Kid question...Length of Pull


August 24, 2003, 10:26 PM
My oldest kid is now five years old and I'm considering a small rifle for him in the next year or so. My question is concerning his LOP. I looked into the cricket and the chipmunk, because they are the smallest rifles I know. And I'd like for him to have a personal arm to take from the safe when we go shooting. But I took him to a show this weekend and his legnth of pull is not yet 11.5 inches for either of the rifles to fit well on him.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but how do you determine LOP on young'ns? I put the butt of the rifle in the bend of his arm and see if he can reach the trigger with his shooting index finger. Is this right? :scrutiny: He was really dropping his shooting elbow to reach the trigger when I first sized up the chipmunk, which really screwed up his stance. That's when I thought about his LOP. I think he just needs to eat more and grow, of which he is exceptionally talented. He's average height and thin.

Any comments about little kids LOP would be helpful. Thanks.


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August 24, 2003, 10:35 PM
5 is a little young for a 22, have you thought about him starting with an air rifle?
that would also give you an idea about fit.

August 24, 2003, 10:38 PM
I put the butt of the rifle in the bend of his arm and see if he can reach the trigger with his shooting index finger. Is this right?

I don't have children so I'm no expert here but wouldn't you put the butt of the gun against his shoulder??

That would give him a little more to work with. I'm thinking not much but maybe enough. However, you may be right on growing some more but darn, I would go ahead and get it for him. At least you could show him how to properly handle and clean the gun and give him something to look forward too really soon.

Again, not a parent so I may be talking out of my head. Just trying to help.

August 24, 2003, 10:39 PM
Get the wood-stocked Cricket and take it to the nearest bandsaw... end of LOP problem! :D

If you retain the piece you trim off, this can later be re-attached for his use as he grows. You can always disguise the joint with a slip-on recoil pad, or judicious use of camo paint!

August 24, 2003, 11:42 PM
This is indeed the right method. American rifles typically have very long LOP's. (My LOP is only 12.5".)

August 25, 2003, 12:21 AM

I think five is a little young for actual shooting too in my case. We don't get to shoot everyday. But I'm thinking about the future, and I was shocked at how much LOP these "kid" rifles have. 11.5" did seem a bit much to me, so I was curious. I thought I was doing something wrong with measuring his LOP. When measuring his LOP on the Chipmunk, his fingures didn't even touch the trigger guard.

Does anyone have a kid around 7 or 8 that shoots? How is their LOP? Do you do the Preacherman modification with the stock? I'm wondering because I'm not sure if my son's LOP is going to increase that much in a few years. But I may be wrong as he is my oldest and I really don't know how much growth physically to expect.

Art Eatman
August 25, 2003, 09:08 AM
MP, cutting off the stock to shorten it is a common method of getting the correct LOP. As was said, save the piece. You should be able to find a plain butt-plate to attach and sand down to fit, maybe even freebies from a gunsmith. (Good excuse to go to Harbor Freight and buy a $60 belt sander.)

A buddy of mine started his kid shooting from the bench when Youngun was around four or so...The kid is around seven or so, now, and is pure poison with a 10/22. :)

I "gun-proofed" my son when he was about four or so. I let him feel and fondle various go-bangs. I told him that when he thought he was big enough, and whenever he wanted to, we could go shoot. Removing the mystique and lure of the unknown also removed the temptation to "play".


Old Fuff
August 25, 2003, 09:37 AM
I have a chart that may be useful. You have the youngster extend his right arm straight out, parallel to the floor, with the wrist straight and fingers extended. Then measure from his armpit to the tips of his fingers. The chart will show the correct length of pull, forend length and overall length.

For example, if the arm length is 20 inches, the length of pull should be 10 1/2 inches, trigger-to-end-of-forend 12 inches, and OAL 35 inches.

If you measure you're boy I'll see if I can find the dimensions you need.

El Tejon
August 25, 2003, 09:51 AM
Matt, take the stock to Dad (Grandpa). He still uses that old Sears table saw that he got from Orval in `74. Besides Noah would dig that--working tools with Grandpa, that's big boy stuff.

