"Daddy, teach me about guns..."


October 2, 2007, 03:24 AM
I didn't prompt that recent request by my 7-year old daughter. With me going to school and racing dirt bikes, I've not done a lot of shooting, or even talked about it. Maybe I emit an odor of some sort that clued her?

I had figured that 7 would be just about the right age, and whatdya know? The time has come.

So, with Phoenix weather mellowing out, it's time to break out the Chipmunk, 10-22 and Marlin 39A I bought for her ten years ago. :neener:

Two things I need from y'all. First, I'd like to get her a good kid-sized bolt-action rifle that is a few steps above a Chipmunk, has a good trigger and good sights (without breaking the bank, say, $200-400). The models I've looked at have been lacking.

Second, what kind of low-impact competition would a seven-year old be engaging in here in Arizona? I'm not out to create a Camp Perry competitor, just something beyond plinking to help focus her mind.



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October 2, 2007, 06:06 AM
For a seven year old tin cans will do just fine and make sure that they are close. Always give her something to shoot at. There are alot of adults at the range that act like kids, put steel down range and hit nothing.

October 2, 2007, 07:34 AM
I picked up one of these resetable steel swinging targets (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=426631&t=11082005)(I think I got mine at Walmart). It's loads of fun for the kids. You can make a game out of it with some reward for hitting them all with no misses a number of times. If she's anything like my nephew with his young eyes, you'll be working hard to keep up with her after a while.

You just have to hit the plates with some orange spray paint every once in a while.

October 2, 2007, 08:00 AM
Check out the cz Scout

October 2, 2007, 09:34 AM
I remember as a kid I could hit pennies with iron sights at 50 yds. Now I'm just way too shaky to do it at all. My only hope is the prone position. I think it's 'cause I smoke cigarettes. Seems in the morning I'm less shaky before my first smoke.

Kids are amazing in respect to how fast they pick up new skills. You'll be amazed after she "gets it". I would get her a Ruger 10/22 of some type. I like those a lot.

October 2, 2007, 10:07 AM
Cans, water bottles, fruit..stuff that gives good visual feedback is popular with the shorter crowd, in my experience.

October 2, 2007, 10:46 AM
I'll be taking her to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility so my choice of reactive targets will be limited. I do have the resettable target stand mentioned above, and BASF has dozens of three-inch tall steel silhouette animals that are fun.

But I'll start her out on paper so she can get a reviewable, graphical representation of where she is shooting and where she is hitting. Then I'll move on to the reactive targets. I hope BASF allows Crackers. :)

That CZ looks doable, but I'll have to find one to test the trigger pull and length of pull. Just shopping for it will be fun for me (I mean, her).

So, what kind of youth competitions are there out there? I'll have to contact BASF and find out.


Mr White
October 2, 2007, 11:26 AM
Look into the local 4H organization. Around here at least, they're pretty active with competitive shooting. They start out with BB guns, move up to precision air rifles and then to smallbore if they want.

Its a really good program. They teach safety and general gun knowledge as much as they spend time shooting. Our sessions are 2 hrs. They spend one hour in the classroom, one hour on the firing line.

October 2, 2007, 12:07 PM
But I'll start her out on paper so she can get a reviewable, graphical representation of where she is shooting and where she is hitting. Then I'll move on to the reactive targets. I hope BASF allows Crackers.

With respect, I believe that's backwards -- unless the paper is very large indeed, and you praise her for every hit on that paper.

Having fun is the second most important goal of taking a kid to the range (right after staying safe). Fun is really important even if (especially if) you're actually fostering fond hopes of raising the next Annie Oakley. There's nothing wrong with wanting your kids to do well, but a strong desire to turn your kid into an excellent shot can actually become a self-defeating source of frustration for both of you. If your child doesn't have fun on the range, she'll never become an excellent shot because she'll never want to go shooting in the first place.

