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The .30-06 Springfield is one of the quintessential American calibers. While it may not be the most popular round here anymore, it still holds a special place in the hearts of many gun owners, especially hunters.
If you’re trying to decide on the best .30-06 rifle to take advantage of this still-awesome cartridge, we’ve got you covered. We’ve tested and reviewed dozens of .30-06 rifles over the years. I have been hunting with them off and on for most of my life.
I’m going to give you our list of the best .30-06 rifles. I’ll start with my top choice, the CZ 557 American. Then we’ll dive into 8 more that might be better options for you depending on your needs and budget.
Then, we’ll wrap up with a quick buyer’s guide packed with important info on how to choose the best .30-06 rifles for your specific needs. Let’s get into it.
Here Are The Best .30-06 Rifles
1. CZ 557 American
First up, we have my personal favorite and our #1, best overall pick: the CZ 557 American.
Now, if you’ve never heard of CZ, or never heard of them making bolt-action hunting rifles like this, that’s okay. Trust me when I say that they know what they’re doing.
CZ is a Czech company, and shooting sports are big business in the Czech Republic. Depending on how you measure it, it’s the second or third most popular sport in the country. They know their guns over there.
The CZ 557 American is a frankly gorgeous rifle that is built out of the Czech love of accurate sport shooting and hunting.
It features a 24” cold hammer-forged barrel and an overall length of 44” and a weight of 7.05lbs. It’s not an ultralight stalker rifle by any means, but that’s mostly down to the beautiful Turkish Walnut stock.
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The “American” part of the name is a reference to the high comb and overall American style of the stock. It’s just about as classic as it gets for a traditional hunting rifle. You can of course throw an aftermarket composite stock on it if you want, but that would be a sin in my eyes.
In addition to the pretty stock, you also get a rubber butt pad to help soak up some of that .30-06 recoil. There’s also some checkering on the forend and grip to give you solid purchase in adverse conditions, or with gloves on.
One of the benefits of the wood stock is that the extra weight also helps with recoil, especially follow through and making sure your round went where it needed to go.
Finally, this is one of the most accurate guns on this list, even with the natural wood stock. This is a sub-MOA gun all day, and you can rest assured that if you miss that trophy buck the problem is off the end of the buttstock, not with the gun itself.
The trigger is not only absolutely immaculate, but it’s also completely adjustable. You can tune it to exactly what you want, and dial it up or down as you want or need.
- Overall Length: 44”
- Barrel Length: 24”
- Magazine: 4+1
- Weight: 7.05 lbs
- MSRP: $871
The CZ 557 American is a great rifle and .30-06 is a great caliber to pick it up in. The gun is lightweight and well-balanced even with a hefty 50mm scope on it, and it’s an absolute dream to shoot.
The trigger is also completely adjustable and there are many aftermarket stocks available. If you ever want to change things up, you can customize it to be exactly what you want it to be. It’s also almost certainly more accurate than you are, so you won’t be able to blame the gun for a miss.
2. Remington 783 Synthetic
Next up on our list, we have the Remington Model 783. This model takes the already awesome 783 and spruces it up with a stiffer synthetic stock for a little additional accuracy. They’ve done this with a nylon fiber-laden stock that not only offers great accuracy but also has a nice grippy surface.
The action is bedded with a dual-pillar system that allows for a free-floated barrel. The new CrossFire trigger is fully adjustable so you dial in your trigger weight to exactly where you want it.
The trigger also has a safety blade to prevent an accidental discharge due to inertia, which can be a problem with super-light triggers. I’m glad to see this on more rifles these days, and kudos to Remington for adding it here.
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Personally, I found it to be just as accurate as any other .30-06 I’ve ever handled, and the well-designed stock is comfortable and well-finished.
The barrel is a precision button-rifled affair that is made in-house. It’s also hand-checked to ensure tight tolerances and impeccable accuracy. All in all, Remington has been churning out excellent bolt-actions for the last 50 years or so. They’ve clearly brought all that experience to bear on the 783.
- Overall Length: 41.68
- Barrel Length: 22”
- Magazine: 4+1
- Weight: 7.5lbs
- MSRP: $400
Remington has been doing this kind of thing for a long time. Even though they’ve experienced some Freedom Group-related struggles over the year, they’ve hit it out of the park with the Model 783. If you’re looking for a classic, no-frills .30-06 in a modern stock, this is a good choice.
3. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight
If you’re looking for a practical rifle with a serious lineage among serious hunters, the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight is a great traditional option.
This gun has been around for almost a hundred years now. It has earned a reputation as a solid and dependable friend to big game hunters around the world.
The latest edition of the Model 70, the Featherweight, features a lightened walnut stock with classic checkering and the Schnabel forend that gives the Featherweight the iconic look that generations of hunters have come to know and love.
Not one to rest on their laurels, Winchester hasn’t just left it there though. Far from it, in fact.
The new version also features a cold hammer-forged and free-floated barrel with a recessed target crown to promote maximum accuracy. In addition, the M.O.A. trigger system is fully adjustable and is honestly one of the best stock triggers we’ve ever tested in a rifle in this price range.
Winding things up with the stock, you get a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad to help the Featherweight absorb a little more of the recoil before it hits your shoulder. Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I don’t like to get too beat up by my guns if I can help it.
Keep in mind, this is a lightweight rifle. You’re going to feel the kick a bit more than you perhaps normally would. Fortunately, the excellent accuracy and superb trigger mean that one shot is all you should need.
- Overall Length: 42.75”
- Barrel Length: 22”
- Magazine: 5+1 internal
- Weight: 6.5lbs
- MSRP: $849.99
If you’re after a known and trusted rifle, it doesn’t get much more prestigious than the utterly prolific Winchester Model 70. It’s truly one of the most beloved bolt-action rifles of all time. The latest Featherweight version is a worthy addition to the line, combining classic styling with modern advancements in precision rifle features.
4. Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic
For the accuracy obsessed, the Weather Vanguard Synthetic is hands-down the way to go. This rifle features a hammer-forged barrel, match-grade adjustable two-stage trigger, and Weatherby’s signature Vanguard action.
Many rifle makers will call their guns “sub-MOA” but Weatherby is one of very few that will actually guarantee that kind of performance.
Now, with that kind of precision, you might think that the Vanguard is destined to be a safe queen that comes out once or twice a year to ring steel or punch paper before being carefully cleaned and put away again.
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Nothing could be further from the truth.
Weatherby makes guns to use and the Vanguard Synthetic line is all the proof you could need of that. The Monte Carlo-style Griptonite stock is made to stand up to abrasions, water, harsh chemicals and oil, and just about anything else you can throw at it.
Beyond that, you get a one-piece machine bolt body, full-enclosed bolt-sleeve, and integral recoil lug, and a fluted bolt body. All of this adds up to a rifle that’s designed to perform in any and all conditions.
And perform well at that.
- Overall Length:44.5”
- Barrel Length: 24”
- Magazine: 5+1 with hinged floor plate
If accuracy is your biggest concern, then the Weatherby Vanguard is the best value for your hard-earned dollar. The trigger in this thing alone is worth the cost of admission. Plus, Weatherby stands behind the precision of their rifles in a way few other companies would dare to.
5. Browning BLR Lightweight
Next up we have a lever-action, the Browning BLR Lightweight. Now, you may not think of .30-06 as a lever-action cartridge most of the time. Browning, however, has gone and made a lever gun capable of standing up to a variety of magnum cartridges.
What this leaves you with is an impressive lever-action capable of dropping some of the largest game on the planet from very far away. Or from frighteningly close. For hunting dangerous game, the fast and intuitive shooting from a lever gun is a definite plus over a traditional bolt action.
Beyond the obvious lever-action coolness, it’s also just a great rifle in its own right. It has some innovative features and gorgeous styling that don’t take away from its durability and weather resistance.
The 22” barrel is plenty long enough to get sufficient energy out of the .30-06. It features a 1:9.5 twist rate to stabilize a wide variety of popular .30-06 bullet weights. Make no mistake, this is a lever gun that can reach out to serious distances.
Another neat party trick the BLR has up its sleeve is the detachable box magazine. It allows you to use pointed rounds with no risk of an accidental discharge in a more typical tube magazine that you might find on other lever guns.
Rounding things out, the target crowned barrel and hand-reamed chamber are machined to incredibly tight tolerances to get the absolute most accuracy out of every shot. This is definitely another gun that you can’t blame a miss on.
