The legendary .30-30 Winchester is a favorite of mid-sized game hunters everywhere, and despite the fact that this much-beloved cartridge is getting on in years, it is still a very popular round (and with good reason).
If you’re looking for a scope for the .30-30 rifle in your safe, then you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up all the best options right here for you.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II SFP Riflescope
1 - 4 x
Weaver Classic 4x28 Scout
Primary Arms SLx SFP
Sig Sauer ROMEO5 Red Dot Sight
Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Solar Powered Circle
6061 Aluminum with Titanium Hood
SIG Sauer ROMEO1 Reflex Sight
NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops Elite
1.5 - 15 x
Why the .30-30?
When it comes to firearms of legend, everyone has a list and an argument about why their chosen gun is on the list.
One gun that will be on nearly every list is the Winchester Model 94 in .30-30 Winchester. There's just something about this lever-action rifle that makes gun enthusiasts weak-kneed. Before we get into the best scopes for the .30-30 Win, we need to look at the rifles that will carry the optic.
The original Winchester Model 94 .30-30 is a top eject rifle. This means you cannot put a Picatinny rail across the top. The gun will not eject spent brass. You have to get a side mount for the Model 94. A no-drill mount uses existing holes in the receiver and longer screws to hold the mount to the side.
Modern lever guns from Marlin, Henry, and Rossi are side-eject. These have pre-tapped holes in the top of the receiver for a pic rail. But be careful. If you put the screw in too far, especially in the Marlin, the screw base will hit the bolt and pin it in place.
What Features Do We Need in Our .30-30 Scopes?
The .30-30 has probably killed more deer in the United States than any other caliber. It has taken its share of other game like bear, moose and elk. Nonetheless, it has a ballistic trajectory like a well-thrown rock. It loses power and bullet drop kicks in pretty quickly. The .30-30 is a 100-yard hunting rifle, a solid brush gun, and a good choice for animals up to large deer.
Knowing this will start an argument, I'm adding it anyway. "Animals shot at and beyond 100 yards may show little to no sign of a hit, falling only after running considerable distances," says Ballistic Studies. Yes, critters may die on the spot at 300 yards with a .30-30 but not consistently, so it’s not even suitable for medium range, let alone long range.
Also, .30-30 shooters are not after single-hole accuracy. Putting five rounds into a target the size of a big deer's heart is acceptable for most shooters.
Keeping all this in mind, the best .30-30 scopes will acknowledge the limitations of the gun and be designed for close range. Put another way, you don't need a 1,000-yard sniper rifle atop your Marlin 336 or Henry .30-30. You need a clear view, low magnification and a scope that can handle being in heavy cover.
Now let’s take a look at some great scopes for .30-30.
Best Scopes For 30-30
1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4×24 SFP Riflescope
The Crossfire II is a no-frills, serious business rifle scope for an equally serious, git-er-done rifle. The crosshairs do not meet in the middle, instead there is a slight gap, then a red dot. It has a 1/2 mil click value, which is plenty for this old round. It has 100 MOA of elevation and windage adjustments.
It is a second focal plane scope and has a V-Brite illuminated reticle. The objective lens is a small 24mm, which is good for most hunting conditions. A very large front glass can be a hindrance when trying to get the gun up in heavy brush. A big front glass is also more easily scratched than a small one. On the other end is Vortex’s fast focus eyepiece.
The lenses are fully multi-coated with anti-reflective coatings for improved light transmission. The scope itself is waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof thanks to solid construction, o-ring seals, and nitrogen purging. It’s made from aircraft grade aluminum and has a matte black hard coat anodized finish. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
At 100 yards, you have a 24.1-foot field of view (FOV), more than enough to accomplish what you need to do. The cost is also reasonable, which is why it leads the list of our best 30/30 scopes.
2. Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm
If you are a shooter who simply must have more light-gathering capabilities and don't mind using high rings, then the Simmons 8-point 3-9x with a 50mm objective lens is for you.
The 3-9x magnification range gives you a close look at anything within .30-30’s range. Be careful with higher magnification, though, as this can limit your field of view and exaggerate the effects of your movements.
Simmons says this has a "Truplex" reticle, but that's just their branded word for a duplex. This is another no-frills scope. Simmons, founded in 1983, produced decent optics at equally reasonable prices.
The 8-Point has a 1/4 click value with a 60 MOA maximum range on both the elevation and windage knobs. At 100 yards, it promises a 10.5-foot FOV, so pretty tight.
