When should I start the kids?


March 25, 2003, 07:31 PM
I have younger chilluns. Would anyone kindly recommend a good age to get kids started in proper rifle discipline? Also, what's a good beginner's rifle? I thought a bolt action 22 would be good to get their feet wet.

I wasn't introduced to firearms as a child, so I'm hoping the seasoned vets here might give a not so young dad with very young kids some advice.

Thank you in advance

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March 25, 2003, 07:35 PM
Depending on maturity, my son will get a single-shot .22 rifle at age six.

March 25, 2003, 07:51 PM
Having the fortune of being the 3 generation Irish cop,me granps decided to ween me at the ripe age of 5 with a pellet pistol in the basement,with no danger to others,and a proper backstop, the basement.When he decided to graduate me in shotguns,it wasn't a 28 or 16,but a wimppy little 10ga,now I hardly flinch,but I think at the age of 40,my shoulder is still dislocated!!:what:

March 25, 2003, 07:51 PM
My son has had a huge interest in guns since he was 4.
I had to teach him the 4 rules before his ABC's

When he was 5 I introduced him to a scoped 10/22 at 25 yards

Now that he is 6 I'm having to bicker with the wife about taking him shooting (she is worried about his safety)

Now that I have a place out in the country for him to shoot .22
without worrying about range yahoos and flying brass
I've started taking him plinking.

I agree 6 years old is a good age with VERY close supervision.

Giving a kid responsibilities and expecting rules to be followed
is what makes a child mature into a well balanced resonsible adult.

Taking a chiild shooting at a young age also makes the kid safer around guns wherever they may find one.

A kid who knows what guns can do and knows the rules will be much less likely to point one at himself or anyone else.

I was never taught about guns as a youth and there were several times my friends and I happened upon loaded guns.

I'm going to make sure my son is better prepared for that eventuality.

March 25, 2003, 08:00 PM
We have a Red Rider BB gun to practice safe handling with my 4 and 3 year olds. They go "hunting" with Daddy and take turns carrying the BB gun down the trails. A lot of instruction from Dad helps them learn to watch where they point the muzzle. We also shoot a .22 at a target with help from Dad.

This year we were walking down a horse trail through some grouse woods. I told the kids it was time to turn around and go back. My son said "but Dad, I want to shoot a horse!". I guess we have a little work to do before they go hunting on their own.

I'd say get them out shooting as soon as possible. Buy a bolt-action .22 for each kiddo when they are 6-7. Keep it locked up, but let them know it's theirs to clean and shoot under supervision. Pride in ownership is an excellent character-builder. :)

Standing Wolf
March 25, 2003, 08:29 PM
I've never had children, but have seen children as young as four shooting .22 caliber rifles, BB guns, and even a .38 revolver under very close adult supervision.

March 25, 2003, 08:54 PM
When he was 5 I introduced him to a scoped 10/22 at 25 yards

Long distance relationships hardly ever work out, and at 25 yards, I doubt he could see even the controls on the rifle. Let the little guy hold it, he'll appreciate it. :neener:


March 25, 2003, 09:38 PM

Unfortunately that was the only distance the range would allow for rifles :(

Once he figured out eye relief he was able to do a 7 inch group
with 10 rounds.

March 25, 2003, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the advice, gentlemen.

March 25, 2003, 09:57 PM
I was making fun of the way you phrased it, it could come off that he shot it at the 25 yard line, or you showed him the rifle from 25 yards away.


March 25, 2003, 10:08 PM

I'd start them young. My boys are now 5 and 7. They were initially very curious about my guns. Always wanted to hold them. They were constantly after me to open the safe so that they could see them and handle them. Once they started to go to the range with me the curiosity factor dropped almost to zero. They know how to properly handle them, clear them, shoot them. They each have their own 22 rifle (a Marlin Lil' Buckaroo and a Chipmunk.) My seven year old cleans his and his brothers as well as helping to clean all of mine. Guns are now just a normal part of life. Something special they get to do with mom and dad. The whole curiosity thing is gone. And for me it’s been a lot of fun teaching them and watching them grow. (In addition, my seven year old has grown to have quite an appetite for M193 in my AR. :D He shoots it from a benchrest. All I hear now is “Dad can I have some more of that military ammo?”)

