Trouble 'pulling the trigger'


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ExAgoradzo
June 23, 2012, 01:01 PM
OK:
Buying a rifle for my son (13--finally legal to hunt deer in CA).
1. It needs to be minimally capable of killing a deer.
2. It needs to be light enough for him to carry and shoot reliably.
3. Because we are in CA
a. It needs to kill a deer at 300-350 yards
b. It needs to have solid copper bullets readily available.

Considering a 243. Reviews consistently put the Vanguard 2 at a high place on their lists. It seems to be on the large end (heavy and the stock is wide for his hands) of what I could get for my son. At the LGS I can buy one for $620. I could also buy the Savage Axis for like $450. It definitely fits the bill better, is cheaper and I read good comments on it. Smaller in weight and in fit.
I had decided a couple of months ago on the Axis, changed to the Vanguard, and am now considering the A-bolt from Browning (Browning def has a soft spot in my heart...). But I've never held one so...not sure about the fit.

Of course, the M70 just seems to be the 'right' gun to go with this cartridge and since I don't own an M70 yet even though it is more expensive, I just might go that way (heavier, again, not sure of the 'fit' for my boys right now).

Looked at several others including the Ruger (also has a soft spot in my heart), and the BLR (which at one point I had decided for sure to buy...but for the same reason as the M70...just because I wanted that rifle, not because it was 'right' for my boys).

So, thanks to my brothers at THR, I am now also considering a 6.5x55.
Guns are more expensive, finding copper bullets is possible but not easy/cheap. Never held one, but I imagine that it is going to be relatively heavy. CZ has one that looks real nice...

Question #1: Should I put more weight on what will in the future be more appropriate to hunt with because my boys will be this size for only a very short amount of time?
Or Should I just buy what they need now, hope that it will continue to be useful for many years to come (my three choices seem like they will be...) and buy the 6.5 later just because I can/want to?

Question #2: If I go the 243 rout (which I am definitely leaning towards) of the three I listed, (all synthetic stocks) which do you prefer/have experience with?

Question #3: Any other insights on what I am missing???

Thanks for helping me pull the trigger...which I need to do relatively soon so my son can get some time with it in his hands before August!!!

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browningguy
June 23, 2012, 01:04 PM
The Vanguards are usually pretty decent, and a big advantage is they used to offer a "junior" model, it came with a smaller lighter stock and then a full size stock for when they grow in to it. The Savages are also good guns for the money.

MrDig
June 23, 2012, 01:53 PM
Not certain what you are spending for this but have you thought about a bolt action in 7.62x39 ?
Similar to a 30-30 for ranges and actually good round as a intro round.
If not a .243 is the standard starter for deer hunting, more kids start out with them than any other round.

Baba Louie
June 23, 2012, 01:59 PM
300 - 350 yds??? :eek:

Can you teach him to stalk closer or pass on the shot... please?

.260 Rem perhaps? 6.5 goodness in a x51 case. Or the 7-08.

Rem 7. Good glass. Pick your caliber based on availability of ammo or components.

... and get closer. ;)

ms6852
June 23, 2012, 02:28 PM
There are other factors that we as parents fail to see or accept when it comes to our own children. Like is his heart in the right place for hunting or shooting. Does he or she have the same desire you have to shoot and be out in the mountains or desert hunting. If so than, than definitely purchase a rifle you can grow old with. The 243 is an excellent choice in caliber. If you are not sure as to which brand or model than there are less expensive ways to go such as used rifles, or may buying the H & R single shot for under $300, but still a decent shooter. Howas are good rifles as well and not as expensive. But in all honesty my loyalty has always been with Savage simply because, regardless of the price you pay or how well they feel or how pretty they may be or not be, they are consistently accurate MOA shooters out of the box.

