The 30-06 Springfield was first introduced to the US Army in 1906 and remained in use for over 50 years until being replaced by the 7.62×51mm and 5.56×45mm NATO rounds in the 1970s.
It still remains one of the most popular sporting rounds in the world and is one of America’s favorite calibers.
Every firearm producer has various 30-06 rifles being produced, which means there are many thousands of production models being produced to this day.
But no need to worry, here are the best 30-06 rifles that money can buy:
1. Browning BLR
Best At Everything
The Browning BLR is a lever-action rifle that brings high power and reliability to the table. Designed impeccably and durably to bring the best performance to the field.
In a world of its own, the Browning BLR wins as the best overall 30-06 hands down.
Browning offers the very modern designed Browning BLR (lever-action rifle) in 30-06 Springfield as well as other calibers. This is currently the hardest-hitting lever rifle in modern production today.
This Browning makes use of the very modern and super strong rotating bolt head even as applied to the very old designed receiver, giving you the durability and reliability you’d expect from Browning.
High power and versatile for different hunting scenarios
Durable and reliable
Flexible for customization
Constructed with quality materials
Excels in challenging terrains
Not ideal for beginners or smaller shooters
It has side ejection so as to allow any type of sight arrangement to be mounted to the receiver, giving you the flexibility to customize to your heart’s content.
A 4+1 magazine capacity, button rifled barrel (very accurate, all you need to know) and made with real American walnut stocks.
These rifles can be obtained in weather fighter stainless steel and weather fighter composite materials as well further letting you customize to your personal style.
Designed as tough sheep country mountain rifles or high planes goat hunting systems, the Browning BLR is in a modern-day class by itself. The basic rifle was interceded by Browning in 1996 and is still going strong among big game hunters today.
While there are other lever rifles about and many very good designs, this is the only model that takes on the power level of the long action 30-06 Springfield.
The only real downside is that a powerful rifle isn’t ideal for smaller or beginner shooters. But if that isn’t you, this is the highest quality 30-06 money can buy.
This BLR has been very hard to find in stock. As of February 16, 2024 our certified supplier is the only place online that has a few for sale. Make sure to use the link below to make sure you’re getting the recommended genuine American-made Browning firearm:
2. Browning X-Bolt
Best 30-06 Bolt Action
The Browning X-Bolt is a solid bolt action rifle with a smooth function, quality build, and exceptional accuracy downrange.
Coming in a close second, we have the Browning X-Bolt.
In the area of a bolt action as offered in a quality rifle, one has not to go any further than looking at the Browning Arms line of turn bolt rifles.
Currently, the name of the Browning Arms turn bolt rifle in an X Bolt Hunter configuration stands front and center as a solid example of a rifle chambered in 30-06 Springfield, that can handle the cartridge with ease and also return some outstanding bullet performance downrange.
Outstanding accuracy up to 500 yards
Smooth function and quality construction
Adjustable 3-stage trigger system
American-built rifle with a solid reputation
May be complex for beginners
Higher price point
Browning has moved through a series of rifles when coming up with a new rifle design. I shoot the Browning A-Bolt series of rifles and to be sure if you find one new or used and you are looking at a high-grade rifle, they will take on the 30-06 with ease.
Browning makes use of both wood and composite stocks and regardless of the stock configuration, the quality level in terms of fit and function is top-of-the-line. Browning builds their own proprietary rifled barrels so as to maintain a high level of accuracy that you’d expect from a Browning product.
In years past the 30-06 was accurate, but not bench rest level accurate to be sure. Browning Arms and companies like this have been game changers in this area of advanced barrel and CNC receiver development and production, giving you constant high-quality parts by allowing the manufacturing to be standardized across factories.
Due to the long action cartridge, 30-06’s need to have a smooth function and receiver/bolt slide balance to ensure reliability. This is where the X-Bolt excels. I’ve shot thousands of rounds and never had a misfire once.
Browning uses a new trigger system named the “Feather Trigger” system, which is a three-level adjustable trigger. This is Browning’s smoothest trigger yet in terms of advanced design and development allowing you to adjust the trigger to your preference.
I got to test this gun with a handful of other writers on some 5-gallon water jugs years ago. I still remember to this day how clearly the quality of the product showed itself.
Shooting the latest turn bolts chambered in a range of cartridge types, we dialed in the targets, sat back on bench rest stations with sandbag rests, and cleaned everything off that mountainside.
