The .30-30 Winchester hit the market the year after the pioneering 1894 Winchester lever gun and represented a type of sporting or hunting cartridge made exclusively with smokeless powder. The original version of the .30-30 had a 160-grain bullet that was moving at just under 2,000fps. This gave it a few benefits over similar loads at the time, such as the .32-40 Winchester, and the .38-55 Winchester.
This additional speed and kinetic energy made the .30-30 an instant hit, and when that round was combined with the agility and capacity of the lever-action rifle, it was immediately and heavily adopted in deer-hunting circles. It wasn’t long before it became what could only be described as the standard deer hunter round.
Best Scopes For .30-30 Lever Action Rifles
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle
- Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3-Inch Eye Relief
- Pinty Rifle Scope 3-9×32
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is a long eye relief riflescope that gives crystal clear images in any weather. The single-piece aluminum frame is shockproof, sealed, and purged. The positive adjustment clicks allow adjustment without scoping out first.
- 2-7x magnification is perfect for .30-30
- 60 MOA adjustment
- Simple reticle design
Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle
The Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm scope has a large and perfectly polished 50mm objective lens for the optimal light allowance in all conditions. The QTA eyepiece even assists in super-fast target acquisition, while the TrueZero adjustment stays locked on zero for minimal adjustments needed.
- Large 50mm objective lens
- 3.75” eye relief
- TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight is one of the most robust RDS units we’ve seen, and it offers a 3 MOA reticle with 11 individual settings for brightness. The shockproof design makes sure that the optics stay sealed against the environment, and the nitrogen purge means there should never be any moisture inside.
- Ready for any conditions, from pitch black to storms and even submersion
- Picatinny rail means it will fit just about anything
- Batte black coating so it fits in with all your geat
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3-Inch Eye Relief
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope lets you track bigger game in both light and dark conditions, with the DDB multicoated lenses transmitting the perfect amount of light. The variable eye relief gives you anywhere from 3 inches to 6 inches of room to make the perfect shot, comfortably.
- ¼ MOA fingertip adjustment
- 3-6 inches of eye relief
- 3-9x magnification gives you as much range as you will need
Pinty Rifle Scope 3-9×32
The is a beautiful little reflex scope that is able to give you a very versatile 3-9x magnification range, as well as a red & green dot sight, laser sight, and even a rangefinder scope. The Picatinny mounts attach easily to any 22mm rails, and the nitrogen filling and thick O-rings mean this scope is ready for anything.
- RDS to GDS reflex at the flick of a switch
- Multiple reticle patterns available
- Incredible light transmission
The initial benefits that the .30-30 had over similar rounds or cartridges near the turn of the century were its speed and corresponding kinetic energy. The round was gained popularity so fast that the primary ammunition companies began making adaptations of the round in 150 and 170-grain round-noses.
The round is also considered to be a form of entry-level ammunition for hunting bigger types of game, where the hunter may need to travel long distances while carrying the weapon. On top of the weight reduction in the ammo and gun, the .30-30 was widely renowned for its accuracy, shooting essentially flat at 200 yards and only gaining about 6 inches at the halfway point. Other comparable guns at the time were strictly black powder and would have seen 12” of movement or more at 100 yards.
While the rounded nose of the .30-30 round not only made them easier to squeeze in it also became one of the areas of improvement that future rounds capitalized on. Since the .30-30 magazine was tubular and held the rounds stacked tip-to base, this meant that the .30-30 could not be manufactured with a pointed tip, or there would be a significant risk of an unintentional discharge.
The simplest answer is that a proper scope will not only boost your accuracy, but it will allow you to push your effective shooting range out more than 100 additional yards. The scope can help you leverage the longer eye relief for more comfortable shots that are less affected by what little recoil the .30-30 does create.
While many shooters may not ever find themselves attempting to place a round more than 100 yards away, a scope may still help increase accuracy and target acquisition time. By choosing a scope with a lower magnification setting, often 4x with a maximum of 7x-9x, you may gain the benefits of easier target acquisition and boosted accuracy, without having to worry about too-powerful magnification potentially ruining your shot.
If you are considering getting a scope for your .30-30 lever-action rifle, you will probably need to sit down and take some time to think about what you’re going to want out of it. My .30-30 is often filling a role as a truck gun or homestead predator control, so it doesn’t get a chance to gather any dust, and it is scoped for use at less than 90 yards since I live in dense forest.
When shopping scopes, I make sure that I consider first how much magnification will I need, which is closely tied to the gun’s role. After that, I make sure to take into account the focal plane, eye relief, the reticle style, mounting options for accessories or add-ons, and of course what weather is it going to see.
The big thing to remember here is don’t buy more scope than you’ve got gun for. If you’re working a .30-30 cartridge you are only going to be taking shots of 250-300 yards or less, so you aren’t going to need a massive 32x magnification lens. Not only does all that extra glass add incredible weight to the scope, but it adds significant cost as well.
You’re going to be best served by a scope that gives you 1x-4x for close or mid-range, and if you need to reach out and touch something across a wide-open space, 7x-9x at most. If you aren’t sure and feel like the moment you limit yourself you’ll need the one you didn’t buy, get a nice modest 2-5x or 3-9x so that you have all your bases covered.
The focal plane is where the reticle is placed, and it determines how the reticle acts when the rest of the image is under magnification. This is a huge deal for some people, and some other shooters could not care less.
A reticle in the first focal plane will be magnified with the image and will not remain a constant size. A reticle in the second focal plane will remain the same size regardless of the level of magnification that the target image is placed under. I simply cannot bring myself to use a scope with the reticle in the first focal plane, but everyone has their preferences.
Lots of shooters like simple reticles, while some others like a few more markings. This is purely personal preference and will only be affected slightly by other factors. If you are going out to 200 yards or more, you may want one with more BDC info on it. If you might need it in lower light, consider an RDS or similar.
This is important, though not as much as with some other guns. A bit longer eye relief will help you keep your target sighted in while you lever in another shot. It also makes your shooting much more comfortable overall.
Side mounts will allow the use of just about any set of optics, but a forward mount will preclude many short eye relief scopes which may not fit your shooting situation. There are some scope choices, however, that will offer an option between the two so that you always have the best solution.
If this will be a gun that is used in anything but bright and sunny days, you’ll want to make sure that the scope is ready for exposure to different weather conditions. Bringing a scope that isn’t weather-safe could mean that you now have a foggy, damp, and water-marred lens, and a functionally useless scope. If you plan on taking your scope out into the wilds, make sure it’s well-sealed with O-rings at both ends and filled with inert gas to prevent moisture intrusion.