If you’re an avid hunter, there’s a good chance you’ve had plenty of experience with the 30-06.
This popular rifle caliber is known for being versatile and powerful, and it’s a great choice for everything from deer hunting to long-range shooting. But what’s the best scope for a 30-06?
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a scope for your 30-06, including glass clarity, reticle, magnification, eye relief, and durability. In this article, I’ll provide you with a closer look at each of these factors and help you choose the best scope for your needs.
I like to center all of my scope reviews on how well the scope works for hunting purposes. But, because the 30-06 is such a versatile caliber, I’m going to open this review up to include a few different types of scopes. That way, no matter what your budget or intended use is, you should be able to find a great option for your 30-06.
Moreover, I’ve hunted with a 30-06 for years and have experience with a wide range of scopes. So I feel confident in saying that the following scopes are some of the best on the market for this popular caliber.
I always encourage my readers to use my input as a baseline for their own research. In other words, take what I say with a grain of salt and make sure you consider your own preferences before making a final decision.
Just because a scope complements my shooting style or hunting habits doesn’t mean it will do the same for you. You can, however, trust that the following scopes are all high-quality optics that are more than capable of delivering a great hunting experience.
For your convenience, I’ve sorted these scopes according to best overall, best value, best Vortex, etc.
Let’s get to it.
The 4 Best Scopes for 30-06
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm
- Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50
- Trijicon TR20 AccuPoint 3-9×40
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50 – The Best Scope for 30-06
In a bit of an interesting tie-breaker, Vortex Optics’ Crossfire II wins not only best overall but also best budget rifle scope for 30-06.
This is a great all-around scope that’s well suited for hunting and target shooting alike. It features a 6-24x magnification range, which is plenty for most hunting applications. Compared to the a Simmons scope, another popular choice in this category, the Crossfire II offers a more versatile magnification range, making it more adaptable for different shooting conditions. And the 50mm objective lens provides a bright, clear sight picture. However, in extremely bright conditions, I noticed some glare, which is something to consider if you’re shooting in open fields or snowy terrain.
The Crossfire II also features Vortex’s proprietary Dead-Hold BDC reticle. This reticle is designed to help you hold over at extended ranges, making it an excellent choice for long-range shooters. During a recent hunting trip, I was able to estimate range and holdover with remarkable accuracy, outperforming my previous experiences with the simpler duplex reticles found on budget scopes like the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn.
But perhaps the best feature of the Crossfire II is its price tag. For under $300, this is an incredibly affordable scope that doesn’t sacrifice quality or performance. It’s a compelling alternative to more expensive models like the Leupold VX-Freedom, which, while offering slightly better optical quality, does not justify the higher price for most practical purposes.
If you’re looking for the best overall 30-06 scope without breaking the bank, the Crossfire II is a great option.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the Crossfire II was the best scope for 30-06, and it’s a fantastic choice for budget-conscious shooters.
I chose to run this scope through its paces in the early morning hours, and I have to say that I was impressed with its performance. Although, I did face some difficulty with the illumination control in low light, which is not as intuitive as some of its competitors like the Sig Sauer Whiskey3.
The 6-24x magnification range worked wonders in the low light, and I was able to make accurate shots out to 500 yards with ease. The side focus knob for parallax adjustment was particularly useful, allowing me to maintain a clear focus on my targets at different distances. As someone who likes to shoot long-range, this was a big selling point for me.
But it’s not just the magnification that makes this scope great in low light; the 50mm objective lens does a great job of gathering light and providing a bright, clear sight picture. However, the size of the objective lens can make it a bit bulky, which might be a consideration for those looking for a more compact option.
Glass Clarity & Reticle
In terms of glass clarity, the Crossfire II is on par with scopes that cost twice as much. Yes, there are scopes out there with better glass quality. But you have to take into account the price of this thing and its overall performance compared to other models in this class.
The fully multi-coated lenses provide a bright, clear image, and the Dead-Hold BDC reticle is easy to see in all light conditions. Its performance in misty conditions was particularly impressive, maintaining clarity where some scopes would start to blur.
I also really like the fact that the reticle is etched into the glass. This means that it will never fade or disappear, even if you’re using the highest magnification.
Parallax & Magnification
The Crossfire II offers a parallax-free image at all magnifications, which is a great feature for long-range shooters. And the 6-24x magnification range is plenty for most applications. However, the zoom adjustment can be a bit stiff, especially in colder weather, which might be a slight inconvenience for some users.
