Gun calibers for children


November 12, 2006, 01:11 AM
I'm rather new to THR and have received really good info and gained valuable knowledge already from the members. But not to start conflict, The general consensus for starting children, young adults, with a particular caliber is .243. Very good round not to be disputed. My dispute is I've read no advise on say a .308 with gun modification to Remington R3 or Sims recoil pad for better fit and later maybe a spacer for growth? Just a question, Like I said I'm new and Have Not researched threads pertaining to this. This is a simply and generally $30 major improvement in recoil, performed by a gunsmith for quality look. I do them myself for my guns. Just wondering?

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November 12, 2006, 01:24 AM
A .308 is not a starter caliber for children.

The .22LR is a starter caliber. The .22 Magnum is also okay. The same for .17Mach2 and .17 HMR.

The .243 is not too bad, but its (relatively) expensive and still not something I would include in my top 20 list for a youth.

I wouldn't start a child out on anything larger than a .223, and that is ONLY if you have a serious hatred of rimfire rounds like the .22LR or .22Magnum. After that I would say a .243 is a great light recoil round if you really want a power cartridge without a lot of kick. The .223 would still be more practical though because unless this cartridge is intended for hunting, a 223 will be cheaper to shoot at paper.

Basically, the .243 is a hunting cartridge plain and simple. The .308 is a long range cartridge and a hunting cartridge (among other things military and LE). Both would be better served after someone is an established shooter and knows why they need one or the other.

November 12, 2006, 01:31 AM
Post deleted- I misinterpreted the original poster and would just add a +1 to what Outlaws said.

November 12, 2006, 01:42 AM
@vin: you're asking about a first hunting rifle, right?

Not asking about a general first gun to start with, right?


November 12, 2006, 01:49 AM
Yea that's right not a beginner. Definately a .22 in that case

November 12, 2006, 01:51 AM
I would recomend the 7.62x39. Plenty of power, practically zero recoil and its cheap.

November 12, 2006, 02:05 AM
Oh lol.....then ya, a .243 is great. I would still stay away from a .308 though unless you can find someone who has one and let them shoot it first.

Shell Shucker
November 12, 2006, 09:46 AM
Ditto the 243! 308 kicks a LOT more.

November 12, 2006, 10:10 AM
A .308 would make a good starter gun; just use light loads from Remington, or roll your own, if you reload.

November 12, 2006, 10:26 AM
.22 all the way.

Then I would suggest moving up to centerfires, which although may not kick a whole lot more (.223, 7.62x39, etc.) are MUCH louder, and that can be an issue by itself. I once saw a child start crying just from the blast of a .30-06.

I think .243 is the upward max for most children, both in sound, recoil, and cost.

I've never thought about it, but if you reload or have access to very light loads, the higher calibers might be workable, as Ojibweindian says.

November 12, 2006, 12:26 PM
If you reload your own, it's very doable. I think Art Eatman makes a .30-06 load with a 00 buck pellet and a pistol powder for plinking and small game.

November 13, 2006, 10:37 PM
Definitely .22 Its common,cheap,has little recoil which is good so your children do not develop a habit of anticipating the recoil when shooting larger calibres later on.

Add a silencer if you can.

November 14, 2006, 05:25 PM
"I would recomend the 7.62x39. Plenty of power, practically zero recoil and its cheap."

Ha! Are you kidding? Unless the kid is 120 pounds or muscular, I would not recommend that caliber for a child. I would say start off with something really cheap to in the .22LR caliber. Then, once he/she wants something with more power, get them something else.(centerfire something...)

November 14, 2006, 07:29 PM
How about .204 Ruger? It's a light recoiling centerfire round that packs a fair amount of punch. To me, it seems like a good "bridge" caliber - something that has decent (relatively speaking) power but isn't so unpleasant that it turns kids, and people new to guns, off to shooting.

November 14, 2006, 07:41 PM
That thread title was a little upsetting at first... after all, we've had thread on "best calibers for whitetails" and such...

November 14, 2006, 07:42 PM
If I were going to get a child shooting, it would be with a bolt gun 22LR with iron sights. Even better would be one with aperture sights (ie: CMP Kimber M82). If we're talking 12 or older, I'd probably just train them on a standard service rifle AR15.

Whatever you do, don't introduce a person to shooting with a scoped rifle. You'll never be able to teach proper fundamentals that way.

