Gratuitous Gun Pic: Benelli R1 (.30-06 Springfield)

Once again, amidst my occasional ponderings about The Gun Thing, several factors have occurred to me, to whit:

  • There are an awful lot of people who think that the venerable (and venerated) .30-06 cartridge is God’s answer to the question “Are there too many deer in the world?” and/or “How best should I kill that Bad Person?”
  • Most rifles thus chambered are bolt-action, and found everywhere in these United States
  • The non-bolt-action .30-06 rifles are pretty much confined to the venerable (and venerated) WWII-era M1 Garand, and the modern Browning BAR.

Not one of these things is Bad.  The .30-06 is a monster when it comes to dealing death, at pretty much any range, as several thousand WWII-era Kraut- and Jap soldiers would attest (if they were still with us);  there are a jillion-odd bolt-action rifles thus chambered, and therefore cartridge availability passes the “Bubba’s Bait & Ammo Store” criterion;  most semi-auto .30-06 rifles owned are likely to be of the Garand genus — and considering that Gen. George S. Patton once called the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised by Man” (or something like that), there are very few knocks you can make against the Garand, either.  Ditto the BAR.

Except for cost.  M1 Garands can be costly, simply because of their pedigree (and therefore collectability), so the cost of entry, so to speak, can be pretty daunting.  Here’s a typical example from Collectors:

…which runs at just under $1,700.  (And if you think that’s expensive, the “National Match” version costs nearly three times as much.)

So what else is out there, for someone who wants a semi-auto rifle chambered in .30-06?  Here’s the Benelli R1, for example, also at Collectors, for just under $1,300 (about the cost of a new unscoped BAR Mk3, incidentally):

and the R1 has a 10-round detachable magazine, to boot.  From the Benelli website:

(Note its current non-availability, but I suspect that this is a temporary situation.)  The price, of course, is nosebleed because Benelli (as anyone who’s ever contemplated buying one of their shotguns can attest);  but you could buy four extra mags for the R1, and still come out around the same cost of a single M1 Garand.

And yes of course, the R1 is a modern rifle, ergo saddled with a poxy (epoxy?) stock, which sets my teeth on edge;  but if you told me I’d have no choice but the R1 to take out into the field — for any purpose — I would not feel myself short-changed at all.   (“Gimme!”  comes to mind.)

Note too that this particular R1 comes with a very toothsome Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm scope — which alone sells for $700-$750 nowadays.

Other than my distaste for Technik durch Plastik  stocks, if I were in the market for a .30-06 rifle, I can’t think of a single reason not to consider this one.


    1. Get it with a sling and 25 clips it comes to $781. CMP also has the best price on 30-06 ammo right now and it is in stock.

      I have a 40 year old Remington Model 78. It is the economy model 700 that came with a maple stock and a Simmons 3-9×40 scope back in the early 80’s. My windage adjustment knob popped off when I fist got it and Simmons replaced it with their top of the line 3-12×50 TV View model. Extremely accurate.

    1. I hate ’em. The action is not especially reliable, and the aftermarket 10-round mags — the 7400 came with 5-rounders only — are worse junk than the M1 Carbine mags.

  1. I won a 30-06 Weatherby Vanguard at a Friends of NRA dinner –
    damn fine rifle – shoots 1″ groups at 200yds even with the epoxy stock – for under $600 – great accuracy for the price.

    also made 3 of 5 shots on the White Buffalo at 1,123 yards at the NRA Whittington Center in NM in a snow squall with 19mph crossing wind.

  2. Have a savage bolt with some bushnell glass that make clover leaves at 100 yards. Got it for 200 from some dude. Best one I ever bought.


    It may not be your thing, but the above link should take you to Noreen Firearms. NF sells AR-style rifles chambered in a number of different cartridges, including my favorite, the boringly competent .30-06, as well as .300WM, 7mmRM, etc. They are not inexpensive–understatement–but they would be a heck of a range toy. Should my lotto numbers ever hit, I will own at least one.

    1. Interesting designs. It’s funny that they said the inspiration was a modern M1 Garand because to me it was really more a modern version of the BAR.

  4. Besides being expensive the M1 is quite a bit heavier than its sporting counterparts and the en-bloc clip does not make for easy reloading.

    I think the .30-06 is best used in a bolt action gun anyway. My hunting rifle is a pre-WWII Model 70 that still shoots like a dream with a modern scope (Nikon Pro-Staff.)

  5. Go ahead and spring for the Garrand. I’ve got 3, including a pre-Pearl Harbor 300,000 era serial number that was a Lend-Lease gun sent to the British to assist in home defense in case of a German invasion (which never came). Still has flecks of the red paint used to make sure that some twit didn’t bollock up and put the wrong ammo in (or, well, I had it, prior to the disastrous fish hunting incident of 2019).

    And I paid less than the price noted above for all 3.

    They are still to be had, if one is careful. Gun shows, or CMP. You’ll never regret having a Garrand.

  6. Got my Garand from CMP back in the 80’s when you were allowed one per life, at a price I won’t mention to avoid triggering a major bout of nostalgia.

    The En-bloc clip just takes some practice. Train for and shoot some CMP matches and it becomes second nature. (shooting in several Garand and Mil-Surp matches helped too). Easier than stripper clips IMHO.

    While the AR platform is my go-to anti-goblin rifle due to training and long use familiarity, my Garand is my #2 ( or #3 depending on whether the situation calls for a shotgun) in my locker.

    My legs and back are messed up enough that run and gun is no longer a realistic scenario. So for use from a fixed overwatch position, hard to beat the M-1. And if the Goblins get close enough, a dear friend gave me a replica M1943 bayonet for it some years back.

  7. Hard to beat a garand. They are very fun to shoot. CMP still sells them but get them soon because they’ll either dry up or the condition will deteriorate.

    PPU makes M2 ball for them but good luck finding it anywhere. I have some receipts from CMP for M2 ball that was less than $0.25. Now ammo has about tripled.

    Practicing with the en bloc clips isn’t bad. Maybe a little slower than a modern AR platform and not as ergonomic bit still very fun rifles with good accuracy.

    Grab an adjustable gas plug and ammo type won’t be an issue.

  8. A Benelli R1 for $1,300? That was what nice, garden variety M1A’s were going for back in 2007 when I had both spare cash and sticker shock. Still ain’t got one!

  9. “Other than my distaste for Technik durch Plastik stocks, if I were in the market for a .30-06 rifle, I can’t think of a single reason not to consider this one.“

    Except that it’s so damned ugly.

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