Whicn for a first gun? BB or rimfire?


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hillbilly
December 16, 2003, 10:58 AM
Because it is Christmas time, and because I have just read another thread asking for BB gun suggestions for gifts, here is a question I want to ask.

Which would you get your own child as a first gun? A BB and or pellet rifle, or an actual rimfire firearm?

Having been a boy who got both, I see pros and cons to both.

BB guns were great fun, but I think I taught myself all sorts of casual gun handling with them. My bad habits came solely from my own experiences with a BB gun, and the disconnect that I formed in my own mind that my BB guns were not "real" guns at all.

For example, I could shoot cows in the butt with no real damage with my BB gun, but I most certainly could not do that with "real" guns.

I could engage in BB gun wars with buddies, but could not do that with "real" guns.

On the other hand, being alone in the yard or woods with a BB gun did teach me all sorts of things about personal responsibility for actions and choices.

And I doubt that my parents would have turned me loose at age 8 with a .22 to wander the woods and yard.

I didn't get to handle "real" firearms all by myself until I was 13.

So which for a first gun? BB or rimfire, and why?

hillbilly

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lycanthrope
December 16, 2003, 11:09 AM
BB gun.

1. You can choose the power factor in the gun you purchase. Many are as deadly as a rimfire and all require responsibility, but you have the option.

2. Today's BB guns are nearly full fledged hunting weapons when you reach the 800+fps range. Many are also quite accurate.

3. Ammo is cheaper.

4. Most BB guns are slower to reload. Does away with the "spray and pray" mentality that new shooter can get.

5. And.....in many places a youth can carry a BB gun unsupervised......but not a rimfire. Again, more options.

If YOU treat the "BB gun" as an "Air rifle" your children will respect it as such.

jamz
December 16, 2003, 11:12 AM
Probably depends on the inherent responsibility and levelheadedness of the kid in question.

For my part, I will start out with a pellet rifle for my son (now age 4). With that, I can drill in the 4 basic rules, (plus a couple of my own) and make sure he has the mechanics of handling a gun down pretty well before moving onto bigger and better things.

When he is safe and responsible with that, and after a certain amount of experience, I would let him have a single shot .22 or something. But, like I said, it depends on his common sense and sense of responsibility at that point. Kids change a lot as they grow up, and the kid who seems like a nice, levelheaded kid may become an unpredictable, unthinking teenager, who may then turn into a rational, well rounded, solid young adult. I would not hesitate to take away a gun from my kid as a teenager if I knew he was doing anything dumb with it.

-James

Edward429451
December 16, 2003, 11:16 AM
I'm of the mind that it should be a rimfire. It's hard to teach the rules of gun safety with a gun that is viewed as a "toy' or "just a bb gun' to most. The installation of respect and safety done with a real gun will carry over to the later aqui sition of a bb gun more so than the lingering "its really just a toy' mindset will carry over to a real gun if the first is a bb gun.

I view the bb guns as a step up from firearms in that after safety skills are ingrained, the bb gun can be used for serious practice in the back yard etc.

Plus it subconsciously helps the parent. Many parents may go answer the phone real quick and leave the younger ones in possession of the bb gun in the back yard. (I was only gone a minute!), whereas, I dont think many parents would walk away from a kid with a rimfire...

Does that make sense?

lycanthrope
December 16, 2003, 11:21 AM
"Plus it subconsciously helps the parent. Many parents may go answer the phone real quick and leave the younger ones in possession of the bb gun in the back yard. (I was only gone a minute!), whereas, I dont think many parents would walk away from a kid with a rimfire..."

THAT shows a serious error in terms of judgement on behalf of the parent and the rules of gunhandling. It's akin to saying: "A glock is safer than a 1911 because it's mostly plastic and isn't cocked".

What abou the parents who are not finely schooled in gun handling and who do not supervise at all? A BB gun has less range...........

Edward429451
December 16, 2003, 11:57 AM
THAT shows a serious error in terms of judgement on behalf of the parent and the rules of gunhandling. It's akin to saying: "A glock is safer than a 1911 because it's mostly plastic and isn't cocked".

It most certainly does show an error of jufgement. But like they say, "Don't underestimate the power of human stupidity."

What abou the parents who are not finely schooled in gun handling and who do not supervise at all? A BB gun has less range

Then they should seek skuling!

