8 Best 30-06 Rifles: American As Apple Pie

by Travis Pike

April 5, 2024

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As a former Marine and avid shooter, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the reliability and versatility of .30-06 rifles. In this best 30-06 rifles article, I’ll talk about some great options that really show what makes this type of rifle special. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or just getting started, there’s a .30-06 rifle that’s right for you. Let’s take a closer look and see why these rifles have stood the test of time.

Best 30-06 Rifles

A Little History of the 30-06

The name .30-06 tells you a lot without you knowing. The .30 indicates the cartridge is a .30 caliber or 7.62mm. The 06 part comes from the fact it was first produced in 1906. Springfield was the American armory that created the cartridge for the United States. It was part of a move to smokeless powders and lighter, faster rounds with military firearms. 

The .30-06 Springfield used a modern Spitzer projectile and became the service cartridge for the new Springfield M1903 service rifle. It stuck around til just after the Korean War. It’s put a lot of the enemies of democracy into the ground. The round quickly caught on with hunters and law enforcement who wanted to modernize and adopt harder-hitting cartridges in modern rifle calibers. 

It achieved international success, and ever since then, it has remained fairly popular. While short-action cartridges like the .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor have become the cartridges of choice, the ole Springfield cartridge keeps ticking. 

I know a bit about the cartridge, but what about the rifles? Well, that’s why you’ve come here. Let’s look at the best .30-06 rifles currently on the market. Mostly still on the market. 

How I Chose the Best 30–06 Rifles

As a former marine infantryman with over a decade of experience in shooting, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a reliable 30-06 rifle. It’s a must-have for anyone serious about their shooting, whether it’s for hunting or defense. With my knowledge and experience, I can confidently guide you to pick the right 30-06 rifle for any situation.

But I wanted this guide to be more than just my opinion. So, I reached out to my friends who are not just enthusiasts but professionals in the field of shooting. They have extensive knowledge when it comes to guns, shooting techniques, and equipment. Their collective insights, combined with my expertise, helped me to put together this comprehensive list of the best 30-06 rifles.

When compiling this list, I also considered key factors such as shootability, reliability, ergonomics, accuracy, and value, all of which can greatly influence your shooting experience and performance.

Now, I understand that choosing the right 30-06 rifle is personal and it depends on what you’re using it for. Keeping that in mind, I’ve made this list ranking the best 30-06 rifles to help you find what works best for you. In addition to this list, I’ve also included a buyer’s guide so that you know what to look for when buying a 30-06 rifle.

Gun University’s Best 30-06 Rifles

Best 30-06 Rifles

M1 Garand
  • A Classic .30-06
  • Feeds From Eight-Round Clips
  • General Patton Approved
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CZ 600 Lux
  • Iron Sights Included
  • Walnut Stock
  • Included Slign Swivels
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Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X
  • A .30-06 AR
  • Side Charging
  • M-LOK Rail
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Mossberg Patriot
  • Budget Friendly
  • Optics Ready
  • Fluted Bolt
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Browning BAR Mark 3
  • Semi-Auto, Mag Fed
  • Numerous Finishes Available
  • Optics Ready
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Savage Impulse
  • Straight Pull Bolt
  • Optics Ready
  • Adjustable LOP
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Tikka T3x Lite
  • Lightweight Design
  • Awesome Trigger
  • Modular Stock
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Christensen Arms Traverse
  • Carbon Fiber Barrel
  • Included Muzzle Brake
  • Well Balanced
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Best 30-06 Rifles Specifications

Below is a table of the specifications for each 30-06 rifle on my list. Click the name of the rifle to jump to that review.

RifleBarrel Length (in)Overall Length (in)Weight (lbs)Action

M1 Garand

2443.59.5Semi-Auto

CZ 600 Lux

2041.58.2Bolt-Action

Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X 

163710Semi-Auto

Mossberg Patriot

2242.757.5Bolt-Action

Browning BAR Mark 3 

2243.3757.2Semi-Auto

Savage Impulse

2243.57.3Bolt-Action (Straight Pull)

Tikka T3x Lite 

24.344.56.3Bolt-Action

Christensen Arms Traverse

24467.3Bolt-Action

Best 30-06 Rifles

Here is our list for the best 30-06 rifles:

  1. M1 Garand
  2. CZ 600 Lux
  3. Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X
  4. Mossberg Patriot
  5. Browning BAR Mark 3
  6. Savage Impulse
  7. Tikka T3x Lite
  8. Christensen Arms Traverse

Best 30-06 Rifles – Reviews

1 M1 Garand

M1 Garand

The iconic semi auto battle rifle of the US troops in WWII chambered in 30-06 and loaded with en bloc clips.

