The 30-30 round is a very popular centerfire rifle cartridge. It is no surprise that shooters frequently ask about what they need to do to get a good scope for this rifle. It’s encouraging to see that, after over 125 years, the .30-30 cartridge is still being used in a world where new calibers are constantly being introduced yearly. This cartridge has lasted considerably longer than many of the previous rounds that were intended to dethrone it, and I believe it will be around well after the next wave of cartridges fades away.
The .30-30 round is a superb cartridge with excellent performance for most users. The performance of this cartridge can be optimized by any high-quality optic with which it is matched. There’s nothing wrong with adding a riflescope to the .30-30 rifle to make sure you are getting the most accurate shots. So, how would you choose the correct scope? Join me as I discuss the best sights for your 30-30 rifle.
Although most lever action rifles, such as the Marlin 336, have a solid top and are easily scoped, others require specific side scope mounts. Regardless of the rifle you own, there are several sight alternatives available on the market that can be mounted on it. Here are our top picks for the 30-30 scopes.
In this article, we will quickly look at some details about a 30-30 rifle (the Marlin 336). After that, we’ll look at some things to consider before buying a scope, some great scopes for the 30-30 lever gun, and some frequently asked questions.
Brief History of the Marlin 336
The Marlin 336 was released in 1948 as a development of the earlier Marlin 1893 lever action rifle series. The Marlin 336 rifle has been sold in a variety of calibers throughout the years, but it is now only available in two calibers:
- .35 Remington
- 30-30 Winchester
The 336 lever gun variants were available in a number of configurations, including variable barrel lengths, cartridge capacities (round count), and materials. A special low-cost variant was formerly created specifically for Wal-Mart.
Following the popularity of the Marlin 336, Marlin introduced other lever action rifle models, including the Marlin 444 and Marlin 1894. Remington Arms purchased Marlin Firearms in 2010, but before then, Marlin was the only producer of the 336rifle. Remington Arms now manufactures the Marlin 336 with the Marlin brand name.
Scopes for 30-30 Lever-Action Rifles: What to Look for?
The first set of features that any experienced shooter would look for in scopes are the
- Optics and Glass
When selecting a sight for the 30-30 lever action rifle, remember to consider the characteristics of the rifle, the cartridge, and the hunting area.
The Rifle – If you shoot a 30-30 rifle on a regular basis, you shouldn’t expect to take shots more than 300-yard. The ballistic properties of the weapon and ammunition don’t allow beyond this range. Most 30-30 rifle hunters never anticipate their shot to travel more than 200 yards. You should select a scope that works well at that range. Aside that, the kind of rifle you want to use must have a scope mount style that works well with the scope. Some rifles have a side mount, while others have a top mount.
Cartridge- The 30-30 cartridge is ideal for deer hunting and other medium-sized wildlife at close range. However, the powerful 30-caliber bullet is also efficient against other games.
Hunting Area- The terrain in which you wish to hunt may be harsh and difficult. Most hunting ranges from 150 – 175 yards, and it frequently needs shooting through bushy areas. In these situations, the 30-30 rifle is ideal.
Buying a .30-30 scope: Features to consider
First and foremost, there is nothing like a one-size-fits-all when choosing the scope magnification range for 30-30 lever action rifles. There are just too many factors to consider before you can say a particular scope magnification is appropriate.
However, we may use the present and past usage of the rifle to narrow down the most common magnification range. The traditional 3-9x magnification range is the most common range for 30-30 lever action carbines. The 3-9x magnification range allows for close range shots on the 3X to 4X magnification, while the 9X scope power allows the shooter to extend the shooting range of the 30-30 up to and beyond 100yards.
However, the 4X and 6X fixed power scope models remain popular, particularly with newbie hunters looking for a straightforward and easy-to-use scope arrangement.
My first 30-30 shot was done with a fixed 4x power scope. When you mix up with hunters, you’ll also notice a trend where they opt for a little more magnification than the usual 3-9x. Some go for a 3-10x or 4-12x scope magnification.
This tendency may be traced back to more contemporary 30-30 ammo, which can accurately shoot beyond the conventional 100-yard limit. With the new ammo, I recommend equipping your Marlin 336 with whichever magnification you think works well with the rifle. Just remember that the rifle itself is not for long range shooting.
Eye Relief is a term that refers to the distance between the scope and your eye from which you can see the whole view. In most cases, eye relief is measured in inches.