Of course it can be very satisfying to develop excellent, precision marksmanship, but the satisfaction of making tiny groups on paper does not generally arrive until after a shooter has sent a lot of rounds downrange just having fun.

For at least the first few trips to the range, aim for immediate gratification. Get the kids hooked on firearms fun first, and those thousands of rounds will eventually happen; fail to hook them, and they'll never have time to develop the skill you want them to have. So take the time to seek out safe, exciting targets that are very easy to hit from the very beginning. There will be time to develop precision skills after your new shooter discovers how much fun shooting can be.

More from my perspective: http://www.corneredcat.com/Kids/firsttrip.aspx

More from LawDog's blog: http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/2006/12/meditations-on-shooting.html

Hope this helps some.


October 2, 2007, 01:41 PM
So, what kind of youth competitions are there out there? I'll have to contact BASF and find out

You will most likely need to call Az Fish & Game, they run Ben Avery, They may know of some good youth shooting programs.

Mark whiz
October 2, 2007, 02:17 PM
I would also recommend a 4-H or gun club sponsered air rifle program. They are a perfect way to learn safety and marksmanship. And if one can learn to get good with a low-powered target airgun, they can shoot anything well.

And to supplement what is taught with the airgun, get her a .243 bolt rifle to satisfy her urge to make things go boom. A .243 is light enough and easy enough to be able to shoot well without too much recoil. If she is real petite, then maybe a .223 instead of a .243.

October 2, 2007, 02:31 PM
The CZ looks nice. I bought my little girl a Marlin 915Y. It has a much nicer bolt and trigger than the Chipmunk, easy to manage safety, but it is still a single shot bolt action with iron sights, wood stock, and blued steel like kids are supposed to learn on. :p

October 2, 2007, 02:51 PM
I agree w/ pax on this one. I started out plinking when I was a kid and was hooked instantly! Shooting cans and coins was my favorite thing to do, I was constantly begging my dad to take me out (and he would too!). I don't even think firearm choice is an issue... I could barely hold up that 69A so I did most of my shooting sitting in the dirt. Gosh those were good times.

October 2, 2007, 04:59 PM
I think Savage makes a Model 70G that is a single shot .22 with a lever that drops the action down for reloading. It is short enough for kids, but big enough than an adult can use it also. I learned to shoot with this model.

IMHO, a single shot forces a kid to think about aiming more instead of blasting away with a semi-auto. That is the way I was at a young age at least.

October 2, 2007, 06:56 PM
My sisters CCP instructor suggested trying ballons first as reactive targets and as a childs skill improves go to charcoal briqects. The charcoal worked so well that I can't keep any around without shooting them.:)

October 2, 2007, 07:54 PM
I agree entirely with those suggesting the CZ 452 scout youth model. I have just purchased one for my 4 year old son and will present it to him for Christmas. $225. It's a real rifle, not a cheapy though the stock is made from cheaper wood than the other 452's.

The bonus of this rifle is that it takes a single shot stopper magazine (detachable) that can be exchanged for a 5 shot CZ magazine at extra expense once the youth is prepared to work the action.

I did much research into many rifles and this was it.

Also, a possibly would be the Marlin PSS 70 Papoose which is incredibly light takes a magazine and fetures a semi-automatic action. It is a real rifle that you yourself may be able to use and toting it after she's tired of toting it on lonmger walk would be breeze, around 3 pounds.

chris in va
October 2, 2007, 09:02 PM
Whoa there pardner. Let her ease into shooting with the three you have listed, then maybe a few years down the road consider something more expensive. Heck, spruce up the 10/22.