Elevation & Windage Knobs
The elevation and windage knobs are both easy to adjust and have a positive click at each increment. The tactile feedback is reassuring, but I found that the knobs could be slightly more ergonomic, especially when wearing gloves. I really like the fact that the windage knob is resettable, so you can always return to your zero after making adjustments in the field.
If you hunt even a little bit, you know that elevation and windage adjustments are a part of the game. But with the Crossfire II, they’re quick and easy to make. This means you can spend more time hunting and less time messing with your scope.
Eye Relief & Eye Box
The Crossfire II offers 3.5 inches of eye relief, which is plenty for most hunters. This is particularly important for those using higher caliber rifles where recoil is a concern. And the eye box is relatively forgiving, making it easy to acquire and maintain a clear sight picture. However, the eye box could be a bit more generous, especially at higher magnifications, which requires more precise head positioning.
During testing, I never had any issues with the eye relief or eye box, and I was able to make accurate shots in a variety of different positions. This versatility was appreciated when shooting from unconventional positions, such as during a recent hillside hunt. This allowed me to really see the scope’s potential in the field. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
The Crossfire II is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, so it’s built like a tank. And the scope is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, so it’s fog proof and waterproof. The durability was tested during a particularly rainy hunting trip, where the scope remained clear and functional despite the challenging conditions.
Any time I try out a new scope, I like to put it through its paces in the field. And the Crossfire II definitely held up to my standards. It’s a tough, durable scope that can handle anything you throw at it.
For something a bit less powerful, check my best optics for 30-30 rifles article.
Is the Crossfire II Worth It?
In my opinion, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is definitely worth its price tag. For under $300, you get a top-of-the-line scope with all the features you need for long-range shooting and hunting.
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Dead-Hold BDC reticle
- 6-24x magnification range
- 3.5 inches of eye relief
- Forgiving eye box
- Clarity lacks compared to higher-end scopes
- Some glare in extremely bright conditions
- Illumination control is not as user-friendly as in some competitors
- Slightly bulky due to the large objective lens
2. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm – Best Scope for 30-06 Remington 700
If you’re willing to spend a little more money on your 30-06 scope, then I would highly recommend the Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm. This is one of the best scopes on the market, and it’s perfect for long-range shooting. The price point, while higher, offers a significant improvement in quality over mid-range scopes like the Nikon ProStaff series.
The VX-5HD features a 30mm main tube, which gives you plenty of room for making elevation and windage adjustments. This larger tube size also improves the overall strength and durability of the scope. It also has a 44mm objective lens, which provides a bright and clear sight picture. However, this size can be slightly bulky compared to scopes with a smaller objective lens, potentially affecting the balance on lighter rifles.
The 3-15x magnification range is perfect for long-range shooting, and the scope also features Leupold’s Twilight Max HD light management system. Compared to the Vortex Viper PST Gen II, the Twilight Max HD system offers superior light transmission, especially noticeable in the challenging light of dawn and dusk. This system provides enhanced image clarity and brightness in low-light conditions, which is perfect for hunting at dawn and dusk.
You better believe I made sure to take full advantage of this, as I was able to get some great shots in at last light. During a late evening hunt, the scope’s light management allowed me to distinguish a deer from the surrounding foliage, a task that would have been challenging with a lesser scope.
My Remington 700 loved this scope, and I have to say that I was very impressed with the VX-5HD’s performance. If you’re looking for the best of the best for your Remington 700, then this is the scope for you.
Glass Clarity & Reticle
The glass clarity on the Leupold VX-5HD is outstanding. I was able to see my target clearly, even in low-light conditions. The image was bright and crisp, and I had no trouble acquiring and maintaining a sight picture. The clarity is on par with, if not superior to, the renowned Zeiss Conquest V4 series.
The reticle on the VX-5HD is a joy to use. The crosshairs are thin and well-defined, which makes them perfect for long-range shooting. Its precision is particularly advantageous when targeting small game or distant varmints.
You can opt for illumination on the reticle, but I found that it wasn’t necessary. Even without the illumination, the contrast between the reticle and the background is excellent, allowing for precise shots in various lighting conditions.
Parallax & Magnification
The VX-5HD has a parallax adjustment knob on the left side of the scope. This is a great feature, as it allows you to fine-tune the parallax for your specific needs. The knob is user-friendly and offers a level of control akin to high-end scopes like the Schmidt & Bender PMII series.
The 3-15x magnification range is perfect for long-range shooting, and I was able to make accurate shots out to 600 yards with no problem. The zoom ring is smooth and easy to operate, allowing for quick magnification changes in the field.
