30-30 lever-action rifles are popular with hunters and sports shooters, with a history that goes back over 100 years. Being so popular also raises the question of what the best scope for the 30-30 Lever Action Rifle is? Let’s have a look!
30-30 cartridges first appeared for the Winchester Model 1894 lever-action rifle. A few months later, the cartridge was adopted for the Marlin Model 1893 rifle. The Marlin Model 336 and Savage Model 99 are also common lever-action rifles that use 30-30 ammo.
What Are the Basics of 30-30 Lever-Action Rifles?
It was the first hunting rifle cartridge with smokeless powder and quickly became a favorite in the United States and Canada. The ammo was powerful enough for hunting while the lever-action rifles had less recoil and allowed for faster follow-up shots.
While more powerful and efficient ammo has appeared on the market in the 100 years since the introduction of the 30-30 cartridge, it remains a top seller. Hunters still enjoy using 30-30 lever-action rifles like the Marlin 336 to target deer, moose, caribou, black bear, and even feral hogs (Comparing Hunting vs Tactical Scopes – What are the Differences?).
Lever-action rifles have mild recoil and are often lightweight compared to larger caliber rifles. You get just enough power to take down a deer at 100 to 150 yards.
The lever-action rifle that the .30-30 is, is primarily used for short to medium distances. Switching to a polymer tipped round with a quality scope may allow you to extend the range to 250 yards, but 200 yards is considered the maximum effective range for a 30-30 lever-action rifle (Best Rifle Scopes for 200 Yards).
If you want to consistently hit your targets at 100 to 200 yards, you need to add optics. The best scopes for the 30-30 lever-action rifles tend to offer medium optical strength, with magnification ranging between 1x and 9x. Other details to consider include the quality of the glass and the field of view (FOV).
When comparing the quality of the glass, you typically look at the type of coating used on the glass, as the coating directly impacts light transmission. Standard coated lenses are less effective but more affordable. Most of the mid-range scopes are fully coated or multicoated.
Fully multi-coated lenses offer the best light transmission. This increases contrast, clarity, sharpness, and brightness, providing greater accuracy in environments with low visibility or when firing through the brush.
The field of view (FOV) also impacts your accuracy, especially when tracking a moving target or dealing with increased windage. A wider field of view also allows for quicker shooting at close range.
As you increase the magnification, the FOV gets smaller. A FOV of 25 to 30 feet at 100 yards is standard, but not all scopes are the same.
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What Magnification Do You Need for the Typical Use of a 30-30 Lever Action Rifle?
While you need to pay attention to the FOV and the glass quality, magnification is one of the first details to look at when searching for a scope. Finding the right magnification for your scope depends on how you intend to use your 30-30 ammo lever-action rifle.
30-30 lever-action rifles are primarily used for hunting medium or big game, such as deer, elk, and moose, with typical ranges of 100 to 150 yards. For these typical uses, look for rifle scopes with 1x to 9x magnification (Best Scopes for a 30-06 Rifle).
You should not need to magnify your view more than 9x unless you are attempting to push the maximum effective range of the typical lever-action rifle designed for use with 30-30 cartridges.
There is a trade-off between magnification and field of view. When aiming at smaller targets, you need higher magnification. However, this also causes the field of view to get smaller. Targeting a squirrel at 100 yards requires more precision compared to targeting a deer or a moose at the same range. This may require 12x or 16x magnification for your 30-30 scopes.
Due to the versatility of this lever-action rifle, it’s in many cases also not the best choice to use a fixed power scope. It seems a better overall choice to get a variable scope when you’re looking for the best scopes for 30-30 lever-action rifles compared to a fixed power scope.
Some of the most commonly used and best scopes for 30-30 lever action rifles like the Marlin 336 feature 4x magnification or 3x to 9x magnification. 3x and 4x on the best scopes tend to provide optimal magnification for shots in the 100-yard range.
Along with magnification, other factors impact your accuracy at various ranges. For example, a smaller objective lens size limits light transmission and clarity, potentially requiring you to increase the magnification.