ExAgoradzo
June 23, 2012, 03:22 PM
I hear you on the long distance. I kind of cry in my heart when I hear about people taking 500 yard shots: I know for certain I am not that good, no matter what caliber or gun I'm using! But in this part of CA, there just aren't closer shots than 300 yards on a buck (of course it is possible: I was within 25 yards of a doe last year...too bad she didn't have antlers).
Also: MS I hear you...neither of my boys like cycling as much as I do, so I don't want to pressure them in that area either. Both the boys enjoy the range, I hope that translates to enjoying the hiking. Last year on our turkey hunt they had a great time, for about 3 hours :).

jmr40
June 23, 2012, 04:28 PM
300 - 350 yds???



Nothing wrong with a 300 yard shot. Anyone who can hit at a deer at 50 yards can learn how to hit at 300 with minimal practice and skill.

A 243 with the right bullets will cleanly take anything in the lower 48. It might not be ideal for less than perfect shot angles, but put one into the lungs on a broadside shot within 300-400 yards and watch any animal drop. Any old bullet will work on whitetails and similar sized game at normal ranges. Careful bullet selection makes the smller rounds such as the 243 giant killers and provide better performance at longer rage. The copper bullets required in CA are actually better for this use than conventional jacketed lead bullets. The larger calibers offer a bit of an advantage on quartering shots where the bullets have to pentrate muscle.

If you like Winchesters, and I sure do this at 6.5 lbs would be a good choice.

http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535126

A standard Featherweight is only 4 oz heavier, but with a longer barrel will help with velocity needed for longer shots and might be a better choice as he grows older.

http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535109

hardluk1
June 23, 2012, 05:04 PM
For a young new hunter. I would look at a step up in caliber. 257 roberts , 260 rem 7/08 or the 6.5x55. Gives a young hunter an edge with a bit larger bullet. Go to remember the copper bullets are not as heavy as lead core bullets for size so know 100gr 243's in copper. So energy is less at the longer ranges.

FSJeeper
June 23, 2012, 05:35 PM
Lots of excellent calibers to choose from for your needs, but as mentioned before, the 6.5 x 55 will work well for him now and for the rest of his life.

In terms of the rifle itself, lots of good choices. But if you give him the M70 now as his first rifle, he will have something to be very proud about now, throughout his entire life, and a family heirloom to hand down to his children.

meanmrmustard
June 23, 2012, 05:37 PM
Ruger Mkii compact in .260

Captain Brown Beard
June 23, 2012, 06:26 PM
300 - 350 yds???

Can you teach him to stalk closer or pass on the shot... please?

I normally don't comment on such things, but what is so blasphemous about a 300-350 yard shot? That's pretty reasonable with the correct set-up and shooter behind the glass. If you can bust a p dog at 250 you can certainly hit a deer at 300.

If you don't feel comfortable with it, by all means do not attempt it on a live animal. But if you have the ability, why not?

Edit on topic: 6.5x55 as said above. Excellent round. Wish it was more popular in the States than it is.

ExAgoradzo
June 23, 2012, 08:01 PM
Based on the above (I knew you all wouldn't let me down!) I've decided on going the M70 rout (something about family heirloom, quality, etc). It is above my budget, but since it is for my son, I might be able to talk my wife into adding some more money to the pot.

However, of the above choices, the Bob looks like a great idea: no copper bullets, I even checked in to others 260 Rem, etc and their copper bullet selection is poor as well. (At least for the time being: I have to stay within my part of CA laws.)

So, the 7mm-08 and the 243 are stand outs. Given the advice above on the larger bullet, and given that both of these have significantly less recoil than my 270 (which I will carry), I like both of these options. (Of course, if I go the 7mm rout then it is a Rem not a Win...LOL). The 7mm seems to have fewer bullet choices (again, for my area) and the 243 seems to be a 'fine' cartridge...

I am more and more impressed by the 6.5x55: I'm adding that to my 'someday' list along with a Sweedish Mauser: but that day isn't today.

Thanks again for your input!

Baba Louie
June 24, 2012, 07:42 AM
Nothing wrong for an EXPERIENCED shooter to take a 300+ yd shot. But not the thing I want to teach a 12 year old on his/her first hunt or two, if ethical killing is a concern (and it should be paramount IMO... YMMV).

