The .30-06 Springfield was almost always the go-to for big game hunting for a long time. Everything from whitetail deer to elk or even bear at a variety of ranges were taken with a rifle chambered in .30-06.
Nowadays, there are many more options, and there’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not the .30-06 is the best round for the big game challenge. Some claim it’s too much for the relatively short distances most people shoot. Others claim different ammo is superior.
I’m not going to dig into the argument at the moment. What you want to shoot is up to you. However, there seems to be no contention with the fact that the .30-06 will bring down a deer or most other large game if fired accurately. It’s a strong and lethal round.
If you want to hunt big game, it’s the round I’ve heard recommended most often by hunters who I know and trust. While you may disagree, you can’t deny the following centerfire rifles that can be chambered for .30-60 are quality firearms. If you’re not a .30-06 shooter, be comforted by the fact that these rifles come in other calibers, too.
Savage Axis II XP .30-06
The Savage Axis II XP is a modern, budget, bolt action centerfire rifle that can be chambered in .30-06 Springfield. The Savage Axis II XP weighs only 6.5 pounds, features an ergonomically designed synthetic stock, two-position safety, and a 22-inch barrel.
Capacity on the rifle, when chambered for .30-06, is four rounds. That’s plenty to take down a deer or whatever else you’re hunting. Savage Arms has several variations of the Axis II, varying slightly in price, but the Axis II XP’s MSRP is $484 on the manufacturer’s website. You’ll find the Axis II XP much cheaper than that with a scope included (around $400).
Ruger American .30-06
The Ruger American is another modern centerfire rifle with a bolt action that can be chambered for .30-06. Ruger is one of the most well-respected firearms manufacturers out there, and the American is well-liked by many shooters. It features a light 6.2-pound weight, a synthetic stock, easy-to-actuate tang safety, and a 22-inch barrel.
It has a four round .30-06 capacity, much like the Savage Axis II XP listed above. With a nearly identical $489 MSRP listed by Ruger, there’s not much to dislike. Of course, you should have no trouble finding the Ruger American for less than MSRP (around $400), though at that price it will likely come without a scope.
Remington Model 783 .30-06
The Remington Model 700 is one of the most-recommended bolt action centerfire rifles out there. The Remington Model 783 is a modern take on that iconic gun. It features an 8.625-pound weight, synthetic stock, 22-inch barrel, and a two-position safety located just behind the bolt.
Like the other guns on this list, it has a four round capacity. Unlike the other models, its MSRP is a low $399. If you look around you should be able to find the Remington Model 783 for less than that and it’ll come with a scope (around $330).
These are just a few of the .30-06 options out there. These rifles can be chambered for other rounds, too. If you’re looking for an affordable, quality hunting rifle for large game, any of these three will get the job done.