Best rifle for a beginner?


August 3, 2003, 08:01 PM
New to long guns and want to know what's the best rifle and caliber for a small person -- female, 5'2", 114lbs. A .22? This isn't for hunting, just for the gun range target shooting. On a budget and looking for something in a decent price range. Thanks.

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August 3, 2003, 08:08 PM
Get an AR15 with the M4 or lite weight barrel carbine form would be easiest to handle hardly no kick and you can always get a conversion kit to shoot .22s,ARs are easy to maintain and very reliable I own 2 bushmasters mine is a pre ban carbine and my wifes a post ban M4 type she weighs a little more than you and is 2 inches taller and she loves the AR,she swore shed never shoot mine her loving handguns then she did and I had to buy one for her.ARs are a little pricy but you will have 2 guns in 1.

August 3, 2003, 08:23 PM
IMO you should start with a .22 possibly in a bolt rifle that she can get used to before getting into "the evil black gun". Got nothing against AR's, love them myself but they are a different gun to get used to.
I started my wife out with CB.22's in an old bolt rifle, no noise but were very fun to shoot.

August 3, 2003, 08:42 PM
A standard Ruger 10/22 might be a good starting point.
They have a stock that is short enough to fit smaller people and aren't too expensive.
There are a lot of accessories around if you get tired of the standard look. Ten round magazines are standard and fit inside the stock, instead of sticking out. That makes for easier carrying.
Ruger 10/22s can be quite accurate. I put peep sights on one years ago and shot a nine round group that I carried around in my wallet for several years.

I would start with some kind of a .22 Long Rifle, not a .22 Centerfire. Ammo is cheaper and shooting lots of ammo helps skill develop.

Some people don't like beginners to start with an autoloader, but they can always be single loaded. My sons did a lot of learning on my 10/22 and they are safe gun handlers and good shots now.

August 3, 2003, 08:48 PM
All I can say if a starter rifle were an issue the military would use them too,women are perfectly capable on handling an AR,Ive seen women start off with the M1 and thats way more a handful.if price is a concern go with a .22 if not an AR would be a worthwile investment and probably be a rifle you keep forever,in the times we live in get one while you can.And remember you can always get a .22 conversion kit and shoot cheap .22s out of it,an AR is a high powered .22 why start out with the prince when you can have the king,I learned on an auto loader an M1,my father is an army veteran so we were taught,my brother and I to shoot at a young age ,at 10 it was the rifle I started with and I went on from there,in colonial days fathers taught sons and the whole family to shoot the rifle that hung above the fire place,big bore single shot muskets or the shotgun.
although people would disagree and say smaller for the beginner I think size stature and stregnth would dictate weapon and the AR is greta for small stature how much you weigh dont matter as much as how strong you are man or women,I was big and strong at 10 so I could handle the rifle,it depends on the individual I know there are ranges in manchester new hampshire that rent guns at the range that provides such a service ,tyr them both out and see what you can handle then make a decision.

Brian Williams
August 3, 2003, 09:15 PM
Get a Savage MKII in 22 LR. they can be had for $125+-20, great little guns accurate and you can put a scope on later. They can be had in wood or synthetic, blue or stainless. They have a varmint\target model with a bull barrel that is verrrrryyyy Accurate, but they cost a little more.

August 3, 2003, 09:33 PM
You can't beat rimfire for cost effectiveness and ease of shooting. Besides, everybody needs at least one .22 rifle. Just start out with it. She can get a centerfire rifle once she gets hooked.

I'm real impressed with the CZ-452 ( .22 rifles. They are pricy by me, but some folks on the board have said they've seen them in the mid $200 range. They are a very attractive, high quality and accurate rifle.

I bought one as a gift for somebody else, but ended up getting a used BRNO Model 1 from J&G for myself. The BRNO #1 is basically cold war era CZ-452.

August 3, 2003, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the recommendations so far. I have to stay away from AR guns as it was tough enough to get my permit upgrade. I can't get those guns even if I wanted it. The Ruger appeals to me for the barrel length. I remember when I tried out holding the shotguns -- I damn near fell under the weight of the Remy 26" but more manageable -- yet still heavy for the 21." Sounds like it'd be fun to shoot .22s all day. How is this gun for taking apart to clean?

August 3, 2003, 10:14 PM
I'll toss in another recommendation for the 10/22. It's my first (and currently only) rifle, comfortable and cheap to shoot, and easy to customize with lots of aftermarket accessories. It is pretty simple to take apart, but as far cleaning goes, evidently not many people really clean their 10/22s ;). I've been using something called the Patchworm that works well.

August 3, 2003, 10:18 PM
Start out big! Go with a 50cal. :what:

Naw, AR15 would be just right.