Elevation & Windage Knobs
The elevation and windage knobs on the VX-5HD are easy to adjust and have a nice, positive click to them. These tactile clicks are helpful in confirming adjustments without having to take your eyes off the target. I never had an issue with the turrets getting knocked out of place, even when hunting in thick brush.
Eye Relief & Eye Box
The eye relief on the VX-5HD is excellent. It provides enough space to accommodate shooters wearing glasses or using rifles with heavy recoil. I was able to position my eye behind the scope without having to worry about getting “scope eye.”
The eye box is also very forgiving, which is great when you’re trying to acquire a sight picture in a hurry. This feature was particularly beneficial when tracking moving targets, as it allowed for quicker target re-acquisition after each shot.
You can also read best scopes for .223 Remington guide.
The construction on the Leupold VX-5HD is incredible. The scope is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum and is designed to withstand the rigors of hunting. During a rugged backcountry trip, the scope endured various conditions, from heavy rain to accidental bumps against rocks, without any loss in performance. I never had an issue with the scope getting banged around or taking any damage.
Is the Leupold VX-5HD Worth It?
Without a doubt, the Leupold VX-5HD is worth the money. This is one of the best scopes on the market, and it’s just the ticket for reliable long-range shooting. Its combination of optical clarity, build quality, and user-friendly features make it a top choice for serious shooters and hunters.
- Outstanding glass clarity
- Excellent light gathering capabilities
- Well-defined crosshairs
- Easy to adjust turrets
- Durable construction
- A bit on the expensive side
- Slightly bulky with a 44mm objective lens
- Not as compact as some might prefer for lighter rifles
3. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 – Best Vortex Scope for 30-06
Vortex Optics makes the list again, this time with the Viper PST Gen II. This is a scope that’s designed to excel in all the same areas as the Crossfire II. It’s got great glass, a nice reticle, and is built for the avid hunter. That means it stands up to the elements and can take a beating. Comparatively, when placed side by side with an UTG scope, the Viper PST Gen II demonstrates superior durability and build quality, essential for rugged outdoor use.
The Viper PST Gen II is more expensive than the Crossfire II, but it’s still a great value. It’s got a bit more magnification, which is always nice. And it comes with some features that the Crossfire II doesn’t have. For example, it has an illuminated reticle. That can be a big help in low light conditions. This feature particularly stood out during a twilight hunt, significantly enhancing target visibility compared to the non-illuminated reticles of scopes like the Leupold VX-3i.
I took this scope out later in the evening, and I have to say I was impressed. The illuminated reticle really does make a difference. However, in very dark conditions, the highest brightness setting can be slightly overwhelming, lacking the subtlety of illumination found in high-end scopes like the Schmidt & Bender models.
The biggest difference between the Crossfire II and the Viper PST Gen II is the price. The Viper PST Gen II costs about $500 more. But if you can afford it, I think it’s worth the extra money. This additional cost is reflected in its enhanced features and overall build quality, which is a step up from more budget-friendly options like the Crossfire II.
If you’re a Vortex fan and want the absolute best Vortex scope for 30-06, then go with the Viper PST Gen II. Yes, it’s pricey by comparison. But you won’t find a better scope for the money.
Let’s switch gears for a moment and take a closer look at the key attributes that helped this scope edge out the competition.
Glass Clarity & Reticle
The glass clarity on the Viper PST Gen II is outstanding. I was able to see game at long range with no problem. The image resolution and contrast are particularly noteworthy, surpassing many of its competitors in the same price range, such as the Trijicon AccuPoint series. And the reticle is very fine, which makes it easy to place shots exactly where you want them.
Thanks to Vortex’s decision to go with glass-etched here, the reticle is also very durable. The downside of this etched reticle, though, is that it can be less visible in very bright or high-contrast environments compared to a wire reticle. I’ve had scopes in the past where the reticle got damaged after a few hard knocks. That’s not an issue with the Viper PST Gen II.
If you prefer an illuminated reticle, then you’ll be happy to know that this scope has one. The illumination is particularly effective in enhancing contrast against dark or muddled backgrounds, a scenario I encountered during a dense forest hunt. It’s a nice feature to have, and it’s one that many hunters prefer.
Parallax & Magnification
The parallax adjustment on this scope is excellent. Yet, the adjustment knob can be a bit stiff, especially in colder weather, which may be a minor inconvenience. I had no problem keeping my shots on target at different ranges. And the magnification is great for hunting at long range. However, at the highest magnification, the image can lose a bit of its sharpness, a common issue but worth noting for those expecting perfection. I was able to pick off a deer at 400 yards, no problem.