As far as 7.62x39, the problem isn't recoil (SKS and AK don't recoil enough). The problem is that unless you are using a bolt gun, those guns aren't going to be accurate enough to train a person in marksmanship. There's no point in teaching marksmanship if the gun isn't accurate.

November 14, 2006, 09:10 PM
if you don't have a 22.... shame on you! after they pick up their marksmanship skills on the 22, which is THE MOST important thing, and you teach them about safe handling. then you have lots of choices , really. 204, 223 243 257 roberts, and may alltime fave, a 6mm remmy. Like a 243, but 300 fps faster with a heavier bullet, plus the super long neck , cools the blast FAST, and doesn't eat out your bbls like a 243 can. Ruger still chambers them brand new. But the holy grail is the old remmy 600 mohawk, with the 18 inch bbl, and the vent rib that goes from the bridge of the receiver to the muzzle.

November 14, 2006, 09:16 PM
I learned to shoot 20 years ago with a single shot .22 and I'm convinced this is the best way to go. Multi shot rifles of any type (lever, bolt, semi) only encourage how quick can you pull the trigger. Though that is fun, it won't teach the fundementals and how to slow down. A single shot forces the shooter to get out of position, reload and rebuild their position. Likewise, I'm not a fan of using benchrests. I don't shoot from them in the field so why practice with one.

November 14, 2006, 10:05 PM
Children and young adults are two different animals. Most teenagers, even the slight ones, will have no trouble with a .308 providing the stock fits. A recoil pad wouldn't hurt though. Had a petite female cadet, all of five foot nothing, who could shoot circles around most of the big strapping guys with either a C1A1 or a No. 4 Lee-Enfield.
Children, say under 10 should start with a single shot .22 and work up. The size of the rifle and the kid's attention span needs consideration too.
"...300 fps faster..." Not 300. 100 fps with the same bullet weights.

November 15, 2006, 11:11 AM
The .243 is hard to beat as a kid's first deer caliber. I wouldn't mess with the 7.62x39. Decent rifles in that caliber are few and far between, but everyone makes a .243. The .243 has little, if any, more recoil anyway and is a FAR superior hunting round that the kid can keep for a lifetime for hunting not only deer, but antelope or long range varmints. Try making a 400 yard shot on a prairie dog with your SKS. :rolleyes:

A lot of kids started with a .30-30, but that round in the typical lever carbine kicks harder than a good .243 turn bolt. My grandpa started me out with a .257 Roberts in a Remington short action M722 and I still own and shoot that rifle, though I haven't hunted with it in a while. But, it's killed more deer than any rifle I own.

November 15, 2006, 01:02 PM

Is this a range gun or a deer rifle?

Is there a caliber restriction in your state?

There are a few 7.62x39 boltguns out there now. It would give you both an adequate deer rifle for woods hunting, and darn cheap practice ammo.

For a range gun, I'd go with a .22 LR unless you need something louder to maintain the brat's interest.

Size and the kid's mindset will make a big difference in what they will handle recoil wise. I started shooting highpower with an M1 (.30-06 semi-auto) when I was 12. It was about all I could handle, and I was a pretty husky kid.

November 15, 2006, 02:59 PM
what about .270 bolt action good guns. dad had one years ago and he got many deer with it

November 15, 2006, 04:28 PM
what about .270 bolt action good guns. dad had one years ago and he got many deer with it

IMHO, too much for a kid, pre-teen anyway.

Desk Jockey
November 15, 2006, 04:34 PM
Nothing wrong with a lever-action 30-30. Not much kick; smallish gun to fit smallish people; cheap and readily available ammo; and a decent hunting cartridge for deer-sized game. I may not be entirely objective though - I got one when I was 11 years old (after a single-shot .22 at age 6 and a .410 around age 10).

I also had a .243 as a teenager, but it kicked a lot harder than my Model 94. So I've never recommended it for youngsters. However, it just occurred to me that I may never have shot any factory ammo out of that .243 - only handloads that my older brother put together. He could have been experimenting on me, and I never knew it.

November 15, 2006, 05:28 PM
.22 LR is the ideal starter cailber. Not only is it a low recoil and shooter friendly round, the firearms made for it can be very inexpensive. I don't know if they are any good, but I saw one of those little Cricket .22's single-shots at Wally-World today for 99 bucks.

Vern Humphrey
November 15, 2006, 05:37 PM
New England Firearms makes a very nice little switch-barrel break action rifle. In fact, you can get a three pack -- say, .22 LR, .243 and 20 gauge shot gun. That's how I'd go with a kid.

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