Many of the best scopes for 30-30 lever-action rifles come with 40 mm to 50 mm objective sizes. In fact, 3x to 9x 40 mm is the most popular type of scope for the 100 to 150-yard range (Best Rifle Scope for the 300 Blackout – Reviews and Buying Guide).
Weatherproofing can also assist with accuracy in poor conditions, such as cold temperatures or wet weather. It prevents fogging, providing a clearer view through the optic, while also protecting the internal components of the rifle scope.
What Are the Best Scopes for the 30-30 Rifle?
Now that you have a little more insight into the rifle and types of scopes, use the following round-up to find the best rifle scope for a lever action rifle like the 30-30. On to the best scopes for 30-30’s…
TASCO World Class 3-9×40 Riflescope w/30/30 Reticle
For those wanting an inexpensive, entry-level scope for a 30-30, the TASCO World Class has you covered. It is not the greatest scope available by a long shot, but it provides an affordable solution for adding a scope to your rifle.
Features and Performance
The TASCO scope comes with a 3x to 9x magnification with a 40 mm objective lens, the most popular configuration for deer and big game hunting.
The rifle scope has a matte black finish and is also available in silver. It has a standard 1-inch diameter tube and is 100% fog proof, shockproof, and waterproof, which is surprising due to the low price point.
The eye relief is 3.5-inches, offering optimal balance and a greater field of view compared to a longer or shorter eye relief. Not surprisingly at the price point, it’s a second focal plane rifle optic.
The drawbacks of this budget scope become apparent when you put it into use. The clarity begins to drop as you increase the magnification. At full 9x magnification, the outer edges of your view should become a little blurry.
- Affordable, entry-level riflescope
- 100% fog proof, shockproof, and waterproof
- The popular 3x to 9x 40 mm configuration offers a wide field of view
- Loses clarity when heavily magnified
- Does not offer the best light transmission during limited visibility
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30 2.5-10×44 Scope
The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30 is a mid-range scope with a large objective and powerful magnification for 30-30 lever-action rifles. Due to its wide magnification range and diameter of 44mm, this scope is better suited for big game hunting at medium distances.
Features and Performance
Bushnell added many of the standard features found on most scopes in this price range. It includes a fully multicoated lens which helps with optimizing light transmission and one-piece tube construction. It is nitrogen-filled and 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
The magnification range on this rifle scope is 2.5 to 10x, which is more power than you need for close range. When paired with the 44 mm objective lens with full multicoating, it allows a lot of light. You get a clear view at full magnification and can continue to track moving targets due to the large field of view.
The scope is also equipped with a fast-focus eyepiece and standard 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustments.
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Offers more brightness compared to scopes in the same price range
- You get a clear sight picture at any magnification level
- You may notice a slight blur near the outer part of the reticle at full magnification
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x 20 mm Riflescope
The VX-Freedom is another great scope from Leupold and reasonably priced. As with most scopes, it is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and nitrogen-filled to make it 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. However, it includes several other useful features.
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Features and Performance
This configuration of the Leupold VX-Freedom scope has 1.5x to 4x magnification and a 3:1 zoom ratio. The 20 mm objective of this riflescope is a little small compared to other options, but still large enough for the 1.5x to 4x magnification range.
For added brightness and clarity in less than perfect light settings, the scope comes equipped with the Twilight Light Management System. This reduces glare, creating a crisper image, and allows you to get several extra minutes of shooting light. You get a bright sight picture even in challenging light conditions.
The eye relief on this riflescope is 4.17-inches on low magnification and 3.74-inches on high. The scope also weighs just 9.6 ounces. These characteristics help make it one of the more comfortable scopes. The reticle is positioned on the second focal plane.
The lens is clear and includes high-quality glass with scratch-resistant coatings. This is a durable scope designed for rugged performance in low-light settings.
- Generous eye relief and lightweight design for added comfort
- Clear images at any magnification
- Light management system increase resolution in any lighting conditions
- The field of view is a little smaller compared to other scopes
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Burris RT6 1-6 x 24 Illuminated Scope
If you need a little more brightness to help you line up your target in the reticle, the Burris RT6 1-6×24 illuminated riflescope can help. It comes with a battery-powered illuminated reticle and a 24 mm lens combined with 1x to 6x magnification, giving you a clearer view at dusk or dawn.
