Light Recoiling Deer Rifle


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Olympus
September 9, 2013, 03:13 PM
I'm trying to help my nephew get that "right" deer rifle. Admittedly, he's a bit skittish with recoil. He's 13 right now and I'm trying to teach him that 22lr isn't the standard to compare recoil to. He needs to learn that some recoil is good and that it can be fun even. He's starting to see a little of that with shooting some revolvers with REALLY light 38 reloads. But the rifles are another story. He desperately wants to go deer hunting with us, but he's scared of the recoil.

So far we've tried a .243 bolt action, and that wasn't bad. But he still was a little skittish. I'm racking my brain to think of another caliber option that would still be suitable for whitetail while also being relatively short in overall length for his size. I'm wondering if a semi auto in .243 would absorb a little of the recoil. I know some say the 6.5 Swede is not too hard. Or possibly a 7.62x39 in a CZ bolt. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

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rcmodel
September 9, 2013, 03:34 PM
If long range isn't necessary??
Like woods hunting from a stand??

A Lever-action carbine in .357 Mag might get-R-done.

He can shoot .38 Special in it for no recoil, and work his way up to full power .357 Magnum loads for hunting.

rc

briansmithwins
September 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
Lighter loads or a heavier rifle.

.223 bolt action?

BSW

DoubleTapDrew
September 9, 2013, 03:38 PM
What about a 7mm-08 on a platform like a Rem 700 with a limbsaver recoil pad. That's what I started on when 13 or 14 (and still use 20-some years later).

I6turbo
September 9, 2013, 03:48 PM
What grain bullets did you try in the .243? With the lighter bullets it shouldn't have much recoil at all. Has he fired the gun many times? Maybe a few more rounds at the practice range might get him used to it...

Olympus
September 9, 2013, 03:48 PM
Didn't think any a 357 lever. That's a good option. It might lose practicality in a few years though when he gets bigger and has longer shots.

He will definitely be in a stand this year, but probably with an adult.

Olympus
September 9, 2013, 03:50 PM
What about a 7mm-08 on a platform like a Rem 700 with a limbsaver recoil pad. That's what I started on when 13 or 14 (and still use 20-some years later).

I may need to look a little closer at the pads. We tried one that slips over the stock but it made the length of pull a little too long for him to get comfortable.

jmr40
September 9, 2013, 03:52 PM
Honestly a 243 is about as good as it gets.

A 223 will have a little less recoil and is another option. The 243 is more versatile, the 223 is about the minimum I'd use on deer and doesn't offer much room for error. If you have confidence in his ability to make good hits and limit ranges to 150 yards or so it will work.

allaroundhunter
September 9, 2013, 03:56 PM
Youth model .243 will probably be the best choice you can make.

DAP90
September 9, 2013, 04:00 PM
Don’t forget noise and muzzle blast. That can be a cause of recoil sensitivity as well.

Arkansas Paul
September 9, 2013, 04:09 PM
I'm wondering if a semi auto in .243 would absorb a little of the recoil.

My brother hunted with a Remington 742 in .243 and the recoil was nearly non existent. Of course, I'm used to the recoil of a .30-06 loaded at near max loads, so any .243 seems light. However, my wife has a .243 in a bolt action and the auto was definitely lighter kicking.

Olympus
September 9, 2013, 04:10 PM
I figured the 243 was the best option. I will check the length difference between youth models and compact models.

TwoEyedJack
September 9, 2013, 04:16 PM
I got my youngest a Weatherby Vanguard youth model in 7MM-08. That rifle is pretty heavy which cuts recoil. I started him on 100 gr. downloads and he handled it very well.

Arkansas Paul
September 9, 2013, 04:17 PM
Here's the one my experience is with. They're great.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=363892214

Geno
September 9, 2013, 04:40 PM
Nothing, and I mean nothing kills recoil like "weight". :D My 18 pound M700 Police, in .308 Win was like shooting a BB gun. I switched out the factory stock of a B&C fully adjustable tactical stock, then added my M1913 rail, Nightforce 30mm steel rings and Nightforce scope. :D Heavy metal in the truest sense. :cool:

Given how a .243 Win flies, ultra-flat, I'd check into a "varmint" model of bolt action...you know, heavy barrel. You will have awesome accuracy, and near zero recoil. Did I mention that I love heavy firearms? You can shoot them all day, very forgiving in the "punishment" department. Given my 12 neurosurgeries...that's a good thing. Might look into Savage, Winchester, or CZ. Don't think Ruger makes a .243 Win varmint rifle anymore. If I were setting up this package, I'd go a M70 Coyote Light, in .243 Win, and a 3-9 scope.

Geno

jogar80
September 9, 2013, 04:53 PM
I was faced with the same dilema when trying to find something suitable for my wife. She is extremely recoil sensitive and frightened by muzzle blast, but wanted to go hunt deer with me, lol. In the end, the only combination that worked was a bolt action .243 with a muzzle brake AND a good recoild pad, along with earmuffs AND ear plugs! But IT DID work great

Fishbed77
September 9, 2013, 05:34 PM
.243 is the right answer. It was great for deer as an adolescent, and it still is today.

If he's holding the rifle correctly and focusing on his trigger squeeze, there won't be much noticeable recoil with a .243, unless it is a very lightweight rifle with a very light polymer stock.

Another thing to take into account is to make sure he has adequate hearing protection. Double up with plugs and earmuffs if you have to. When I was a young shooter, anticipation of the noise was much more of an issue than anticipation of recoil. Remember that young ears are much more sensitive to sound than older ones.

redneck2
September 9, 2013, 05:41 PM
My friend hunts with a Ruger Deerfield semi auto in .44 mag. Took a 183 class white tail a couple years ago, one shot. I think I could hold it against my chin and fire it and be no worse for wear. I couldn't feel any recoil, and it's good for 150 yards.

falmike
September 9, 2013, 05:59 PM
Scoped handi rifle in 357 or 44 mag with bull barrel.

When either hit, they will trump a 30 cal. Neither will recoil much. Rest on window of blind or stand and weight should not be an issue.