1. You can choose the power factor in the gun you purchase. Many are as deadly as a rimfire and all require responsibility, but you have the option.

I think this is well intentioned but misguided thinking, and a possible attempt at making the parent feel better about 'being gone for a minute' rather than keeping the onus of supervision squarly in their lap as it should be.

2. Today's BB guns are nearly full fledged hunting weapons when you reach the 800+fps range. Many are also quite accurate.

So how are they safer?

3. Ammo is cheaper.

I hope I never get that poor as to have to choose bb prices over rimfire prices.

4. Most BB guns are slower to reload. Does away with the "spray and pray" mentality that new shooter can get.

Not necessarily. Spray & pray is trained out with it on hte shoulder and not in the reload stage, at least for me & my kids. A good example from parent does it. My kids were bam ping bambambambambambampingbambam with their 10/22's at first, but when I shot they would see the difference bam ping bam ping bam ping bam ping, just a little slower and they wanted to ping as much as dad so slowed down!

5. And.....in many places a youth can carry a BB gun unsupervised......but not a rimfire. Again, more options.

WADR, this is backwards thinking and alludes to the parent not wanting to take the time to be there and wanting to just send them off to have fun. The only additional options here are for the parent and their peace of mind. Sorry, but I disagree. I was wandering the woods unsupervised at age 10 with a 22 mag and/or an AR15 with my bros. That the kid would be moreso allowed to wander alone with a bb gun instead of a firearm is a law mindset that only seems to releive the parent of responsibility of supervision. Why would you be willing to send a kidout alone with a bb gun but not a firearm? If you trust the kid with a bb gun but not with a firearm, then your thinking is flawed and you leave the important stuff to chance.

If YOU treat the "BB gun" as an "Air rifle" your children will respect it as such.

The installation of respect and safety done with a real gun will carry over to the later aquisition of a bb gun more so than the lingering "its really just a toy' mindset will carry over to a real gun if the first is a bb gun.

There are no options in safety, sir.:) Why would you seek options over safety?:scrutiny:

Mike Irwin
December 16, 2003, 12:00 PM
.44 Magnum.

Start that kid off right.

HankB
December 16, 2003, 12:01 PM
With a BB gun, ear protection isn't necessary, so the kid will easily hear your instructions. Eye protection is a must.

I suggest in the strongest possible terms you instill the Four Rules in your kid while he still has "only" a BB gun. (If I had indulged in "BB gun wars" I would have lost my BB gun in short order.)

But I didn't, so I started accumulating real guns while still in elementary school.

John Ross
December 16, 2003, 12:42 PM
Get him/her a real gun as soon as possible.

I advise refusing to have toy guns (dart guns, cap pistols, etc.) be part of the picture and explain that you want to see safe gun practices ingrained from day one. Your child will probably be pleased with the "real gun instead of toy gun" tradeoff.

My daughter got her Chipmunk single shot at age 6 1/2. Now she's 10 and shoots an FN trombone. Manually operated designs allow you to shoot CB Long ammo for basement practice. (Don't use shorts as they foul the front of the chamber. If you live in a suppressor state, get a Gemtech muzzle can and practice indoors with very little noise.) Tube fed designs don't have a detachable mag to misplace and are easier on the thumbs.

Insist that every shot be an aimed shot, but don't make some stupid rule about time between shots. Accuracy with speed is a fine goal. Judge by the number of hits, not the time spent aiming.

Buy your kid rimfire ammo by the case, and never ration it. We used to be a nation of skilled riflemen. We'll need lots of practice to get that way again.

JR

hillbilly
December 16, 2003, 12:56 PM
The BB gun wars and the cattle shooting and the song bird hunting and the dog shooting and all the other dangerous, wrong-headed, illegal, immoral stuff with BB guns went on when us kids were alone with our BB guns.

Around adults, it was the 4 rules, safety concious, etc.

And the adults never learned about our dangerous activities......that was the whole point of wandering alone with a BB gun.

But not around adults, us kids learned all kinds of things to do on our own.

This is where I am of two minds about BB gun versus rimfire.

With a BB gun, the kid is more likely to be allowed to roam alone on private property.

On the one hand, roaming alone on private property taught me all sorts of things about personal responsibility, choice and decision making, etc. etc.