Johnny in Huntsville

August 3, 2003, 10:18 PM
I like a lot of the Ruger rimfire and centerfire rifles. I'd like to start out with the .22 though and excited to see my local shop has it for under $200. :D

When I move up to the centerfire -- what's the best caliber to jump to?

August 3, 2003, 10:18 PM
Another FERVENT vote for the CZ 452. I got mine $218 out the door, shoots and looks like it cost twice that.

For a new target shooter, there's nothing to beat a bolt action .22, and for a bolt action .22 you can't do much better for the money than the CZ.


edit... hrmm.. well, if you're sold on the Rugers.. :)

I'd still strongly suggest you stick with a bolt action, for psychological reasons if nothing else. I can say this.. I have a much harder time blowing off the little devil whispering in my ear "go ahead, rush this shot... you have a whole mag where that came from" with a single-loaded bolt action than I do with a semi. I hear that's not uncommon.

As far as centerfire...well, if you're still only looking at targets I'm gonna think .223 is a good idea.. lotsa cheap ammo out there for it.

Art Eatman
August 4, 2003, 12:03 AM
No flies on a 10/22, but realize that like many .22s they can be picky about which ammo groups best. As near as I can tell, quality or price doesn't affect this issue. Dunno why, except "They're picky!"

Centerfire? First, figure out whatcha gonna do with it. Then come back and holler. :)


Dave R
August 4, 2003, 12:25 AM
Another vote for the CZ 452. The .22 I wish I had. Its a quality rifle. You'll enjoy it for a lifetime. It will give you confidence because is it accurate. Its easy to clean (all boltguns are).

Some folks may find this controversial, but I think bolt guns are better for starting out than autoloaders, because they are inherently safer. Once you fire a boltgun, you have to go through several significant actions before it will fire again. With an autoloader, once you fire it, it will fire again with only a small movement of the trigger. And its easy to remove a magazine and leave one in the chamber, etc.

A 10/22 is a fine rifle. You would enjoy it too. But the CZ will likely be more accurate, and easier to maintain. So it'll have a higher fun/effort ratio.

August 4, 2003, 01:02 AM
Another strong recommendation for the CZ-452. There are several models available, with reasonably good iron sights, and they can easily be scoped. They seem to be one of the few .22's that is not really picky about ammunition, which is a big help! :D

August 4, 2003, 01:23 AM
CZ. I have and like the 10/22, as well as a Remington 541T, and a Savage MkII (my daughter's). But were I buying a new .22 today, it would be the CZ. I second the recommendations for a bolt action for a first time shooter. My experience has been that semi-autos (like the 10/22) can contribute to developing bad habbits. Generally speaking the "average" bolt action will also shoot more accurately than the "average" semi-auto. The 10/22 is a great plinker, and it is also a great platform for a project gun (addition of custom barrels, stocks, internals, etc.). But a good bolt-action is likely to be more accurate out of the box. And the CZ has got to be one of the best "bangs for the buck" on the market today.

August 4, 2003, 01:49 AM
I started as a wee lad with a 22lr bolt, iron sights. Some really solid foundations get set in. Kaylee is right , It's one shot at a time. Plus just great inexpenive fun. Find the ammo it likes and buy a truckful. I still use iron sights and its really a lot of fun to hunt squirrels rabbits small game.

Another idea check the pawn shops, I found a single shot Rem mod 514 for $50-60 , tweaked the trigger and a grown person shouldn't have this much fun. No mags to keep up with, great wood and blue, sights decent. This one I could also use shorts,longs also. In teaching kids sometimes the real little ones (4-5 y/o) iId use shorts to start them out.

You may find a steal with kids going back to school and needing money, also get one that fits you..goes a long way in shooting well.

August 4, 2003, 02:16 AM
gotta second the CZ!!! Shot one me self and am now saving every scrap to get a Silhouette asap. The Lux has some of the best iron sights I have ever used on a .22.

Or a NEF in a .22 is good too

Good luck

August 4, 2003, 03:23 AM
Don't you dare buy her a used rifle when you can buy a new one.

CZ makes a wonderful line of rifles, from rimfires to game-getters.

I'd get the CZ in 22.

August 4, 2003, 03:32 AM
Marlin 25N bolt action 22lr rifle. $149;)

August 4, 2003, 07:43 AM
Can't go wrong with a good .22. I have a CZ 452 Style and managed to get my wife into shooting. Soon I'll have here giving the .223 and .303 a workout.
Everyone should have a .22. Cheap to shoot, very accurate and a whole bunch of fun. Takes an eternity to heat up the barrel enough to change POI.
Last time I went hunting, my mate and I used 2 bricks of .22 though a pair of CZ's in an afternoon just plinking. Heaps of fun.