Just my $.02 :)

Mike

pikid89
September 9, 2013, 06:28 PM
Haha lobo, are you sure bout that 30-30 being a good deer round? haha...Marlin 336 would be prime i think

Or

My 110 lb mom loves her ruger m77 compact in .243

Imo, the percieved recoil in youth 243s is not from kinetic energy, but from the excessive blast in the short barrels compact 243s have.

Plugs and earmuffs for practice and he'll be whackin deers in no time at all

texgunner
September 9, 2013, 06:42 PM
Heavy barrel bolt action in .243, ,260 Rem, 7mm-08 would be my choice.

NCsmitty
September 9, 2013, 06:46 PM
Rumor has it the 30-30 makes for a good deer rifle.

You took the words right out of my mouth. Hard to beat a lever action for quick handling in a caliber that can use managed recoil factory ammo or loaded with cast bullets and Unique for soft shooting loads. It is the classic woods rifle.


NCsmitty

Bio-Chem
September 9, 2013, 06:52 PM
I've got to agree with the guy who said more time at the practice range just getting used to it. a 13 year old, even a small one, and trust me i was the very definition of runt at 13 should be able to handle any of the .308win based cartridges just fine. For deer i've always thought the 7mm-08 was the best pure deer shooter out there. and recoil is manageable. with time at the range and a .243 he should be ok if he can keep his nerves down and put the bullet where it should go. something not all new hunters can do.

Abel
September 9, 2013, 06:58 PM
223 or 22-250 if its legal for deer in your state.

colonelhogan44
September 9, 2013, 07:10 PM
I was 13 years old and about 90 pounds when I pulled the trigger on my first surplus Turkish 8mm Mauser cartridge out of a Czech 98/22...what a ride!

Needless to say I was hooked. After about 25 rounds that day, I had a bruise to prove it!

He just needs to man up...it's all mental.

DDawg
September 9, 2013, 07:34 PM
I don't know if you reload, or know someone who can load for you. I was faced with a similar dilemma with my 12 yr old daughter last year. 243 was just to much for her to handle, managed recoil 270 was a no go too. Finally I tried loading 270 with Hodgdon youth loads H4895 and Hornady 100gr SP. Hodgdon says the loads are good out to 200 yds and she can shoot them all day with no problems. She busted a big ole doe at 120 yds.

Inebriated
September 9, 2013, 07:41 PM
Nothing wrong with the CZ in 7.62x39. I'd probably go for a .243 Win, though.

d2wing
September 9, 2013, 07:58 PM
AR 15 in .223 if legal in your state. Otherwise an AK or SKS. Semi autos have less felt recoil than other actions.

John3921
September 9, 2013, 08:12 PM
My first 'follow dad around through the trees' rifle was a .257 Roberts in a model 722 Remington.

Nice little rifle, low recoil. I'm not sure which manufacturers chamber it today. Based on the 7mm mauser (7 x 57) - which is another nice round. I've always had something of the hots for a 7x57.

whughett
September 9, 2013, 08:34 PM
Ruger mini 30. Light handy quick pointing. Cheap ammo for practice .
Change out the standard wooden stock with a black or camo zytell one.
Carried one my last few years deer hunting in Maine.:D

Bio-Chem
September 9, 2013, 08:39 PM
A .250 Savage would be ideal probably if you could find one

PonyKiller
September 9, 2013, 08:43 PM
I haven't shot all the choices, but I agree that the muzzle flash and report is sometimes as big an issue as the shot to the shoulder. If a moderately weighted 243 is a bit much, that may be more of the issue than the actual recoil. 30-30's don't have a big kick and are low on the flash and bang, even easier on the shooter with the 130gr flatnose bullets. I've only seen and shot one 7.62/39 bolt, and I couldn't tell ya what brand it was, but it was a pussycat. Our SKS has practically half the recoil of my 30-30, another option.The 357 lever and bold guns with the longer barrels aren't bad on report and solid performers. my .02

dak0ta
September 9, 2013, 08:45 PM
30-30 Winchester is comfortable to shoot all day long, and Marlin makes them in Youth Configuration. Add a recoil pad if required.

Gtscotty
September 9, 2013, 08:49 PM
I'll echo what other people have said and suggest that you stick with the .243 and get in some more practice time. Also, doubling up on hearing protection is a big deal, especially if you are shooting under a line shelter or inside. I always double up on hearing protection, I found that if I didn't I tended to start opening up groups after a box or sometimes less... not so good when you're trying to work up loads.

Olympus
September 9, 2013, 09:13 PM
Looks like the 243 recommendations are a big majority. Thanks for all the recommendations. I'm going to start looking for a decent bolt.

Jcinnb
September 9, 2013, 09:20 PM
Are you kid din' me. 25-06 in a runaway. Stunned no one championed that quarter bore. Get one on a mauser action and no as in zero recoil!

HOOfan_1
September 9, 2013, 09:23 PM
My suggestion is get him to shoot the gun off of the bench. Recoil from an offhand position is usually nothing compared to shooting a benched gun.

crazysccrmd
September 9, 2013, 09:26 PM
AR 15 in .223 if legal in your state. Otherwise an AK or SKS. Semi autos have less felt recoil than other actions.

That depends on the shooter. My wife insists that shooting my AR15 and AK hurts, but has fired slugs through a 5lb 20ga and my lower powered 8mm loads without complaint.

A .250 Savage would be ideal probably if you could find one

I was going to post that.

Mat, not doormat
September 9, 2013, 09:30 PM
.243 is about as good as it gets in a bolt. .30-30 is a pretty good entry level round for a lever. Some might recommend a .357 lever, as well.

Either way, remember that a stock that's too long is going to exacerbate the recoil to begin with, and for most 13 year olds any factory gun is going to be too long. More important than caliber is a good fit. Cut the stock down, and put on a good limbsaver or decelerator recoil pad, and you should be in good shape.

Bio-Chem
September 9, 2013, 09:32 PM
I would have said the 25-06 a long time ago, but if a .243 is too much recoil how could he handle a heavier bullet moving faster? In a comparable rifle the recoil would be more.

best of luck and get the kid some range time

frankenstein406
September 9, 2013, 09:36 PM
Loved the 6mm rem in a rem 600 when I was little

Willie Sutton
September 9, 2013, 09:44 PM
.30-40 Krag in a Krag carbine... smoothest bolt action ever made, excellent action, mild recoil, and better than .30-30 ballistics. Plus you might engender an appreciation for classic things.


