Best youth deer rifle

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by jamesboles, May 22, 2019.


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  1. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2012
    You're welcome. I have numerous rifles in deer and elk calibers from 6mm/243 up to 35 Whelen. I still love that old Thirty-thirty. But my younger brother isn't going to let it go for love or money. My dad bought it in 1951, the year I was born. I hunted jackrabbits on the farm with it sometimes while I was growing up. Give him a MEMORY. Granddad bought me what I wanted. He doesn't need a whiz-bang, just a rifle he wants bought by someone he really loves. Just had another thought. Open sights don't give 12 year olds scope bite.
     
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  2. Ricpowel

    Ricpowel New Member

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    Jun 14, 2016
    I have a 243 win lightweight. 20” barrel. Have youth wood stock, adult wood stock and adult synthetic ,, factory all. I live in north texas and would like to sell it as i am moving back to my 270 due to the 300# plus hogs i encounter. I also have a 1.5 x 6 x 42 steiner scope 30mm steel tube that i could sell too. Very good in low light and weighs about 17 oz i think. If you live fairly close it might be an option. My kids are grown and the grand kids all want ar style now.
     
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  3. Lee Goodwin

    Lee Goodwin Well-Known Member

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    243 Winchester, best cartridge for deer on down...and big enough to legally hunt elk in Oregon. He will treasure it forever and never be afraid to shoot it based on recoil. Get a nice one.
     
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  4. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    That 243 sounds like a deal.
     
  5. forever25

    forever25 Member

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    Mar 1, 2014
    This has already been covered somewhere that I didnt catch, so Im gonna throw in my 2 cents. I grew up with Dads, Win Mod 70 featherweight (1961) in .308 win. Kicks a bit, but good gun. When I started looking to replace it, I looked and found the newer Mod 70. Then I found the featherweight compact. Length of pull is 3/4" shorter than the std Mod 70. I ordered it in .308, as I was thinking in the lines of something for all around use and stalk hunts for elk. It is light and maneuverable, kicks a bit at around 6 lbs., and, well, I just like it. Point? I am 5'10" (-1/4") and the shorter LOP tucks in to my shoulder much to me like an AR. The .243 would be a good choice for caliber for the youths. Just my thinkin' on the mater....
     
  6. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    As I recall, you said the boy is 12 years old. What does he weigh? The guy that offered to sell the .243 may be a really good bet, but I'd take him to see what he can handle well. Let him decide what he wants; and keep it simple. I still think a good 30-30 would be a nice starter rifle. You can always get him something with more reach and power when he can handle it later. Then he'll have two rifles.
     
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  7. Schnyd112

    Schnyd112 Well-Known Member

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    I killed my first two deer, my brother killed his first, and then at least two other firsts were on a rem 600 Mohawk in .243. I think it was a youth rifle because we aren’t big but the stock fit, and the barrel was maybe 22-23”. We got it at a gun show for next to nothing because I couldn’t shoot dad’s model 60 featherweight in .270.

    We still have it, I imagine it isn’t done killing deer.
     
  8. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    I had one in 6mm Rem. I think it was a 20 inch barrel. I hunted coyotes in West Texas with it. I traded it and I kick myself over that periodically.
     
  9. eric1115

    eric1115 Member

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    Dec 20, 2017
    I got my son (9 now, turning 10 in September) a Ruger American compact in 7mm-08. Sweetheart of a rifle, though it is very light so it is pretty snappy with full power loads. I added some kinetic sand to the butt of the stock and that added enough weight that he loves shooting it with the Hornady reduced recoil 120 grain ammo. His first trigger pull he turned to me with wide eyes and big grin and said, "I like that!"

    He shoots it well, very reliably hitting vital size targets out past 200 yards. He has a bunch of trigger time on his air rifle, my .17hmr, and my .223 AR. I try to have him shoot 80-90% .17 and .223 and 10-20% his Ruger, and so far he has not developed a flinch. I do watch close and sneak a dummy in from time to time. He also gets quite a bit of dry fire practice.

    I like the 7mm-08 due to the fact that he can put in range time with the low recoil ammo and then I can re-zero with an ethical mid range elk round and he'll never feel the difference shooting an animal. We will start with deer and pronghorn this year, and likely start elk next year.

    Good luck, and good work getting the next generation started!

    Eric
     
  10. ragsflh

    ragsflh Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    May 4, 2011
    my first deer gun,model 94 30/30.this caliber has killed more game than any other.you can buy 30/30 ammo anywhere.243 me next choice.good old 20 gauge works too.
     
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  11. cbobclark

    cbobclark Member

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    Dec 22, 2012
    I was a skinny six feet at 12 YO, and used a 30/06 with 150 gr. Didn't recognize that it kicked but the scars on my brow have healed. 60 years later, I go back to an old BB .243 when the shoulder acts up. In retrospect, I'd do the .243 early.
     
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  12. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    Well, heavy Iron, mine was a 30-30 too. I think its maybe the best starting deer rifle for a 12 year old. Its easy to operate, easy to sight in and effective at distance out to around 150-200 yards with 170 grain ammunition. And ammo is always available.
     
  13. TopPin

    TopPin Member

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    Feb 9, 2019
    If your just planning on deer I'd say a 243 is a very good choice, and you shouldn't have any trouble with elk inside 200 yards with it either. Another really good caliber is 25-06 shoots a heavier bullet hardly any recoil, flat shooting, cheap ammo, and has no problem taking elk. I like to refer to it as an angry little bee. I started with 30-06, and 270 win. Still have them, and still think there perfect for all ages.
     
  14. snox801

    snox801 Well-Known Member

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    Here is my thoughts. I am a huge fan of the .243 as anyone. I actually recommend that to every new person I get started into shooting.
    But here the thing. They do recoil a bit more than I’d like for kids. The best thing to do is get the least amount of recoil possible so they don’t create bad habits.
    I still do this myself to this day. You should see the crap I get when I ask the smith to thread my barrel for a brake on a 6x45. Your best bet is to start with the least amount of recoil.
    First pick the distance you are most likely to hunt at. Here in Michigan we rarely shoot more than 150 yards so the .300 blk makes a lot of sense but is limited.
    Hence why the 6.5 Grendel makes most sense. Less recoil than the 7mm-08 or .243. But easily capable of taking game at longer ranges as they grow. Pigs are know to be tougher than deer and I have seen them taken with the Grendel out to 300.
    Ammo is not as easy as the .243 to find but is carried in most sporting goods store.