October 2, 2007, 09:57 PM
for what its worth... i started my daughter shooting when she was 4. at 5 i moved her to a heavy 223 bolt gun. later that same year she moved to an ar-15.

for her 8th birthday (2 months ago), she unwrapped a savage 10 gl in 300 wsm. 17 grains of unique propels a 165 grain cast bullet (commercially available) at ~1780 f/s, and recoils less than a sporter 223.

i took the gun and drilled two holes into the butt of the gun (one on top, one on bottom) to fit a wooden dowel. then, i cut the gun to 1" under her l.o.p. in 1/2" increments saving each of the pieces (we'll glue it back together as she grows, and get a decent stock when she's done growing). next, i went way overkill on the recoil pad, getting a slip-over pad that takes the gel inserts for recoil reduction, and used 1" worth of inserts. last, i used a neoprene cheek-raising kit to get the cheek of the gun up enough to actually fit her.

she truly enjoys the gun, and thinks shooting it is the greatest thing ever. since her birthday she has sent 150 bullets down range in just the 300 wsm alone, and asks me daily to take her to the range (most unfortuante that i can't because of stuff like work).

anyway, right or not, that's what i did, and my daughter enjoys guns and shooting through and through. she thinks her gun is the greatest thing ever.

we keep it fun at the range, too. footraces to the target board and back, much praise and compliments, a little ribbing when the bullet doesn't land where expected, and that sort of thing. eggs on golf tees w/ a 22 and 50 yards is a great thing, too...

my wife and i use hunting and shooting as a reward. 'if you do x, then i'll take you to the 200 yard range on saturday'... the main thing is to just have fun w/ it. my other daughter turned 4 in april, and has been shooting an ar-15 since july... the kids love it and will suck it up as long as you provide a fun and safe environment to learn in.

October 2, 2007, 10:17 PM

Please ask your 7 year daughter to come up to the monitor for a moment, and then leave us alone. Thank you.

Hi AZ's daughter.
Listen up, us "kids" got to stick together, right? Right.

Get some jelly beans, and pick out the ittiest bittiest ones.
Now, observing all the rules and everything, with another adult, go set one out umpteen bazillion yards downrange.

Hand daddy your rifle, and ask him to shoot that jelly bean standing and shooting "off hand".

If he misses, he has to take you to Taco Bell, Wendy's, or wherever you want to eat.

This way daddy gets some off hand practice and you get to eat where you want every time you leave the range.

You are Welcome

Uncle Steve

Your daughter has something she wants to share with you.


October 2, 2007, 10:19 PM
Server hung or I double tapped.

October 2, 2007, 10:31 PM

October 2, 2007, 10:36 PM
Uncle Steve, rules like that will have both of us gaining weight in no time. Daddy doesn't shoot off-hand so well. He uses bi-pods. :)

Whoa there pardner...
Of the three rifles, none are acceptable at this time. The Chipmunk's trigger is horrible and the sights are worse (and, I forgot, I donated to a youth rifle program a few years ago).

The Ruger 10-22 is heavy and a length-of-pull that's a few inches too long -- it'll be fine when she's nine. The Marlin lever-action is even bigger and heavier. She'll like it when she's twelve.

I'll be buying a rifle that fits her before I start. It will be a bolt-action.

Pax said:With respect, I believe that's backwards -- unless the paper is very large indeed, and you praise her for every hit on that paper.
I'm an instructor (CFII, NRA, T2, etc) so I'm aware of and practice F.O.I. I'll start with paper so she understands what the bullet is doing. She's a visual learner and I have to adapt my teaching to her needs, not mine.

The paper will be quite close, and big. It will be off of a solid concrete bench with sandbags. Then I'll move on to reactive targets later in the first day. BASF approves of balloons, and steel (set far enough away). No eggs. I've not asked about charcoal or crackers.

If she is real petite, then maybe a .223 instead of a .243.
She's seven years old, 4'2", 59 pounds. I'll stick to .22 LR for a bit.
...if you're actually fostering fond hopes of raising the next Annie Oakley.
No. She's asked me to teach her about guns. This will be as mellow as I can manage, but I know my daughter. She has a bit of a competitive streak (BMX practice led to her begging me to let her race. I declined). She's also *very* social, and the comradery of practicing and competing with other girls would tickle her.