The range was 400 to 500 yards. The whole event didn’t take but a few minutes time.
Accuracy and performance were the obvious terms that came up often during the test shoot. If you’re looking to select a rifle for looks, dependability, and a strong background history that is all American built, this is the rifle for you.
As for the 30-06 part of the story, be careful if you’re a gun-buy kind of man or woman because this just could be the first and last rifle you will ever need. Shooting the old Pre 64 Model 70 30-06 I understood this part of the story well, and the only reason I shoot everything else today is because that is what I do: test, review, and file my work with editors.
Even today some 50 or more years into my hunting of big game with a high-power rifle, I turn to the old Winchester and that 150-grain Hornady Spar Point bullet in a handload of my own design. “Never Miss” is her name, and that never miss part of the deal is a fact.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a bolt action 30-06, this is the one for you.
3. Browning BAR III 30-06
Best Semi Auto Rifle
The Browning BAR III is a top-tier semi-automatic option tailored more towards sport hunting, and available in different designs.
For the top semi-auto 30-06, we have the Browning Bar III.
I have to say that today, after 50 years of shooting 30-06s, the Browning Bar is still my choice for a semi-auto design. This is like the original Browning full auto assault rifle named BAR (Browning Automatic rifle) but in a modern sporting class rifle that is the modern king of the 30-06 autoloaders.
Today, the Browning BAR can be obtained in several different grades and designs and, of course, chambered in the ever-loving 30-06 Springfield cartridge.
Available in different grades and designs
Superior semi-auto mechanism
Exceptional balance and reliable functioning
Tailored towards sport hunting
Advanced features (boss muzzle system, removable trigger assembly, upgraded gas system)
Not as versatile and all-purpose
As an example of the rifle, I have selected the BAR in the Browning BAR Safari grade with the boss muzzle system. This rifle is the classic designed Browning in a BAR built in the year 2020. The rifle has a completely removable trigger assembly for cleaning and service, new larger trigger guard and an upgraded gas system.
These BAR’s are very well balanced, reliable in terms of function, and handle the 30-06 cartridge just like the rifle was built around them.
While you can buy other rifles that chamber the 30-06 as semi-autoloading weapons, all of them save for only a very few are assault rifle designs and more military-directed than sport hunting products (my opinion).
There are a few others that have come out in the past few years that claim to be better than the Bar III (Benelli, R1 Springfield, etc). I’ve shot those as well and all I can say is the verdict is clear, Browning once again comes out on top.
4. Remington 7600 30-06
Best Pump Action
The Remington 7600 is a pump action that excels in taking down deer and other big game, with a quality construction and classic look.
If I moved long on the subject and passed up the Remington Model 7600 pump action deer rifle in 30-06 Springfield, I would have made a major error.
The Remington is not considered a bench rest tack driver among paper and steel target shooters, but it is much loved by deer and other types of big game hunters around the world.
I have a friend who shoots nothing but this rifle in the 30-06 cartridge, and he can stay right with all of the ultra-modern fancy rifles when taking to the field in search of mule deer or whitetail each fall.
Effective for hunting
Longstanding reputation for reliability and performance
Not ideal for precision shooting
These Remingtons are built with American walnut stocks that are real cut checkered, gloss blued metal finish, and a detachable four-round magazine.
Side ejection and the receivers are tapped and drilled for scope mount rails or bases. The rifles have been upgraded many times over as they have been standard inventory with Remington for most of my adult life.
Now, I am here to tell you that goes back a few years to be sure. The price point for the Remington is just under $1000 MSRP, but these can be bought for much less on the open market. I have indicated the price here because all the previous rifles will run from a bit over $1000.00 to $1,500.00 depending on the exact model. Again, this is MSRP pricing and deals can be found if you’re willing to do some searching for the rifle that is just right for you.
5. Winchester XPR
Best Value For Your Money
The Winchester XPR is an affordable bolt action rifle with a modern recoil system and excellent accuracy.
If the search for the perfect 30-06 is your goal but the budget is getting a bit tight, no worries.
My suggestion comes down to the new Winchester XRP, which uses a composite stock.
This rifle uses a very massive bolt system, retains great balance, and is accurate to within m.o.a. groups at 100 yards. The recoil system is modern, with material used to dampen the recoil of heavy cartridges. All the receiver parts are CNC machined with the latest techniques used in rifle manufacturing.
