Replying to a current post here got me thinking. I have a Savage 16 fhss in a 7mm wsm
caliber. The plan is to do a semi custom build on it myself. I was going to change the caliber to something with better barrel life to practice with and do a switch barrel thing if the factory barrel was a shooter. My son has a Ruger 10/22 now but at 13 it is definitely time to step him up. I would love to get him into the long range target shooting game. He is a bit scared of recoil. My fault. One time out when he was quite young he wanted to try dads gun (Ruger Hawkeye 308, this rifle recoils more than it should). I thought if I pushed on the recoil pad with my thumbs when he shot everything would be fine (didn't work out so well). Poor kid remembers that experience to this day. I did get him to shoot my Savage 12 fv 223 (because of the size of the rifle he thought it was a large caliber and would have a strong recoil). I did explain the size of cartridge to size of rifle had more to do with recoil, but he was very reluctant to take a shot. You should have seen his face after the first shot. It was at the end of the range session and he wanted to head straight back to tell mom he shot dads rifle and it didn't hurt at all (he was still quite young). So my question is what calibers would you suggest that have good long range ballistics, decent barrel life, and could be used on deer sized game, for my son.
I don't have any experience with smaller calibers. I went from a 22 to a 303 British, to a 7mm rem mag. The only smaller caliber I have owned is the for mentioned 223.