The 3 Best 30-06 Rifles [2020 Update]

Looking for the best 30-06 rifle?

I’ve found it. In fact:

I’ve exhaustively tested over 15 30-06 rifles, including: accuracy, handling, ergonomics and so much more.

By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect 30 06 rifle for you.

Are you ready?

The 3 Best 30-06 Rifles

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best .30-06 rifles:

  1. Remington 783: Best 30-06 Rifle for the Money
  2. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight: Best 30-06 Hunting Rifle
  3. Weatherby Vanguard Series 2: Best All-Around 30-06 Rifle

1. Remington 783: Best 30-06 Rifle for the Money

Busy hunters (like myself) need an unfussy, reliable rifle that can be thrown in the truck and start shooting.

Remington’s response to this demand?

The Model 783 bolt-action rifle.

It’s one of the best 30-06 bolt action rifle on the market today. Let’s check it out…


Accuracy

With accuracy in a firearm, the name of the game is rigidity.

The stiffer the components, the less movement. The less movement as a round is fired, the greater the accuracy of the shot.

The 783’s free-floating carbon steel rifled barrel, aluminum pillar-bedded stock, cylindrical receiver, and small ejection port all make for a solid gun.

Remington Model 783 Accuracy 2
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

Firing at normal hunting distances, namely 50 to 200 yards, this rifle has pin-point accuracy, close to that of the best 7.62×39 rifles, with groupings in an inch consistently.

The standard option comes with two scope mounts, but can upgraded to come with a scope.

Remington Model 783 Scope Mounts
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

A novice hunter could literally take this rifle out of the box and hit their target with a kill shot on the first try.


Reliability

Remington has long been known for reliability, and they certainly don’t fall short with this model.

The American-made 783 comes standard with a black synthetic stock. Although it feels like cheap plastic, it doesn’t affect the precision or longevity of the rifle.

Remington Model 783 Steel Receiver
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

I decided to swap it out for an even sturdier black walnut model.

Remington Model 783 Accuracy
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

Unlike most economy bolt-actions, this model incorporates metal components in the areas most prone to wear and tear like the magazine latch.

And if something does happen to go wrong with one of the components, chances are it’ll be covered by Remington’s lifetime warranty.


Handling

Even the most accurate rifle can scare away the wary marksman if it doesn’t feel good to fire.

While the stock tends to seem gritty and large, the overall feel of the gun is comfortable. Especially, the safety.

Remington Model 783 Handling
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

It is a two-position design that doesn’t lock in the bolt and is comfortably placed just behind the bolt.

From the ready-to-use sight system to the smooth action of the 90-degree push-fed bolt throw, this rifle is known for its ease of use.

However:

One downside to the design is the weirdly shaped plastic trigger guard.


Trigger

The trigger itself is the Remington CrossFire, a fairly high-end trigger system for an economy gun.

Remington Model 783 Trigger
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

A lever in the center locks the trigger until it’s pushed down all the way, making a smooth and easy break.

While it comes factory set at a standard three and a half pounds, this trigger system is customizable anywhere from two and a half to five pounds.


Magazine & Reloading

A four-round (three if you’re using Magnums) steel box magazine is well designed to sit even with the bottom of the stock and made with a steel latch.

Remington Model 783 Magazine
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

The magazine can be detached, making for simple reloading.

However, because the receiver has such a small ejection port, loading single rounds can be fairly challenging.


Length & Weight

With six caliber options, you can either get a 22-inch barrel or a 24-inch Magnum Contour barrel with an overall length of 41 and 5/8 inches on the 22-inch barrel option.

Remington Model 783 Length
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

Also depending on your caliber choice, this rifle weighs somewhere between 7 and 7.5 pounds, more if you choose to apply additional accessories.

Remington Model 783 Length 2
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

Recoil Management

The butt of this rifle sports a Supercell recoil pad that absorbs a good amount of shock. Some users feel the make of this pad is too flat and could be more comfortable.

Remington Model 783 Stock
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

Price

For what you’re getting, the Remington 783 is very reasonably priced.

In fact:

It was created as an affordable economy rifle.

Remington Model 783 Engraving
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

With an average cost of $400 (retailing at $450,) this rifle is definitely one of the best values in the market.