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Features and Performance
This Burris scope has a 30 mm tube. As with most options, it is nitrogen-filled. It is a durable scope that should look right at home on your 30-30 lever-action rifle.
With the 24 mm lens, you get a 100 feet FOV at 100 yards on the lowest magnification and 32 feet FOV at the highest. This offers a large image for targeting. The illuminated reticle on the second focal plane of the riflescope aids the process, making it easier to line up your shot when dealing with bright sunlight.
It comes with a Ballistic Plex reticle, helping to compensate for bullet drop using the lower vertical crosshair.
- Wide field of view of 100 feet at 100 yards
- The durable, rugged design of this riflescope should hold up for many years
- The illuminated design provides greater clarity in low-light conditions
- Relatively expensive option
- The scope is heavier compared to other recommendations
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescopes
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II comes with several features that you may find useful when hunting in poor conditions, such as strong winds. The Dead-Hold BDC reticle of this riflescope has a custom dot design for estimating corrections for windage. It is also a second focal plane reticle (First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane Scopes – FFP vs SFP Reticles), which means the size stays the same as you adjust the magnification.
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Features and Performance
With the Crossfire II, Vortex Optics released a quality midrange riflescope. It features durable craftsmanship with a single-piece tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. It is also nitrogen purged, making it fog proof and waterproof.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II riflescope has 2x to 7x magnification paired with a 32 mm objective lens size and eye relief that’s sufficiently long. It is a comfortable scope for medium-range shooting, thanks to the forgiving eye box and lightweight design.
The Dead-Hold BDC Reticle is one of the standard choices for one of the best scopes overall. The Dead-Hold BDC Reticle on the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 is positioned on the second focal plane making this riflescope a good choice for hunting.
The fast focus eyepiece allows for quicker reticle focusing while the capped reset turrets feature finger adjustable MOA clicks that you can easily reset to zero after sighting.
The objective lens has quality glass, with anti-reflective, fully multicoating for a clearer view in most settings. The combination of high-quality glass and overall design provides you with a bright sight picture under a variety of light conditions.
- Reasonably priced midrange scope
- Allows for fast focusing and tracking
- The fully multi-coated glass offers greater clarity
- The MOA clicks are not as clear compared to higher-end scopes
- Higher magnifications may cause the reticle to become blurry
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Nikon Black Force1000 1-4×24
The Nikon Black Force1000 is built for fast target acquisition and precision at close to medium distances. It provides a clear view thanks to its high-quality optics and great eye relief. However, it does come with a few potential issues.
Features and Performance
Nikon is known for producing quality cameras for every wallet. With the Black Force1000, the company used its knowledge of optics to craft high-quality glass. No matter the zoom level, the image of the riflescope remains clear and focused and provides you with a bright sight picture.
It is a comfortable scope to use, thanks to its decent field of view. The 24 mm lens is not the largest, but it works well when targeting at 150 yards or less. It has 1x to 4x power magnification and generous eye relief, allowing you to shoot with both eyes open.
The issues with this riflescope are related to the durability and ease of use. The instant-zero reset turrets do not always hold zero after setting. You may also struggle to adjust the intensity of the illumination feature. However, these issues do not impact your accuracy or precision in the field.
- Surprisingly clear glass with full multilayer coating
- Rugged design with hard anodizing surface finish with a tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum
- Illuminate SpeedForce reticle allows for fast sighting
- Turrets do not always hold zero
- The controls can be difficult to adjust
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Primary Arms SLX 1-8x24mm
With the Primary Arms SLX riflescope, you receive a second-focal plane ACSS reticle for tracking moving targets. This reticle combines bullet drop compensation, windage estimates, and moving target leads, helping you keep your target in sight.
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Features and Performance
The Primary Arms scope has 1x to 8x magnification. The manufacturer suggests that you can get a clear image and easily track moving targets up to 300 yards.
This surpasses the maximum effective reach for a typical 30-30 lever-action rifle, making this riflescope a good choice for those hunting bigger game or targeting at greater distances.