I'll have to go to Cabella's next weekend with my daughter to see which rifle has the combination I'm looking for.



chris in va
October 2, 2007, 10:58 PM
Alright, I see what you're saying.

How about a Henry 22 carbine? I found one locally and was amazed how short and light it was. Looks to be a perfect kid gun...heck I'd even want one. Holds quite a few rounds, has to be cycled every shot (for safety) and can be reloaded very quickly just using an arrow shaft.


If that's not small enough, they make a shorter version.

October 2, 2007, 11:14 PM
Rick ~

Sounds like you've got it really well covered. :)

Best of luck to you both!


October 2, 2007, 11:25 PM
Gee dad, they have salads don't ya know? ;)


What a great Dad-n-Daughter pic!
7 years old is a great age, and some real quality time is again in store for your both.

No kids of my own, but Adopted as an Uncle by many over the years. Some grow up, but I never have. ;)

Rem 514, is my "pet".
My personal 514 is gone, by mistake, I lost count of where mine was, in passing out pawn shop specials to kids and letting kids try and pick out which gun they wanted.
"I can keep it, really!!" and before I knew I had say yes to my gun.
One of my best mistakes, as that same gun is still passing onto the person that got it that day, to their own kid.

Safety then Fun.

Some of the kids I have assisted with and parents, especially single moms, had a bad row to hoe.
Getting past some fears and all understanding guns are not bad, just people make anything bad.

Guns the kids use, run the gamut. All sizes of kids, and some are "only" in their 70's.

Single shot, pawn shop guns are still special to me, like the Rem 514, and other 5xx guns.
We have some bigger kids that shoot Ruger 10/22 and Marlin 60's as well.
Some are bone stock, some are painted, some have NASCAR stickers, and the like.

W let the kid determine what they want. Oh we do the basics of how to aim and use a poster board to demonstrate everything of sights and hold and all...
Some kids want to shoot paper, to learn, other want to shoot balloons, others do tin cans, while others do drawings of 'Monsters' and "Zombies"...

Pink Crickets, Chipmunks, CZ's, and we run the gamut.

Itty Bitty Jelly bean is a special thing, kids get a kick out it. Of late, I get a NAA mini-revolver. Snickers from everyone, as I cannot see the jelly bean, and is all in good fun.
My back pocket just stuffed with "you must need more beef jerky".

I am an old fuddy duddy. Oh we do Taco bell, still the kids are good kids.

"Okay guys and gals, if I miss, we are going to make the World's Bestest Salad- Right?

We hit the grocery store and every kind of lettuce they had , we bought.
3 kinds of cheese, ham, turkey, and ...
We ended up with a Punch Bowl full of salad! :D
Quality time, everyone , no matter how big, pitching and doing something.

Gets cooler and we do a Big Crock Pot of Stew, Beans, whatever.
Again, I am going to miss...and the quality time of doing kitchen stuff and cleaning up.
Boys, girls, adults...quality time.

Dawgs get involved too. One of the dawgs had a B-Day. WE made Yellow Cake, no icing and all the Dawgs had a B-Day party. :D

Seven years old. Great age.

These kids I hang with are already hitting me /us up
Each has their very own little cast iron skillet with a copper wire and tag to mark whose is whose.
Like I said, I am a fuddy-duddy and real important to me, these kids have these skillets.

Uncle Steve, when it gets colder, and you miss again [giggle] we gotta do cornbread again,and do that pot of beans with the ham hock thingie in it

Shooting is great, especially .22 rim-fire, but I grew up reading Ruark [ all these kids have his book...]and life lessons are passed on, like cooking.

Not sure what I want to be when I grow up; pretty sure it is not being a grown-up though.- me

Have fun and I send my best to you and yours sir.


October 3, 2007, 12:09 AM
No way for me to compete with that. :p

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