Accurate to within MOA groups at 100 yards
Advanced recoil system
Massive bolt system and CNC machined receiver parts
Composite stock may not be preferred by some shooters
If you were to buy this rifle performance 20 years ago it would have cost you thousands.
I shoot this rifle in a very standard designed 6.5 Creedmoor and have made some of my most successful and longer-range big game kills with it. After three years of use, I regard the Winchester XPR as fails safe and very effective.
6. Mossberg Patriot
Best For Long Range
The Mossberg Patriot is a long-range bolt action rifle offered at an affordable price yet still well-constructed and reliable.
In the event the Winchester is not for you, a turn to the Mossberg Patriot line of turn bolt rifles is also another option. This brand is solid and will return a very good product as well.
Again, it’s CNC-built, accurate, and well worth the money. You can get into these bolt action rifles for about $400.00, and you won’t be buying junk in the process at all.
I currently shoot the Mossberg bolt action in a 30-06 scout rifle. And like the Winchester XPR, this 30-06 chambered rifle is sold at a budget price that will return good results downrange.
Excellent long range capabilities
Well-constructed and reliable performance
Lacks some of the advanced features found in expensive rifles
Standard synthetic stock may not be some shooters’ preference
I will say, the plastic magazine does have a cheap feel to it, but it does clip into the magazine well with no problems. I’d recommend buying extra magazines as background if you’re thinking of using this rifle long-term.
Overall, it is a perfectly good rifle in the budget category and performs well, with an excellent trigger, nice features, and is capable of long-range use.
7. Johnson 1941 Semi Automatic 30-06. (Military)
The One To Avoid
The Johnson 1941 is a relic of the past that holds a classic appeal and is valued by collectors.
You could say the modern development of the 30-06 cartridge as paired to the automatic rifle started with the design of the 1941 Johnson rifle.
With the success of the 30-06 during the First World War, and right up to the Second, the Johnson stood in line as being accepted by the US Army as the official battle rifle. But in the end, got moved over by the M1 Grand rifle design; it was the M1 Grand and Browning light machine guns with the BAR automatic rifle tacked on that cemented the 30-06 cartridge as a warfighter in stone.
Classic aesthetic appeal
Unique features like a rotary magazine and quick barrel changing capability
Impractical for modern use
Superseded by more advanced designs
Even though this rifle looks nice, guns like these were made to hang on the wall in a hunting lodge as opposed to be used in the field. If you’re looking for performance, it’s better to go with another rifle from this list.
My Personal Notes
I started building deer rifles from WWII surplus 03-A3 Springfield 30-06 rifles back in the 1950s. The project was a complete rebuild of the original military rifles and they became so well-known locally that they paid for about half of my living expenses during my first two years of college.
The bottom line is the 30-06 rifle and the world-famous cartridges have been rock-solid experiences in terms of being a part of my shooting experiences for just about 60 years to date.
If you’re interested in more on 30-06, see my article on the best scope for .30-06 rifles.
Anyways, the primary rifle I always turn to when discussing the 30-06 is my own personal Winchester Pre 1964 Model 70 Feather Weight. The rifle has been with me for all of my life, taken untold numbers of big game animals over most of the central timber country of Minnesota and western United States with a serious concentration on whitetail, mule, and blacktail deer as searched out targets.
The short form here is that if I had only one choice in a rifle it would still be the 30-06 Springfield even with all the other offerings on the table today. If studied at all, the gun world’s information is clear that the 30-06 cartridge has been the benchmark for everything else that has come down the pike in the past 90 years or so, and that includes the exact scale build by Mr. John Browning regarding the worldwide known 50 BMG heavy machine gun round.
In the event, you’re thinking about buying the 30-06 in several variations in rifles, here are some tips that can aid you in deciding the direction you would like to turn before putting down your hard-earned money on the sporting goods counter (1).
- Best Deer Rifle
- Best Bolt Action Rifle
- Rifle Actions
- Best Lever Action Rifles
- Best Deer Rifles
- Best All Around Rifle Guide
- Model 95M Barrett Guide
- David Petzal, Why You Can’t Go Wrong with the .30/06, Retrieved from: https://www.fieldandstream.com/story/blogs/gun-nut/still-cant-go-wrong-with-30-06-ammo/
Our Top Pick: Browning BLR
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
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