It includes elevation and windage knobs, as with most scopes. However, you also get an illumination knob for adjusting the intensity of the built-in light and a diopter ring for focusing the reticle.
The durable design of the scope should last for many years. It is also covered by a lifetime warranty to cover any defects and normal wear and tear.
- Lifetime warranty for the riflescope covers wear and tear
- The illuminated reticle includes 12 brightness settings
- Offers clear images up to 300 yards
- Includes flip-up covers, which some hunters find annoying
- Relatively heavy design, weighing 1.8 pounds
Leupold VX-3HD 1.5-5x20mm
Leupold is a top manufacturer (The Best Rifle Scope Manufacturers) of riflescopes and the Leupold VX-R stands out as one of their better products. It has an illuminated FireDot Duplex reticle with a super bright dot allowing for faster targeting during any time of the day.
Features and Performance
This scope has 1.5x to 5x magnification and a 20 mm lens. You get a large field of view for close and medium-distance targeting.
As with a few of the other options, this riflescope has an illuminated reticle. However, high-quality glass and large FOV help to eliminate the need for extra illumination in most settings.
You receive greater clarity, contrast, and sharpness compared to most scopes on the market. Light transmission, as you’d expect from Leupold, is outstanding on this riflescope and helps with shooting during low-visibility hours.
The VX-R is also durable. It is designed for use in harsh conditions and should not fog up in cold weather. You can rely on this Leupold scope for quick, simple target acquisition and a lifetime of use.
- Illuminated design helps you center on the target
- Offers a large field of view for close to medium ranges
- Backed by a lifetime guarantee
- It is one of the more expensive choices
- Weighs 9.7 oz, making it a little heavy
Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm Riflescope
The Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5x to 10x 56 mm scope comes packaged in a neoprene sleeve and includes a scope cover. Inside, you will find one of the most versatile scopes. A large objective lens size, wide magnification range, and clear optics make this a top choice for the best overall 30-30 riflescope.
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Features and Performance
The 30 mm tube of the riflescope is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. The riflescope also features a fully multicoated lens with high-quality glass for greater sharpness and clarity in low light, which is aided by the large 56 mm diameter lens size.
This is another illuminated scope. However, instead of batteries, the scope relies on fiber optics to illuminate the reticle. You do not need to deal with an on/off switch or having to worry whether the battery might run out with this riflescope.
It simply lights up after charging in the daylight. However, if you start off at night or early in the early morning, it may not absorb enough light to charge the illuminated reticle.
- Does not require batteries to illuminate the reticle
- The 56 mm lens and wide tube collects lots of light
- Suitable for use during the day, night, or evening
- One of the more expensive options
- The green dot may not always appear in dim lighting
Final Thoughts on the Best Scope for 30-30 Rifle
What is the best rifle scope for a 30-30? While all the scopes discussed are quality products, each has its own pros and cons.
If you want the least expensive scope worth adding to a 30-30 lever-action rifle, try the TASCO World Class 3-9×40 riflescope. The lightweight scope weighs just 13 ounces and features a decent field of view, but loses clarity with higher magnification.
The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme riflescope is a step up from the TASCO scope and provides a wide view thanks to its 44 mm lens.
For the most range, add the Trijicon TR22 to be your scope for 30-30 rifle. This riflescope has a 56 mm lens and up to 10x magnification. However, the price may place the scope out of range for some hunters.
In the end, the Leupold VX-3HD 1-5×20 scope offers the best overall value and performance for its cost. With the super bright dot, you can easily line up targets any time of the day and in low-light settings.
You might be wondering why we didn’t include a staple like the Nikon Prostaff riflescope or the Simmons 8 Point 3-9×50mm riflescope on our list. We think that the Nikon Black scopes are better than most Nikon Prostaff rifle scopes and therefore picked the Black Force 1000 instead.
We also didn’t see a good match for the Simmons 8 Point 3-9×50mm riflescope even though it certainly is a great scope that you can get at a moderate cost.
To find the right scope for your rifle, think about how you plan on using it. Focus on the magnification range and clarity for different lighting conditions.
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