Remington Model 783 Frame
Via: My Extreme Hunting and Fishing

As expected, with more upgrades come higher costs, but by upgrading to the walnut stock, you can really get a great gun for a decent price.


Remington 783 Review: Is It Worth It?

Remington itself says this gun is “not dressed to impress,” and it is universally agreed that this is not an aesthetically pleasing rifle.

So, if you want a pretty gun that you can show off in a case, this one is not for you.

But for the beginning hunter, or even an experienced marksman who just needs a reliable tool, the 783 is just the right fit.

It has been a tradition in my family that when a son turns 12 years old, he is given his first rifle as a sort of coming of age present.

Because of its ease of use, accuracy, and affordability, I believe the Remington 783 would have been my father’s first choice.


2. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight: Best 30-06 Hunting Rifle

The Winchester Model 70 is one of the best hunting rifles on the market.

In fact:

Due to its reliability and insanely lightweight build, it’s known to many as “The Rifleman’s Rifle”.

Let’s take a closer look…


Accuracy

The Model 70 boasts an extremely accurate shot, and it has several features which help make it that way.

For instance, this rifle boasts a cold hammer-forged free-floating featherweight profile barrel, an alloy one-piece metal bottom, a forged steel receiver with integral recoil lug embedded front and rear, a recessed target crown, and an M.O.A. Trigger system.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Barrel
Via: rmwtsou

In other words?

The rifle is built to be accurate.


Reliability

This rifle is straight up reliable — just like my best Tactical shotgun.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Safety
Via: rmwtsou

Its sturdy black walnut stock, fine quality material, technological improvements over the years, and powerful performance all make this a reliable, top-rated rifle for amateur and experienced hunters.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Buttstock
Via: rmwtsou

Handling

The Model 70 comes up easily and points readily, offering hunters a gratifying handling experience.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Grip
Via: rmwtsou

As its name implies, it is easy to carry given its lightweight build.

This build means hunters on extensive expeditions do not have to worry about becoming fatigued by carrying it around.

The best part?

It’s still heavy enough to provide a pleasing shooting experience.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Grip Trigger
Via: rmwtsou

Additionally, this rifle sits comfortably on the shoulder, offers a good head/scope position, and has a three-position safety.


Trigger

The trigger is brushed polish stainless steel which breaks at 4-5 lbs and is free of creep, overtravel, and take-up.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Grip and Trigger
Via: rmwtsou

It also features an M.O.A. Trigger System which is the best trigger on the market for a bolt-action rifle.

The reason?

It allows you to adjust the trigger pull.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Safety and Trigger
Via: rmwtsou

However, one minor feature missing from the standard Model 70 is trigger guard engraving.


Magazine & Reloading

This rifle holds 5 rounds with the action being loaded from the top.

It features a controlled feed which decreases the likelihood of jamming — even if you are doing a fast reload as you swing the rifle.


Length & Weight

The Model 70 is a short action rifle with a barrel length measuring 22 inches and a weight of about 6.5 to 7 lbs.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Barrel Length
Via: rmwtsou

With a mounted scope and full magazine, the rifle registers at around 7.5-8 lbs.

Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Barrel Length 2
Via: rmwtsou

From rifle butt to the tip of the muzzle, this gun measures 42”. That’s the perfect size and weight for larger game hunting.


Price

I’ll have to admit:

The Winchester Model 70 isn’t cheap, averaging around $1,000.

With that said…


Winchester Model 70 Review: Is It Worth It?

If you’re hunter looking for a lightweight rifle that’s literally designed for hunting, then get the Winchester Model 70.

It’s reliable, accurate, easy-to-carry and has about all the features that make it perfect for hunting larger game.


3. Weatherby Vanguard Series 2: Best All-Around 30-06 Rifle

The Weatherby series 2 is the best all around 30-06 rifle.

In fact:

It can be used for hunting, target shooting and even long range shooting.

What makes it so versatile?

Keep reading and all will be revealed…


Accuracy

Weatherby claims the Vanguard 2 to hit .99” or less 3-shot group at 100 yards.

Is it true?

I tested this guarantee using Weatherby 100-grain TSX ammo, and shot over 50 rounds.

The result?

In my first two tests, I got 0.83” and 0.73” 3-shot groups! I tested this countless other times, and all my loads at 100 yards averaged around 1 MOA, confirming that this rifle definitely meets its accuracy guarantee.

