Getting son into hunting Deer.

Teri Anne

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May 24, 2021
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Wisconsin
Nice, thanks y’all!
Well the are all kinds of recommendations here. I have been a Hunter Safety Instructor since 1975 and have trained a lot of HS student to include the shooting part when the DNR would let us. (Latest iterations are so watered down as to be almost useless) Anyway for a person of this diminutive size (and that is no slam) he needs to start out with a rifle that obviously is smaller and has less recoil than many out there. A 7MM-08 has a pretty hefty recoil as opposed to a .243 or 6mm Rem. Of the two I would select the .243 simply on its versatility, light recoil and availability of factory ammo as well as reloading components. I would also select a rifle that has an adjustable stock, which is not necessarily the best as it is marketed as a kid's gun. I would get something like a wood stock Browning AB3 in .243, take it to a competent gunsmith ( I'm sorry to have to report that there are many incompetent ones out in the real live world) and have them cut down to fit his frame, install a good recoil pad then keep the piece removed so when he grows up the cut piece can be reinstalled or a new stock can be purchased. The AB3 goes for about $650 these days and is a keep for life rifle.
 

Dan 223

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Mar 15, 2020
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New Zealand
I'd pick a .22cal or 6mm that burns about 25-45 grains of powder and launches 55-105 grain projectiles north of 3000fps (.223, 22-250, .243,etc). Recoil is very minimal and the light soft projectiles really cause some damage at the high speeds.

Noise is the other factor that can cause issues, commonly the noise will actually have more affect than recoil on scaring/putting off a new shooter. A suppressor is the best cure for this but Long barrels help too.

I personally find when starting new hunters out that shot selection becomes very important. I've found their understanding of how and where to place shots on angled animals to be limited, hence why I now only allow broadside or very close to broadside shots. Typically a good double lung shot on an unalert relaxed deer results in a DRT kill. This keeps new hunters more interested than spending hours finding one that ran 100yards.
 

dogz

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Hey so my son has expressed Interest in hunting with me. What would be a good caliber to start him off with. He’s 10 almost 5’ and 106lbs.

Thanks.
far and away I'd start him with a 22/250. To begin with you can load it down a bit to 223 speeds. Nothing fancy for bullets needed. 55 Horn w/c or the 63 Sierra SMP. Once he gets used to the 223 speeds bump him up to 34 of Varget with either of those bullets and he'll be golden.

That's what my wife and I use for 90% of our hunting here in Montana and couldn't want for more.

Easy to handle, and it takes game down lights out now without going CNS.
 

SEJohnson73

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Nov 24, 2019
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Nebraska
If he's very new to shooting, managing muzzle blast will likely be as challenging as recoil. A lot of guys mentioned great intermediate cartridges in the thread, but most of them are best served with a suppressor especially for a new shooter. A suppressor will also add significant front end weight and make out of state hunting trips more cumbersome (extra paperwork to travel with a can). My 10 year old shoots a 300 Blackout and it kills big, corn-fed Nebraska whitetail deer just fine. Muzzle blast is minimal, recoil is non-existent....but most of all the rifle is physically small enough he can handle it safely in the field. 7.62x39 and 6.8 SPC are other nice "easy going" intermediates that are great for getting young folks started right. They grow up too fast, sometimes it's hard for me to keep the cart behind the horse; I totally get that aspect too... wishing you and your son nothing but success and enjoyment.
 

SteelBanger

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Dec 4, 2019
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IL
But don’t forget the “cool” factor most kids see in a AR style rifle. If they WANT to get out and shoot, they’ll get more range time.
This is the exact reason why my oldest opened up all the parts to an AR-22 on his 10th birthday, then we assembled it together. He was big into that Fortnite first person shooter game and I knew a bolt action rifle would bore him a little, but boy oh boy a "tactical assault rifle" (he now knows better than to call it something stupid like that) really got him wanting to get out to the range!

My younger son has built some experience with big brothers 22 and even one of my .223 AR's but loves the "bolt action sniper rifles" so when he turns 10 that's exactly what he'll get. If I can swing it I'd like to do a semi-custom build for him, probably in 6.5 CM, otherwise it'll likely be a Tikka T3.
 
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Dskiper

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Jan 12, 2008
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263
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new jersey
Hi, I can remember my son"s first rifle. a ruger 77 bolt in .257 roberts. that season he bagged his first deer in Maine.Had a leoupold 2x7 scope w/120gr.bullets. really accurate, light & fun to shoot! a .243 a nice starter too. Dskiper
 

watersfam

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May 17, 2021
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Carlsbad, NM
There are lots of great caliber choices on this forum for a little guy hunting his first white tail. If you or a friend or family member have a good collection or have a range that rents rifles in these various calibers and styles, take him to shoot a variety and see what he likes. It is not just the caliber to consider, different types of rifles of the same caliber feel different to shoot. My youngest daughter is still (at 17) afraid to shoot a 20-gauge, because the first one she tried (an H & R break action) kicked like a mule and was difficult for her to hold. She has no problem with my smaller .30-06 or the 270 even though I think they kick a little more than a 20 gauge. Her fear of that first shotgun pretty much drove her from bird hunting.

You don't want him to fear the rifle and dread pulling trigger each time, so you might as well find one that he likes and fits him like a glove.
 
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