Again, you will need high mounts to get this on a .30-30.
3. Simmons 8-Point 4x32mm
If you don't want high-rise mounts or a 50mm objective lens is too much, Simmons also offers the 8-point in a 4x32mm. Like the rest of the 8-Point line, this scope is a great option for hunters with a limited price range.
This is a fixed magnification scope, delivering a 23.6-foot FOV at 100 yards. That is about as close to perfect as you can get for a .30-30 scope at that distance. It’s going to make close target acquisition a bit more difficult than a lower-power scope.
Like its bigger-eyed brother, this 8-Point scope’s windage and elevation adjustment turrets have 1/4 MOA click values. It does a bit better on the adjustments, offering 70 MOA of elevation and windage adjustment. The reticle is identical to that off the larger belled 8-point scope.
4. Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33
Leupold makes some of the best gun optics on the planet. They are tough. The VX-Freedom is a high-quality scope that, frankly, is better than any lever action you can put it on (and there I go, starting another argument).
The VX-Freedom 2-7x is one of several Leupolds in the VX family. This particular scope makes our list because of the zoom. At 7x magnification, you get a 17.8-foot FOV at 100 yards. That's less than some others in this lineup, but is still enough for a .30-30.
Making this hunting scope the ideal choice is the low-end magnification, which doubles the size of something seen through the scope vs. your naked eye. Sight acquisition is excellent.
It has 75 MOA in elevation and another 75 in windage, adjusted in 1/4 MOA clicks.
The 33mm objective lens is middle-of-the road for scopes in this review.
The Bushnell Banner is actually a series of nine scopes with Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses. This coating improves the view through the scope and improves visibility in low light conditions.
Bushnell offers three choices ideally suited for the 30-30. Any of the scopes will work just fine on this workhorse rifle, but you simply do not need an 18x magnification.
All the scopes in the family have 1/4 MOA click values and second focal plane reticles. Magnification in our three picks will vary. They are waterproof and shockproof. Reticles will vary from scope to scope.
The Bushnell Banner 3-9x40 Black Powder Rifle is meant for black powder, both muzzleloaders and centerfire. Realistically, though, a black powder slug and a .30-30 slug are going to have similar trajectories. At 100 yards, you have 12-foot FOV.
Elevation and windage are only 30 MOA, the smallest range of scopes in this list. It has a 40mm objective lens. The reticle has crosshairs with a ring around the center.
The Bushnell Banner 3-9x40 Riflescope is almost the same as the black powder version above but with a plain duplex reticle.
The Bushnell Banner 3-9x50 differs from its brothers in two and a half ways. It has the duplex crosshairs like the one just above; that's the 1/2 difference. It’s longer than the other two, which means eye relief may be an issue for some. You have an extra four inches to cope with. It also has a 50mm objective lens with more light-gathering abilities than the other two.
6. Weaver Classic 4x28 Scout
Hunger for the days gone by when hunters stepped into the woods with a low-power scope on their trusted lever action, a handful of ammo and a knife? The Weaver Classic is the scope you want.
This is the ultimate no-frills scope.
It has 1/4 MOA click adjustments. It comes in at a short nine inches with a one-inch tube. It has a plain duplex reticle and fixed magnification at four times larger than what you see with your plain eye. As a scout scope, it has very long eye relief — a full nine inches — and a generous eyebox.
7. Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP
I absolutely love the Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24 This black matte scope is, simply put, exciting. The innovative reticle makes it at home for a shotgun slinging slugs or buckshot where legal, as well as bird hunting.
The BDC reticle allows you to adjust for the wind with mil dots and elevation with hash marks. It may take some time on the range to fully exploit the features of this reticle. Once mastered, however, this is a scope that will help you become a better hunter.
To top that off, the 1-6x magnification range gives this scope the largest zoom ratio on this list.
A main reason why this scope doesn't rank higher is that it’s so new. This scope needs more time in the woods and on the range to fully prove itself, though I have no doubt it will.
Another reason for the lower rank is the size of the objective lens. At just 24mm, getting a shooting solution in low light conditions could be a challenge.
Hey Primary Arms! Put a bigger piece of glass on the front of this one, please.
It has a 30mm tube, which helps a little.
Click values are 1/2 mil, plenty for a .30-30 Winchester. At 100 yards, you have a 19.3-foot FOV.
Primary Arms has six different versions of this scope. Only the Raptor is a first focal plane. The rest are in the second focal plane.