However, roaming alone, or with other kids also with BB guns, was the time I was most likely to ignore the safety rules, my parents' admonitions, and do dangerous stuff with my BB gun.

When I shot rimfires, I was always, always with an adult, until I was 13 years old or so.

When I shot BB guns, I was rarely around an adult.

hillbilly

TarpleyG
December 16, 2003, 12:59 PM
I'd say a lot depends on where you live. If in a suburban or urban environment, go ahead with a rimfire because the only place to use it is in a controlled "range" environment. If out of town where there are no silly laws about BB guns, get a BB gun.

GT

461
December 16, 2003, 01:07 PM
I think the two are interchangeable, the big difference is the parental attitude. If fully supervised and following proper gun handling both can teach the same lessons, unfortunately many parents just hand them the BB gun and let 'em run wild.

A gun is a gun and should be treated as such.

clubsoda22
December 16, 2003, 01:15 PM
maybe it's just me, but my dad bought me a 9mm Taurus for my first gun...of course i was 16 at the time.

Partisan Ranger
December 16, 2003, 01:23 PM
I started the thread on bb gun recommendations. I just ordered a Red Ryder for my 8 year old. I wasn't concerned about getting him a rim fire. I actually do have an old Remington .22 rifle I got for my 16th birthday that he will shoot.

The big reason I want a bb gun for him is it's a rite of passage he'll always remember, plus we can shoot it in the basement. Set up a box full of newspaper, eye protection, and he can shoot away under my supervision. We live in the suburbs and don't have an easy place to shoot a gun (not even any ranges in Winchester VA!).

BTW, if I had engaged in BB gun wars, I wouldn't have made it out of childhood alive. My father would have strung me up.

My son will only handle the bb gun under my supervision. Sure it's 'just' a bb gun but I want to make darned sure he learns the 4 rules with it and treats it like a dangerous weapon.

rangerbill
December 16, 2003, 02:03 PM
i started him at 5 with the low power bb gun. this was to get him safty minded with something that was not apt to seriously injure. then after a year and a half i gave him the more acurate rifled barrel type. this was after he demonstrated his safety practices were sound. along about then i also got him a single shot 22 bolt gun. the 22 we only fire at the range and with me standing over him closely supervising, no matter his safety practices. he still needs to support it on a post to fire it as its a bit heavy. but it done wonders for his accuracy and enjoyment of firearms.
now at eight, i am letting him fire the marlin 9mm camp(no more than three rnds in tha magazine.) across that post. cans at 50 yards are his for the taking. he enjoys that old marlin tremendously. i am very proud of him. but i still stand over him ready to snatch the rifle should he make a questionable move.

this is the path i choose with my son. you will need to feel it out for youself as kids and daddies are different.

cool45auto
December 16, 2003, 04:51 PM
I'd say BB gun. Not that it's not able to inflict damage, but just because you could observe them and see how they handle it before moving up to a "real" gun if you will.

444
December 16, 2003, 05:20 PM
Like most of these questions, I have to answer with Both.
I live in a semi-rural location and we could shoot the BB gun at home. This would provide a lot more practice and gun handling on a regular basis. It would also allow the opportunity to discuss what would be safe. We would have to set up a safe backstop etc. Without going to any trouble we could find some time every few days to go out in the yard, or even in the garage and shoot.
Then he would have a .22 which we would take out to an area safe for that type of shooting. These trips would be more infrequent, but would allow him to continue his education of safe gun handling. It would allow him to have his own gun to bring when I am shooting mine.

One thing about BB guns that I think is important is the use of safety glasses. Those steel BBs will richochet off pretty much anything. Of course I managed to shoot a million or so BBs and retain my eyesight, I think that proper safety gear appropriate to the weapon should be instilled from the get go. I have become sort of a fanatic about eye protection. At work I often tell someone that I am working with: "If we have to do "X", you will have on all your safety gear or you are not doing it". I even sometimes walk around and push down peoples eye shields when they are not using them even though I have no authority to do so.

Black Majik
December 16, 2003, 05:24 PM
I'd definitely suggest BB gun.

Defining Firearm safety should be used on a less dangerous weapon than a real firearm IMO.

