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advice on a deer rifle for my son

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Unread 07-13-2011, 12:23 PM
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Location: Allen, TX
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Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

Originally Posted by nfhjr62 View Post
What's wrong with the old tried and true 30/30 win. in just about any rifle platform you want????
Although I shot my first deer with a Model 94 30-30 Winchester at around age 9, I don't think it's the best choice for a 6yo. I also think 6yo is too young/small to shoot a deer. But, that's for the dad to decide.

Growing up on a ranch, my brothers and I had all done LOTs of shooting leading up to our first big game kill. And, I think that lead to a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The OP didn't say anything about the boy's experience level. But, it certainly brings up a good point about starting kids off right. Not only do they need to learn and begin to develop good safety habits, but I think it's important to learn to shoot iron sights as well. ...not that you can't mount a scope on a 30-30.

Tom Whitaker, one of the top competitive shooters in the world referring to 22LR -- "The road to 1,000 yards starts at 50 feet"

Sorry to have gotten off topic from the simple question of caliber. But, I know the pride, joy, and satisfaction of teaching and hunting with your son. It's something I'm passionate about as the OP will be too. My 15yo took his first deer at age 9 and has taken many since with a variety of cartridges. ...several with handloads that he developed under my instruction. Last year he made his longest kill at 548yds. We recently bought a lathe and built our first semi-custom rifle. I'm really looking forward to him breaking his own record with a rifle that we built together.

No matter what cartridge you choose. Be safe and have fun!
-- richard
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Unread 07-13-2011, 12:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bloomfield, Iowa
Posts: 150
Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

I think the .243 winchester is perfect for kids. It's big enough to be legal everywhere that allows rifles (say you want to take him antelope hunting next) and it has less felt recoil than a .410 shotgun. I would also recommend a bolt action rifle for the better accuracy potential. I know 3-4" groups @ 100 yards is plenty good for the ranges your looking at but better accuracy will build more confidence. Especially in a young or inexperienced shooter.
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Unread 07-13-2011, 06:02 PM
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Location: Central AZ
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Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

REM Model 7 Youth in 243. It is lightweight with a stock fit for a female or youth frame. Loaded by hand, you can reduce the load and still get great performance out to 200 yds or so. I bought one last year at Cabela's. They did a computer search of all their stores and then shipped it to my local store. Price was $450. By the time I bought some 243 reloading supplies, I was over $500 and was able to use their $150 coupon from their sale. That made the cost of the rifle about $300 and the supplies $50.

When it is no longer need as a youth rifle, you can purchase an adult stock for it and then rebarrel into a 260 Rem, 7mm-08, or 308. IMHO a versatile weapon for the dollars.
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Unread 07-13-2011, 08:43 PM
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Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

The key to engaging kids in the sport is reactive targets! It does not matter what gun the kid shoots (although they often want to shoot a rifle like daddy's).

At 6 years old, get him an inexpensive 22LR and let him shoot stuff that breaks (bottles, cans, clay birds), explodes (paint balls, water jugs filled with water) etc.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Unread 07-14-2011, 07:57 PM
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Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

Originally Posted by rscott5028 View Post
22LR for lots of economical practice and to keep it fun.

For deer, go with the 223 in a light varmint barrel and possibly a brake.

22-250 doesn't buy you anything at 100yds over the 223. It's just more expensive to shoot.

He'll be hooked. Been there, done that with my son. It's very rewarding.

Happy hunting!
-- Richard


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Unread 07-14-2011, 10:54 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: So. California
Posts: 409
Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

I have a 6 YO daughter, in about 3 weeks I will be picking up her first .22LR. A Henry Mini Bolt Youth. Try as I might, I just can not quite imagine her squeezing one off on a center fire bigger than a .223!

To put it in perspective, I am the "child" who got all of the Want-To-Shoot in the family, but not a whole lot of the natural skill. My sister is 18 years younger than I am. When she turned 11, I got her a .308 savage with a muzzle brake. I loaded it down with H4895 as listed on Hodgdons website. But at age 6, she was still shooting .22LR. I think she was about 9yrs. old when I let her squeeze one off with a .221 Fireball I had at the time. Man I miss that old .221.

I had to learn the hard way, my sister on the other hand can flat out Shoot! She took after our mom, who up untill shortly before her death, could still handily out shoot me with pretty much any type of firearm. She never taught us kids though.. It was not until I started taking my sister out to shoot, that she occasionally would tag along. /shrug Probably TMI, sorry

Hope I did not come off preachy! Definitely not trying to tell you what's best for your child! It is all about going out and having a great family outing for me and my daughter. Heck, even my wife is finally beginning to show some interest in learning to shoot! Good times ahead. Can't wait for her to get her youth .22lr, so she don't have to try to deal with my full size .22lr, which is very awkward for her.

By the way, a well thought out .223 load can reach out to 800++ for target shooting purposes, and can carry pretty decent energy out to 200 well enough. Not sure about legality of hunting with it in the various states. I live in CA...

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Unread 07-16-2011, 12:28 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 409
Re: advice on a deer rifle for my son

IMHO, .243 is the way to go. Shoot and shoot and shoot and when the barrel is shot out, set it up as a 243AI with a 7 twist and shoot the 115 to 117g bullets. This caliber shoots almost ballistically equivalent to the 6.5x284 out to 1k.

This is truly a caliber that is able to grow with the tike, enjoys great ballistics, has mild recoil, is compact and light, ammo is available everywhere you can buy ammo, and there's a bunch of load info if you want to reload for it.

If it were me, I'd look into an inexpensive Savage model like this one for learning on, the step it up to custom after the learning curve slopes off.

Savage Arms > Firearms > Gun Finder

Wal Mart has a similar model, with the Accutrigger for $400 +/-. That's where I'd go with this situation.
Laus Deo
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