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History of the .30-06 Rifle

Hunting has long and rich traditions, but you need a weapon before you head out into the field.

When it comes to hunting rifles, few are as popular or iconic as the .30-06 rifle.

This excellent caliber has been around for decades and continues to prove its worth every year as hunters use it to take down wild game of all shapes and sizes. 

But the infamous 30-06 didn’t start its life as a hunting cartridge.

Designed over 100 years ago in 1906, the “30” refer to its caliber while the “06” is the year of its creation.

Made as a military round, it struck a perfect balance between size and power.

It did such a great job, in fact, that the 30-06 stayed as the U.S. military’s primary rifle and machine gun cartridge for over 50 years before finally being replaced. 

Even after the military moved onto a new cartridge, the 30-06 stuck around and saw plenty of use in the civilian world.

Hunters found that this cartridge could be sized up or down with different bullet sizes to accommodate just about any animal on the planet. 

 

Best .30-06 Rifles Reviews

So what about the 30-06 today?

hunting rifles chambered in this caliber are as plentiful as ever, and there are many great models out there that make full use of its versatility and power.

Here are just a few of the best .30-06 rifles that I have had the pleasure of shooting!

 

 

1. Browning X-Bolt Composite Stalker .30-06 Rifle Review

Browning X-Bolt Composite Stalker Review

BEST .30-06 RIFLE FOR THE PRICE

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While I grew up shooting a 270 for deer, my dad always carried his trusty 30-06.

While he had a few of them over the years, the first one I ever shot was his Browning X-Bolt Composite Stalker.

I was immediately impressed with this gun after firing a few shots at the range and later borrowed it for a deer hunt to see how it did out in the field. 

The first thing you will notice is the comfortable grip and texture on the stock.

This gives a great feel to the gun and is perfect for wet or slippery conditions.

It also eats up recoil fairly well. I ended up killing a buck on my hunt, and hardly noticed the recoil at all. 

The trigger is pretty good for a stock trigger with no work and breaks crisply.

The whole gun is overall fairly lightweight and is just an all-around quality rifle that I think anyone would be happy with.

At a fair price point, I think this gun is one of the best values for the price.

There really isn’t anything that this gun couldn’t do! 

Where to buy the Browning X-Bolt Composite Stalker:

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2. Savage Axis II Bolt Action Package .30-06 Rifle Review

BEST BUDGET .30-06 RIFLE

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For those that are on a tighter budget and want to purchase a rifle and scope all in one, the Savage Axis II is a great choice.

I had the pleasure of shooting my buddy’s 30-06 Savage Axis on the day he brought it home, and while it may not be the prettiest gun, it does everything that you need it to while not breaking your bank. 

This rifle has a detachable box magazine, adjustable trigger, and a 3-9×40 scope that all make it a great buy.

And at only 6.5 pounds, this little gun weighs next to nothing! You could carry this thing all day long while in the woods and never get tired.

It does not include a swing swivel, however, so you will have to install one yourself in order to put a rifle sling on the rifle. 

For the price, I think the Savage Axis II could be a great hunting rifle for those that want a 30-06 that can be used for medium to somewhat long ranges.

The only thing I think this gun lacks is a quality stock, so don’t expect any extreme long-range accuracy.

But again, for the money, I believe this is easily one of the best budget-friendly 30-06 rifles out on the market today, and was very impressed with my time at the range with it. 

Where to buy the Savage Axis II Bolt Action Package Rifle:

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3. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight .30-06 Rifle Review

The Winchester Model 70 Featherweight .30-06 Rifle

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT .30-06 RIFLE

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When it comes to one of the best 30-06 rifles that I have ever shot, the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight takes the cake.

Not only is this gun beautiful with its sleek, walnut stock and checkered grip pattern giving it an old-school look, but it is remarkably lightweight for having a wooden stock. 

Not only is this rifle very reliable, but the trigger is one of the best stock triggers I’ve seen on a gun straight out of the box.

It has almost zero creep, over travel, or take-up. It is also fully adjustable, so you can set it to exactly where you like it.

Moving to the action, it is remarkably smooth and the bolt slides like it is on butter.

This gun is a controlled feed rifle, so the chance of it jamming is very slim. 

At 42 inches in length and only 6.5 pounds, this little gun is my choice for a backpack hunt where every ounce counts.

Its compact size makes it easy to handle and strap to the pack as you are hiking.

But, although it is light, the sturdy stock and overall build are still able to absorb most of the recoil and make it very manageable. 

Where to buy the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight .30-06 Rifle:

Buy on Guns.com

 

 

Final Thoughts on the Best .30-06 Rifles

 

The 30-06 is a rifle that has been around for a long time and has provided hunters with a versatile round that can effectively take down any animal.

These three rifles have all proven to me that the 30-06 may be old, but it is certainly not a pushover and is one of the best hunting calibers out there.

All of them have their own unique advantages that can come into play while out in the field, and there is one to fit every budget and hunting style.