Or, have Dad take into Woodmizer and buzz a couple of inches off the back. The old GM plant super gets along swell with the guys on the line. They do favors for him all the time.

Matt, or better yet, have Dad get Grandpa Page's Winchester 1903 that he left me. He keeps it upstairs in his master bedroom. Try that.

August 25, 2003, 11:50 AM
Cut it and let him shoot I started when I was five...


Badger Arms
August 25, 2003, 12:27 PM
Wow. I got 15" from the crook in my arm to the crook in my trigger finger. That's even with my bulging biceps in the way... :rolleyes:

My 6-year-old likes to play with my 22's but hasn't expressed an interest in shooting them. We've got a really accurate single-pump pellet rifle that is my preferred kid gun. It helps to have sandbags or some other rest for them to gain confidence in the gun. A scope also helps, but I'd take it away as soon as they get bored with it to teach them sight picture. I've already got .22's waiting for them when the get old enough to have their own gun's... that means maintenance and storage along with shooting. Daddy has access control still.

August 25, 2003, 04:37 PM
Cutting the stock just may be the ticket I'll take. He's got two and soon to be three younger brothers behind him. But I'd like to make the gun "HIS" gun and not something as a community junker, if you know what I mean.

Old Fuff, I'll measure him up tonight and post his measurements. Please reply after I post them please.


Old Fuff
August 25, 2003, 04:42 PM
O.K., I will.

August 25, 2003, 09:08 PM
I measured him up using a Stanley tape measurer and these may be off a little bit, but only a fraction of an inch.

44" tall

16.25" from shoulder joint to tip of index finger.

9.5" LOP from bend of arm, to tip of index finger.

Talk to me Fuff, or do you need more?

Old Fuff
August 25, 2003, 10:32 PM
Nope, what you have is fine. Since he is slightly smaller then the lengths listed on the chart I will have too do a little work, but I don't see any problems. I'll get back too you.

El Tejon
August 25, 2003, 11:10 PM
Hey, Matt, I was thinking driving back from Indy tonight: why not have one rifle and multiple stocks at different lengths? Have like an "A", "B" and "C" stock as he grows. Josiah and Ozzy can use the stocks he outgrows on their rifles.

As an added bonus this will give Dad a project and he can get away from driving Mom crazy with watching the Weather Channel and out in the garage with your boys. Just an idea.

Of course, after sibo Tejon gets done with him, he make WANT a shorter stock (because it is the right thing to do).:D

August 26, 2003, 10:24 AM
Putting the butt of the gun in the crook of the elbow and placing (or trying to place) your finger on the trigger does one thing - measures the LOP of the gun with the distance from the crook of the elbow to bent trigger finger. It does NOTHING to help determine what a shooters correct LOP is. LOP is determined by a lot more than just arm length.

A better quick and dirty measurement is the distance from the trigger hand thumb to the nose when the gun is mounted, but even this can vary drastically between shooters. And to further complicate things, if the boy is new to shooting, his mount is going to vary significantly as he gets things figured out. Until he gets a consistent mount and cheekweld, proper LOP could be difficult to determine.


Always Learning
August 26, 2003, 10:44 AM
I need similar info on LOP for my wife. She found out that she really enjoys
shooting my .223 varmint off a bipod - it's a CZ 527 with a short LOP that
doesn't match the published specs from CZ (bought it new). And she's good too.... shot better groups than me.... huh. Anyway, I was thinking
ahead to what what might be a good gun for offhand.

August 26, 2003, 02:18 PM
Always learning,

Anything in .22LR is a good choice IMHO. Bolt action is best IMO.

Old Fuff
August 26, 2003, 07:48 PM
Well I played with my chart a bit, and talked to someone I know that has modified stocks for youngsters.

He pointed out that there is a lot more to making a satisfactory stock then simply cutting off the butt end. For example the pistol grip found on adult stocks are usually too thick and too far away from the trigger for most smaller kids. If the hand is properly placed on the grip the finger can’t reach the trigger, and it is awkward trying to control the trigger without a decent grip. Short of making a new stock (which isn’t necessarily a bad idea) you can rasp the front of the grip flat, glue a piece of wood on it, and reshape the grip to place it closer to the trigger. Or you can take the pistol grip off with a rasp and make a straight stock along the lines of a Winchester model ’94 carbine.

