what is a good age to start BP shooting?


April 26, 2011, 03:30 PM
hello everybody! what do you think is a good age to start BP shooting? i am 17 and i cannot own a cartridge firearm due to legal stuff as well as the fact that my parents won't let me get even a .22 rimfire. however i am getting a black powder .22 revolver. both the NAA .22 LR and the .22 magnum equivalent companion revolver. i am hoping to step a little higher than the .22 and move on up to a .31 Remington pocket. maybe even a little higher than that. i like the fact that there are not as many legal restrictions as a cartridge gun, and the fact that you can ship them through the mail and there is no registration of black powder firearms where i live. so if this poll does not contain the age range you see then feel free to post below.

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April 26, 2011, 03:42 PM
I started under my father's tutelage when I was about 10, but didn't start to train seriously until I was nealry 14.

That being said, I'd suggest starting with air pistol. Develop fundamental technique with that...then turn to black powder.

April 26, 2011, 04:20 PM
of course air pistols and rifles are a good way to start shooting to learn the fundamentals. i started with a Daisy Red Rider as my first gun. over a course of years i acquired some higher powered guns. a daisy 880, then a Benjamin pneumatic in .20 caliber. i was unable to make that step up from BB and pellet guns to a .22, however i completed the step with a cap and ball pistol. cap and ball guns are a good way for someone who cannot afford a firearm, they are considerably cheaper and still provide the level of fun that only a gun can bring. i am very safe with guns and i feel me owning a cap and ball is not in any way harmful. airguns teach respect for firearms and firearms are the goal.

April 26, 2011, 04:39 PM
My dad started teaching me around 6-7 years old how to shoot and how to handle a firearm, the first shot taken was with a .30 cal carbine. BP had to wait until understanding and ability to load the rifle that came with age and experience.

I think IF a child shows interest and aptitude for it, starting young is better as long as there is someone for teaching the fundementals of loading, caring for and safety of a BP piece. Good habits and correct methods will stay with you a lifetime.

April 26, 2011, 04:44 PM
I think you should start when they are ready to start. My wife and I were
competition shooters quite a while before our daughter was born. We never
tried to force her to shoot. One day when she was 10 and about a week
before it was time to go to the Nationals, she came to us with the anouncement that she wanted to shoot at the Nationals. We both said GREAT
but don't you think we ought to get in a little pratice before you do this great
thing. So we had a week to prepare her. The rest is history. She came in 1st
in the Jr. Championship Agg. She's 13 now and still shooting. So when they
come to you, it's time.

April 26, 2011, 05:51 PM
As a child of Kentucky I was raised around firearms and hunting. The respect for firearms and safety was just second nature to my family. firearms were never hidden or unaccessible to children but we knew what was right and safe from first memory.

April 26, 2011, 06:15 PM
Ten is about right, since by that time they should have three or four years of shooting experience under their belt.Black powder shooting is a little more advanced level, as it requires more skill and concentration than say, a single shot .22.

April 26, 2011, 08:36 PM
I would also say that its a scale, starting off with airsoft and bb guns, moving to pellet guns, and finally going to shoot with .22 rimfires and so on is a good way to teach respect and handling of firearms over time.

April 26, 2011, 09:03 PM
It would depend on a number of factors I think, not just the age of the kid.

Firstly, out in remote areas, where wild animals still roam, there is a consideration to teach those children early, so that they can defend themselves when necessary.

Secondly, it would depend also on the mental maturity of the kid, are they responsible enough to understand that although shooting is a great deal of fun, guns are not toys, not by a long shot.

And, in some cases, the physical developement of the child is a factor as well. I know when I was 10, my dad tried to teach me to shoot his blond boy 45/40 lever action Winchester. Well, I was sort of "puny" back in those days, I couldn't hold that big ol heavy thing up for more than a few seconds at a time... LOL... So for some kids, thats a factor too.

Just my two cents.


ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

Chasing Crow
April 26, 2011, 09:06 PM
My daughter was hunting with a flintlock at 8yr old. But I gave close guidance. Remember you will be handling pure lead and explosive powder. While I do believe it is a great place to start, read all you can and find a compitant mentor if you can. Be careful with what you read online!! A lot of people talk like experts and know very little and exibit very questionable practices!! Stay safe. Enjoy the sounds and smells for a lifetime!

Prairie Dawg
April 26, 2011, 09:29 PM
I taught my sons at age 10 or so using a T/C Cherokee in .32 caliber.
Perfect gun for the youngsters.

April 26, 2011, 09:40 PM
My first rifle was a CVA .45, it was a Christmas present just before I turned 9. I started out with a slingshot when I was 5, and worked up through bb guns and 22s before that.
I also grew up on a farm, and I think environment and desire has a big influence on a child and shooting. My son is almost 12, and has had a bb gun since his 6th birthday.
About two years ago I moved my family back to the family farm, and that is about the time that he started to take a real interest in shooting. He has progressed from his bb gun to shooting a .44 mag rifle in the last year.