Nothing wrong with learning to stalk and get closer or... passing on the shot.

meanmrmustard
June 24, 2012, 07:47 AM
Nothing wrong for an EXPERIENCED shooter to take a 300+ yd shot. But not the thing I want to teach a 12 year old on his/her first hunt or two, if ethical killing is a concern (and it should be paramount IMO... YMMV).

Nothing wrong with learning to stalk and get closer or... passing on the shot.
Well said. Besides, with a young hunter under one's tutelage, it is important to teach ethics and safety first and foremost. It's not always a question of can I hit my target cleanly at this range, but rather should I?

No offense to child hunters (my son being one), but there are alot of variables that can miff a shot at several hundred yards that the youngsters may not comprehend. Better to let them practice at paper for a few years before taking the long range shots IMHO.

ExAgoradzo
June 24, 2012, 08:41 AM
Based on my original statement, I understand why you guys are concerned; having said that. I wouldn't let him take any shot that I wasn't confident that I couldn't shoot with my 270. I've imagined him squeezing the trigger then a second later me squeezing mine. Hopefully that will simply ruin extra meat: either way, we'll have work to do.

My main concern was and is that I need to find a cartridge that can make that shot because in a few years it will have to: even if he brings no venison home on his first trip himself.

I was offered a youth 30-30 and I only barely declined because I just didn't think that it would pull off this kind of shot now or when the boys have gone for the 5-10th hunts.

Now, about the 7mm-08 vs 243, any other opinions?

meanmrmustard
June 24, 2012, 08:44 AM
Based on my original statement, I understand why you guys are concerned; having said that. I wouldn't let him take any shot that I wasn't confident that I couldn't shoot with my 270. I've imagined him squeezing the trigger then a second later me squeezing mine. Hopefully that will simply ruin extra meat: either way, we'll have work to do.

My main concern was and is that I need to find a cartridge that can make that shot because in a few years it will have to: even if he brings no venison home on his first trip himself.

I was offered a youth 30-30 and I only barely declined because I just didn't think that it would pull off this kind of shot now or when the boys have gone for the 5-10th hunts.

Now, about the 7mm-08 vs 243, any other opinions?
My boys digging the .260 Rem, and I gotta sat, I am too. I like short actions for one, and with a short bolt throw, it's easy on him too. Either that you listed will serve well though.

Baba Louie
June 24, 2012, 09:51 AM
...about the 7mm-08 vs 243, any other opinions?Either/or will serve a lifetime of good hunting, within their limits.

Ponder taking son out jack rabbit hunting a time or three to sharpen snap shooting skills with a good old .22 as well. Any time spent in the field with Dad, Son and a rifle is a good time... good memories later on in life, etc.

ChefJeff1
June 24, 2012, 09:52 AM
How about a 25-06?

Idaho Slim
June 24, 2012, 10:23 AM
A .243 is a great choice, but why may I ask do you think a .270 is too much??? Is your boy small where you think it is too much kick? I started shooting at 10, was very slight (Slim :D) and at that age, the kick of a .270 was not an issue. Teach your son correctly and it should not be a problem imho, I taught my wife to shoot a .270 at age 44 for her sheep hunt, and she is only 5'3" and 110 lbs. and has turned into an exceptional shot, so my point is, the attributes you ask about on the original post seem to me to indicate a .270 would be spot on and just might make your purchase a lifelong purchase for your son as an adult. I purchased a remington youth model for my wife in the .270 and it is light, reliable and with a $50 trigger job is extremely accurate. (And I say this in support of the Remington even tho I am not a fan of Remington's :D) My choice would be a M70 Featherweight in .270.

Good luck.:cool:

JustinNC
June 24, 2012, 10:38 AM
Pick a gun. Fact is, there are way too many suitable guns out there to tell you which one you SHOULD get.

A 13 year old boy...could be scrawny, or could be a bear at that age, funny couple of years in there. Either way, for deer hunting, 243 to a 30-06. I don't think there is a bad suggestion on any caliber between those. Most all offer a copper solid bullet as well.