Willie


.

twofifty
September 9, 2013, 10:01 PM
So many great options.

I really like the .357 lever suggestion because with 38sp ammo it makes for a cheap practice gun, yet with 357s will kill deer no problem. The gun's weight will be enough and the barrel long enough (don't buy a carbine) that full-house 357s will be easy shooting. Cool looking gun and fun to handle, easy to carry.

Bonus, later on it will make a perfect cowboy action rifle.

coyote315
September 9, 2013, 10:02 PM
.243 w/ 60-70 grain bullets in a youth model bolt action, OR, a .357. depends on the state you're in.

SconnieGirl
September 9, 2013, 10:32 PM
How about a heavy barrel .308 with light loads? Excellent accuracy, stable, minimal recoil.

At 5'6" and 125lbs, I'm certainly not huge, but I'm also not recoil shy. In addition to finding a different gun, there's also much value in training to use what's available.

If I can handle a 12 gauge with 3" OO buck...I'm sure a kid can be trained to use a 243.

DM~
September 9, 2013, 11:58 PM
.243 is the right answer BUT, without a doubt he needs a LOT more practice!

DM

ICE1210
September 10, 2013, 12:04 AM
What about an AR in 6.8 or .300 Blk? We are starting to see those back on the shelves now. Either would greatly reduce felt recoil.

Water-Man
September 10, 2013, 12:55 AM
The recoil of a .243 is about the same as the 6.5x55 SE.

Either one in a CZ 550 American, which weighs eight pounds without a scope, would be quite manageable for the youngster sitting in a stand I would think.

tuj
September 10, 2013, 03:37 AM
He just needs to man up...it's all mental.

Your diagnosis is correct, but your attitude might not be productive. I see this at the public range all the time, guys telling their gf's who are recoil-sensitive to just 'man up'.

Some people are sensitive to recoil. It often depends on how the force is delivered. If the recoil is spread out through more time and one is introduced to recoil through progressively larger and harsher guns, it becomes easier to handle.

My advice would be to have him spend some time shooting a .223 in a semi platform to start getting used to recoil if all his experience has been with a 22lr. Once he's comfortable there, break out the deer rifle with a recoil pad on it. Don't overdo sessions.

Also, some people are more sensitive to the concussion of the shot and perceive this as part of the recoil. Wearing low-profile muffs can help this and still allow for proper cheek-weld.

Finally if nothing works, get a .308 and tell him its a 22lr. You only need one good shot in hunting, so as long as he gets it in his brain that its not going to recoil out of control or hurt him, it will be a good first shot.

SimplyChad
September 10, 2013, 03:49 AM
1895 with cowboy loads

briansmithwins
September 10, 2013, 04:43 AM
1895 with cowboy loads

He might need to shoot farther than 50 yards.

Funny story:
So, I go out to the local pistol match a few years ago. I'm using my normal Sig P226 with my normal cheapo 9mm bulk buy ammo.

Obvious cowboy action shooter is also participating. We had a stage where you had to knock the steel over to get the point for the target. CAS proceeds to hit each steel very fast, but none of them fall down. He protests that the game is rigged.

Match director says that the criteria for setting the steel up is that it has to fall when hit by a factory 9mmP round. They asked me to shoot the steel to confirm that it was set right. All of them dropped after one hit with 9mm.

CAS packed up his stuff and left.

BSW

SimplyChad
September 10, 2013, 05:47 AM
Brian inside 50 yard my 45=70 is the word of god. 70+ critters all DRT

Captcurt
September 10, 2013, 08:44 AM
I cringe every time I see someone recommend a 22 centerfire as a deer gun for kid. Don't get me wrong, I have seen deer fall to a 22lr, but that was in the hands of someone with experience. With well placed shots and the proper bullet a 223 will work swell. Take a 13 year old with little experience, no idea of the anatomy of a deer, and who is skittish of recoil and you might be in for a long day of blood trailing,

I had two friends last season who took their kids out hunting, gave them a 223 that they had very little if any experience with, and spent most of the day trailing wounded deer. Neither deer was recovered. We owe it to the game to make quick, humane kills. That equats to using enough gun, properly constructed bullets, and lots of range time.

mac66
September 10, 2013, 08:47 AM
"30-30 Winchester is comfortable to shoot all day long, and Marlin makes them in Youth Configuration. Add a recoil pad if required."

Uh, no its not, and making it lighter and smaller makes it worse.

Bolt actions and lever actions tend to kick harder because the only thing absorbing the recoil is you. 30-30s kick pretty good in lever actions and bolt actions (I have both). The thing to remember is light weight equals more recoil and heavier bullets equal more recoil, it's pure physics.

Semi autos don't feel like they recoil as much since the recoil is absorbed by the venting of the gas, mass of the bolt and bolt spring. That slows it down and dissipates it. Plus they tend to be a bit heavier. Semi auto recoil tends to be more of a push than a slap. I have found that guns like the Ruger Mini 30, SKS, and Saiga in 7.62x39 are pretty soft shooting. A semi auto 243 would be another good choice if you could find one.

Olympus
September 10, 2013, 09:20 AM
I tend to agree with about the 30-30. I have shot one before and there's no way I'd consider that to be light recoil. It had a pretty good wallup to it. At least it my opinion.

Art Eatman
September 10, 2013, 10:45 AM
"Man up" makes me want to throw up. I'm not recoil sensitive, but I'm not wired into masochism, either.

fragout
September 10, 2013, 12:12 PM
An M1 Carbine pushing 110gr soft tips will bring down a white tail within 100yds if the shooter does his part, and has very minimal recoil.

It will also sport better iron sights than most (if not all) lever action rifles with OEM iron sights.

FWIW...... I took my very first whitetail with my grand dad's Winchester M1 Carbine at about 30yds decdes ago, and my 10yr old grandson will be hunting deer hunting this year with the same M1 Carbine.

