advice on a deer rifle for my son

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by walserjack, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. walserjack

    walserjack Member

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    Im looking for a rifle and caliber for my 6 yr old son. Im thinking of a NEF handi rifle 22-250 or 44 Mag. Shots will be from 25 to 100 yards. Any thoughts?
     

  2. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    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
     

  3. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    I'd say get a rifle he can grow into and use throughout his life.

    The .260 Rem has very mild recoil but can be tuned into a 1000yd deer or antelope rifle very easily.

    I went through something similar with a friend many years ago. He'd put both he and himself in for the draw for Elk Permits in NM.

    They both drew up.

    For him we bought a light sporter 700bdl rem in 7mm mag.

    I had him cut the stock down to fit the boy, and save the cut off block. I also had him undercut by about 10 degrees shorter on the bottom so as to help cut down with muzzle flip directing more of the force straight backward.

    I then worked up some very light loads using if I remember right 110gr sierra's.

    The kid had zero problems handling the rifle and shot very well with it. I got a call after the first night of the hunt from the happiest kid in NM. He'd just taken his first game animal, and it was a very nice cow elk killed at a measured 327 yds.

    As the kid grew up dad simply had the cut off piece put back on the stock, and the kid started shooting factory "normal loads".

    Remington offers some reduced recoil loads I believe for the .260 and coupled with a nice muzzle brake your kid should be able to handle them fine.

    I would say look at one of the varmint packages as the heavier barrel will help a bit with felt recoil; although you may end up having to carry it for him.
     
  4. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Like Wildrose said, 260 Rem is a great cartridge as are 223, 7RM, and many others.

    If you're going to be a one-gun family, then be more selective about the caliber.

    Otherwise, 223 is plenty of gun and fun for a 6yo. My son's 15 now and eventhough he has more rifles and calibers to choose from than a camel has fleas, he often reaches for that old Steyr Manlicher 223 just for the fun of it.

    Also as Wildrose points out, the fit of the rifle, weight, and a muzzle brake all add up to a fun rifle to shoot.

    -- richard
     
  5. WyoElk2Hunt

    WyoElk2Hunt Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where you live but in Wy and Co you have to have a 243 or larger Cal to hunt big game such as deer. I like my 25-06 and started my son on that Cal.
     
  6. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    good point!

    223 is legal in TX. 243 Win or 260 Rem would be my next choices. But, 25-06 is a fine cartridge.

    6yo is very young and lots more practice and enjoyment can be had with a 22LR.

    -- richard
     
  7. nfhjr62

    nfhjr62 Well-Known Member

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    What's wrong with the old tried and true 30/30 win. in just about any rifle platform you want????
     
  8. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  9. bullfrog

    bullfrog Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. joseph

    joseph Well-Known Member

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    X-2, :):):) gun)gun)gun)

    joseph
     
  13. diriel

    diriel Well-Known Member

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    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...

    Gary
     
  14. Good

    Good Well-Known Member

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    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.:)