Guns, I would narrow it down to what you want to spend and have him shoulder some. If it's supposed to be a surprise, then he of course will be happy with whatever you brought him, as he wouldn't have much opinion on anything else.

Just too many suggestions, and if you go into the used rack, then that opens up a whole new world of possibilities in the $400-$600 price range.

ExAgoradzo
June 24, 2012, 10:51 AM
My 270 (BAR) is too heavy for him. Not really concerned about the recoil, he has pulled the trigger on my Rem 721 30-06. The trouble is that he can't hold it up yet: upper body strength... I am a big believer in the 270... Jack O'Conners!!! Perhaps the featherweight would work in that for him: right now I can't find one in 243!!!

jim243
June 24, 2012, 01:05 PM
Here is the one you want to get him. It is a complete package gun ready to go scope and all, it is listed at MSRP $410.00 but you can look around and find it for around $345.00. (axis XP youth 243 package) You can change out the stock yourself when he gets bigger to a full size stock for very little money. They are super accurate.

Good Luck.
Jim

http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/models/

Kachok
June 24, 2012, 01:27 PM
6.5x55 is the king of the sissy kickers, it kicks like a 243 and hits like a 270, and it is superior to both at longer ranges. The magic of the 6.5s is that they retain energy much better then any other small caliber thanks to their high SD/BC bullets. 260 rem is a really good 6.5mm as well, especially if you buy factory ammo. Ruger makes a youth 260 Rem I think Craigman has one for sale.

30Cal
June 24, 2012, 01:29 PM
Given the copper bullet restriction, i would go with a very popular caliber.

Flintknapper
June 25, 2012, 12:07 AM
A medium priced rifle/scope combination in 7mm-08 would serve him well IMO.

It is not a hard recoiling round...but has plenty of energy for deer out to 500 yds.

Ammo (full copper) is readily available as well.

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/45810

Snag
June 25, 2012, 12:42 AM
Bolt action 243 or a lever 30-30.

Joshua M. Smith
June 25, 2012, 01:17 AM
Hello,

I would probably go with a Remington 700, semi-heavy barrel in .308.

Good, fixed-power 'scope, 4x to 6x. Think about it; you want a point-and-click interface the first time out, not messing with dials.

First-time mouse users use one button; first-time fishermen usually don't start with baitcasting reels.

A Barnes 168grn loaded to 2500fps (check Varget; it's awesome for everything I load!), sighted in at 250 yards, will give point-blank out to 300 yards or so if you hold on the lungs.

As long as he can hit an 8" paper plate at every range from 25 yards to 350 yards, I wouldn't worry.

You could also kick that load up to a 150 grain pill at 2800fps. Should increase point-blank by a couple, few yards.

How is he with reading wind, mirage etc?

Regards,

http://i1147.photobucket.com/albums/o560/Smith-Sights/llc20sig.jpg

Sheepdog1968
June 25, 2012, 01:24 AM
Is this is a gun your son will have forever, do you want to make it memorable? You can always buy a 308 or 30-06 and then buy the reduced recoil Remington rounds. They literally cut the recoil in half. How about the single shot ruger rifles?

Centurian22
June 25, 2012, 01:48 AM
I put my vote in for the Savage Axis XP. I recently got one in .308. Weight of the rifle with scope is right around 7lbs I believe, so I would imagine the youth to be even lighter. Very accurate, as stated very inexpensive, freak all around gun. Speaking of .308 why hasn't this been included in the listing? I have little to no experience in any other centerfire rifle calibers, but if recoil isn't a problem (as you stated) and weight shouldn't be a problem at 6-7lbs, I would think bullet availability for the .308 would be above most others. As to address the 'weight' issue further for holding up the gun, at a 200-300yard shot I would think some type of 'shooting stick' would be a major help in securing a stable shot and taking some weight off. They are available in mono, bi, and tri-pod arrangments from $10 to $200 simple "V" rest to full rifle support.

Good luck with your 'hunt' for the rifle and game.

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