Beginner air rifle for young child?


November 27, 2008, 08:06 PM
My 7 year old daughter wants an air-rifle for Christmas. :D

She has never handled any type of rifle before and I think this is a great place to start. I did some internet searches and found so much information that I'm completely overwhelmed.

I want something of decent quality but don't want to break the bank. She's growing and I'm not sure spending a ton of money on a gun she will outgrow is very wise.

I'd like to start her off with iron sights. A single-shot gun is also preferable to a repeater. She's on the smaller side of average for a 7-yr old. I'm also curious to hear any information about BB vs. pellet.

Suggestions and comments?


If you enjoyed reading about "Beginner air rifle for young child?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
The Deer Hunter
November 27, 2008, 08:15 PM
Umm, a Red Ryder?

November 27, 2008, 08:21 PM
+1 red ryder.

The Deer Hunter
November 27, 2008, 08:26 PM
My first air rifle was a crossman pump. It was cool and all but a pain in the ass to load. I then got a Red Ryder. I can't tell you how much more fun I have had with that thing than any of my actual firearms.

November 27, 2008, 08:26 PM
++2 for the RED RYDER. That is what I got my daughter when she requested a BB Gun at age 10. Now she has a Remington 597 in .22, a single shot NFR 20 guage shotgun, claims my Walther P22 pistol, she is 16 this year.

November 27, 2008, 08:29 PM
A Red Ryder ?? SHE'LL PUT HER EYE OUT !!!! :D

November 27, 2008, 08:59 PM
+3 Red Ryder. Red Ryders are great starter guns. They're VERY accurate. They're also very underpowered, and she really can't do much damage with one as long as she follows basic firearm safety.

Just ask me. I used mine on an obnoxious mockingbird that was using our chimney as an amplifier to annoy the whole house every morning. I hit it (a difficult shot, mind you; all I could see was the head from 30-40 feet away, and I had to arc it in), but it just flew away. Never came back, thank goodness.

As for what it can do and cannot do:

1. The BB has a very visible arc to it. The sight also has several preset notches. With practice you can learn the right preset for any range.

2. It can go in one side of a Coke can, but cannot penetrate the bottom or the other side. It cannot penetrate a coffee can.

3. Its left/right accuracy is pretty much perfect. Once you get the elevation dialed in, you can hit it.

4. A ricochet off a metal object at 50 feet can travel another 50 feet back to the shooter. I wore eye protection for a reason.

I practiced in my side yard, and had about 50 feet or more of good shooting distance. I built my own target stand out of bricks, which still stands to this day. I eventually got to where I could nail a Coke can at max distance without using the sights.

November 27, 2008, 09:09 PM
I'll tell you a little story. My dad bought me my first .22 when I was 7. A Remington 514 single shot. I didn't get a BB gun till I was 10. Years later I asked him about that. He said he didn't think that at 7, he could teach me to respect an airgun, after all they were widely seen as toys. But he knew he could teach me to respect a real gun, and he did. I have since always believed that airguns are more dangerous than .22s for young kids because of the toy vs respect thing. Of course the assumption is that either way the kid is getting good instruction and oversight. For what it's worth. PS It doesn't take a metal object for a BB to bounce off of. I clearly remember (age 10 or 11) in a split second watching a BB hit an oak tree and come back at me. It hit just above my eye.

The Deer Hunter
November 27, 2008, 09:23 PM
They're also very underpowered

Yeah, tell that to my window ;)

November 27, 2008, 09:24 PM
Out of a Red Ryder, only a metal object could deflect it back at the distance I was shooting, but I strongly recommend eye protection. Never had a BB hit me, but I had a couple bounce off the iron gate behind me.

It all depends on how responsible the kid is. My father knew I wouldn't abuse it. I didn't treat it as a toy; rather, I treated it like a real gun. And I was allowed to use it without supervision. I would consider myself an exception, however. There are lots of kids who will always treat anything you give them as a toy. If it's theirs, it's a toy. That's their viewpoint.

Therefore it would be wise to say, "I bought this BB gun. I'll let you use it, and maybe give it to you when you're old enough. But until then it is mine, and you may only use it with my permission." And then keep it in your room.

November 27, 2008, 09:54 PM
+1 Red Ryder, my dad had a range set up in our basement during the winters. It is under powered compared to any modern day air rifle but perfect to teach the abc's to a young child.

November 27, 2008, 10:07 PM
for pellets, its tough to go wrong with a crossman pump. I have a 660 right now, that is a Dale Earnhardt model, and even though it says 'only 1 pump' i do three. it has about 750 fps from the muzzle, and has very good sites, that are easy to see, and easy to adjust. and it has quite a bit of pop to it, any squirrel within 25 yds, is a dead squirrel.
for bb's, go with the red ryder; I have on of these as well...tee hee....

