 is sold from 55-grain plinkers to 220 grain ‘serious-business’ bullets. 

Talking about the suitability to hunt, let’s look at the numbers. A 165 grain 30-06 bullet offers an energy of 2108 foot-pounds at 300 yards which drops to 1,565 foot-pounds at 500 yards. Because 500 yards will generally be the maximum ethical hunting range, the 30-06 is capable of taking down any critter that walks on this planet. 

The caliber is widely and successfully used to take down elks, elands, grizzly bears, moose, and other big games every year in North America. It has also been used to kill elephants in the previous century. Even rhinos with just a single shot and the right placement. 

Comparison Overview

The 30-06 isn’t the only astoundingly popular cartridge on the market today. Sure it has been upgraded with time and technological advancements to match better working standards. But it would be unfair not to compare it with some other popular and similar calibers. 

308 vs 30-06

Both the 308 and 30-06 are military cartridges. The 308 is the civilian version of the 7.62 NATO and hit the market in the 1950s. The 30.06 and .308 use the same bullet and the only visible difference is the case length. The 30-06’s case is 3.34 inches in length and the .308 is 2.8 inches. The longer case length allows the 30-06 to hold about 10 grains more powder and attain higher muzzle velocity. Also causing a further drop is the ballistic coefficient and drop. 

6.5 Creedmoor vs 30-06

The 30-06 is certainly a hard-hitting bullet compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor and has a better muzzle velocity and maximum point-blank range. However, after 300 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor shows lesser drift and drop, along with a small difference between muzzle velocities at every extra 100 yards. 

A 143 grain 6.5 Creedmoor bullet has a better ballistic coefficient (.625) compared to the 30-06 (.490).  Some even call the 6.5 the new 30-06. 

300 Win Mag vs 30-06

The .300 Win Mag is a bulkier caliber compared to the 30-06. It has a longer case (2.62 vs 2.49 inches) and a larger case diameter (.532 vs .473 inches). Which also translates to greater case capacity.  The .300 Win Mag typically uses heavier bullets and is a more hard-hitting caliber. Looking at the number, the .300 Win Mag has a better ballistic coefficient (.510 vs .490) more energy at extending range, and a lesser drop and drift compared to the .30-06. 

270 vs 30-06

The .270 is a lighter cartridge compared to the 30-06. It is more famed as a deer hunting caliber, compared to the ‘versatile’ reputation of the 30-06. The .270 has a marginally better ballistic coefficient but lesser energy and more drop and drift over a long range. The .270 will have to be in the hands of an expert to make a humane kill of a bigger sized game. 

7mm vs 30-06

The 7mm Rem is a flatter shooting bullet over long range when compared to the 30-06. Significantly higher muzzle energy, lesser drift and drop even at distances more than 500 yards. The 7mm is a true long range hunting caliber and has enough energy to bring down any big game. The 30-06 however, has a bigger diameter bullet for more damage. 

Conclusion 

The 30-06 is a reputed and proven hunting cartridge that has enough hard-hitting power to bring down the biggest game anywhere on the surface of this planet. A good 30-06 rifle must help you with recoil, and be lightweight at the same time. Smooth cycling action, adjustable trigger, and a 20+ inch barrel at things to search for. 

People Also Ask

Choosing a rifle chambered in 30-06 can be a confusing affair. Especially if you are not aware of the true potential of this caliber. Check out this FAQ section for more details on this topic. 

What Does 30 06 Mean?

The 30-06 was designed in the year 1906 and is a 30 caliber bullet. The 06 represents the year 1906 and the term 30 represents the caliber. The cartridge had been in service with the US Army for about 70 years. 

What Caliber is a 30-06?

A 30-06 bullet is 30 caliber or .308 inches in diameter. The 30-06 is closely comparable to the .308 Winchester which is a shortened case with lesser powder later adopted by the military for shorter bolt rifles. 

How Far Will a 30 06 Bullet Travel?

The 30-06 bullet was certified for an extreme reach of 4.75 miles. However, a range of about 4500 yards seems to be a more practical range. The maximum point-blank range of the 30-06 with a 165 grain 2950 fps cartridge is 327 yards.  

How Far Can a 30 06 Shoot Accurately?

The effective firing range of a 30-06 is 1,000 yards. But in the hands of an experienced pro shooter, the bullet can accurately hit targets up to 2000 yards. Even the leaf sight on a 30-06 Springfield rifle was calibrated out to 2,850 yards. 

Is a 30-06 a Good Hunting Rifle?

The 30-06 is an amazing hunting rifle. The variations in the bullet loads make it a versatile hunting round for almost every small, medium, or big sized game you can find roaming on this planet. 

Is a 30-06 a High Powered Rifle?

A rifle using a big bore hard-hitting caliber with high impact energy is considered to be a high powered rifle. With that said, the 30-06 has muzzle energy higher than 2,000-foot pounds, and the rifles chambered in this caliber are considered high power rifles. 

Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.