10-Ring
December 16, 2003, 05:51 PM
Show that you trust your child and go w/ a real firearm & that you're ready to commit the time and effort to teach proper firearms handling! Get the rimfire!
This also assumes that you know your child well enough that you see a maturity level high enough that you are confident that they're ready to learn what is necessary ;)

PaladinX13
December 16, 2003, 06:30 PM
I'd say pellet gun (NOT BB gun). BB guns tend to be innaccurate, cheaply made, and dangerously prone to richochet. Soft lead pellets are more safe in this regard. Sure, pellet guns tend to have more power, but that's when you teach the 4 rules.

The low sound will spare their hearing and reduce flinching. Finally, kids make mistakes. Generally speaking, better they make those mistakes with pellet gun than a real rifle.

I mean, not matter how mature or safe or cautious my kid is, I'm not going to buy him an expensive hot rod as his first car. Likewise with guns.

jamz
December 16, 2003, 07:06 PM
Do they even make BB guns anymore? :p I would second the above motion, and start with a pellet rather than a BB gun. I think that a kid would get frustrated if he couldn't hit what he was aiming at.

-James

Sisco
December 16, 2003, 07:08 PM
My Dad wouldn't let me have a BB gun. At that time there was no law against shooting BB guns in town and he knew me well enough to know I'd get in trouble.
He did get me a pump action .22 when I was 8 or 9. Never told him this but you can discharge a .22 in town too. Just scares the hell out of you after you do it and you're paraniod for a few weeks. :D

one-shot-one
December 16, 2003, 07:13 PM
depends were you live.
country were ya'll can go out in the backyard and shoot a .22lr with out going awry of law enforcement or neighbors, get the .22
more urban get the "air" rifle first in order to get more pratice sooner.:cool:

biere
December 16, 2003, 07:26 PM
A .22 allows the habit of cleaning after shooting to start from the get go.

A .22 also makes a statement to some folks I know who are sort of anti. Their kid has a bb gun, and is dangerous with it. They enjoy hunting with shotguns and see no problem with hunting. Their idea of people needing any other firearms seems to end there.

I try to avoid folks with any anti views, I think being able to say my kid learned on a .22 may help in that.

thumbtack
December 16, 2003, 07:55 PM
My first gun was a .410, a year later I got a .22 and fours years after that I got a pellat rifle.

P95Carry
December 16, 2003, 08:06 PM
Looks like the vote is running pretty 50/50 right now.

I tho will vote for a pellet gun .. rifle or pistol. BB's are a bit ''lame'' whereas a decent pellet gun is actually not only potentially quite accurate but .. requires just the same safety procedures of any gun .... and is sufficiently powerful to at least allow for ''ratting'' perhaps.

Mind you .. anyone starting with a BB gun had better be taught the safety drills - just the same!!

Once profiency in handling (is PROVEN) .... and the actual (competant)shooting of this starter, then ... a .22 is a great next move.

Shel
December 16, 2003, 08:42 PM
Don't shoot your eye out!:D

NRA Instructor
December 17, 2003, 08:59 AM
Pellet first to teach gun safety. BB's will richochet.
And with that first gun add eye protection that should be worn at all times.
These are not toys, they are real guns. Some pellet guns can even be used for hunting in Europe.

TrapperReady
December 17, 2003, 09:31 AM
.22

I've got a 5 (nearly 6) year-old son, and just went through this recently. Since we live in a suburban area, he is not able to shoot a BB gun in our backyard (and he's sure not going to shoot it in the basement by the widescreen TV).

So, when he shoots, it will be at the range, with me and/or my wife. Originally, I was going to get a pellet rifle, but most of the ones I checked out had adult-sized LOP and the cocking mechanism required a good deal of stregth and coordination. I really don't like messing with CO2 cartridges, so I ruled that out.

I then started looking at youth-sized .22s. The Rogue Chipmunk fits him perfectly, and the action is simple and easy to operate. Also, I like the additional safety and responsibility inherent in a single-shot for instruction. So, next summer, I'm going to teach him how to shoot...

Now, I just need to find/make a scaled-down 1907-pattern sling... hmmm.:D

As long as he does OK with that and shows the correct attitude and level of interest, I'll probably get him started with a single-shot 12ga (with VERY light handloaded shells) around age 8 or 9.

Darn kid'll probably be outshooting me by the time he gets to high school. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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