November 28, 2008, 09:20 AM
I LOVED my Red Ryder when I was a kid. I shot that thing nearly every day after school for probably 4 or 5 years straight.

I imagine I put hundreds of thousands of BBs through that thing and it still worked and was accurate the last time I tried it out (maybe two years ago).

I'd line pop and beer cans up on a picnic table bench and be at it for hours (Dad's Budweiser cans stood up better to holes than Coke cans :)). It got to the point where I would try to hit out past 50 yards by gauging the huge arc. Mike is right, the windage is nearly always perfect, just have to gauge the elevation.

Dad even taught me to "clean" it, running Hoppes No. 9 down the bore with a .177 cleaning kit.

The only thing I didn't like about it was that the lever to cock the spring is pretty stiff (and never seemed to get weaker), so I couldn't "snap" the lever with my fingers like the cowboys on TV with their real carbines. I usually grabbed the gun forward of the rear sight with my right hand and reached under to the lever with my left.

I'm convinced the RR left a deep desire to own a Marlin 39 inside me. :)

November 28, 2008, 09:30 AM
just remember this, whatever you buy her, it will likely be something she keeps her entire life. your first gun is a very important right of passage. so make it something worth keeping for the next 60 or 70 years! i let my son shoot my daisey bb gun for a while, but his first gun was a cz 452 scout (22) rifle. he can use my bb gun anytime he wants. and eventually, i may actually give it to him. i dont know. but i wanted his first gun to be something he could use for the rest of his life. i am going to buy the adult sized stock for this after the hollidays, when money is not going out for presents, and stick it in the back of the closet. when he gets big, he can keep using this rifle, instead of selling it. in a couple of years, i will have to do the same for my daughter. but i think i will make it a different firearm, so they dont feel it is a copycat thing.

November 28, 2008, 11:25 AM
All good information... thanks everyone.

I'm not sure that I want a repeater for her first gun. I'll have to think on that a bit. I am sure that I want an air rifle instead of a .22 for now. The gun will be shot extensively in the basement and I'm not letting off a .22 in the house. If this works out I can definitely forsee a .22 down the road

Again, thanks.

November 28, 2008, 11:34 AM
I still have my red ryder that my dad got me when I was 6 (I am 33 now). My first rifle was a winchester 9422 that I got when I was 10 and I still have that too. They will be my daughters when she is old enough and if she is interested.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 28, 2008, 07:37 PM
Red Ryder, yup! Supervised only at first, of course.

November 28, 2008, 09:43 PM
A Crosman 2250 would be a good choice. They're very light weight, much more accurate than a Red Ryder, the triggers aren't bad and they're powerful enough to shoot rabbits and starlings with. They also come with a cheap but functional peep sight. The only downside is they run on C02, so you'll have to buy a box of CO2 bulbs to go with it.

The stock that comes with them is a little big for a 7 year old, but with 20 minutes, a hacksaw and a tube of JBweld, you can cut it down to size and reassemble it to fit your daughter. New stocks only cost around $13 so in a couple years you can just buy another and throw the old one away.

These guns are also the AR15's of the airgun world in that they are totally modular and you can replace or upgrade just about every part on them. Last I checked they were around $70.

Here's one for $78 with one of awful Crosman scopes on it.

November 28, 2008, 09:45 PM
i bought a daisy buck for my 8 year old boy 2 years ago.the stock is shorter and if i remember the length of the rifle is overall shorter.i think the red rider would have been alittle to big for him. last year a .22 crickett...moved him up this year to a .22 neos . he is out shooting me now. take a look at the daisy buck also.

November 28, 2008, 10:26 PM
My first BB/Pellet gun was a Crossman Powermaster 66. Pump-up gun. It was only as strong as you were :P You pump it 2-3 times, you can get a decent soda-can gun, you pump it 20 times, and you could shoot straight through a bird skull. I couldn't get 20 pumps out of it until I was 15 or so.

I've never shot the red ryder, but it seems everyone else here thinks it's the best starter airgun.

If you want to start her on a pistol instead, crossman also makes a single-cock air pistol that's extremely low priced, and is great for 15-20 foot soda can target shooting.

November 28, 2008, 10:43 PM
My son has been shooting a Baikal (sp)? pellet pistol for two years now.
Single stroke cocking very accurate pellet pistol. Even if they can't cock it they can get plenty of practice with it.
As most young kids will need a rest for a rifle, a pistol with a rest such as a tripod works well.
Advantage is excellent sights, excellent trigger and it will work just as fine and be a worthwhile pellet pistol when they are twice the age.
Buy a toy gun and you have a toy. Consider the value in cheap kid based fishing rods and reels, cheap bicycles and tools. Worthless in a month or two.

If you enjoyed reading about "Beginner air rifle for young child?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!