- Overall Length: 44”
- Barrel Length: 22”
- Magazine: 5 round Detachable steel box
- Weight: 6lbs, 12oz
If you’re looking for something a little different and want to have a little more rapid-fire capability than what you’d get with a typical bolt-action, consider the Browning BLR instead.
This has quickly become one of our favorite big game rifles and is a perfect choice for hunting dangerous game like bears or hogs. It is a gorgeous gun too, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
6. Ruger American Rifle
If you’re looking for a budget hunting rifle that performs well out of its price bracket, then the Ruger American Rifle is the rifle for you. The American Rifle has made waves in recent years as one of the most accurate and best-performing rifles available under $1000,
And it typically costs about $400.
This gun is more than capable of out-performing rifles that cost twice as much, and it very nearly took our top spot away from the CZ up above. It has an excellent adjustable trigger, with 3-5lb variable pull weights that is the heart of the rifle.
Ruger has taken their experience with the Ruger Precision Rifle and applied almost the exact same trigger to this rifle, a rifle that comes in at about a third the cost of that chassis-wearing monster of the precision shooting world.
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It also has a hammer-forged barrel and features Ruger’s Power Bedding system which provides a positive location for the action and free-floats the barrel for increased accuracy and more repeatable shots.
Finally, there’s an included scope rail so you can quickly mount a variety of optics without any hassle, which is great if you find yourself swapping optics back and forth a lot.
- Overall Length: 42.5”
- Barrel Length: 22”
- Magazine: 4 round internal rotary
- Weight: 6.25lbs
- MSRP: $429.99
The Ruger American Rifle is another excellent budget-minded choice for a no-frills hunting or target rifle. If you’re looking for a rock-solid performance that won’t break then this is definitely one to keep your eye out for.
7. Browning X-Bolt Stalker
Finally, we have another fan-favorite bolt-action, the Browning X-Bolt Stalker. This light rifle is designed primarily for folks that are going to be dragging their rifle over mountains, through thick brush, and down into slot canyons looking for their quarry.
It’s lightweight, but still features a heavy sporter contour barrel and adjustable comb system so you can get the perfect cheek weld for those long-range shots. This is a rifle that cries out to stretch its legs and makes a great choice for hunters that like to put down game from a great distance.
The synthetic stock is textured all over for positive grip, and like all of the Stalker line from Browning, is designed to take a beating and keep on kicking. If you’re one of those brave folks that like to hunt deep in the backcountry, this is the rifle I’d recommend first.
- Overall Length:42”
- Barrel Length:24”
Backcountry and backpacking hunters rejoice! Browning has come up with a rifle that’s as tough and rugged as you are.
The Browning X-Bolt is our go-to recommendation for anyone that’s going to be trekking and hiking over long distances or through rough terrain during their hunts.
Mine (in 6.5 CM) has served me well as a backcountry hunting rifle, and it’ll stand up to whatever you throw at it without weighing you down in the process.
.30-06 Rifle Buyer’s Guide
When buying a .30-06 rifle, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to make sure you get the very best rifle for your specific needs.
As always when it comes time to pick a new firearm, the first thing you need to really think about is what your overall goals are.
Now, with a .30-06 rifle, your answer is most likely going to be hunting, but the type of hunting you’re doing can have a big impact on what exactly you need from your gun.
For example, if you’re trying to drop a Bighorn sheep somewhere out West and are likely to be trekking for miles and hiking up hills looking for your quarry, you probably don’t want a super heavy rifle.
Something lightweight is probably in your best interests, or at least the best interests of your back.
On the other hand, maybe you have a really good chiropractor you like going to see, or your typical hunting session involves a short walk from the truck to a deer stand where you’ll climb up and be sitting for several hours.
In this case, a lightweight rifle is fine, but you may also want to go with something a little heavier. The extra weight makes the rifle less prone to small position shifts as you’re bracing in the stand, and it also makes recoil easier to deal with.
And remember, less felt recoil isn’t just about being a pansy and not wanting too big and scary rifle kick. I mean, it is about that a little bit, but it’s mainly about not losing a solid visual on your target while you’re firing. Being able to see where that elk ran off to is a big benefit, especially in heavy cover or tall grass.