When it comes to centerfire calibers that have heavy recoil, long eye relief is better. A shorter eye relief puts you at risk of having the scope strike your face due to recoil. However, the 3030 calibers have a light recoil. Because the recoil is so low, the eye relief for a 30-30 scope isn’t as important as in other calibers with heavier recoil.
If you have a lever action rifle in a bigger caliber, the eye relief is something you should pay close attention to. Otherwise, you’d have to deal with a scope bite.
Is the reticle illuminated or non-illuminated?
When you start looking for a 30-30 scope, one thing you should ask yourself is about the reticle. The question is whether you want an illuminated reticle or if a non-illuminated reticle would suffice. While the majority of 30-30 rifle scopes come with a non-illuminated reticle, you will also find some illuminating alternatives.
An illuminated reticle can be useful, especially in low-light situations. Most games are usually active at dusk or dawn; thus, hunting in low light conditions is a very common thing.
While the lighted reticle has advantages, it also has disadvantages. For instance, illuminated reticles add some additional weight to the scope, need battery replacement, and the electrical components can fail anytime.
Before choosing a scope, think about the kind of reticle you need.
Modern riflescopes are available in a variety of tube diameters; however, the two most common tube sizes are:
- 30mm tube
- 1-inch tube
Both tube diameters have advantages and disadvantages, but the 1-inch tube size appears to be the most common choice for 3030 rifles since it weighs less. With a short carbine-style lever action rifle, weight becomes a significant consideration.
However, if you can handle the modestly increased weight and the need for a higher scope mount in a 30mm tube, this tube size has a lot to offer.
First vs. second focal plane
Scope experts continue to debate the most superior between the two focus settings. The fact is that it is difficult to say which is superior because they both have their strengths in different situations.
The FFP is distinguished by the fact that its size changes when in use. The manner you utilize this one is determined by the magnification level. When shooting at a target, its holdover for windage and elevation are bound to be precise. The reason for this is that as you zoom in, the FFP reticle becomes better and larger, and as you zoom out, it becomes smaller.
The SFP does not change in size regardless of zooming in or out. This is a significant distinction between both reticles. The easiest approach to get the greatest results is to utilize the highest magnification level when using an SFP. You can get a better outcome if you do not move between magnification levels too frequently. Furthermore, if the shooting range is limited, this reticle may produce a better outcome.
The second focal plane is more suitable for a 30-30 lever action rifle.
Check out the article compare FFP and SFP
Another key thing to consider while purchasing is the durability and usage period. If you want a scope that will last for years, you should seek for one that is waterproof.
Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof qualities are very important in a scope. A scope that has these features are suitable for use in any terrain or weather condition. You won’t have a heart attack if your scope falls to the ground by mistake.
The scopes that do not have these durability features are usually inexpensive, which means you may save some money at first, but you will lose at the end when you need to get another scope.
Another factor to consider when choosing a scope is the mounting type. Although most 30-30 rifles do not have large recoils, the mounting option is still important. When a scope is properly mounted, there would be less worries about the recoil of the rifle.
If the rifle has a stable mount, you will be able to place any scope on it. And when you have a forward scope, you can be sure of an excellent eye relief.
Although forward scopes might not be ideal for moving targets or continuous shooting.
The top 30-30 scope models on the market are well known for their effectiveness with various mount styles. A scope that has flexibility is highly recommended in this case.
With this in mind, let’s have a look at my recommendations for the finest scopes for the 30-30 lever action rifles.
Best Scope For 30-30
1. Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 scope
The Nikon ProStaff optic device is a fantastic rifle scope for big game hunting with a 30-30 lever action rifle. This Nikon scope is compact, and it has a magnification range from 3x to 9x. It also has a 40mm objective lens that allows light transmission through the scope. This scope is ideal for 30-30 cartridges, and it is great for hunting at a close range.
Let’s look at other features that make this scope top on the list of our best rifle scope for 30-30 rounds.
The Nikon ProStaff rifle scope comes with fully multicoated lenses. This is excellent because it allows high light transmission and produces a clear, bright image. If you’re looking for games that blend with their surroundings, this scope model is ideal for you.
The scope has a Nikoplex reticle. This is significant since it makes it easier for shooters to hit their target without difficulty. The scope works nicely with the mild recoil of the 30-30, meaning your shots will be more accurate while firing within the rifle’s range. This device also has 3.6 inches of eye relief, making unintentional scope bite a little difficult.
