shotgun for small youngster

Discussion in 'Shotguns And Shotgunning (NOT Slugs)' started by grit, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    My son and I were going out to break som pigeons a while back. We stopped a wal mart for shells. They had several youth size shotguns. I'd like to get him one. He is eight and smaller than average.

    My question is, which guage? I have no experience with anything but a 12. I was concerned the 20 would be too much recoil. I've was also concerned the 410 would be challenging to hit with.

    His experience so far is limited to his 22. He is a great shot with it. But, has not shot anything larger yet. I would very much like it if he could participate next time we shoot clays or pheasant.

    Any suggestions on make and model would be appreciated too.
     
  2. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Grit:
    I have a Remington 1100 youth 20ga. I keep it so my daughters and and niece can shoot. I waited until they were about twelve before I let them shoot it (5' and 95+ pounds)

    If your son is eight years old and small for his age, I would not go larger than .410 and try to limit his shooting to times and places where his success rate would be high - this will keep his confidence and desire to shoot high.
     

  3. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    If you reload for the shotgun, there are an unlimited amount of recipes out there, from 3/4 oz going 1100 fps all the way up to 1 5/8 oz (in 2 3/4" 12 ga).

    If you reload, I would look at a auto, in 12 ga, and reload the 3/4 oz loads for him to shoot single-shot. The stock can be cut down for his small frame (with care) and you can get a shorter barrel to also help reduce the weight. It would be easy to upsize the gun as he grew up without having to spend a lot of $$.

    A big thing to help with recoil is make sure that the gun fits him, and get a nice soft recoil pad. Simms, Trap Dude, etc. make nice ones.

    If you don't reload, then I'd look at a 20 ga auto, or try and find some of the cowboy reduced power loads for 12 ga.

    Auto's will have the least perceived recoil, then Over/unders (bottom barrel), followed by pumps and single shots.

    Just like a rifle, the "bullet" weight and speed vs. the weight of the gun determine the recoil. The cheap shtogun shells at the big box stores might recoil more than the premium shells even tho they usually have less shot in them due to the fact that they are usually going faster than the premium light target loads.

    There are other options to help with recoil, but they run into considerable $$ (i.e. Soft-Touch or G-squared recoil reduction systems)

    I probably will be saying something that you already know, but make sure that he wears ear plugs/ear muffs and preferrably both. I bought my nephew an inexpensive set of electronic ear muffs, and he wore them turned all the way up over a set of ear plugs. He still wears the muffs 5 years later.

    I have a Franchi AL-20 that weighs 5# 3 oz, and it recoils about the same as my Remington 1100. (7/8 oz vs. 1 1/8 oz). I wouldn't recommend the .410 due to the difficulty of hitting clay birds with it.
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Skeet ranges will allow you to shoot as you please during the off hours. The going away shots are pretty easy to master as long as you get his feet properly positioned so the shoulders are squared at the the correct time. You can shoot the low house for a while and then move over to the high house. Leave the crossing shots alone until he has the muscles and hand eye coordination to deal with them/

    Check eye dominance and deal with it as you please but if he is opposed dominance then you will have to take extra steps to ensure a successful shooting experience. I use pirate eye patches until the child learns to control it themselves.

    The 11-87 is nice in 20 gauge but perhaps more than an 8 year old can handle.
     
  5. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Sooo, semiauto, 20 gauge, shooting reduced loads one at a time for a couple years?
     
  6. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    I bought my grandson a cheap ol' Rossi 410 w/22 bbl. He's quite the shot w/the 22 but hasn't caught on to the scatter gun part yet.

    I shot about a 5" group @ 200 yds with the 22 bbl for 5 shots the other day.:eek: And that's with the cheapie open sights.

    This thing may warrant a scope.:cool:
     
  7. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Roy,
    I've looked at those. He already has a .22. I've also read and been told the 410 takes a lot of skill. Makes sense to me, but I don't have any experience. I'd hate for him to get frustrated.

    280,
    What is your experience with the 410? Recoil aside, will it be more difficult for him to be succesful with?

    esshup,
    Thanks for the tips. I have a reloader for shells. It's new in box. Been like that for three years. This'd be a good reason to break it out. I'll be sure the gun fits him and has a nice recoil pad. Thanks for the advice on the hearing protection.

    BB,
    Great advice. I wouldn't have thought to check eye dominance. Both my children have been shooting for a couple years. I'm a bit surprised I forgot to check. My son is a pretty darn good shot with his little 22. My daughter is not as good. I wonder if eye dominance could be a factor. I'll check. I was opposed dominant as a youngster. Funny I forgot.
     
  8. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Grit:
    Yes, it's more difficult to hit a target with a .410 than it is a 20guage - there are simply fewer pellets. So make the game as easy as possible. Rather than have him shooting at a skeet or trap range, get a small ground thrower ( ALLEN Claymaster Target Thrower at Outdoor Super Store). You can adjust the angle and they throw the target pretty slowly. Your son could stand right next to the thrower. This way the target is moving straight away from him and relatively slowly. Then as he gets more proficient he can begin to step farther and farther away from the thrower which introduces more angle and difficulty.