August 4, 2003, 12:34 PM
I vote for the CZ. I own the 452 varmint model and you just can't beat them for accuracy and for learning about rifles. Get the rifle and then try to get some Wolf Match Target ammo. At 50 yards that combo will give you groups that you can cover with a dime.


August 4, 2003, 12:44 PM
Actually, I'd go a little larger caliber and consider a good SKS. For the same money as a 10/22 (I have one too) you can find an SKS which has little recoil, the same capacity, and will shoot easily to 100 yards. The 22 will require that you set targets much closer. The 10/22 is a great squirrel gun but for all 'round shooting for a smaller framed individual, the SKS is great. My 20 year old daughter shoots mine without a problem. Larger calibers are more difficult. And, they're C&R, and parts and ammo are cheap.

Just a suggestion.


Futo Inu
August 4, 2003, 02:53 PM
First suggestion, I'd say a Marlin model 60 or other Marlin semi-auto .22, with either a tubular mag or detachable mag. Fun as all get out and cheap to buy and shoot both, good quality - Marlin has been making .22s for-ever.

Or, if you want a bolt action .22 instead of a semi-auto, get the Savage or for a little more frills, the CZ 452. Tell you what - IF you're gonna shoot with iron sights, get the CZ. IF you plan on scoping it, get the Savage or a Marlin turnbolt (because it seems such a waste to take off or over-ride the beautiful irons, front and rear, of the CZ).

Oh yeah, if a single-shot .22 is adequate, then it's tough to beat the NEF Handi-Rifle in .22lr (or any caliber, for that matter) - dirt cheap, but good quality and very good accuracy.

The SKS idea is also good - a gun with a little more oomph - $150 give or take, semi-auto, 10 round capacity, low recoil, moderate noise level, cheap ammo (the 7.62x39mm Russian, if you're not familiar), lotsa aftermarket toys.

Oh, a .22 will be more accurate than a 7.62x39 gun like an SKS, in all likelihood, and of course the cheapest of all to shoot. No recoil either.

Also, if you're looking for something for more downrange ballistics (shooting at 150-200 yards or more with less bullet drop to compensate for), then you might instead really look at a Savage turnbolt in say, .223 Rem, or .17 HMR. (Gawd I hate to think of how spoiled someone would get if their first longgun is a Savage in .17HMR - lol - all future longguns will pale by comparison in the fun and probably the accuracy departments).

Freedom-loving people do not give money to Ruger, the main practical instrumentality behind the full-cap mag ban, nor do they recommend that another do so.


August 4, 2003, 11:10 PM
You can't beat rimfire for cost effectiveness and ease of shooting. Besides, everybody needs at least one .22 rifle. Just start out with it. She can get a centerfire rifle once she gets hooked.

I'm real impressed with the CZ-452 .22 rifles. They are pricy by me, but some folks on the board have said they've seen them in the mid $200 range. They are a very attractive, high quality and accurate rifle.

I bought one as a gift for somebody else, but ended up getting a used BRNO Model 1 from J&G for myself. The BRNO #1 is basically cold war era CZ-452.

AMEN! The CZ-452 is a Real tackdriver! It's big confidence booster to shoot.

August 5, 2003, 08:46 AM
Jesus folks....:uhoh: I guess I'll have to seriously check out the CZ....or maybe pick this gun up and get one of each recommended in this thread...:D Thanks for all the helpful advice. Does the CZ make a gun for smaller people -- remember I'm only 5'2" 114lbs and the Remington 870 in the 26 and 22 inch was a lot to hold up.:o

August 5, 2003, 09:28 AM

August 5, 2003, 10:48 AM
CZ makes a smaller and lighter .22 rifle.

MSRP $196

Weight is 4 lbs. If this rifle fits you, then you will love it and never sell it.


August 5, 2003, 10:52 AM
Tried the link but it's a no go. Anyone got another link for this gun so I can get a clear picture?

August 5, 2003, 11:08 AM
I suggest buying Jack O'Connor's "Complete Book of Rifles and Shotguns" to learn the basics.

If you ever plan to shoot competitive highpower, I'd suggest starting with the CZ .22, getting a good sling and then moving up to an AR, but a good AR can cost up to $1000+ to be competitive.

If you are just looking to learn to shoot, plink and have something for defense, ditto on the CZ .22, but save your $$ and get a Yugo SKS for <$200 or spend $300 and get a Romanian SAR-1 (semi-auto AK-47). Either shoots cheap ammo. The SAR-1 fits smaller shooters well.

A Garand from or a Swiss K-31 are also great options, but both are a little bigger and ammo costs more than the above.

August 5, 2003, 11:10 AM
My state is very restrictive on guns and high capacity weapons. I'll have to look around carefully.

August 5, 2003, 12:21 PM
The link worked from my machine.

