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?
If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best .30-06 rifles:
- Remington 783: Best 30-06 Rifle for the Money
- Winchester Model 70 Featherweight: Best 30-06 Hunting Rifle
- Weatherby Vanguard Series 2: Best All-Around 30-06 Rifle
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…
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.
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.
A novice hunter could literally take this rifle out of the box and hit their target with a kill shot on the first try.
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.
I decided to swap it out for an even sturdier black walnut model.
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.
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.
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.
One downside to the design is the weirdly shaped plastic trigger guard.
The trigger itself is the Remington CrossFire, a fairly high-end trigger system for an economy gun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also depending on your caliber choice, this rifle weighs somewhere between 7 and 7.5 pounds, more if you choose to apply additional accessories.
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.
For what you’re getting, the Remington 783 is very reasonably priced.
It was created as an affordable economy rifle.
With an average cost of $400 (retailing at $450,) this rifle is definitely one of the best values in the market.
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 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.
The Winchester Model 70 is one of the best hunting rifles on the market.
Due to its reliability and insanely lightweight build, it’s known to many as “The Rifleman’s Rifle”.
Let’s take a closer look…
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.
In other words?
The rifle is built to be accurate.
This rifle is straight up reliable — just like my best Tactical shotgun.
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.
The Model 70 comes up easily and points readily, offering hunters a gratifying handling experience.
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.
Additionally, this rifle sits comfortably on the shoulder, offers a good head/scope position, and has a three-position safety.
The trigger is brushed polish stainless steel which breaks at 4-5 lbs and is free of creep, overtravel, and take-up.
It also features an M.O.A. Trigger System which is the best trigger on the market for a bolt-action rifle.
It allows you to adjust the trigger pull.
However, one minor feature missing from the standard Model 70 is trigger guard engraving.
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.
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.
With a mounted scope and full magazine, the rifle registers at around 7.5-8 lbs.
From rifle butt to the tip of the muzzle, this gun measures 42”. That’s the perfect size and weight for larger game hunting.
I’ll have to admit:
The Winchester Model 70 isn’t cheap, averaging around $1,000.
With that said…
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.
The Weatherby series 2 is the best all around 30-06 rifle.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It also has a Monte Carlo stock with rubberized inserts at the forend and pistol grip. This is great is wet conditions.
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.
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.
There’s no notable overtravel, and the guard is generously sized for a gloved finger.
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.
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.
The Vanguard 2 is 44.5” long, with the barrel accounting for 24” of that length.
The pull is about 13.5”, and it’s a medium-weight rifle at about 7.5 lbs.
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.
The standard Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 starts at only $549.
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.
Want to get the most out of your Vanguard? Upgrade it.
Here are the best 30-06 ammo and accessories for the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2:
- Weatherby 100-grain TSX ammo – Proven accuracy. Preferred ammo that qualifies under the Weatherby guarantee.
- Weatherby 115-grain Ballistic Tip ammo – This yielded the best accuracy in my 5-shot group tests.
- Cheek riser – Improves accuracy by helping you get your eye on the right level.
- Leupold VX-Freedom Scope – A budget-friendly scope that is reliable, accurate and durable. A must for hunting big game.
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose 30-06 rifle, then the Weatherby Vanguard 2 is for you.
- 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.
If you’re looking for a value-priced rifle for long-range hunting, look no further than this:
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.