They are extremely light in weight, easy to use, and very compact overall.

Arkansas Paul
September 10, 2013, 12:17 PM
"Man up" makes me want to throw up.

I agree, especially when we're talking about a 13 year old youngster. The last thing you want to do is shame him into shooting guns he's not comfortable with and turn him off on the entire activity.

Also, most grown men, whether they will admit it or not, shoot lower recoiling rifles better than heavy ones. I shoot a .30-06 loaded full throttle for deer, but when we go to the range, I shoot my wife's .243 better. Maybe because I know it isn't going to dislocate my shoulder.....hmm.

colonelhogan44
September 10, 2013, 12:32 PM
Obviously you would go about that in a more tactful way with a kid. My dad just told me "it won't hurt you, son."

Maybe I was a tough little kid to be able to shoot 8x57 and expect too much from others - sorry I ruffled feathers...but really, it's a 243.

Give him a towel to put over his shoulder several layers thick to give him some mental security. I do this to this day when shooting my Tikka T3 Lite 30-06 from the bench - that thing has some snappy recoil on the bench.

Armymutt
September 10, 2013, 12:52 PM
The 6.5x55 Swede is pretty low on the recoil side, if you use factory ammo. The biggest issue is finding one that isn't a Milsurp to put a scope on. Doing that to one that isn't already drilled and tapped is a horrible thing. I bought a Tikka T3 from Euro Optic - took 4 months or so to get it in from Finland.

Bio-Chem
September 10, 2013, 12:59 PM
Ok, yes, we are talking about a 13 year old youngster, but we are also talking about a deer potentially being wounded. A balance can, and should be found. There are many options out there for reduction in recoil, but bottom line an appropriate bullet needs to be placed in the right place. If one is too recoil sensitive for a 243 win then maybe he should just wait a year and let his body mature some. the 243 under ideal conditions will certainly take a deer cleanly, but a hit around the edges with a 243 can very well leave the deer alive. Range time with the 243 is the appropriate solution here, and if he can't handle the recoil at the range then what would make anyone here believe it won't become an issue when he has an adrenaline dump and is taking a shot in real world conditions? Because lets be honest, many grown men have difficulty with that.

Mat, not doormat
September 10, 2013, 02:15 PM
Jeff Cooper often said that recoil effect was 85% mental, and that the proper thing to do about it was to ignore it. Further, he said, any kid who played any sport, even touch football, would get hit far harder and more often than any rifleman.

I think his percentage was a bit high, as there are several physical factors that contribute to difficulties that a newbie can suffer that an experienced shooter may not readily grasp.

First is stock fit. Even a pretty mild load can really beat a person up through an ill fitting stock. I've seen a number of 12 gauge '97s that young cowboy shooters grew up with. First, something like half the stock was cut off. As the kid grew, sections were sawn off the missing piece, and screwed and glued back on the gun, a bit at a time.

Second is a good pad. Modern soft pads, like the Limbsaver and Pachmayr Decelerator are remarkable achievements. They act much like the action of a semi automatic does, in slowing and spreading out the recoil impulse over time, instead of delivering it all at once.

Third is weight. This is really the problem with most youth guns. Not only is the stock shorter, but the barrel and action are frequently much lighter as well. This can turn a load that's mild in an adult's rifle abusive when fired in one that's whole pounds lighter. This is why it's often better to cut down an adult gun. Plus, you may have to special order a youth model, cheap used full size hunting rifles aren't exactly rare, though.

Fourth is a factor I've only recently come to appreciate, and that's acclimation. As one shoots more and more, the shoulder seems to desensitize to a remarkable extent. I found this out when, due to a hand injury, I switched to shooting off my left shoulder. Previously, I'd been able to shoot 45-70 carbines, a 300 Weatherby, 3.5" 12 gauges, quite a few fairly hard kicking guns, without much fuss, and acquit myself fairly well. Right after the switch, however, a box of Winchester feather lights in a fairly heavy SxS was enough to leave me tender for a few days. I was shocked. The difference between me and a newbie is that I've got twenty years of experience that tells me I can handle this, I've just got to break in this new shoulder. A newbie is likely to think he just can't do it.

That's where a stair step program can come in handy. If you hand load, you can make up a series of progressively stouter loads to help the lad take the jump in smaller bites.

Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2

Fishbed77
September 10, 2013, 02:28 PM
Ok, yes, we are talking about a 13 year old youngster, but we are also talking about a deer potentially being wounded. A balance can, and should be found. There are many options out there for reduction in recoil, but bottom line an appropriate bullet needs to be placed in the right place. If one is too recoil sensitive for a 243 win then maybe he should just wait a year and let his body mature some.

This. ^

There is no shame in waiting another year or two before hunting bigger game. Better to do that than risk inhumane injury or death to a game animal.

45Frank
September 10, 2013, 02:39 PM
I posted a similar question last year for my 15 year old daughter who is kind of small 4'9" 100 lbs. and I bought her a .243 bolt action in a youth model. Very little to no kick.
I would think a .223 is kind of small for deer?

heeler
September 10, 2013, 02:47 PM
As has been mentioned many times the 243/6mm option is good.
Or perhaps a 308 with the managed recoil ammo.
I think Howa sells a rifle that come with a youth stock and a full size stock.
A great idea as the kid has a life time rifle with just a few seconds it takes to change to the full size stock as he grows up.

X-Rap
September 10, 2013, 03:14 PM
Have the kid shoot about ten to 1 ratio of 223/243 and let him get a bit acclimated to the recoil. 100 gr 243 is a good choice. Another problem with getting kids shooting properly is insisting they use full sized adult guns when they need stocks that fit them. Having a small person try to mount a rifle when it is stocked and scoped for an adult is a recipe for failure. Putting a kid on a thin stocked metal butt plate light lever action probably won't convince him to believe you either.
A 250 Sav or Roberts would also be an excellent choice. I don't subscribe to the "man up" school but I will say that all 3 of my kids took their first BG animals with 30-06 or 280 but they also put a lot of lighter caliber rounds down range before they went hunting and had no problem with the recoil of the larger round while making the shot on game.

shafter
September 10, 2013, 03:26 PM
I wouldn't suggest something that is too light. A 357 magnum can make a decent little deer rifle but only if the shooter is skilled enough to make the shot count. A new hunter may not be able to do it.