Elevation & Windage Knobs
The elevation and windage knobs on the Viper PST Gen II are easy to use and provide a crisp, positive click. Making adjustments on the fly was a breeze, and getting my shots on target was equally easy, thanks to the large turret adjustments.
Eye Relief & Eye Box
The eye relief and eye box on the Viper PST Gen II are both excellent. I had no problems getting a clear, crisp sight picture, even when wearing glasses. The eye box is large and forgiving, making it easy to keep your eye in the sweet spot.
That, of course, is absolutely imperative if you’re hunting, as you’ll need to be able to make quick, precise shots.
The Viper PST Gen II is constructed of aluminum and is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed, making it waterproof fog-proof, and shockproof. Its robust construction gives it an edge over less durable models like the Burris Fullfield E1, particularly in harsh weather conditions. In short, it’s a tough scope that will hold up well.
I’ll admit that I’m not the most careful person when I’m out in the field. Safe, sure. But I don’t go out of my way to baby my gear. Despite this, the Viper PST Gen II has resisted wear and tear far better than I anticipated, showing no functional issues even after accidental drops and bumps. Even so, the Viper PST Gen II has held up admirably. There are no scratches or scuffs on the lens, and the body shows no signs of wear.
Is the Viper PST Gen II Worth It?
The Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II is an excellent scope for 30-06. It’s well made, durable, has great optics, and is easy to use. Its performance in various field conditions solidifies its position as a top choice for serious hunters and shooters. It’s also a great value. If you’re in the market for a new scope, I highly recommend giving the Viper PST Gen II a look.
- Great optics
- Easy to use
- Great value
- Can be heavy and bulky for some users
- Glare issues in extremely bright conditions
- Limited battery life for illuminated reticle
For other long-range scopes, see my best sniper optics article.
4. Trijicon TR20 AccuPoint 3-9×40
Taking the number 4 spot is the Trijicon TR20 AccuPoint 3-9×40. This is a great scope for hunters who are looking for a durable and reliable option that won’t break the bank. The TR20 features a Mil-Dot crosshair reticle, which is great for range estimation and target acquisition. Comparatively, it holds its own against more expensive models like the Leupold VX-3i, particularly in its reticle functionality and durability.
I really enjoyed the clarity and brightness of the TR20’s optics. The lenses are fully multi-coated, offering superior light transmission compared to some scopes in the same price range. Even in low light conditions, I was able to see my target clearly. The scope also has a very generous eye relief, which is great for hunters who wear glasses. However, the flip-up lens caps, which are an added bonus, can be a bit flimsy and less durable than the rest of the scope.
Another thing I found to be a big plus is the fact that the TR20 is water and fog-proof. This feature was particularly beneficial during a rainy hunting trip, where the scope maintained a clear view despite the challenging conditions. I’ve had scopes in the past that have fogged up on me in wet conditions, so this was a huge selling point for me.
The only downside I found with the TR20 is that it doesn’t come with any mounting hardware. This meant an extra expense and the hassle of finding compatible mounts, which can be a drawback for those who prefer an all-in-one package. So if you don’t already have a scope mount for your rifle, you’ll need to purchase one separately.
Overall, I think the Trijicon TR20 AccuPoint 3-9×40 is a great scope for hunters who are looking for a durable, reliable, and affordable option.
Glass Clarity & Reticle
The glass clarity on the TR20 is exceptional. The optical quality is on par with some higher-end scopes, providing a clear and undistorted view across the entire magnification range. I was really impressed with how bright and clear the image was, even in low light conditions. The reticle is also very visible and easy to see.
Parallax & Magnification
The TR20 has a parallax adjustment knob that is located on the left side of the scope. While this is a useful feature for long-range accuracy, I found the knob a bit stiff, which can make fine-tuning adjustments more challenging. I found this to be a bit of a pain to use, as it was difficult to reach while I was looking through the scope.
The TR20 has a 3-9x magnification, which is perfect for most hunting situations. This range is particularly versatile, allowing for both close and moderate-range shots, though it may fall short for extreme long-range shooting. I think this is a great range for general hunting, as it allows you to see your target clearly without sacrificing too much field of view.
Elevation & Windage Knobs
The elevation and windage knobs on the TR20 are easy to use and very precise. The audible clicks add to the ease of use, although they are not as refined as those on some premium models like those from Schmidt & Bender. I had no problem making small adjustments to my scope’s zero.
