Youth deer rifle.

Gobears16

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Mar 27, 2019
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Walnut Creek
As this is a long range site I'm assuming that there may be interest in eventually shooting further. While the 243 would get him started, that 80 gr. Bullet at 3400 drops below 1000 ft.lbs. Before 400yds.

The creedmoor set up I'm going to run can be loaded down to 243 recoil level now but loaded up later. It will push a 131gr. bullet over 2900 fps. That will maintain 1000 ft.lbs out past 800yds and be much better in the wind.

If it's going to be a cheap semi disposable rifle to be used until he grows out of it, go 243. If you are going to invest more, buy a gun in a cartridge he won't grow out of.

Just because it’s fun to debate... if he’s going to reload then go 6creed and send a 105 Berger with 1000lbs out to 800 with less recoil than the 6.5 with similar ballistics.... if he doesn’t reload the 6.5 creed would be second best ;)
 

Wolf76

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Jan 5, 2014
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Grandville, Michigan
308 with reduced recoil loads (125 sst or 130 ttsx). This cartridge will grow with him better than most. Not a fan of the 243.
7-08 is just a necked down 308, so I don't really see the point(not opposed though).
If you handload, i used a 120 accubond in my 308 @ 2100 fps for my daughter and it cleanly killed deer out to 150.
 

TX Badger

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Dallas, TX
Just because it’s fun to debate... if he’s going to reload then go 6creed and send a 105 Berger with 1000lbs out to 800 with less recoil than the 6.5 with similar ballistics.... if he doesn’t reload the 6.5 creed would be second best ;)

Exactly, its a mental exercise in some level, but may end up saving the OP some money too. ;-) I just don't see the downside of going a little bigger when you can load down for a couple years. If this kid is like me and my friends growing up, it won't be long before he wants something bigger. I really like the 25-06 and 6.5 creedmoor if he isn't reloading.
 

Louis3300

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Aug 20, 2006
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Colorado
30-06 loaded with 150 gr. reduced loads. He will be able to use it on any animal he will want to hunt his entire life. 20181114_090218.jpg
Ammo is cheap and easy to find. My 12 yr. old had no problem handling it.
 

jtbiv01

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Jan 31, 2007
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SC
I couldn’t be more pleased with my Remington SPS youth in 7mm-08. Bought it for a light weight truck gun, but swapped the stock to a b&c and it shoots so good, I haven’t rebarreled it yet. Always an option though.
 

thwatson2

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Nov 4, 2012
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Charleston County, SC
Hard to beat a 308. Never shortage of ammo. I have a 7-08 I used for my children but limited ammo choices. I reload so was able to make a lot of choices, with 308 you can buy tons of choices. I would also recommend an adult rifle he can grow into. They are heavier and help reduce recoil and he can take it into adulthood
 

FatGuy

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Apr 6, 2017
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Sheridan, WY
I see I’m a little late to the party but I also recommend the 7mm-08. I just got my nephew one for Christmas, TC Compass that came with a Leupold VX Freedom already mounted on it. Just loaded up some of Sierras new 165gr Gamechanger bullets last night that I hope will be a good all around bullet for out here in Wyoming. I also own a 7mm-08 Ruger American and its been a tack driver shooting 120 gr Nosler Hunting BT and has taken a few mule deer and antelope.
 

extremesolo

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Aug 23, 2013
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Carlisle, PA
CDNN still has several Marlin X7s in .243 available for $270 in a package gun with a scope. Even if you don't like the scope I still dont think there is a better feeling, more accurate gun in its class. You can not go wrong with that rifle for your grandson. 95 grain ballistic tips will do everything you will ever want it to from groundhogs to predators to deer with ease.
 

Timnterra

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Rapid City SD
12yr olds can be drastically different in size and stature. When I was 12 I was 5’9” and 140lbs but my buddy’s daughter is 12 she is 4’6” and 60lbs. Rifle fit and Recoil is the main concern you have. I’m building my kids a 6mm br to start out with. It’s like a miniature 243 win. My kids are still young, my oldest is 7, and she can’t hold a regular weight rifle off hand because she lacks the strength. The rifle has to be lighter than usual, which means more recoil, therefore I’m scaling back the cartridge. If your grandson is the size of a man it doesn’t really matter what you start him on but if not, you don’t want to induce a flinch by giving him a hard recoiling rifle.
 

Steiger

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Jan 13, 2019
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Washoe Valley NV
I vote 7-08 if there is more opportunity other than deer. If it’s just deer the .243 is great. I have both and my wife loves shooting both.
 

Calvin45

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Apr 13, 2019
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Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
How tall is he and how much does he weigh? What rifles has he shot before? Do you know if he is recoil sensitive or not?

A youth 243 Win or 7mm-08 Rem would be my choice. Which of them I'd choose for him would depend on what he can handle in recoil. If he can handle it properly, the 7mm-08 is a fantastic choice, completely capable of taking bull elk at reasonable ranges, with the proper bullet!

As far as rifles go, the Ruger American rifles are my first choice, followed closely by the Tikka T3X. Ruger makes their American rifle in a Predator version called "Ruger American Go Wild" camouflage in 7mm-08 Rem that has a little heavier threaded barrel and come with both a 5/8"x24 TPI radial muzzle brake and a 0 MOA Picatinny rail already installed. They are superbly accurate (sub-MOA) and can be had for @ $500 shipped from Bud's, G4Gguns and others.

The Ruger American Standard rifle can be had in a 243 Win youth model that is very light weight and also shoots sub-MOA. Unfortunately, it is not available with the threaded muzzle. Most of the Ruger American rifles have some left-hand version available. They are currently running around $370.

That’s a very important question, “what rifles has he shot before?”. More important than height and weight or any of that. Some women I know can’t be much more than 120 pounds at not much more than 5 feet tall and have handled various 300 win mags over the last few years just fine. I have a friend who is 6’6 and not skinny by any stretch who received probably the hardest “scoping” I’ve ever seen, had no experience, everyone just assumed “he’s a big guy, he’ll be fine”. My first “big gun” was my dad’s 30-30 and I think it’s still a great gun to learn on. Not too bad recoil, the rifle isn’t long, heavy, or in any way awkward, teaches them to get as close as possible (I know this is a long range hunting forum but I trust we’d all agree that ethically we try to get close, and especially teach new hunters to do the same), and while you can put a scope on the lever guns I’m glad I learned how to shoot with iron before advancing to glass (and putting optics of any kind on a lever rifle is just sinful from an aesthetic perspective).

Go old school and teach the kid to hunt and shoot with a marlin or Winchester 30-30. I suspect it’s what a ton of people here started with.
 

JASmith

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May 4, 2010
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149
Go with the Grendel.

It has plenty of reach for hunting for all but the longest ranges. He can develop excellent shooting skills and habits.

Then, as his growth and maturity develop, a second rifle dedicated to long range may be in order if truly long range hunting is part of the menu. He won't necessarily be confused by the change in platform because there is a significant difference in what one does to anchor game at 800 yards and beyond versus 300 yards and closer.
 

hauntedbyelk

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Nov 17, 2013
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My son did very well with a 7mm 08 as a youth rifle. He's 19 now and it still works great for him. I would recommend looking at the Tikka T3X and the Howa. Avoid the overly light pencil-barreled youth rifles. While easier to carry, they don't have enough weight to dampen the recoil.
 
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