Don't be afraid to make him sit out a season if you don't think he's ready to handle a proper deer rifle. Rabbits and squirrels with a 22 can make for some mighty fun hunting.

Pilot
September 10, 2013, 03:27 PM
.30-30, .243, .260 Remington.

788Ham
September 10, 2013, 03:31 PM
As has been mentioned, possibly finding a Sav .250 would be the answer. I've got a '99 in .250, shooting 87 gr and 100 gr bullets in this rifle are almost nothing in the recoil segment of things. I don't, and never have been the type to hype these rounds up, "just to see what happens" downrange. My load for 87 gr. , using IMR 4350 powder, puts them out there at 2900 fps, will knock any deer down, with properly placed shots. Recoil is almost nonexistent. My grandpa shot a .250 for years, he was 5"6", maybe 140 lbs. YMMV

Olympus
September 10, 2013, 03:46 PM
What about this option: building an upper for an AR other than 556? I have an adjustable stock so that would be a better fit and something that he could grow into. And semi auto would absorb some recoil.

I have no experience with AR calibers outside of 556. Surely there would be something that would work and be comparable to 243 in recoil.

HOOfan_1
September 10, 2013, 03:53 PM
I still contend that if you have him shooting from a bench rest at the range, he will get recoil shy.

I shot my first deer at age 12 with 3 inch magnum #1 buckshot. I can't imagine a .243 would recoil as much as that. Would I have wanted to shoot that gun from a benchrest? HECK NO!!! I was also dove hunting with that gun from the age of 8 and shooting 30+ shells every Saturday. I had some nice bruises.

Shooting off hand allows your body to absorb the recoil much better. Shooting in a hunting situation IMO, makes one not even notice recoil at all.

When I shoot my .30-06 with no recoil pad off the bench...it HURTS. I've killed 2 deer with it over the past 2 years, and I didn't notice a thing.

No "manning up" is needed. Just pick a decent gun....250 Savage, .243 and then teach him proper technique.

If you want an AR-15 with low recoil, but plenty of power...try the 6.5 Grendel.

heeler
September 10, 2013, 04:05 PM
A .250 Savage is a wonderful caliber and unless you are a reloader,which I and most are not,finding ammo consistently for it is akin to going on a snipe hunt.

41magsnub
September 10, 2013, 04:19 PM
A 6.8 SPC would be an excellent choice as an alternate AR caliber. Folks are using those from everything from antelope to elk to wild boar (I'm not totally sold on the elk part). My little brother (13) is going to use one to try to get his first deer this year. I'm planning to try to get an antelope with it as well. Think of it as sort of like a .270 Winchester short.

John3921
September 10, 2013, 04:33 PM
There is also an outfit that makes a .243 WSSM upper for an AR platform. http://www.dtechuppers.com/index.html

I don't think .223/5.56 are good choices for deer. Maybe small whitetail in certain situations and in the right hands. But in general - no.

.243 / .250-3000 / .257 Roberts would be about as light a round a I'd suggest as being responsible. Even these are going to require good shot placement.

I'd also avoid the 'man-up' approach. I bought a .300 win mag when I was in high school. I developed a hell of a flinch. About the only way I broke it was to not shoot it for about 10 years. Even now I limit bench time with it.

Consider getting a lead sled for the range. You can shoot without the recoil.

twofifty
September 10, 2013, 04:54 PM
There is also an outfit that makes a .243 WSSM upper for an AR platform. http://www.dtechuppers.com/index.html

I don't think .223/5.56 are good choices for deer. Maybe small whitetail in certain situations and in the right hands. But in general - no.

.243 / .250-3000 / .257 Roberts would be about as light a round a I'd suggest as being responsible. Even these are going to require good shot placement.

I'd also avoid the 'man-up' approach. I bought a .300 win mag when I was in high school. I developed a hell of a flinch. About the only way I broke it was to not shoot it for about 10 years. Even now I limit bench time with it.

Consider getting a lead sled for the range. You can shoot without the recoil.
John3921, would you mind telling us the thought process that led you, while in high school, to purchase that 300 win mag?
Were you a big kid, or did you have a lot of experience shooting centerfire rifles? Were you and your buddies into a caliber race?

The social and practical aspects of your decision might help others when their turn comes up to buy their first rifle.

silicosys4
September 10, 2013, 05:00 PM
Skimmed through all the responses,
In my state, hunting modern rifle deer season means being able to handle a modern rifle deer cartridge legal to hunt with in this state, so nothing smaller than .243 caliber from a rifle where I'm at.

IMO, moving down into some of the smaller caliber being suggested that require MORE accuracy and precision out of its shooter to make humane kills, specifically so a NOVICE hunter can participate without more practice and preparation, is asking for wounded and lost animals, as has already been the stated experiences of some in this thread.

"Man up" isn't appropriate. "You aren't ready yet, being able to shoot a deer rifle is a big step...but with practice you will be." is more like it, imo. Its hard telling kids "no, you can't do that unless you prove you are ready"...but sometimes that is the appropriate response. Just because you WANT to do something doesn't mean you are physically or mentally capable of doing it.

Doing certain things requires being able to do certain things.

I would sit the kid down and have the talk with him that it sounds like he is not ready to be hunting deer yet, but he is a welcome addition to the hunt, and with practice he will make a HECK of a hunter... and being able to handle the recoil of a reasonable cartridge is a big first step.

Then take him shooting. Start small and work your way up.

If he cannot handle a .243, a 7.62x39, or a 30-30 yet, then in my opinion he cannot handle the task at hand yet. Those are what I would consider minimum deer cartridges...and he is straight up not old/big/mature enough to hunt deer yet.

