There are some quality scopes out there, but not all of them are worth your time or money.
Here, we dive deep into what riflescopes are for this particular rifle caliber, the terminology you need to know for hunting scopes, the benefits of using a scope for your .30-06, and considerations you should have when choosing your optimal scope.
Lastly, we review the best riflescopes for a .30-06 specifically.
Let’s get right to it.
What Are .30-06 Riflescopes?
Riflescopes are fairly self-explanatory. They are scopes designed for your rifle. In this case, scopes made with the intention of improving your field of vision while wielding a .30-06 caliber hunting rifle.
These scopes use various technologies, like light transmission and focal planes, to create a vivid, sometimes magnified field of view. This enhanced vision offers a ton of advantages, which we’ll get into in the next section.
Just know that it attaches to the top of your hunting rifle and allows you to see far-away distances and drastically improve your target acquisition and aim.
The Benefits of Riflescopes
So what does a riflescope do for you? Well:
They give you tremendous eye relief
Eye relief is the distance between the scope and your eye that gives you full picture through the scope. The farther the eye relief, the less bunched up you have to be next to your rifle, and the less likely you’ll get scope eye. No one wants scope eye.
They’re shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof
Scopes generally come equipped with O-rings that provide a protective seal around the glass. What this does is keep the elements out of the scope body, mostly moisture. As for absorbing shocks from unsuspecting falls, high-quality scopes are made from high-quality materials, enhancing its longevity and durability.
They assist in low-light situations: Lighting conditions aren’t always ideal. But, with a solid scope, it can boost the amount of light coming into the scope, improving your field of vision by increasing overall visibility.
That means you can still shoot long distances at dusk, dawn, or other low light conditions.
They boost your vision
Obviously, the main reason why you’d want a scope is for increasing your sight capabilities during target shooting or hunting. Whether it be close-range or long-range, a scope brings the picture into stark contrast.
With high-magnification scopes, you can increase your range and bring more targets into your crosshairs.
By using a .30-06, you’re probably expecting a lot of recoil. Well, with a fast-focus eyepiece, you can get your sight back quickly so you never lose your animal.
They have turrets to account for windage and bullet drop
The adjustment knobs on side of the scope lets you account for windage (the side-to-side movement of the bullet due to wind). As for elevation adjustment, you can fine-tune that with the zero-reset turret on the top of the scope.
They sometimes magnify objects
In some cases, having a magnification range is beneficial to your hunt. If you’re deer hunting and the animal you’re hunting is a good 200 or 300 yards away, having high magnification can make it seem like the deer is a stone’s throw from you.
This makes the target area much bigger in your sight picture, allowing you to place your crosshair in the exact spot you want, almost ensuring a clean shot. (Of course, with magnification you might have to worry about parallax adjustment, which we’ll get into below.)
They’re made of durable materials and come with warranties
Aircraft-grade aluminum is the standard for most riflescopes, which makes these scopes incredibly tough to damage. This long-term approach is also backed by lifetime warranties in most cases, making this a savvy purchase on your part.
They have a cost-friendly price range
You can shell out some serious dough for one of these riflescopes, but it isn’t a necessity. For a quality scope, you don’t have to go too far north of $300 to accomplish that goal. Some scopes can clock in at under $200, but there’s a limit between cost and quality.
Riflescopes are essential for a good hunt or target shooting. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of scope lingo.
Better known as the crosshairs in your scope, a reticle is the style of crosshair that helps with various aiming aspects.
The most popular reticle is the bullet-drop compensation reticle, a.k.a. the BDC reticle. This reticle involves a center dot, as well as multiple smaller dots below it. This can benefit you in quick situations where you have to adjust your range on the fly; simply aim at your target with a lower reticle dot, and you’ll be able to make up the additional distance between you and your target.
Another popular reticle is the duplex reticle. These crosshairs start out thick on the outside, but taper as it gets to the middle. This focuses your eye to the very middle, making sure the bead you have on your target is 100 percent accurate.
You can also have illuminated reticles or Mil-Dot reticles, but the main riflescopes for a .30-06 will have either BDC or duplex.
Focal Planes and Lenses
Getting a little into the science behind scopes, focal planes and lenses work hand-in-hand to provide you with unique scope experiences.
The first focal plane is situated right in front of the back lens closest to your eye, known as the ocular lens. The second focal plane (SFP) is situated in front of the first focal plane (FFP) and right behind the far lens, known as the objective lens.
Your reticle can be placed on either plane, changing how you see the reticle in regards to the target. If your reticle is on the first focal plane, it will magnify with the target, taking up a decent amount of your vision. In contrast, SFP reticles remain the same size regardless of magnification. This gives you a strong reticle even at low magnification.
All you need to know is that each focal plane reticle brings its positives and negatives.
It’s an interesting word and an even more complex concept.
Parallax is “a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight.” In other words, it’s the movement of something in the foreground set against the movement of the background. For instance, if you have a deer in your field of view while looking down the scope, it’s the difference in apparent movement from the deer and the trees that are hundreds of yards behind it.