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M1 Garand Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 24
  • Overall Length (in) 43.58
  • Weight (lbs) 9.5
  • Action Semi-Auto

M1 Garand Review

I’m going to start it off with what General Patton once called “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” The M1 Garand. This was the first widely successful semi-auto infantry rifle introduced into modern military forces. It served our boys through two wars and inspired worldwide change for infantry rifles. The M1 Garand series are absolutely fantastic firearms, and they are the only gun I’ll have on the list that is out of production. Bear with me; I couldn’t make this list about the best .30-06 rifles and leave it out. 

The M1 Garand is a semi-automatic, gas-operated gun that feeds from an eight-round internal magazine that’s fed with En-Bloc clips. It’s simple but quite robust and durable, with surprising accuracy from an early semi-auto rifle. The M1 Garand certainly has its quirks but it’s still a very nice rifle, and one everyone should experience at least one time. 

The M1 Garand offers you an outstanding option with a crazy historical value to it. They are still available from the CMP, if you don’t mind the hassle of joining. The M1 Garand is a fighting rifle, and you feel it by just picking one up. It’s heavy, it’s large, and it packs a bayonet lug, a 24-inch barrel, and weighs a hefty 9.5 pounds. This makes it a little impractical, but still, it deserves the top spot on my list.

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2 CZ 600 Lux

CZ-600-Lux-Feature-Image

CZ 600 Lux

A Safari style bolt action rifle with iron sights, threaded barrel and a detachable magazine that can be locked into place.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value B

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CZ 600 Lux Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 20
  • Overall Length (in) 41.5
  • Weight (lbs) 8.2
  • Action Bolt-Action

CZ 600 Lux Review

I have no idea who said it first, but the phrase, “CZ, come for the handguns, but stay for the rifles.” is very true. The new CZ 600 series has taken over their bolt-action rifle series, and it’s produced in seemingly endless configurations and calibers, including the .30-06. The Lux model, in particular, is a beautiful rifle and an outstanding option, and maybe my personal favorite of all time. 

The Lux takes the classic safari-style rifle and makes it in no safari cartridges. As a safari-style rifle, it does come with a set of open iron sights to back up its scope mount. Mount the optic high enough and with the right rings, and you can still use the irons for close-range shots. To make it more than just a solid gun, the beautiful wood with its rich stain is wonderful to see. It’s also heavily textured in the areas that matter for a good grip. 

The CZ 600 Lux series features a beautiful trigger and an ultra-smooth bolt. It pushes those big .30-06 pills into the chamber without minimal resistance, and it’s nearly effortless. It also has a sub-MOA guarantee, which is an impressive promise. For all this wood, good looks, and accuracy, you’ll have to deal with an 8.2-pound rifle. 

Despite its slightly heavier weight, the overall package presented by the CZ 600 Lux makes it a compelling option, securing the second spot on my list.

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3 Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X

Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X

An AR-10 style rifle chambered in 30-06 Springfield with a side charging bolt.

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Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 16
  • Overall Length (in) 37
  • Weight (lbs) 10
  • Action Semi-Auto

Noreen BN36X3 Carbine-X Review

The people at Noreen are madmen. They took the AR rifle to a new level by introducing the world’s first AR in .30-06. AR stands for Armalite rifle, but it might as well stand for America’s Rifle. Well, America’s Rifle is finally in America’s caliber, the .30-06. This is a direct impingement design that uses the basic Stoner use and layout but has a few differences. It’s beyond full-sized, and Noreean also makes it for the .300 Win Mag. 

The biggest change is the use of a side charging handle. This is likely due to the length of the action and 63.3mm case it’s ejecting. Imagine how far you have to pull a rear-based charging handle back. Second, it works easier in the prone and supported positions with an optic in place. While odd, it results in a very ergonomic platform. You get the AR-type controls, as well as the collapsing stock and the M-LOK handguard. 