I was riding shotgun on hunts for a decade before I killed my first deer at age 14 with a 30-06.

jogar80
September 10, 2013, 05:28 PM
I feel I have to post this again, because I think its the perfect combination. If I were a young kid wanting to hunt, I would be heartbroken if I was told to wait till I was a little older. I also think going with too light a caliber is not right because you risk wounding game. Also, forcing a kid to use a caliber he is not comfortable with "until he gets used to it" just wont work.

for these reasons, my suggestion- .243win heavy bolt action + Muzzle Brake

NO RECOIL....done.

wyohome
September 10, 2013, 05:49 PM
I just cut the stock down a bit and put a slip on Limb Saver on a pawn shop 700 (.243) for my wife. It is fun to shoot.

hatwerinrednek
September 10, 2013, 08:03 PM
I'm trying to help my nephew get that "right" deer rifle. Admittedly, he's a bit skittish with recoil. He's 13 right now and I'm trying to teach him that 22lr isn't the standard to compare recoil to. He needs to learn that some recoil is good and that it can be fun even. He's starting to see a little of that with shooting some revolvers with REALLY light 38 reloads. But the rifles are another story. He desperately wants to go deer hunting with us, but he's scared of the recoil.

So far we've tried a .243 bolt action, and that wasn't bad. But he still was a little skittish. I'm racking my brain to think of another caliber option that would still be suitable for whitetail while also being relatively short in overall length for his size. I'm wondering if a semi auto in .243 would absorb a little of the recoil. I know some say the 6.5 Swede is not too hard. Or possibly a 7.62x39 in a CZ bolt. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.
i know your pain. when my son was that age i eventually settled for a 243 cal tikka hunter model because the gun had a beefy 22 in barrel and it was heavy. it was a trade off ,,a heavy gun with less recoil or a light gun that would teach him bad habbits.

John3921
September 10, 2013, 08:31 PM
John3921, would you mind telling us the thought process that led you, while in high school, to purchase that 300 win mag?
Were you a big kid, or did you have a lot of experience shooting centerfire rifles? Were you and your buddies into a caliber race?

The social and practical aspects of your decision might help others when their turn comes up to buy their first rifle.
Hard to say exactly - a lot of time studying ballistics charts. This was in the 70's, information availability was not like it is today. I had no idea what recoil energy was. My previous experience was the .257 Roberts and dads .270. Of course with a .270 in the house a .30-06 was out of the question.

KingMedicine
September 10, 2013, 08:32 PM
Pm sent. I actually have a. 250-3000 for sale with ammo and dies.

dprice3844444
September 10, 2013, 08:34 PM
hr topper 30-30,762x39 etc change barrels for diff calibers

twofifty
September 10, 2013, 08:52 PM
From a 257 & 270 to a 300.
That's a rude way to find out what recoil energy is about!

I too spent a lot of time on ballistics charts right about the same time. It sure would have been awesome to have access to the depth of experience that is found on this forum. Had there been, I'd have bought a bolt action instead of a gas semi.

Captcurt
September 10, 2013, 09:01 PM
A close friend needed a rifle for his 8 year old grandson. I talked him out of a 223 and ordered a Mossberg Super Bantum in 243. The Bantum comes with an extra spacer and recoil pad so the LOP can be changed from 12" to 13". The first 2 seasons I loaded 90 Speer HotCors at 1700 fps. He took 4 deer the first 2 seasons with those and then graduated to full loads. He is 13 now and is still shooting the Bantum. Took a buck at 135 yards last year. He is pretty deadly with it.

lobo9er
September 10, 2013, 09:20 PM
357 I think is more for the practiced hunter. I'm sticking to my 30-30 vote. 223 I think is in the same boat as 357. Not as forgiving to not quite perfect shots. Lots of good choices though. I do not know alot about .243 but I'm guessing it has more range than the 30-30. But figure in ammo prices and practical shots for deer for a young hunter, I think 30-30 is good option.

R.W.Dale
September 10, 2013, 09:40 PM
You took the words right out of my mouth. Hard to beat a lever action for quick handling in a caliber that can use managed recoil factory ammo or loaded with cast bullets and Unique for soft shooting loads. It is the classic woods rifle.


NCsmitty

And plus you get to start a beginner out on a platform where they have to pull the trigger on a loaded chamber to engage the "safety". That or use the "better luck next time" deer losing cross bolt. Because nothing builds confidence in a child like not getting a shot off on your first deer or blowing a hole in the ground a few feet in front of you.

That was sarcasm in case you didn't catch it. IMO and IME a lever action is the absolutely WORST platform to begin a new hunter on.


My boys have taken a liking to my encore with a 22-250 barrel. It and the other break action single shots are unsurpassed as beginner friendly arms. The only thing a kid must master to use one safely is to not touch the hammer till they're ready to shoot at a deer and when unloaded they provide an unmistakable visual for the guardian present.

beatledog7
September 10, 2013, 09:56 PM
If finding ammo were not such an issue, I'd recommend the .257 Roberts or 250 savage without hesitation.

But if you can find a good rifle in .257 Bob or 250 Savage, and if you reload, there's your rifle. Lacking either one, go for a .243.

headoftheholler
September 10, 2013, 10:01 PM
6.5 swede or 257 Roberts, both kick soft and are deadly accurate.

redneck2
September 11, 2013, 08:13 AM
I found a guy on another forum that has a pretty nice Savage 99 in .250-3000 for sale at a reasonable price. PM me.

Gtscotty
September 11, 2013, 08:30 AM
I don't understand all the folks who are recommending that the OP go buy a quarter bore for his son. Isn't the boy already set up with a .243? How is going to a similar, or even more powerful rifle round going to cure his aversion to recoil? Practice, more practice and perhaps waiting a season is the ticket, not buying another rifle in an almost identical chambering.

jmr40
September 11, 2013, 09:02 AM
A 30-30 will have about 10.5 ft lbs recoil compared to about 9.5 for a 243. About 5 ft lbs for a 223, all from reasonably 7 lb rifles There are lots of other good choices, but when you look at ammo and rifle availability along with price these have to be the top 3.

If someone just happened to have a 6.5X55, 260 or any of about a dozen others, and if they reload for them they could get recoil down to reasonable levels. I have some 30-06 handloads loaded down to 300 Savage levels that only generate 12-13 ft lbs of recoil. So by handloading almost any gun could work. A heavier rifle is an option, but not many kids want to tote around a 10+ lb rifle. I don't want to do that. Kids are just drawn to lighter guns anyway.