In some respects, the .30-30 Winchester seems tailor-made for red dot scopes. Its short range, heavy punch, and carbine length in most rifles mean the single dot in the scope is enough to get the job done.
Another advantage of these scopes is the unlimited eye relief. A .30-30 can pack a punch with heavy bullets. The lightweight nature of the carbine won't absorb as much recoil as heavier guns.
For example, the Marlin 336 weighs seven pounds. A Ruger M77 comes in at nearly a pound and a half more. If you go for synthetic furniture (get tacticool!) you reduce the weight even more.
Most reflex and red dot scopes are designed for handguns. The .30-30 Win has similar ballistics to many hunting-class handguns so these scopes work well on the rifle. If you want a compact, fast sight picture and less weight, then a red dot optic is a great option for 30-30.
If you are going to use these sights, replace the battery at the beginning of each hunting season. The manufacturer may list battery life in the thousands of hours, but reality says the battery life is a bit less.
You don’t want to miss that shot on the trophy of a lifetime because the battery went dead.
8. Sig Sauer ROMEO5 Red Dot Sight
Sig Sauer is best known for its superb line of handguns. Its foray into the world of shooting optics are designed for handguns, but they can be used for .30-30 as well. The Romeo series has several versions. Of these, the Sig Romeo 5 is the best red dot for .30-30.
This scope leads our list because it’s waterproof. That’s unusual in the electronic red dot scope field. The R5 has a 2 MOA dot.
9. Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Solar Powered Circle
You read that right, solar-powered. The Holosun HE510C-GR Elite Solar Powered Circle has a solar charging panel. Of course, that's not always going to help, so it does have a battery too.
This reflex scope has a 2 MOA dot inside of a 65 MOA circle. It has 12 brightness settings and the click value is 1/2 MOA. At 100 yards, 2 MOA is just a hair over 2 inches. For most hunters and shooters, that’s small enough. A deer's vitals cover six inches or more.
10. SIG Sauer ROMEO1 Reflex Sight
The SIG Sauer Romeo 1 is a true reflex sight. It does require a Sig Sauer mount, which is why it ranks a bit lower than other red dots. There's just no valid reason why Sig won’t make this sight with a picatinny rail mount.
Another two reasons for bumping this one down is the 3 MOA dot and 1 MOA click value. The dot could easily be 2 MOA and the adjustments 1/2 MOA. Still, it’s on the list because it’s a Sig and it comes with one of the best warranties and reputations in the industry. That says a lot.
The R1 is built to stand up to the recoil of the .45 ACP which puts more torque on a scope than rifle.
Yes, you can use .30-30 for night hunting. Other rifles are better suited to this purpose. However, as the old adage goes, "Fear the man with one gun. He knows how to use it." If all you have is a .30-30 and you want to bust varmints or hogs at night, here are best the night scopes for .30-30.
11. NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops Elite
First, consider an adapter for your current scope.
NiteSite Eagle Dark Ops Elite is a night vision scope adapter. It adds a lot of bulk to your rifle. But since most night hunting is done in the open and bipods are recommended, that's not a huge problem. Plus, it comes off during the day.
NiteSite says detection is out to 500 yards. That may be in a clear field on full moon night, but in reality you can expect less. It comes with an infrared illuminator for new moon and cloudy nights.
12. ATN ThOR-HD
The ATN ThOR-HD is a thermal vision scope. Thermal has advantages over traditional night vision:
- It works no matter the moon.
- It can see through fog.
- It has more range.
The drawback is thermal scopes are more expensive than traditional night vision.
Anyway, the ATN ThOR uses four AA batteries. That's why this leads our list. When the batteries die, replacements are at the nearest convenience store.
It has recoil-activated recording so when you pull the trigger, you get both shots. It also has a smart rangefinder, GPS, Bluetooth, and Wifi. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; you'll probably read the owner's manual several times to figure out everything this scope is capable of.
Putting a scope on a .30-30 Winchester amounts to heresy to some hunters and shooters. Those of us who are older and with eyes not as good as a young person's eyes can especially appreciate good scopes. Besides, when you get older, you don't worry about what the younger crowd says about your shooting choices.
So pick a scope that fits your shooting style. Learn how to use it on the range and then head into the field with it.
What do you think of these .30-30 scopes? See one that strikes your fancy? Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our best scout scopes list for more scopes like these that will also work well on a .30-30.