The body is made of 100 percent waterproof aluminum. The optics is nitrogen filled and has an O ring to seal it. This guarantees that the scope would not disappoint you because it can be used in a variety of weather situations. This scope is a great buy, and you would enjoy shooting with your 30-30 hunting rifle.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×3.2 Scope
This Vortex Crossfire II model is another great scope for your 30-30 shooting. It includes a BDC reticle that is useful for aiming at targets that are far away. The unique dot design greatly helps achieve this goal and makes shooting in various wind conditions much simpler.
This Vortex Crossfire II is a second focal plane scope, and the size of the reticle stays the same regardless of the magnification level used. If you’re looking for a close range hunting rifle scope, this optic is the real deal.
The scopes eye box might be a concern, but it has a large amount of eye relief, which makes it great. As a result, you will be able to take a closer look at your target and achieve an accurate shot.
A multicoated lens and anti-reflective coating are also included in this scope model. This type of lens ensures a bright and colorful image.
It is made of a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. As a result, it is highly durable than some other scopes on the market. The scope is really long-lasting. Asides that, the nitrogen purging and O-ring seal increase its longevity.
It is resistant to cold weather and water.
3. Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP
The Primary Arms 1-6×24 scope is our third scope for the 30-30 shooting. The non-reflective black matte body makes it a good hunting rifle scope. The unique reticle also makes it suitable for deer hunting and other smaller games.
With the mil dot and hash markings, the BDC reticle helps you to compensate for windage and elevation. To effectively utilize the capabilities of this reticle, you may need to spend some time practicing. However, once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to take better and more accurate shots.
Furthermore, the scope does not have a high magnification range. It has 1x low magnification and 6x high magnification.
The fact that this Primary Arms scope is still new and it has a lower magnification range compared to others is the reason why it did not rank higher.
This scope will require some time in the field to truly prove its worth, but I have no doubt that it will.
Another factor contributing to the lower ranking is the objective lens diameter. With an objective lens diameter of only 24mm, shooting in low light settings may be difficult. It features a 30mm tube.
I think Primary Arms needs to put a larger piece of glass in front of this scope.
The click settings are 1/2 mil, which is adequate for a 30-30 rifle. At 100 yards, your field of view is 19.3 feet.
This sight is available in six different configurations from Primary Arms. The Raptor is the only one with a first focal plane. The remainder is in the SFP.
4. Burris 2-7×32 Scout Scope
The Burris Scout Scope is a basic yet sophisticated scope that works well with the 30-30 lever action rifle. It takes pride in its Ballistic Plex reticle, which allows a hunter to shoot without constantly adjusting the elevation and windage adjustments. As a result, while you’re deer hunting in the field or range shooting, this scope will improve your accuracy.
Let’s have a look at some of the characteristics of this scope. To begin, the Burris 2-7 optic is a Scout Scope, and it has steel-on-steel turret knobs for adjustment. Using them can help you survive high recoil from firearms. The scope features multi-coated lenses that give a clear and bright view of the target.
The 30-30 rifle does not need a high magnification scope. This Burris scope is a perfect match for the shooting range of the rifle. It has a magnification range of 2x to 7x, which you can use for targets that are up to 300 yards away! As a result, this scope is ideal for catching wild games such as elk, prairie dogs, and others.
Finally, the lenses on this scope are 32mm in diameter. It also has an eye relief that ranges from 9.2 to 12 inches. With them, you may shoot while keeping both eyes open. The scope is suited for use with .30-30 rifles such as the Winchester 94 because the top eject requires a unique side scope mount. This Scout Scope also comes with a lifetime warranty.
5. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40
The Leupold VX 3i is another good scope for a 30-30 rifle. This Leupold scope has a 3.5-10x magnification range, and it is one of the best rifle scopes for short to medium range shooting. The Leupold VX 3i is higher than the Leupold VX 2 and VX-Freedom series when it comes to glass quality.
This scope has a 1-inch main tube and weighs about 12.6 ounces. It has a 40mm objective lens diameter that lets in lots of light.
The VX 3i series, like the majority of Leupold’s scope, uses Leupold’s Twilight Management technology for superior low-light performance.
6. Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot Scope
The last scope we will review for the 30-30 rifle is the Bushnell TRS-25. This scope has a matte black build with a 3 MOA Red Dot reticle and 11 brightness settings. Just mount the scope on Picatinny rails; it works with pistols, rifles, muzzleloaders, and shotguns. This scope also has a waterproof construction.
The lighted dot on this Bushnell Red Dot Scope is the aim point for the shooter. A red dot sight has the benefit of allowing shooters to fire with both eyes open, ensuring an unrestricted field of vision and speedy target acquisition.