While the 30-30 round is an option, not in a typical lever or even from the single shots. Levers are the guns most likely to create an AD. Not what you want to give to an inexperienced shooter. Kids don't need to be cocking/uncocking a hammer over a live round. Unloading is the prime time for accidents with levers. The stock shape magnifies recoil. On paper a 30-30 is soft recoiling, but from typical levers it hurts worse than my 308 bolt rifles with much better designed stocks. You run into the same problem with the cheap 5 lb single shots. Those guns knock the snot out or you even in supposedly light recoiling calibers.

If extremely recoil sensitive a 223 works just fine on deer at close range if good bullets are used with almost zero recoil. I still think the 243 is the better all around option. Even as he gets older it will be enough gun for almost anything he will hunt, up to elk. They are far more effective on deer than a 30-30 or 223, and with the option for shots greater than 100 yards as he gains experience.

303tom
September 11, 2013, 09:22 AM
.243 Winchester, Great Nephew on my wifes side barely a 110 lbs. with one of my Handi-rifles....................

jrdolall
September 11, 2013, 09:34 AM
Light recoiling deer rifles.
Marlin 336 in 30-30.
Swedish Mauser in 6.5x55.
Bolt .243.
Bolt or pretty much any .223.
Bolt 25-06.
These are guns I own that I consider light recoil. I have a single shot 243 that has a good kick. My 13 year old boys both killed their first deer with these guns, one used a bolt Rem 700 in 243 and the other used a Marlin 30-30. Actually the oldest was 12 I think.

I would not spend a lot of money because in all likelihood the kid will move up to a larger caliber by the time he is 15-16. Both of mine did and now both, one is grown, shoot 30-06.

All of these are just my experience. I have not done any recoil tests or done any internet searches to find out foot pounds and such. If it feels like it kicks when I shoot it then it kicks.

JShirley
September 11, 2013, 09:39 AM
.30-30s can have an uncomfortable amount of recoil, especially if they don't have good recoil pads.

Another option is to get a Blackhawk Axiom ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZDKG54/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002ZDKG54&linkCode=as2&tag=wanderin00-20) stock. This has an M4-style adjustable LOP, with built-in recoil absorbers. It really works. My fiance's 12 y/o son had never fired anything larger than 7.62x39mm (also a good option), but he was happily firing .30-06 off the bench.

Here's a picture of RC about to touch off another 150-grain '06 (he's adjusting the elevation on the rest- kid's a surprisingly good shot, considering he's fired less than 200 rounds in his entire life).
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=188838&d=1378908696

John

j1
September 11, 2013, 09:46 AM
A 30 30 is more than enough for deer out to 200 yards and has very little recoil with 150 grain bullets. Adding a scope brings the weight of the rifle up too. Maybe a good recoil pad might be a good idea.

JShirley
September 11, 2013, 10:14 AM
30 30 is more than enough for deer out to 200 yards and has very little recoil with 150 grain bullets

I grew up shooting a very light NEF H&R Topper, Jr. that kicked like a mule. I remember being surprised at how much recoil Derek's 336Y had. Not in a positive way. Perhaps we have different ideas about what "very little recoil" means, and considering I started shooting 37 years ago, the fact that I found a so-called "Youth" model to have a lot of recoil probably does mean something.

John

jrdolall
September 11, 2013, 10:18 AM
I have a 243 single shot Rossi that kicks worse than most of my 30-06 rifles. The Rem 700 in 243 is an absolutely awesome rifle. I have had the gun for well over 20 years and it has dropped a lot of whitetails. It is normally one of my "loaner" guns that I let people use when they want to introduce someone to shooting.

gondorian
September 11, 2013, 10:33 AM
A 6.8 spc, 6.5 grendel, or 300 BLK upper for an AR would be a very good choice. You could even get a .22 kit for your AR and have him shoot that for a while, then transition to .223 and then to the larger cartridge.

JShirley
September 11, 2013, 11:04 AM
7.62x39mm, 6.5 or 6.8mm from AR platforms should be very good choices, especially with adjustable-length stocks.

axxxel
September 11, 2013, 11:22 AM
What kind of stock does the .243 have? Couldn't you just add a limbsaver to it, and increase the weight somehow? Add a bipod, a larger scope, or both! A muzzle break or suppressor would also be a good thing I guess.

If his recoil sensitivity is not caused by his physique, and I doubt that it is, then try to teach him some technique and get used to the recoil with lighter loads of .243.

Joshua M. Smith
September 12, 2013, 03:12 PM
I'll probably get eaten alive for this suggestion:

Mosin-Nagant carbine, no bayonet. M38, M91/59, or M44 with bayonet removed and (if you want) the lug ground down. If you don't want to grind the lug, I probably have one around here that I can send you. Just pop the pins and replace.

Load a 0.312 Hornady soft point 150 grain in front of a case of Trail Boss.

You can shoot this rifle/ammo combination all day with very minimal recoil or expense.

Regards,

Josh

TexasPatriot.308
September 12, 2013, 03:35 PM
a .22-250 is used a lot here in Texas. being a good shot helps.

chasu
September 12, 2013, 03:56 PM
My son is 13 and he shoots a 270. Started out with a .22LR at 5 years old (Ruger 1022), crack barrel 20ga at 8 years old (H&R Pardner) that kicked more than my 12ga ! ! !. His first High power rifle was a .243, but he shot my AR15 way before we started deer hunting. He loves his Ruger American 270.

DoubleTapDrew
September 12, 2013, 11:35 PM
May have been asked already but have you let him know that when shooting at a deer you will not feel the recoil, and probably not be the least bit bothered by the noise?
When shooting from the bench give him a good recoil pad and double up on ear protection.
I have put .300 wby and .375 H&H through the paces sighting them in and it rattles your cage a bit but when you are shooting at an animal you don't even notice.
My suggestion of 7mm-08 stands. It may feel a bit stout as first but will be a gun he can hunt deer with all his life and is a bit more forgiving on shot placement than .22X loads.