    Although I think somebody else mentioned it in a previous post, one of the most important things to managing recoil is that the gun fit. If you're son is that small, you might even have to have a youth stock cut down.

    As an aside, when I take the kids out to shoot pistols or rifles, I have them shoot at things that "pop" - eggs, baloons, clay targets, cans or have them build something or stack up - anything that reacts when hit. I find that kids get pretty bored shooting at paper, but if the target will explode, they love it. That's one of the reasons they like shooting shotguns - they love blowing up targets in the air.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  9. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    There are clay birds that have powder in the dome - they REALLY make a cloud of dust when they are hit!

    An easy way to check shotgun fit is to shoot at a whitewashed 4' square board or steel that is say 20 Yds away with a full choke. Put a dot in the center, and have him shoulder the gun and shoot at the dot without looking at the sights - both eyes open. Do this a couple of times to verify that he's shouldering the gun the same time every shot. If the center of the pattern is low, the comb of the stock needs to be raised. High, lower the comb. Right, of center, then the comb needs to be thicker on the left side for a right handed shooter. For muscle memory practice, put a small mag light(AA for 12 ga, AAA for 20 ga double and check to make sure the gun is unloaded too) in the muzzle. Inside the house, have him look at a corner of a room, then shoulder the gun with the light pointed at the corner. Keep the light pointed at the corner the whole time that he is shouldering the gun. Once he's getting proficient at that, have him follow the seam between the wall and ceiling as he's mounting the gun. Again, both eyes open and looking at the light, not the sights.

    Heck, for that matter, if the gun is fitted properly, then he doesn't need sights. You don't have sights on your index finger, and you point at things, right? I had a shotgun fitted by having the sights removed, then shooting rubber .38 cal bullets from a rifled insert, propelled by a .209 primer. Once the gun was fitted, I could hit an aspirin @ 20 feet 8 out of 10 times without any sights on the gun. Clays were easy after that once I figured out how much I had to lead them at different distances!

    If you decide to reload, PM me and I can send you information on light loads, and where to buy the components. Ballistic Products and Precision Reloading were the 2 that I used for wads and info., besides the reloading info that is published by Federal and Winchester.
     
  10. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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    good advice all....

    i would go with the rem 1100 youth model 20 ga....shoot reduced power loads until he is comfortable with higher ones. my boys both had rem 870 youth models and they were very small framed.i still have one of theirs. its a great little gun also but the semi auto will have less recoil. you might go to a trap range nearby and see if they have any loaner guns he could try. trap clubs are more than willing to help new shooters out....didnt notice where you are from.. i will check and then see if i can find a range to reccomend...AJ
     
  11. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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    there is a great club....

    ...just up the road a bit in spanish fork, ut. try to get up that way and see what they have....bet they can help you out. the trap shooters in utah are great folks....say hi to joe roach for me if you run into him..AJ
     
  12. TheSollyLama

    TheSollyLama Writers Guild

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    I grew up on a .410 shotgun and always hold a spot in my heart for the smallest shotgun. Recoil is tolerable for pretty much any kid, and it takes actual skill to be effective with one.

    I got my 8 year old daughter a Rossi matched pair for xmas last year. Hers came with a 20 gauge barrel because of a mix up at the store, I had wanted the .410 barrel. Easier to just keep it though and she can grow into the 20 gauge. I also have a vintage 1950's Savage model 24 (that was the first gun I ever shot) that to this day still gets taken afield.

    The Rossi matched sets are inexpensive and the barrel is easily swapped. The stocks are plastic, but good quality, the fiber op sights provide good sight picture. It has the key lock safety and comes with carry bag.
     
  13. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Grit,

    I'm starting this kid off slow. The 3" shell is a bit too much so we are playing with the shorter version. He isn't in to moving targets yet so we swing the clay on a long string so that he has some success right off. Kids seem to be more interested in real action/dusting etc. than follow through etc. We'er just having fun at the moment.

    He'll grow into flying birds soon enough.
     
  14. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    I'm building my boy (4yrs old) his first gun now ,its on an Encore frame the stock has to be cut still I'll wait till hes 5 for that for a better fit and it willuse a spacer system to ad length as he grows to the full size youth stock.

    Anyway , I got him a 24" barrel in 410 for it and its a real pleasure to shoot especialy with a Sims recoil pad.
    Granted if you buy an encore Frame for $250 thenanother $75 for stocks and another $250 for the barrel your into a bit of money BUT , you will be able to buy him other barrels as he grows including a 20ga and a 12ga that will fit the frame as well as just about any rifle caliber you want.

    I personaly have a custom over and under (that was handed down to me from the father of a fallen Marine that was about the closest thing I'll have to a brother) chambered in 28ga , thats a hard to find shell but this thing seesm like you can't miss with it , We make a quail hunt with it once a year on his birthday and I can honestly say that I shoot it better than a Browning Citori that was fitted for me.

    so the 28 ga is another option