This reticle includes 11 brightness options, allowing you to choose which one to use. Another wonderful advantage is its interoperability with different ammunitions.
This red dot sight’s shockproof and waterproof build reveals how solid and tough it is. This O-ring-sealed scope will stay dry inside even if entirely submerged in water. It can withstand bangs, bumps, and drops, as well as other tough conditions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which is the best Lever gun for 30-30?
Choosing the finest 30-30 lever gun is quite subjective, but I believe there are about three major brands that may all claim the title of best: Marlin, Henry, and Winchester. The most famous is the Winchester Model 1894. Marlin 336 comes second, and Henry has many models for the .30-30 rounds that are all excellent.
Can you hunt with the 30-30 lever action rifle?
Yes, a 30-30 lever action rifle may be used for hunting. The 30-30 lever gun has killed more animals than any other weapon and ammunition combination on the planet.
Is it possible to mount a sight on a Winchester 30-30?
Yes, a scope can be mounted on Winchester.30-30, which I’m assuming is the Winchester Model 1894. This will need a side mount since the cartridge casings eject from the receiver’s top. Many earlier Winchester models have already had side scope mounts drilled. If your rifle does not, you’ll have to do so before you can proceed to mount a scope.
Is the 4x fixed power scope good for 30-30 shooting?
The easiest answer to this question is that it depends on your shooting range. However, if I’m to provide a YES or NO answer, I’ll definitely be biased in my response to the question because I started deer hunting with a Marlin 30-30 rifle that was mounted with a 4X fixed power scope. The scope was very effective, and we had hundreds of accurate shots.
Without bias, I think a 4x or 6x fixed power scope would be a fine optic for the 30-30 lever rifle. If the majority of your shots will be at 100 yards or fewer, a fixed 4x scope is an excellent choice.
What should I pay for a 3030 scope?
I’ve always been wary of giving a cost to something since it’s a really personal choice, and prices of items do change. There is no rule that says you have to spend a particular amount to obtain a good quality scope.
However, I would advise you to spend as little or as much as you desire on the 30-30 rifle scope because it is your money.
If I’m forced to give a budget, I would say with a $200-300 pricing range; you should get an above-average scope for a 30-30 lever action.
In terms of purchasing a sight for the 30-30 rifle, what is the maximum magnification range?
First, it’s critical to grasp the distinction between “maximum effective range” and “maximum range.”
A 30-30 cartridge max effective range is realistically between 100 and 150 yards. You may stretch that max effective range to around 200 to 250 yards with a modern-day 30-30 ammunition and optic. If you go beyond that, the 30-30 caliber begins to lose power.
A magnification range of 1x – 9x is required for the 30-30 rifle, especially if your hunting is a close range on large species like moose, deer, and elk. It would be beneficial if you evaluated the magnification of your scope because it plays an important part in target accuracy.
If you generally hunt around 100 and150 yards, the 1x – 9x magnification is suitable and sufficient. You don’t need a scope beyond 9x unless you wish to stretch your scope to its max effective range.
In a 30-30, how far should you sight the scope?
A 30-30 rifle scope should be zeroed at 100 yards or a maximum zero of 150 yards. This distance is sufficient to accurately hit a target at full power. The 30-30 rifle is not a long range shooting rifle, so you would not need to sight too far.
Is there a benefit to using a bolt-action rifle against lever action?
A bolt action rifle has greater ammunition and caliber versatility, and provides a wider range of sight options. Bolt action rifles also offer greater versatility at close range, as well as the ability to free float the barrel if necessary.
Mike Hardesty is a published freelance gun writer. With dozens of articles and reviews published in Pew Pew Tactical, Snipercountry.com, and TTAG (The Truth About Guns), Mike is considered a firearms expert. His special area of expertise is handguns.
Mike is a long-time shooter. He has been punching paper targets, taking deer and other game and shooting at competitions since about 1975. Other related pursuits include reloading and bullet casting. He currently reloads for over 10 calibers, both handgun and rifle. His reloads, particularly for 9mm, were in great demand during the height of the ammo shortage among family and friends. He donated hundreds of rounds to informal shooting sessions. He was quoted as saying “I do not sell my reloads but I sure will help my guys shoot ’em for free!”. He has a few cherished firearms that he has inherited or otherwise procured — those are his favorites.
He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Indiana State University in 1974-1975.
He’s a firearm experts and is the founder of mhardesty.com.