The Noreen BN36X3 Carbine X does make the most out of the .30-06 and easily delivers 1 MOA accuracy. On top of that, the DI system takes a bit of sting out of the recoil from the .30-06 cartridge. Ranked 3rd on my list, the Noreen BN36X3 Carbine X creates a very soft shooting and enjoyable platform that dispenses that mighty .30-06 cartridge quite well. It takes a round that’s over 100 years old and puts it into a very modern platform.

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4 Mossberg Patriot

Mossberg Patriot

A budget friendly bolt action rifle available in many calibers and barrel lengths.

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Mossberg Patriot Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 22
  • Overall Length (in) 42.75
  • Weight (lbs) 7.5
  • Action Bolt-Action

Mossberg Patriot Review

There are a lot of expensive rifles on this list, and most of them are fantastic. However, not everyone has 1,200 dollars or more to plop down on a rifle, and with that in mind, I wanted an affordable rifle on the list. So, right in the middle comes the Mossberg Patriot. The Patriot is a classic American bolt-action rifle. It’s a fairly simple rifle, but it does come with a few fancy frills that help it punch out of its sub-500-dollar price tag. 

The Mossberg Patriot comes with the LBA trigger that’s adjustable and quite nice for the budget-conscious rifle. Mossberg also flutes the barrel, which cuts weight, helps balance the rifle with its 22-inch barrel, and provides a very light rifle. The Mossberg Patriot is 6.5 pounds! That’s it. That’s super light for a long action. Keep in mind this is the synthetic model, and the wood stock may vary slightly. 

The Patriot even comes optic-ready with a Picatinny rail, so you’re saving more money by not needing a mount. Oh, and it’s got sling points too! Overall, the rifle is basic which is why I ranked it 4th on my list. Don’t expect a totally grit-free bolt or the smoothest magazine. It’s more than capable and completely competent. Also, expect a bit of a hit to the shoulder with a 6.5-pound rifle with a .30-06 cartridge. 

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5 Browning BAR Mark 3

Browning BAR Mark 3

An autoloading hunting rifle with traditional lines.

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Browning BAR Mark 3 Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 22
  • Overall Length (in) 43.375
  • Weight (lbs) 7.2
  • Action Semi-Auto

Browning BAR Mark 3 Review

Taking the 5th spot on my list, this entry will invoke one of two reactions. Hunters will expect a particular rifle and military historians will picture a full auto light support automatic rifle. As fun as it would be to have a light support weapon, that’s a tough order. The hunters have it right, and the BAR we are discussing today is Browning’s other BAR. This sporting rifle is a magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle that comes in tons of calibers, including the famed made-in-America .30-06. 

The BAR series are premium-grade rifles and provide that rapid follow-up shot potential in a sporting-style rifle. The gas operation takes a bite out of the recoil and makes .30-06 a joy to shoot compared to other bolt action designs. The BAR uses a 4+1 magazine for a little extra firepower. Surprisingly, the Browning BAR comes in at 7.2 pounds, making it nice and light for most shooters. 

The Browning BAR Mark 3 series is seemingly compliant in most states, which pains me to say they have to be. These rifles have exceptional accuracy and have found a home with both brush hunters and plain hunters. The .30-06 version provides that heavy, hard-hitting .30 caliber round without all the recoil of other options. A disabled friend of mine prefers the BAR for its semi-auto design, and I can see why. Some folks can’t manipulate a bolt that easily, so options are sometimes about accessibility. 

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6 Savage Impulse Big Game

Savage Impulse Big Game

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value C

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Savage Impulse Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 22
  • Overall Length (in) 43.5
  • Weight (lbs) 7.3
  • Action Bolt-Action (Straight Pull)

Savage Impulse Review

The Savage Impulse takes bolt action rifles to new levels. The Impulse isn’t a traditional bolt-action rifle but a straight pull bolt action design. The bolt only moves forward and rearward, which makes the weapon much easier to shoot rapidly for those smooth follow-up shots. Savage designers took inspiration from classic European rifles to create the Impulse’s design for American shooters. Savage embraced America with arguably the most American rifle round, the .30-06. 

