Whether you have the Marlin 336TDL Texan Deluxe, Henry 30-30, or some other rifle that uses the same ammo, you will know that they are lovely to look at too. However, not only are they beautiful to see, but they are also pleasant to fire. However, as with all rifles, you need to have the right equipment to go with them if you want them to work as well as they should. That is why, in this article, we will look at the best scope for 30-30 rifles.
As always, we will look a little bit into the history of the ammo, and then into the ballistics. This round is certainly not a new one by any means. It was first available in 1895. Therefore, it is over 100 years old now. However, that does not mean that they should be obsolete, or that you should think about a new rifle. If you have a 30-30 rifle and you like it, why change?
The Winchester 30-30 was known as the first small-bore, sporting rifle cartridge designed for smokeless powder. Although this is probably not the rifle that you have, it was first produced for the Winchester Model 1894. Let’s have a quick look at what the numbers mean:
- 30. – The first thirty in the figure is the bore size. .3 of an inch.
- -30. – The second thirty was added by Winchester rivals Marlin, and it is the standard weight of powder that the round holds in grains (1.9g).
Although it was Marlin that added the second number to the name, Winchester kept the designation and marketed it under their own name. That is how it was known as the Winchester 30-30. You may still see the name as 30 WCF (Winchester Center Fire).
The 30-30 Winchester round is undoubtedly not a long-range rifle. As such, you ill not need a scope with a huge magnification. However, having said that, as with some of the other articles, we will include one longer-range, higher-magnification scope for those of you who like to have a little more of the targe in view when you fire.
Since 1894, this round has gained a considerable reputation for hunting some larger game such as deer, black bears, and feral hogs. In fact, since that year, there are probably no rifle/ammo combinations that come close to the number of deer taken than with the Model 1984 and the 30-30 ammo.
However, that does not answer the range capabilities of the ammo. There are two mainstream variations of the 30-30 Winchester that you may use. They are:
- 150gr JHP
- 160gr FTX
The extra 10gr (0.647989g) of powder may not seem like a lot in terms of weight. However, it adds quite a lot of accuracy and power to the round. If we look at the two bullets fired from the same rifle, you see an increase from 16 inches drop and 651ft-lb at 300 yards from the JHP to 12.1 inches drop and 1,025ft-lb for the FTX at the same range. When you look at those figures, you can see that there is not much requirement for a scope that sill show you much further than the 300, maybe 400 yards.
If you are hunting big game, you will probably not want to go more than 6x magnification. But, if you are hunting smaller game, you may want to go a bit higher. However, I would probably rethink your rifle before hunting for prairie dogs, etc.
The 4 Best Scopes for 30-30 Winchester
With that in mind, we will show you the best scopes for the 30-30 Winchester in order of their magnification:
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x-40 SFP
- Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 BDC Reticle
- UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm
Yet again, here we are with another wonderful scope from Vortex. They are the first contender in the Best scope for 30-30. They do nothing but amaze us with their capabilities with the scopes that they produce. The Crossfire II has a BDC reticle to compensate for bullet drop. That is certainly a feature that you should be looking for with the 30-30 Winchester ammo, as you have seen the drop is quite considerable. What that will allow you to do is to estimate your shots when they are further than your zeroed range.
The scope is available with varying magnification lenses, but we have chosen the 3-9x for this article, as we feel it provides a great compromise. Anything higher than that, you will probably be too far away from the target unless you are hunting for small game.
If you have read our scopes buying guide, you will know that the best type of lens coating you can have is fully multi-coated. Well, this scope has it all. The benefits of that coating are that you will have a clear view of your target no matter what the lighting conditions are. The reticle adjustment knobs on the top and side give solid clicks into place to allow for reliable zero adjustments.
Anodized single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum, Nitrogen purged and O-ring seals make this scope the perfect choice for all weathers.
- Crystal clear optics
- Easily adjustable reticle
- Great quality construction
- It will not be great for long-range shots. – You probably won’t be taking them with a 30-30 rifle, though.
2. Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 BDC Reticle
Next in the Best scope for 30-30 is a Nikkon; do I need to say more? I doubt it, but I will anyway. Again, this scope has a BDC reticle to allow for easy adjustments for bullet drop. I say again in a light term, though. Nikkon has actually patented this type of reticle, so it is likely to be the best you will find.
Yes, this scope is another 3-9x magnification. However, the choice between the two is a personal one. If you prefer Nikkon, then this is the scope for your 30-30. However, if you have already fallen in love with the Vortex optics range, then the choice is obvious. If you have owned neither of them, my choice between the two is the Nikkon. I love the crystal optics that you get with Nikkon, I have some of their cameras, and I would pick their scopes over any other brand. However, we do have some others for you to look at soon.
Again, all of the lenses are fully multi-coated to improve light transmission, and certain click adjustments on the reticle knobs mean that you do not have to look away from your target to adjust it. I feel like I am a bit of a broken record here, but the full aluminum scope is entirely weatherproof, with nitrogen-purged optics and an O-ring.
To make this even better, Nikkon offers a lifetime warranty on the scope too.
- Lifetime warranty
- Solid adjustments
- Crystal optics
- A little more expensive. – But you get what you pay for
3. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
If you want to use the same scope on a variety of rifles, or you have a little bit of difficulty with your eyesight, the UTG will certainly help you. The magnification range is huge. You can fire at targets that are close with the 3x magnification, or you can zoom in to a whopping 12x. Of course, there are all the ranges between the two, too.
As a 30-30 rifle is a short to medium range, this scope will let you go further than that. Therefore, if you want to try your hand at a few of the longer shots, then you can. However, remember that the ballistics of the round is going to drop significantly after 300 yards.
The emerald coated lenses will allow you to fire in multiple lighting conditions, and for the times that you need it, the reticle is illuminated. There are over 30 settings for the reticle, ranging through green and red at different brightness settings. Don’t worry about having to take your eye off the target when you change the reticle; the buttons are well placed and easy to use even when looking down the sight.
The whole scope is 100% weatherproof, so you do not need to turn off the reticle if it starts to rain. It is a broader scope than some of the others, but I think that the extras that you get with it make it a great compromise.
- Illuminated reticle
- Amazing magnification range
- Built-in sunshade
- Flip open lens covers
- Lifetime warranty
- A little bulkier than the others
4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40mm
The second installment in the best 30-30 scopes from Vortex comes in the form of the Diamondback. This scope also has a BDC reticle so that you do not have to adjust for bullet drop. The reticle is also in the second focal plane, meaning that it will stay the same size no matter which magnification you use. While that may be a little off-putting at longer ranges, you will find that the adjustments for elevation are more natural.
The magnification range is not as much as the UTG, but it still offers more diversity than the other two in the selection. However, if you have never used the UTG, or if you do not have them side by side, you may not notice the difference at all.
Fully multi-coated lenses and the fast-focus eyepiece will allow you to get a good focus on the target as soon as you see it move. Also, as you well know, taking your eye off the objective that you have only just seen is terrible news. Therefore, the tactile adjustment knobs will let you adjust for elevation and wind as quickly as you can focus on the target.
Unlike the other scopes, the Diamondback is purged with Argon. What is the difference? You may ask. While there is little difference between the two gasses in terms of scopes (they are both used to purge the oxygen from the scope), Argon will make the scope last (slightly) longer as it is slightly less reactive. Argon is also a larger atom than Nitrogen, so it will take longer to leak past O-rings. However, optically, they both do a great job of preventing fog buildup.
- More of a matte finish for better camouflage
- Great magnification range
- Fast-focus eyepiece
- A little expensive
Best Scope for 30-30 – Conclusion
All four of the Best scope for 30-30 rifles are wonderful choices, or we would not have put them in the article. However, the final decision is a personal preference. I think that the first thing that you need to do is decide if you want one of the larger magnifications or not. If you do, I would suggest the UTG. If not, then I prefer the Nikkon. However, as an all-round favorite, I would choose the Nikkon over any of them due to the optics quality. However, as I have said, it all comes down to personal preference and requirements.
If you would like to know a bit more about what you need to look for in a scope, please check our How to Find the Best Rifle Scope guide here.