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Author Topic: First hunting rifle for a kid  (Read 1626 times)

Offline jamesfromseattle

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First hunting rifle for a kid
« on: December 14, 2017, 01:01:13 PM »
The "Backcountry with kiddos" thread has gotten me fired up to start hunting with my kid (who won't even be born for another few months) and my nieces and nephews who are between 2 and 4 right now.  I guess I'm a big softie, but I think kid-sized hunting and fishing gear is freaking adorable.  Understanding that it will be sitting in the safe for another decade or so, I am already shopping for his/her first hunting rifle. 

We'll start him/her on airguns and 22s, but what do you think is the best centerfire for a kid to start with?  Of course the actual age s/he starts will depend on their maturity level, but for the argument lets say somewhere in the 8-10 year old range.

I am trying to decide between two different options:

1.  Get a bolt action gun in one of the common grown-up sized calibers (308, 30-06, etc) and start them with reduced recoil loads.  Once they were older they could move up to regular loads.  The upside is that they'll be able to stick with the same rifle indefinitely.  The downside is that it'll be heavier and a more complex type of weapon for them to use and care for. 

2.  Start with a really light, single shot, .243.  CVA makes some compact single shot .243s that people seem to like.  Upside is that it'll be light and easy for them to handle/care for at a young age.  I also like the idea of only having one round at a time for them to worry about.  Downside is that they'll grow out of it.  (Although dad might "borrow" it occasionally for high buck hunts).

Offline Remnar

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 01:32:37 PM »
 This is my  :twocents: So take it as you will .
      I do not know al current CVA models . That being said , "hammer guns " dont seem to be the best choice for really young hunters . IMHO

Offline BigGoonTuna

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 01:35:22 PM »
single shot is not a bad idea, but most that i see around are sort of lower quality beaters now, especially since H&R no longer makes them.  As Remnar brought up, most of them are hammer guns and that can be dangerous in inexperienced hands.  it would be safer to use a bolt action and give them one round at a time.

i think the way to go would be to purchase a full sized rifle in a reasonable hunting caliber(.260 rem, 6.5x55, 7mm-08, .308 etc) , pick up a youth stock for it. and start them off on reduced loads.  that way, the rifle can grow with them.  this is what i will probably do for my kids if they decide they want to pick up hunting.  i don't think i would recommend the .243 when you can shoot more forgiving bullets out of larger calibers that may even kick less.
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Offline Karl Blanchard

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2017, 01:35:34 PM »
Lots of variables here like size of child and sensitivity to recoil.  My daughter shot her first deer this year.  She is small for her age (7) but she showed the drive, desire, and mental maturity to handle firearms safely and absorb the information to pass hunters ed.

If size and recoil sensitivity are an issue .243 is the natural choice.  Otherwise 7mm-08 with 120gr pills would be my first choice.  River American compact is a very inexpensive and accurate gun for the money.  I set one up for whitpirates son and was holding 3/4 MOA at 500 yards.

With my daughter we shot heart sized balloons at 50 yards with her .22 using field positions.  At the end of each session we would shoot her .243 2 or 3 times the same way.  For practice we used a 58gr vmax over 22gr imr3031.  VERY light recoil and was plenty accurate.  Basically equivalent to a .223

We also did target acquisition and dry fire drills at home in the living room. I have taken more than a few youth Hunters out for turkey and deer over the years and one thing I see the most with new Shooters is there an ability to find game in their scope. The drills really helped my daughter in that department.
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Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2017, 01:45:57 PM »
I think Karl meant Ruger American... :chuckle:

All his other points are spot on.. I would lean towards 7-08 or even the 6.5 Creedmor. The 6.5 is a fun gun to shoot.

Offline X-Force

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 01:46:43 PM »
From my experience growing up hunting hammer guns are not a good idea, I used a model 94 32 special. Beautiful gun but not a gun for a kid imo.

As a kid its nice to have an easy visual cue for a safety. I like top tang safeties like browning and savage. A decent bolt gun in 243, 260, 6.5 cm, 7-08 would be how I would go. If your kid isn't carrying the gun much or if you carry it for them get a little heavier setup to take away recoil. Growing up with a 280 A bolt, that gun was more than I should have started with.
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Offline Karl Blanchard

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2017, 01:51:26 PM »
I think Karl meant Ruger American... :chuckle:

All his other points are spot on.. I would lean towards 7-08 or even the 6.5 Creedmor. The 6.5 is a fun gun to shoot.
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Offline WSU

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2017, 01:55:56 PM »
I've been on the look out and bought a ruger .243 when they were on major sale.  With today's bullets, a .243 seems like a perfect starter gun.

I've seen my wife shoot 2 elk with a .270 and neither made it 30 yards.  I'd rather than shoot a .243 well than learn bad habits out of the gate with an '06.

Offline jamesfromseattle

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2017, 02:17:46 PM »
Thanks all for the input.  I have never shot a hammer gun before, but now that I'm thinking about it, I certainly understand how they wouldn't be ideal for kids.  I'm officially convinced that a bolt gun is the way to go.  Those Ruger Americans are cheap enough to just get a dedicated kid-gun chambered in 243 or 25-06, then get them a bigger gun when they are older. 

I started shooting with a 30-06 off the bat and developed a bad flinch that haunted me until recent years.  Really don't want to do that to them.

Offline WSU

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 02:23:27 PM »
I think I bought the 243 for about $200.  At that price, I'll find a use for it if my kids decide they don't want it.

Also, I still remember a kid in my hunter safety class having the hammer accidentally drop on his little 410 during the shooting portion.  Fortunately, he had the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.  But, little hands may not be strong enough to safely deal with a hammer.

Offline bobcat

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Offline Karl Blanchard

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 02:25:05 PM »
One great thing about the age we live in is there is an endless variety of gun/optics/calibers/bullets to choose from.  They all do the same thing in the end and that's put meat on the table  :tup:
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Offline jamesfromseattle

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Offline pianoman9701

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2017, 02:38:51 PM »
Lots of variables here like size of child and sensitivity to recoil. My daughter shot her first deer this year.  She is small for her age (7) but she showed the drive, desire, and mental maturity to handle firearms safely and absorb the information to pass hunters ed.

If size and recoil sensitivity are an issue .243 is the natural choice.  Otherwise 7mm-08 with 120gr pills would be my first choice.  River American compact is a very inexpensive and accurate gun for the money.  I set one up for whitpirates son and was holding 3/4 MOA at 500 yards.

With my daughter we shot heart sized balloons at 50 yards with her .22 using field positions.  At the end of each session we would shoot her .243 2 or 3 times the same way.  For practice we used a 58gr vmax over 22gr imr3031.  VERY light recoil and was plenty accurate.  Basically equivalent to a .223

We also did target acquisition and dry fire drills at home in the living room. I have taken more than a few youth Hunters out for turkey and deer over the years and one thing I see the most with new Shooters is there an ability to find game in their scope. The drills really helped my daughter in that department.

I'd wait until you know what your kid is like at the age you're getting them a firearm. You might end up with a massive kid who needs a big gun or a tiny kid that needs a much smaller rifle. I like your enthusiasm. Put the money away for something down the road.  :twocents:
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Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: First hunting rifle for a kid
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2017, 02:51:33 PM »
Can somebody explain their position on hammer gun negatives?

 

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