April 26, 2011, 10:44 PM
I was around 10 when I started shooting .22's. Got a pellet rifle for Christmas when I was 11. Bought my own Lee Enfield .303 when I was 14.

I think black powder shooting could be introduced to a kid when they are around 10 or so. It really depends on the maturity level of the individual child as that varys so much.

April 26, 2011, 11:08 PM
I think around 25 is about right. :evil:

April 26, 2011, 11:11 PM
maturity definitely makes a huge difference in whether a kid is ready to shoot or not. firearms are like power tools and should be handles with respect. and David is right too, the physical development is a very important factor. if you can't hold up a gun then a smaller gun is necessary for a pleasurable shooting experience. i remember when i first fired a shotgun. i was lent a huge (to me it was) 20 gauge pump shotgun. the recoil was too much for me, i could hardly get off 3 shots before i quit. i could not even reach the pump! lol. i think that i should have stuck with .22 rifles and soda cans. i think a nice .22 cricket would have suited me well, or maybe a .32 percussion youth rifle. when i was younger and shot a .32 percussion it felt right to me. my friend took me out shooting at a farm to shoot some cow chips and i was nailing them with that rifle!

April 27, 2011, 04:16 PM
If your parents are not shooters and you're still living at home then you're on a steep uphill struggle.

At 17 you are clearly old enough to be strong enough to shoot black powder guns. And by this time and with the intrest level being high and enthusiastic I'm sure you'll have the urge to do the proper maintainence on them after a day of shooting. However the real key is to learn and live with the proper handling and safety aspects at all times in the same manner as needed with the cartridge guns that I'm sure you'll be getting at some future age.

The issue will be where and how will you keep them in the house that is tolerable to your parents. Since it would appear that they are not supportive of your shooting instrests you may be very limited in what you can get and keep at home while living there. But if they see black powder guns as more of a historical intrest and somehow not as "evil" then you may be able to slip a few in under the radar.

As for which calibers I'd suggest that the NAA gun is a bit of a fun thing but not really great for learning to shoot well and not all that handy for anything even once you do manage to find the technique to handle it.

If you can swing the purchase by your 'rents there's no reason at all why you can't physically load and shoot the more historical replicas such as the .36 or .44 Colt 1851 or 1860 or Remington 1851's. They don't shoot all that strongly that you won't be able to hang on and control them. The .36's in particular are a gentle recoil. But they DO make more noise and smoke so you likely would not be wise to shoot them other than well away at some range or country location suitable for shooting regular cartridge firearms.

And then there's the whole range of flint or cap rifles and muskets to be enjoyed.... if you will be permitted to buy them and keep them at home. So much of this comes down to "their house, their rules". But perhaps "discovering" a keen intrest in history and the Cival War in particular would serve well. Connected to this new intrest in your country's history could be the "urge" to see what it was like to dress and shoot in such times..... Sometimes the best offense is through re-direction... it's typically known as "being sneaky". :D

April 27, 2011, 05:36 PM
believe me, my mother is supportive of my firearm interest, she does not want me to own a cartridge gun though. she takes me to the shooting range every month to shoot shotguns we borrow, she lets me get black powder firearms, she supports me making patch knives and powder measures out of horn, supports my custom gun work, and is by no means an anti-gunner. she is fine with black powder though. i used to mix up about 1/2 LB to a full pound of BP at a time for pyrotechnic use and she was totally fine with me doing so as long as i was safe and did not blow off my fingers or other appendages. she said ok to me getting the NAA mini revolver after she looked into it a bit and i just told her of my plans to get a BP rifle for turkey hunting this year. i told her that i would be taking my dad with me on his first hunt so he could make his first kill and become a "Man" doing so and she is all for it! she even asked if she could fire the rifle i am building. we eat a lot of turkey at our house, my dad needs to get out and exercise too! i will be building a traditions .32 deerhunter rifle (i want to start with smaller calibers and work my way up) and i will teach him how to eat those bulls eyes before i take him. i will be helping in getting him a license and a certificate of completion so he can do so legally. there is however a catch. he is kind squeamish, although he can gut a trout. so i will be teaching him humane hunting practices like this. if he fires his shot and kills the turkey instantaneously, i will clean his bird(s) for him. if he misses and the animal suffers and i have to do a follow up shot to finish the Tom off, then he will be the one to clean it. plain and simple! :) I'm also taking my mom shooting with the rifle, i will teach her how to make black powder, how to cast balls, cut patches, load the weapon, and most importantly safe BP gun handling and cleaning. the point is that they may not want me to own a cartridge gun, but there is nothing keeping me from purchasing black powder firearms and black powder accessories. they love me and support my sport. it's like soccer or baseball only mom and pop are rooting for me when i am out in the shooing squad smoking those clay pigeons.

April 27, 2011, 05:40 PM
I bought and built a Ky kit pistol when I was 14 and have been shooting b/p for years, except for a short stop for marriage, kids a a few overseas tours, back into it with a fever now. Read as much as you can, mine was a lot of trial and error, luckily no dangerous error.