My dad had guns when I was a kid but never spent a minute with me concerning them. The only thing that kept me from touching his guns was fear and that's not the best deterrent. I may not have touched his but I sure did mess around with guns at the homes of friends that had less than diligent parents. Thankfully nothing bad ever happened. I'm not taking the same chance with my kids.

- Abe

Kahr carrier
March 25, 2003, 10:12 PM
At the Range I shoot at they wont let anybody under the age of 12 shoot there.

El Tejon
March 25, 2003, 10:17 PM
My brother has a rubber band gun for his son, age 4. My nephew also carries around a fiberglass M14 stock to develop muzzle awareness and basic gun handling.

I don't know when he will start shooting. But Uncle Kirk is wanting to buy that first rifle soon.:) (5 in June, maybe she'll say then).

March 26, 2003, 11:30 AM
My grandson, age 8, is quite stubborn and when I tell him to "STOP" when he's doing something, he continues. He needs a full explanation before he will desist any activity. I'll not be teaching him to shoot until he sheds this, fully!
Some kids are mature and cooperative at a very young age and some never reach the required level of trustworthyness.
There is no fixed age to introduce a youngster to shooting. You must evaluate each individually in terms of absolute safety.

March 26, 2003, 12:09 PM
I've been doing some "informal" shooting with my two boys at a friends farm. They would go out with me to watch me shoot, or hunt, then right before we would pack up the car to go home I'd throw out the question to them "Anyone want to shoot a couple off?" My 12 year old is an excellent shot, on the Game Cube. I put a .410 LeFever double barrel in his hands, and he could barely hold the barrels up with his left hand. I had to explain to him WHY he was a WUSS (Too much Game Cube and Game Boy and not enought of the real thing) He did manage to get both barrels off though. And this gun only weighs about 5 or 6 lbs. Then my 7 year old step up to the plate and points to the Winchester Model 12, 12 guage. I held it up for him, and he pulled the trigger. I now have to have him fitted for special sunglasses, since his eyes are still the size of golf balls! :what:
I did let the older one shoot my AR-15 a couple of years back. He didn't enjoy that one, neither did I with that Mini-Y comp.
But for now they're back to the Red Rider.

Wayne D
March 26, 2003, 12:55 PM
I read somewhere, I think Mass Ayoob wrote, that a good rule of thumb is if the kid is mature enough to take care of the family pet without being reminded, that the kid is probably mature enough. I think if you start them with a BB gun you can tell when they are ready, finger off the trigger, muzzle in the right direction, without being constantly reminded. BTW, my eight year old is not ready yet, but I'm working on it!:)

March 26, 2003, 01:43 PM
A picture speaks a thousand words. Weapons training (4 rules) should be approached at around age 3 I think. My sons were shooting Mini-14's from MTM's benchrest/cleaning station thing at about age 4 or 5. 22's for the most part though. plenty of eyes & ears in case they want to bring a friend!

110% supervision.


March 26, 2003, 02:11 PM
I started my two sons with a CO2 pistol and a spring .177 in the basement, punching paper. They were 6 & 9 or thereabouts. Safe gun handling was the feature of the day, every day. They both got 870 Express 20 ga. on consecutive Christmas' and begin shooting skeet at the local club. Safe gun handling was the feature of the day, every day. I figured the mission, while not accomplished, was well under way, when the adults would squad up with them to shoot. Nothing like watching your 10 year old smoke doubles from station 6 with a pump gun. By the time the oldest was driving, they would go off to the range on their own to shoot, and they both had a turn at range maintainence and pulling targets. Both now can render most any firearm safe, should the need arise.
Start early, as soon as you are comfortable that they are comfortable. Shoot often.

March 26, 2003, 03:11 PM
I think they'll naturally be curious by two or so. Our six year old watches diligently as I clean whatever I've been shooting.