The Impulse delivers a smooth bolt-action experience that’s really fascinating and fun to manipulate. The lock-up system is solid ball-bearing locks. After the weapon fires, the bolt unlocks for quick and rapid action. The famed Savage Accu trigger is present and delivers that enjoyable and light trigger that we all know and love. It’s also user-adjustable to make it lighter or heavier if you so choose.

Across the top sits a machined rail for optics. The stock allows you to adjust the length of the pull with ease so it can fit you a bit better regardless of your size. The medium contour barrel keeps things balanced, but this rifle is a little hefty at 8.8 pounds. Luckily, that weight helps absorb that American-made recoil. I purchased one of these rifles for my dad, and it quickly became his favorite hunting rifle for medium game like deer and a subject of many conversations around the deer campfire.

Sitting at the 6th spot on my list of the best .30-06 rifles, you can find the full review of the Savage Impulse here.

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7 Tikka T3x Lite

Tikka T3x Lite

Tikka T3x Lite

Made in Finland and imported by Beretta USA, the Tikka T3x Lite is one of the best imports you can buy.

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics B-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

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Tikka T3x Lite Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 24.3
  • Overall Length (in) 44.5
  • Weight (lbs) 6.3
  • Action Bolt-Action

Tikka T3x Lite Review

Leave it to the Finnish to create a stellar rifle company that comes sneaking into the United States, planting a flag, and taking one of our favorite cartridges for a spin. At this point, the Tikka T3 has become an, if you know, you know, type of rifle. They are well known for their quality, accuracy, reliability, and general overall excellence. The newer T3X Lite just makes what was already great a little better. 

At a trim 6.6 pounds, the rifle is exceedingly light for a .30-06. The fluted barrel certainly helps with that weight, as does the lightweight synthetic stock. The barrel is 22.4 inches long, so it’s no carbine by any standard. Several of the models also feature muzzle devices to help contain recoil and reduce muzzle rise. The T3X series features a modular stock with variable pistol grips and forend sizes as well. 

Of course, you’re also getting are also one of the most accurate rifles. The Tikka T3X will stack rounds on top of each other repeatedly. It only took me a few hundred rounds to realize how crazy accurate this rifle is, and the trigger was brilliant too. With Tikka’s two-lug bolt system, you get a 70-degree bolt lift which helps you cycle rounds faster. Now, this gives you an edge in situations requiring rapid follow-up shots. Also, the bolt is smooth and easy to manipulate rapidly, and the redesigned ejection port takes reliability to the next level. Just shy of the last place on my list, the Tikka T3X Lite offers impressive quality and design at a price that matches its value.

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8 Christensen Arms Traverse

Christensen Arms Traverse

A lightweight bolt action rifle featuring a carbon fiber Monte-Carlo style stock and Christensen’s carbon fiber wrapped stainless steel barrel.

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Christensen Arms Traverse Specs

  • Barrel Length (in) 24
  • Overall Length (in) 46
  • Weight (lbs) 7.3
  • Action Bolt-Action

Christensen Arms Traverse Review

If price isn’t a big concern, but weight is, the Christensen Arms Traverse is for you. This long action .30-06 weighs only 7.3 pounds and chambers the mighty .30-06. The Traverse cuts weight by utilizing a .416R stainless steel barrel that’s wrapped with carbon fiber. The first time I grabbed one, I was absolutely thrown off. The rifle is balanced toward the rear, which is the opposite of what you expect from a rifle with a 24-inch long barrel. 

The rifle is impressively lightweight and balanced. A lightweight bolt action typically results in a high degree of recoil. The .30-06 is a stout cartridge too. To help, Christensen Arms uses a muzzle brake, a very aggressive one, to take that bite out of recoil. The brake is all steel and drastically reduces recoil. Make no mistake, I still got a kiss from the rifle, but it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. The brake is removable if you prefer a suppressor. 

The Traverse rifle comes optics-ready with a machined optics rail. It has a baffling light trigger that measured in at about three pounds. The bolt action glides rearward when pulled and is quite enjoyable to manipulate. The rifle has a ½ MOA guarantee as well, so accuracy is on you, not the rifle. Ranked last on my list, this outstanding .30-06 rifle comes with a price tag that reflects its exceptional quality.