The CZ site has been working very slowly for the past few days.

Try to go in through the home page:

Navigate to the rimfires from the selections at the bottom of the page. The rifle you are looking for is the Scout youth model.



August 5, 2003, 12:31 PM
It is slow....but I saw some of them anyway. The youth scout looks good for me...and should be about the right length.

August 5, 2003, 03:51 PM
How about a Ruger Model 96?

I can also recomend the NEF single shots. I've got one of these:

And have been very happy with it. Something like that might make a better first gun, because .22 WMR (aka .22 Mag) gives you alot longer range, and nothing teaches you to make every shot count like a single shot...

Also, the NEF guns are cheap. About $120 for an new NEF rimfire...

August 5, 2003, 04:17 PM
I've never owned one but I like NEF's. In this case I think one of the downsides is that the .22's are not available with iron sights so the cost is really a whole lot more to get it set up for shooting. The NEF needs rings and a scope. With the CZ the scope could be an option for later and in the meantime a lot of very useful practice and learning could take place with the iron sights which I have heard are pretty good.


Baba Louie
August 5, 2003, 07:29 PM

As everyone has pointed out a .22lr is the way to go as a good basis for rifle marksmanship.

Single shot, bolt action, pump, lever action or semi-automatic covers all bases.

Plan on one of each :D eventually.

I'd start with a single shot (I like the Stevens/Savage Model 30), then a good bolt action (CZ is fine), maybe a Rossi/Taurus for the pump (does Remington still make one?), a Marlin 39 or Winchester 9422 or even a newer Ruger 96 for the lever action and finally, probably the Ruger 10/22 for the Semi-auto.

Single shot Savage/Stevens

Isn't that just a simple and fine looking little plinker? YMMV.

Pump from Taurus

Kinda looks like Dad's old Winchester Gallery gun.


August 5, 2003, 07:48 PM
Fairly inexpensive, reliable, no recoil, cheap 22-lr gives plenty of opportunity to get out to the range...what could be better? :cool:

Good luck and safe shooting.


August 5, 2003, 08:07 PM
Yeah , the CZ Scout sounds like a perfect beginner's rifle for a smaller person. I have owned my CZ Special for over a year now - the accuracy is phenominal! The price was $189. Not sure about the Scout prices. I shot this target at 50 yards - 10 shots from a benchrest with a 12X scope. One of the best rifle deals to be had!

August 6, 2003, 11:32 PM
Great day in the morning, Yoda! That's good shooting! I guess the force was with you that day, huh?

Futo Inu
August 7, 2003, 10:38 AM
Yoda - is the rear sight on the Youth CZ the same as the one one the other "regular" models? If so, then it's a nice leaf one that you can set at any given distance (say, 50 yards), then it's supposed to automatically be sighted for all the other distances marked on the rear leaf for .22lr, from 25 yards to 200 yards, IIRC. As I say, if you're going to scope it, get a Savage or Marlin turnbolt, or single shot, but if you're going to use irons, the CZs are particularly nice.

Also, Mas, keep in mind that a turnbolt or single shot gun is a better choice than a pump or lever, and much better choice than a semi-auto, *IF* you're going to be shooting a lot of very short rounds like Aguila powderless ammo (as I do in the house sometimes :) ). Semi-autos won't feed short and longs typically. Most pumps and lever actions do in theory feed shorts and longs, but you'll still have more luck (no jams) with shorts and Aquilas with a single shot or turnbolt.

And how does a CZ guy NOT recommend the CZ, but instead recommend giving money to the jackasses who advocated stealing our gun rights in 94? Recommending buying Ruger, or actually doing so is tantamount to licking the soles of Dianne Feinswine's pumps.

August 7, 2003, 12:57 PM that you can shoot them just about anywhere. 7.62 x 39 and .223 would be frowned upon by most indoor pistol ranges, but anywhere you can shoot anything you can shoot .22's. Heck, you could even get a bullet trap and shoot it in your basement.

August 7, 2003, 05:07 PM
"Yoda - is the rear sight on the Youth CZ the same as the one one the other "regular" models? "

No , it is not the same sight used on the Lux , Ultra Lux , Special/Trainer - appears to be a very simple "more economical" set up.

"Great day in the morning, Yoda! That's good shooting! I guess the force was with you that day, huh?"

Evidently so , young Jedi! having an absolute dead calm (no wind) early evening definitely did not hurt.

August 7, 2003, 05:42 PM
My wife got bored with the .22 bolt gun in about 5 shots. I'd recommend a .22 auto. Either a basic Ruger or Marlin. The Marlin 60 is tube fed and is probably the simplist loading concept for a newby. Quite accurate and really cheap.

August 7, 2003, 06:40 PM
Always wanted a Ruger Mark II -- can't get it in this state....:(

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