However, one critique would be that the stock is not free floating. This can pose a problem with precision shots, since it can apply pressure on the barrel and move it off center.

Overall, however, this is an incredibly accurate firearm.


Reliability

It’s reliable.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Skins
Via: Dave Anderson

It shoots flat, hits hard, and there’s not much to go wrong. During my testing, the only issue I experienced was that the front action screw was a bit loose.

However, this was a quick fix with some retightening.

Other than that, no malfunctions of any kind to report so far.


Handling

This budget-oriented Weatherby handles very nicely.

It’s easy to shoot, and balances well. The steel bolt sleeve fully encloses the rear of the bolt, and has three gas escape ports drilled into the side, a great addition intended to direct gas away from the shooter’s face in the event that a case bursts!

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Grip
Via: Dave Anderson

I was particularly pleased with the rifle’s feel:

The trigger is crisp. You can get a good grip on the stock. And the safety feels solid.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Safety
Via: Dave Anderson

It also has a Monte Carlo stock with rubberized inserts at the forend and pistol grip. This is great is wet conditions.

However, the way the stock is designed may call for a cheek riser to get your eye on the correct level. I also recommend using a scope (which I’ll cover below).

The barrel is relatively thin, so it heats up pretty fast. You may want to allow for some time in-between shots to let it cool down.


Trigger

The trigger is bliss.

It’s a match-quality, adjustable, creep-free, 2-stage trigger. The lightness of the trigger makes accurate shooting incredibly easy, and it’s fully adjustable down to 2.5 lbs.

In my experience, the first stage breaks very crisply around 8 oz, and then the second stage at 3 lbs exactly.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Trigger Pull
Via: Dave Anderson

There’s no notable overtravel, and the guard is generously sized for a gloved finger.


Magazine & Reloading

This rifle has a capacity of 5+1 and 3+1 if you opt for the magnum version.

It comes with a staggered-column internal magazine, complete with a hinged floorplate that allows for rapid emptying. The magazine release button is recessed in front of the trigger guard, so it’s tough to hit it inadvertently.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Ammo and Trigger
Via: Dave Anderson

The open top receiver makes loading a cartridge directly into the chamber easy, which is an essential feature at the range!

Overall, the feeding, extraction, and ejection is easy and smooth.


Length & Weight

The Vanguard 2 is 44.5” long, with the barrel accounting for 24” of that length.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Length
Via: Dave Anderson

The pull is about 13.5”, and it’s a medium-weight rifle at about 7.5 lbs.


Recoil Management

The recoil is definitely manageable. It’s not quite as soft as the my .45 ACP carbine or AAC blackout rifle, but still pretty soft.

In fact:

It comes with a low-density, soft-rubber recoil pad. It’s a copy of a Decelerator type pad, and does a solid job of reducing the recoil.


Price

The standard Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 starts at only $549.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Outdoor
Via: Dave Anderson

If you opt for the magnum rifle, it’ll run you around $599. In my opinion, it’s a high-end rifle at an economical price.


Recommended Accessories

Want to get the most out of your Vanguard? Upgrade it.

Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Ammo
Via: Dave Anderson

Here are the best 30-06 ammo and accessories for the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2:


Weatherby Vanguard 2 Review: Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose 30-06 rifle, then the Weatherby Vanguard 2 is for you.

Here’s why:

  • Affordable
  • High-performance
  • Ideal for long-range hunting
  • True, value-priced Weatherby

Truth be told:

You won’t find a better price or a better value.

The Vanguard 2 has a better trigger, stock, and performance than the original. And most importantly, it comes with the Weatherby guarantee.

In short:

If you’re looking for a value-priced rifle for long-range hunting, look no further than this:


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best 30-06 rifle guide.

So as a recap:

Looking for the best .30-06 rifle for the money? Get the Remington 783.

What about hunting? Opt-in for the Winchester Model 70.

Or if you simply want the best all around rifle, I’d go for the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2.

Whichever gun you pick, you’ll have a reliable firearm that’ll work every time.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which rifle will you pick for your .30-06?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

2 thoughts on “The 3 Best 30-06 Rifles [2020 Update]”

  1. Very well done great information I had already purchased a Weatherby Lazer gards 257/300mag
    LOVE them dearly I think I am set.

    Thank you for sharing this should help.

    Reply

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