If we could show you parallax, it would make it much easier. It’s almost like that optical illusion pictures, where one part of the picture moves a lot while the other parts don’t move as much.
Now, in terms of scopes, most low-magnification or no-magnification scopes don’t have to deal with parallax adjustments; you’ll be just fine. For high-magnification scopes, you’ll want to make sure your scope comes with parallax adjustments in the form of turrets.
This is the way in which your scope sharpens into focus. A fast-focus eyepiece takes your view from blurry to crystal clear in the blink of an eye. You do this by adjusting the ring situated around the ocular lens. Locking focus eyepieces lock in place and can’t be adjusted unless you loosen the locking ring.
All of the newer scopes today come with fast-focus eyepieces.
Click adjustments are ideal for the ultimate range shooting experience, especially longer range shooting.
When this turret system is set to 0, it’s sighted in at the range you’ve set (let’s say 100 yards). With every click of your turret on top, you increase the range of your scope.
It goes off of a minute of angle (MOA) measurement; one MOA is one inch at 100 yards, two MOA is two inches at 200 yards, etc.
In essence, you can ramp your riflescope’s magnification up with each click. However, you can always reset the range back to what you sighted in by clicking it back to 0. Hence the term zero-reset turret.
This is the name of the entire system that includes the first focal plane, the second focal plane, and the light path situated in between those planes. Within this system, light is refracted from the objective lens and brought back to the ocular lens so that the picture you see is correct, not mirrored.
It’s a lot of technical data, but very important in knowing the mechanics of your riflescope.
This is the fancy terminology for “scope.” Literally. It is “a combination of lenses, mirrors, and prisms that constitutes the optical part of an optical instrument.” So it’s the erector system plus the objective lens and ocular lens. It’s everything but the casing, turrets, and O-rings.
This is “the change in the angle of refraction of different colors of light.” Imagine a prism where on one side there’s a fine white line and on the other there’s a whole rainbow of colors. Dispersion is part of the science that makes scopes work.
However, you want low dispersion in your scope. The reason being is too much dispersion causes the picture to get all fuzzy and weird. With low-dispersion glass, you can ensure your scope will let you see the best possible view.
What to Consider When Buying a .30-06 Riflescope
Brand: You want a company that knows what it’s doing. Leupold, Vortex Optics, Nikon, Springfield, Simmons… these scope manufacturers use nothing but the best materials to construct their scope. Plus, they offer long-term or lifetime warranties to ensure you have the best scope experience possible.
You want aircraft-grade aluminum for the tube to make your scope shockproof, o-rings around the lenses to keep it waterproof and fog-proof, and you’ve got to go with matte black, which can stand up to scuff marks better than other textures.
You can either get minimal or no magnification, which will help you avoid parallax adjustment, or you can get high-magnification, which makes it a range scope but you now have to account for the parallax messing with your sight.
BDC, duplex, Mil-Dot, illuminated… the choices are almost endless. The only way to know which one is right for you is to look through scopes with different reticles. One reticle will catch your eye and give you a cleaner shot than others, or you might just have a personal preference. The key is, know that preference before you go searching on Amazon.
Some are on a budget, while others can splurge a little. No matter which camp you fall into, make sure your ideal scope is tucked neatly into your selected price range. (No need to go overboard, and no need to sacrifice quality for a handful of dollars.
The tube isn’t just air on the inside, otherwise it would alter the conditions inside according to the weather and temperature. Most scopes are filled with nitrogen, but some are filled with argon to give the scope an even higher resistance to changes in temperature. This will allow the scope to perform in any conditions you hunt in.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.
The 7 Best Scopes for a .30-06
Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Perhaps our top pick for best .30-06 scope, the Diamondback is an SFP reticle scope that packs a serious punch while giving you all the benefits you’re looking for:
Dead-hold BDC reticle or V-plex (Vortex Optics’ version of duplex) reticle options
Multicoated lenses for clear images in any light condition
Fast-focus eyepiece for quick and easy reticle focusing
Metal-on-metal precision turrets allow for zero-reset after sighting in
Precision glide erector system ensures accurate tracking and repeatability
One-piece tube with a hard-anodized finish that makes it shockproof and camouflaged
Argon purged and O-ring sealed for fog-proof and waterproof performance
If you want a sturdy, solid scope that gets the job done without unnecessary bells and whistles, the Vortex Optics Diamondback is the right scope for you.
For a really specific reticle and outstanding light retention, your best bet is the Burris Fullfield II riflescope.
A .30-06 is a strong caliber rifle. It needs a scope that can withstand that kind of power, as well as giving you the best shot possible when you’re hunting game, shooting varmint, or target shooting. We believe that any of the above riflescopes would be a great addition to your weapon. Look through the list, compare them to the considerations we laid out, and test out the winner.
We’re sure your shot and range will improve drastically. Good luck out there!