She's shot BB and pellet guns but no firearms so far. We've decided on seven as the year for her to shoot the real stuff. 22 bolt gun. My buddy has a Chimpmunk but it seems so small. My kid is a bit lankier han his were at the same age. We'll see.

Carlos Cabeza
March 26, 2003, 04:40 PM
Danny has given the best advice. It's about level of maturity and the ability to obey commands. My boy is too rambunctious at 4, and does not listen well, but his 5 yr old cousin handles and shoots my .45 very effectively. Actually hitting tin cans. He has his own .22 rifle, but still only gets to shoot under very close adult supervision.

March 27, 2003, 01:08 AM
I was introduced to a .22LR rifle at the tender age of 4 yrs old & was hunting alone by 7. At 11, I had my own .243 scoped bolt gun.

Ayoob (FWIW) makes mention that any child may be ready by the time they can readily care for a pet - a sign of "maturity" & an "empathy for another." He may have something there.

I always allowed my kids to "see the guns" whenever they wanted - under my direct supervision - the Big 4, etc. always enforced.

They were much better as children, & when turning more towards the teens, they were effectively banned due to their "social skills" & behaviour.

It's gotta turn towards how they (re)act & handle responsibilities.

Being a Mom, or Dad, sometimes sucks, but it's the job you took on by pro-creating.

March 27, 2003, 09:09 AM
Well, my brother has no guns and isn't exactly pro-gun, so I'd like to teach his sons to shoot. One is still too young, but the other is 5 and I'd be willing to teach him in a year or two... BUT... he simply does not have the maturity nor the ability to listen for me to let him anywhere near a firearm. This comes from momma being completely unwilling to punish and stick by it, but that's another matter. :p I will teach him that he shouldn't handle a firearm by himself without an adult's help and permission, and that firearms aren't evil, but they are extremely dangerous, not toys, and deserve the utmost respect and attention to detail. Outside of that though, unless he does a 180 in his maturity and ability to listen to rules and adults... he just won't be getting firearm experience in my presence. Too bad.

March 27, 2003, 09:31 AM
Kharn, don't you hate it when a good line completely misses? :(

Well, I thought it was funny, anyway. :D

I started when they were about 6 months.


Yes, six months. That's about when they started learning to OBEY. And yes, that long process begins that early. They start learning that their wishes do not rule the universe. (Or, they get that idea reinforced. There's no middle ground. You are either teaching one or the other.)

danny, your grandson won't "shed" that behaviour, he'll have to be taught to obey. And if his parents won't do it, there's probably not much you can do.

As for actual hands on with gusn, I'm starting with a .22 C02 rifle and then the same in a pistol. (Both Crosmans) They can be fired in the basement with no problem, and the basics of safe handling and sight alignment taught in the privacy of our home.

From there it will be a .22 rifle. , then handgun.

March 27, 2003, 10:37 AM
My daughter is 8 and I just started her on .22's a couple weeks ago. She loves it. Got a late start due to the ex her mother being a damn ANTI :fire: :cuss: :banghead:

She been used to seeing them for years at about the age of 2 she learned the rules and with a watermelon shown exactly what they do.

She is very mature for her age and never had any trouble following commands.

I think rabbit hunting in a year or so.

By the way does anybody know of a good .22 especially for kids?
Both of mine are a bit long for her causing problems. But she likes shooting them anyhow.

March 27, 2003, 10:56 AM
Jedi_7.62 check out Henry's sweet lever action .22 youth rifle.

March 27, 2003, 06:24 PM
ruger makes a nice semi auto 10/22 in a youth cut, dang i just sold mine cause the kids done growed up,

ok, ya caught me, i traded it in as a partial on the bushwacker...


March 27, 2003, 07:10 PM
Kids mature at different ages.

I've seen 6 year olds who were safe with guns. I've also seen irresponsible 18 year olds who shouldn't even consider touching a gun.

My dad's rule was when you are old enough to mow the lawn by yourself then you are old enough to get your first gun.
BUT if you didn't follow a safety rule you lost the gun for a LONG time.

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