Semi-Auto, Bolt-Action, or Lever-Action (Or Full-Auto!)
Next, you have to decide whether you want a bolt-action rifle, or something semi-auto or lever-action.
We’ll get to the full-auto thing in a second.
First up, do you want a bolt-action or something you can maybe shoot a little faster? In general, we recommend a bolt-action for long-range hunting or target shooting, and the lever-action and semi-auto stuff for hunting in thick brush, especially for hunting dangerous game.
A standard bolt-action is going to be cheaper and more reliable, but if you’re going after hogs, bear, or even going on a safari after water buffalo or something, then knowing you can have a second round chambered almost immediately after the first one is sent downrange.
We also really like lever-action and semi-autos for target shooting. If you’re hitting steel at longer ranges, then the faster firing of the semi and lever action guns is just plain fun, but that’s just a side benefit.
Oh, and if you really want to flex, you could theoretically go with something fully automatic.
That’s right, there are fully-auto .30-06 guns out there that are legally transferable, primarily the Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR. You’ll just pay about $100,000 for them. Still, it is an option. For some folks.
For the rest of us, we’ll just have to stick to the semi-auto versions.
The Springfield .30-06 is a great round that offers excellent velocity, a wide range of bullet weights, and enough power to take down basically any animal that walks the earth from very far away.
And none of that makes a bit of difference if you can’t hit your target.
With most modern rifles, accuracy is going to come down to shooter skill more than it is the mechanical accuracy of the rifle itself…most of the time. There are a number of rifles out there that just don’t have the accuracy you need, which is sad given how good most of the industry has gotten.
Still, accuracy is one of the most important concerns when it comes to choosing any firearm, but it’s particularly important in hunting rifles where an ethical shot should always be of the utmost importance.
Some things to keep in mind are the weight and adjustability of the trigger, the quality of the barrel, and how the action is bedded into the stock. A chassis-style rifle is typically going to be the most accurate option, but not many manufacturers make a .30-06 chassis rifle.
This makes the stock of your rifle very important, particularly in terms of stiffness. This is where you have to decide whether you want that traditional wood stock, or a more modern composite or synthetic option that might have less flex to it.
Only you can decide how much accuracy you need, and for most hunters, in particular, a wood stock is going to be fine. If you’re hunting beyond 400 yards, you’re both braver than most and going to need to look into synthetic options most of the time.
And if you’re hunting within about 400 yards, you may be better off with .300 Blackout over .30-06. Also, check out this article to learn which one’s better – .30-06 or .308.
Most people don’t have an unlimited gun budget (sadly), so pricing is always a concern as well. If you’re a billionaire, you can just skip on to the next section, but for the rest of us, we need to think about how much we really need to spend on a new rifle.
Ask yourself: do you really need a ¼ MOA gun with a custom-tuned trigger, carbon fiber barrel, ebony wood stock, and all that fun stuff? No, not really. You don’t have to spend $5,000 on an heirloom quality rifle to put meat on the table.
You don’t have to spend $2000. You don’t have to spend $1000. You don’t even have to spend $600. There are plenty of excellent rifles out there that are affordable but will still perform 90% as well as guns that cost four and five times as much.
Are those extras nice? Sure. But be reasonable about what you need, and you’ll probably be surprised with how little you actually need to spend. Then you can spend the rest on ammo.
That said, there’s also some value to be had from having a rifle that you love the look of, and that you can be proud to hand down to your kids so they can hand it down to their kids and so on.
If you want to spend more, don’t let us stop you. Just be honest about whether it’s something you need to spend more on, or it’s just something you want. But hey, it’s your cash at the end of the day.
There are a ton of great .30-06 rifles out there, and the question of which one is ultimately the best is a tough one that can only really be answered on a case-by-case basis.
With that said, our overall #1 pick is still the exceptional CZ 577 American. It is an excellent value, performs astonishingly well on the range or in the field on a hunt, and it’s absolutely beautiful to look at.
If you’re looking for a great rifle you can be happy to pass down to your kids one day, this is the one to go with.
That said, if you have other needs, or just don’t love the CZ, there are plenty of other options out there. We’ve included a solid variety of .30-06 rifles to meet any need, budget, or intended purpose, so you should be well-armed with info to pick the best rifle for your specific needs.