April 27, 2011, 05:58 PM
knowing what you are doing is a very important thing. especially when dealing with low explosives, fire, heat, sparks, toxic metals, toxic metals traveling thousands of feet per second, pressure sensitive chemicals in little brass cups that can frag and form shrapnel, stuff of that nature. that is why you should always read and know what you are doing before you do it.

April 27, 2011, 09:58 PM
In utero.

Mr Woody
April 28, 2011, 06:43 AM
My son was exposed to guns and gun safty from day one. By 5 he was shooting with me at the range. At your age the NAA will get you into trouble when you try and carry it outside the house.

If you want to shoot Black Powder go with a .36 as they are easy to handle, cheep, and fun to shoot. Keep in mind that Black Powder shooting tends to be 'boring' for younger folks as there is not enough bang and too much cleaning.

April 28, 2011, 01:28 PM
i only intend to take the NAA cap n' ball to the forest when i go hunting as a backup or a snake gun when i am fishing. given that it is a black powder firearm the rules are probably a bit more lenient. i do plan to get a .36 1851 Navy, Keep in mind i am 17 and i like to shoot black powder more than modern guns. i enjoy it as one of my favorite hobbies. i love the stuff and shoot BP more than other guns. i make powder measures and accessories out of antler as well as making my own patch knives. i just find black powder guns to be absolutely fascinating as well as thrilling as heck with the thunderous boom you get, the sweet smell of black powder smoke, the rich history. believe me, there is nothing boring about it. it's the kid of outdated technology that i love.

April 28, 2011, 01:55 PM
Get something at least .36 cal to start with. The smaller guns are just that smaller and a little harder to get to shoot as good for a new shooter. A brace of 1861 Colt Navy's would be nice.
For hunting .32 cal is too small for deer. A lot of states require at least .45 cal for deer.

April 28, 2011, 08:19 PM
I voted "Other," as I have started kids as young as six, with their parents present (and sometimes taking the same class.) If a young 'un is ready to handle a .22 safely, then they can probably handle BP shooting. I know plenty of "grownups" who can't be trusted with a Spud Shooter, and I'll bet you do, too.

Dave Markowitz
April 28, 2011, 09:20 PM
I voted "Other" as it really depends on the kid. Some kids are mature for their age, others are less so.

I got my first gun - a Daisy Model 99 Champion BB gun - for my 8th birthday, and kept it in my room. I should note that in my household no difference was made between airguns and firearms, all were treated the same from a safety perspective. I got my first BP gun, a Numrich Arms Hopkins & Allen Heritage Model .45 cal. underhammer rifle as a gift when I was 13. I'd shot it under my dad's supervision before then, however.

Dave Markowitz
April 28, 2011, 09:23 PM
I voted "Other" as it really depends on the kid. Some kids are mature for their age, others are less so.

I got my first gun - a Daisy Model 99 Champion BB gun - for my 8th birthday, and kept it in my room. I should note that in my household no difference was made between airguns and firearms, all were treated the same from a safety perspective. I got my first BP gun, a Numrich Arms Hopkins & Allen Heritage Model .45 cal. underhammer rifle as a gift when I was 13. I'd shot it under my dad's supervision before then, however.

April 29, 2011, 06:49 PM
I wonder at what age Boone, Crockett, Bridger, et al got their start?

April 30, 2011, 01:24 AM
I started shooting at nine. My Dad realized it was a losing battle and let me join the NRA rifle club. That was...oh, forty-sump'n years ago, and I've been shooting and reloading ever since.
It's great that someone your age is interested in BP. It's a lifelong hobby that will follow you through the years and reward you with many fine memories and friendships to match. Who knows...maybe your parents will get bit by the BP Bug as well?

April 30, 2011, 02:48 PM
i think that is a good idea. i can just get them hooked on blackpowder shooting! i was planning to get both my mom and dad to go shooting more often, it seems like a great idea!
it is addictively fun, both my parents enjoy the smell of black powder, so it seems like a perfect idea for getting them interested. i am just afraid of i use a .50 rifle or pistol or a .44 revolver i could frighten my mom and scare her away from blackpowder shooting. i need her to view them as being not as powerful as cartridge firearms (there are exceptions in BP and cartridge guns) and i don't think a big .54 Hawkin is the best way to do that. however i think that once she realizes that they are a safe and enjoyable hobby she would most definitely take the hobby up herself. the reason i want to take my family shooting with a .32 is the recoil is about as bad as a .22 LR (if i remember correctly) and my mom got a badly bruised shoulder from shooting a 12 gauge, so the recoil and the noise will be minimal as to not scare her away from shooting. plus my little brother could handle it, my best friend (she is not very tall and big) could handle it easily, i could shoot squirrel and rabbit with the rifle, if a .45 or .50 caliber barrel for the same model fits i could even hunt deer with it! it just seems like a good rifle for my purposes. small game and introducing new shooters to the pleasures of BP shooting.

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