Kachok
September 13, 2013, 12:35 AM
7mm-08 and 6.5x55 are the two best low recoil hunting cartridges I have ever used but my 308 does not kick much harder with it's above average recoil pad.

cdb1
September 13, 2013, 01:11 AM
To each his own. For my daughter I wanted a heavy rifle for recoil attenuation. Bought her a Vanguard youth in 7MM-08 and the the recoil was too much. Sold it and bought a Vanguard youth .243 and that did the trick. I like the Vanguard b/c it is heavy and accurate. I hunt mostly with a CZ 6.5x55 and for me the perceived recoil is more than a .243. The only problem with a 30-30 for a kid in my opinion is their light weight.

The last thing I did was buy a comb riser and put it on the .243. This was after reading that the vast majority of women need a higher comb than men do. The comb riser I bought for her rifle is the same one I put on my Maxus b/c it does not affect cast. They are not cheap but after installing the riser my daughter's accuracy improved and the perceived recoil was reduced also. When I bought her rifle the Lady Savage had not come out yet. If we get my daughter another rifle it will be the Lady Savage.

Eb1
September 13, 2013, 01:11 AM
.22-250
.25-06
6 mm Rem.
.260
6.5x55
.257 Roberts
.243

There are so many. Hand loaded 30-30 with 125 grain Sierra FNHP to 2100 fps recoils like a .223 or less.
Even a 30-30 with a 150 grain FN from Winchester is a good medium recoil gun.

20 gauge slug gun.

.357 Lever gun or Handi-Rifle.

.50 cal Muzzle loader with a 250 grain XTP and 100 grain 777. Just a push and not a slam because of the slow burn.

Andrew Leigh
September 13, 2013, 02:23 AM
My third oldest grandson is nearly 10 and although tall is very slight of build. I bought a 6.5mm Swede for them which I downloaded with 120gr. bullets. The rifle would push his shoulder back a full 12". He is skin and bone and his little in the way of cushioning on his shoulder.

Fortunately a hunting friend who was going hunting with us had a .243 which he downloaded. Unfortunately the flinch was already there. The I thought to start the range sessions with some .22 shooting and this seemed to give him confidence again. The flinch stayed but not permanently.

Then I got his mother to give me an old tight T Shirt of his and I sewed in a shoulder pad made from medium / high density foam rubber, this seemed to help even more. Next year he will be fine but still will not be ready for the 6.5mm. The .243 remains too heavy for him but I taught him to shoot sitting on his butt over sticks until he get a little bigger and stronger.

The one issue I found with the 6.5mm is that it is built on a long action which makes the rifle too heavy. My eldest son shoots it with great ease so the little guy will grow into it. He got his first buck two weeks ago :D.

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m582/CZ550/Ayden1---First-Impala-Web.jpg

They should have a "chest swell" emoticon for us proud grandparents.

Eb1
September 13, 2013, 02:28 AM
The .22-250 is probably the lightest recoiling deer rifle I have shot. That 55 grain pill penetrates and destroys vitals at the speed it travels. I think the .22-250 is a great deer rifle. My state allow .22 cal center fires for deer hunting.

Andrew Leigh
September 13, 2013, 02:36 AM
The .22-250 is probably the lightest recoiling deer rifle I have shot. That 55 grain pill penetrates and destroys vitals at the speed it travels. I think the .22-250 is a great deer rifle. My state allow .22 cal center fires for deer hunting.
Did not know that.

Here the absolute minimum is a .243 and some hunting concessions do not even allow that. Not due to the calibre but some of the "hunters" inability to shoot, plus a lot of our hunting is in thick bush.

So we were reduced to a .243 as minimum calibre.

okiewita40
September 13, 2013, 02:41 AM
I would suggest a semi-auto of some kind if legal in your area. As said before an AR in 6.5, 6.8 or 7.62x29. Or an AK or SKS.

My Daughter started on my SKS and even @ 24 she is only 4'9" and 85 pounds.

If a bolt is needed I would go with a .243. If it has a plastic stock. Remove the butt pad and add weight insid of the stock to reduce some of the precieved recoil.

I like the SKS for the short range deer hunting that I do here. Plus I just bought 60 rounds of 154gr SP ammo for $5.99 a box. Seems to be the cheapest thing out there other than 22lr when you can find it.

Dr T
September 13, 2013, 12:56 PM
My choice would be a 250 Savage. Basically the same performance of the 243 with lower recoil.

witchhunter
September 13, 2013, 08:56 PM
I bought both my boys youth bolt .243's for their first deer gun. Loaded em with light bullets for practice and varmints. Once they got comfortable with those loads, I loaded up some 95 grain Nosler Partitions and bingo, their first bucks were on the ground. They both still have em. My youngest loads his with 58 Vmax and it is death on varmints. He is 26 now.

Turkeyguide
September 13, 2013, 09:42 PM
7mm/08 is great caliber with light recoil. Excellent on game animals up to Caribou in size. Very accurate and if you reload it's got lot's of options. Lot's of rifles chambered for it too so there's a great selection to choose from. Good luck.

Joel Lehman
September 13, 2013, 11:53 PM
By older brother gave my 7 year old grandson a Remington model 7 in 7-08.
His two sons used the rifle to take deer with reduced reloads.

His load was 26 grains do SR4759 with a 120 grain Hornaday pistol bullet.
That bullet has been discontinued. I called Sierra and was told their 120 grain Pro Hunter will work at velocities above 2,000Fps.

I have used Pro Hunters for years in 25 and 30 caliber. I also found an 8 lb keg of SR4759. The load chronographed 2360 FPS with the Sierra bullets.

My grandson shoots the rifle with the cut off stock and Limbsaver recoil pad very well.

He wants us to go hog hunting before deer season.

It's tough being a grandpa.

Ratshooter
September 14, 2013, 03:58 PM
Joel I just bought 200 Sierra 120gr bullets to load in my model 7 with the 18.5" barrel. I am also going to use a reduced load with about 2600-2700 fps start velocity. And I wanted to get the 120gr Hornaday bullet to try. I didn't know they had been dropped from the line.

If I was in the OP's situation I would use the 243 but with 80-90gr bullets with a starting velocity of around 2800fps. Those should have light recoil and be better than a 223.

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