Eye Relief & Eye Box
The eye relief on the TR20 is very generous, which is especially beneficial for the 30-06, reducing the risk of eye injury. I also found the eye box to be very forgiving, though it does require some adjustment when changing magnification levels. This made it easy to acquire my target.
The TR20 is constructed from high-quality materials, and it feels very solid and durable. Its robust build makes it suitable for demanding environments, though it does add to the weight of the scope. I have no doubt that this scope will withstand years of heavy use.
Is The Trijicon TR20 AccuPoint 3-9×40 Worth It?
By my estimation, this is the best value scope for 30-06. Yes, it’s pricier than the budget-friendly Vortex Optics Crossfire II. But you get a lot of scope here for the price, making it a well-rounded investment for serious hunters and plinkers. Its blend of features, durability, and performance makes it a strong contender in its price range.
- Exceptional glass clarity
- Durable and water/fog-proof
- Generous eye relief
- Versatile 3-9x magnification range
- Mil-Dot reticle for range estimation
- Does not come with mounting hardware
- Parallax adjustment can be stiff
- Flip-up lens caps are not as durable
- Eye box adjustment needed when changing magnification levels
- Slightly heavier due to robust construction
What to Look For in a 30-06 Scope
I’ve got some pretty basic—but absolutely essential—criteria for what goes into a great scope. If a scope doesn’t make the grade in even one of these areas, I disqualify it as being one of the best. As such, you can trust that each scope reviewed today has been thoroughly tested and vetted by me.
Glass Clarity & Reticle: When it comes to glass clarity, you should always opt for the clearest and brightest scope you can afford. This is especially important when hunting in low-light conditions or at long range. A clear, bright scope will help you pick out your target quickly and make the most of your shot.
As for the reticle, it’s really a matter of personal preference. But I prefer a reticle that’s simple and uncluttered. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles—I just want a reticle that’s easy to see and provides me with the information I need without being distracting.
Parallax & Magnification: The parallax adjustment on a scope is used to ensure that the crosshairs are aligned with the target, regardless of where your eye is positioned behind the scope. This is an important feature, especially at long range, as it can help you make a more accurate shot.
Most 30-06 scopes will have a parallax adjustment knob located on the side of the scope. Simply turn the knob until the crosshairs are aligned with your target, and you’re good to go.
As for magnification, it’s really up to you how much you need. If you’re primarily hunting at close range, a lower magnification scope will suffice. But if you’re planning on doing some long-range shooting, you’ll want to opt for a higher-powered scope.
A 4x scope is typically considered to be the minimum power needed for hunting purposes. But if you’re planning on doing any long-range shooting, I recommend opting for a scope with at least 6x power.
Elevation & Windage Knobs: The elevation and windage knobs on a scope are used to make adjustments to the point of impact. Simply put, the elevation knob is used to adjust for up and down movements, while the windage knob is used to adjust for left and right movements.
Making adjustments to the elevation and windage knobs is relatively simple. Just turn the knob in the direction you want the bullet to move, and it will compensate accordingly.
Most 30-06 scopes will have 1/4 MOA (minutes of angle) or 1/8 MOA adjustment increments. These are small enough that you can make very precise adjustments, which is important when hunting at long range.
For other of my guides see the best scope for .243 one.
Eye Relief & Eye Box: Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the scope, and it’s an important factor to consider when choosing a scope. If the eye relief is too short, you run the risk of getting “scope eye”—a condition caused by the impact of the recoiling rifle against your eye.
To avoid this, make sure you choose a scope with plenty of eye relief. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend 3-4 inches of eye relief for 30-06 scopes. This should give you plenty of room to position your eye behind the scope without having to worry about getting “scope eye.”
The eye box is another important factor to consider. This is the area around the eyepiece where your eye can be positioned and still have a clear, unobstructed view of the target. A larger eye box makes it easier to acquire and maintain a clear sight picture, which is especially important when hunting in low-light conditions.
Durability: A scope is a big investment, so you want to make sure it’s built to last. When choosing a 30-06 scope, look for one that’s constructed from high-quality materials and designed to withstand the rigors of hunting.
I prefer scopes that are made from aircraft-grade aluminum or similar durable materials. These scopes can take a beating and still perform flawlessly, which is exactly what you need when out in the field.
Now that you know what constitutes a good 30-06 scope, it’s time to take a look at some of the best scopes on the market based on my time with them.
At the end of the day, my top pick goes to the Vortex Optics Crossfire II. It’s got an incredible price and superior performance for that price range. If you’re looking to up the ante and you want the absolute best that money can buy for your 30-06, pick up the Leupold VX-5HD or Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II.