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Best 30-06 Rifles – Buyer’s Guide

When choosing the best .30-06 rifle, it’s important to consider various factors like your intended use, the type of action you prefer, the rifle’s build quality, its accuracy, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or new to firearms, keeping these factors in mind will help you find the perfect .30-06 rifle that suits your needs and preferences. Simply follow this buyer’s guide and consider these factors to select the right rifle for you.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a 30-06 Rifle

These are some of the factors you should look at when figuring out what you need from a 30-06 rifle.

Purpose: Before getting into specific rifles, consider how you’ll be using your .30-06 rifle. Are you primarily hunting big game, target shooting at the range, or looking for a versatile firearm that can handle various tasks? Your intended use will influence the features and specifications you should prioritize.

Action Type: .30-06 rifles come in various action types, including bolt-action, semi-automatic, and even straight pull bolt designs. Each type has its advantages and limitations. Bolt-action rifles typically offer excellent accuracy and reliability, while semi-automatic rifles provide faster follow-up shots. Choose the action type that best suits your shooting style and preferences.

Build Quality and Materials: Pay attention to the build quality and materials used in the construction of the rifle. High-quality materials like stainless steel, carbon fiber, and premium-grade wood contribute to durability, accuracy, and overall performance. Look for rifles with solid construction and robust components that can withstand the rigors of shooting.

Accuracy and Precision: Accuracy is really important in any rifle, especially if you plan to use it for hunting or long-range shooting. Look for rifles with a reputation for exceptional accuracy and precision. Features like a quality barrel, precise trigger, and stable stock can significantly influence accuracy.

Recoil Management: The .30-06 cartridge produces a lot of recoil, so it’s important that you consider how well a rifle manages recoil. Features like muzzle brakes, recoil pads, and ergonomic designs can help reduce recoil and make shooting more comfortable. So, choose a rifle that balances recoil management with other factors like weight and portability.

Optics Compatibility: If you plan to use optics like scopes or red dot sights, ensure that the rifle is compatible with your preferred optic mounting system. Look for rifles with integrated Picatinny rails or other mounting options for easy attachment of optics. Additionally, consider the rifle’s barrel length and overall design to ensure optimal sight alignment and eye relief.

Price: Set a realistic budget based on your needs and preferences. The .30-06 rifles range in price from budget-friendly options to premium models with advanced features. Determine how much you’re willing to spend and prioritize features accordingly. Remember that investing in a high-quality rifle can pay off in terms of performance and longevity.

Handle and Test Before Buying: Whenever possible, handle and test-fire different .30-06 rifles to get a feel for their ergonomics, balance, and shooting characteristics. Visit local gun shops or shooting ranges to try out various models and see which one feels most comfortable and intuitive to shoot.

American as Apple Pie 

The old .30-06 refuses to go away. It continues to hold its ground and stays relevant in conversations among hunters and sportsmen. As we can see, the market still produces the rifles and does so with gusto. The .30-06 remains an American favorite that flies fast, hits hard, and keeps things straight. Who wouldn’t want one? 

Best 30-06 Rifles – FAQs

Are .30-06 rifles suitable for both beginners and experienced shooters?

Absolutely! .30-06 rifles cater to shooters of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned marksmen. Their versatility, ease of use, and manageable recoil make them accessible to new shooters, while their performance and capabilities continue to impress experienced enthusiasts. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of shooting experience under your belt, a .30-06 rifle is a solid choice for various shooting applications.

Are .30-06 great hunting rifles?

Yes, .30-06 rifles are widely regarded as great hunting rifles due to their versatility and effectiveness in taking down various game species. Whether you’re hunting deer, elk, moose, or bear, a .30-06 rifle provides the power and accuracy that you need for a successful hunt.

What makes modern .30-06 rifles different from the older ones?

Modern .30-06 rifles have seen significant advancements in technology and materials. These modern rifles often come with features like lightweight carbon fiber barrels, adjustable stocks for a personalized fit, improved recoil management systems for better shooting comfort, and are compatible with modern optics and accessories for enhanced precision and versatility. These features can greatly improve the performance and durability compared to traditional models.

Can beginners use bolt guns chambered in .30-06?

Yes, beginners can effectively use bolt guns chambered in .30-06 with proper training and familiarization. These rifles are known for their user-friendly operation and intuitive controls, making them suitable for shooters of all skill levels.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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