As you plan, remember Federal law requires that the barrel be at least 16 inches long (18 inches for a shotgun) and both must have an overall length of no less then 26 inches. You can cut off as much of the butt-end as you want, but the barrel length must be long enough to achieve the 26-inch O.A.L.

It was suggested that you get a large piece of double-thickness corrugated cardboard. Two likely sources are stores that sell large appliances like refrigerators or ones that sell furniture. Both get they’re products in large cardboard boxes that are then scrapped. It’s likely they’ll give you all you want.

Trace out a gunstock on the cardboard and then cut it out with a box knife. The boy can hold the pattern while you make adjustments. If necessary you can make any number of patterns until you are satisfied. Then use it as the basis to make or modify a real stock. The cardboard is much cheaper and easier to work with then wood, so make your mistakes here.

According to my “adjusted” chart (which only goes to a 20” arm length) the right length of pull for a 16 ¼ inch arm length with extended fingers would be between 7 ¾ to 8 ½ inches. I note you specified LOP of 9 ½ inches ** to the tip of the index finger.** Remember he has to bend his finger around the trigger, which would seem to dictate a LOP less then 9 ½ inches. I would resolve the issue with a cardboard pattern as mentioned above. Also keep in mind that he might, or might not be wearing a coat or other outer garment.

The length of the forend ahead of the trigger guard is not critical so long as it is long enough to support his weak hand. Making it unnecessarily long will add weight where you may not want it.

Pay attention to the height of the comp. If it is too high he will be looking over the sights, and to see the sights he will have to tilt his head downward which will strain both the neck and eyes.

Clearly, doing all of this is a lot of trouble, but it will pay big dividends. If the stock is too long for him, your son will have to arch his back backwards, that is at best uncomfortable, and at worst can case injury. Most kids love to go shooting and won’t complain even if it sometimes hurts. It’s up to Dads to foresee problems ahead of time and make sure they don’t happen.

August 27, 2003, 12:34 AM
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for that post fuff.

Just what I was looking for. Looks like I've a bit a work ahead.



August 27, 2003, 06:13 PM
Drill two long screw holes just inside of the existing butplate screw holes. Later on you can just use two woodscrews to bring it back to orriginal size. I used a coping saw- very fine teeth & clean cut. Didn't take to long ether.


August 27, 2003, 08:20 PM
Do a quick search on google for child soldiers you should find some good stuff about shorting stocks. Anyone happen to catch the tough crowd on comedy central last night? Very funny stuff. But to get back on the hr, a ruger 10/22 with a pistol grip folding stock if you know how to work with metal good(which I think would be the best choice), or a wood sporting style stock if you don't

August 29, 2003, 08:22 PM
Do youself a favor, use a Ruger 10-22.You can get take-off stocks& barrels cheap.They are easy to modify,cut the wrist down also,I use plastic or aluminum for the butplate.I have 6 grandkids so I will be passing the stocks down.

August 30, 2003, 07:09 AM
Don't forget to clean the rifle out before you fire a shot. Ruger puts this preserve stuff in it, and it will melt to insides of your gun .

August 30, 2003, 08:40 AM
For the people that think that 5 is too young, where are you coming from? How can it be too early to start someone shooting with the proper supervision? 16 is too young if you aren't going to supervise them properly, but 5 is definately not too young with proper supervision. I got my first rifle when I was 5, my first semi-auto when I was 8, and my first handgun when I was 12.

Do not get him a 10/22 or other semi-auto. A first gun should be a bolt, so he can worry about proper gun handling and shooting skills, not have to worry about slam-fires, jams, and the other problems with semi-autos.

September 1, 2003, 09:04 AM
You will find that most kids have a hard time using a bolt action safely.The saftys are not user friendly.The 10-22 with extra mags(1 shell in mag) works pretty good.

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