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Rifle for Daughter and Deer Hunting

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 45Frank, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. 45Frank

    45Frank Well-Known Member

    This will my daughter's first year deer hunting. She's 4'9" 110 lbs and 15 yrs. old. We went gun shopping today and narrowed our choice to three guns and need some opinions. In WNC most Gun Shops are connected to pawn shops so there is a Huge choice this year, I am guessing because of the economy.
    Anyway we have narrowed things down to a Savage 110E in 30 06, her opinion is a little heavy. $300.00. the other is a Marlin XS7 Camo in .308, $340.00 and finally a Remington in 770 Camo in 30 06,$320.00 all used in excellent shape.
    Anyone shoot with a little women?
  2. Cluster Bomb

    Cluster Bomb Well-Known Member

    Big cals for a tiny girl.

    Id look into a 243

    My ruler m77 mkii compact it lite and good size for every frame. Plus the 243 is a good round.

    You could also look at a lever 30/30

    My wife loves 243 and 30/30 but hats her dads 308 and my old 300by mag

    Just my .02
  3. towboat_er

    towboat_er Well-Known Member

    My daughter uses a 243, and loves it.
  4. dubya450

    dubya450 Well-Known Member

    Maybe a 7mm-08. Something she'll be able to handle now and also grow in to. Id stay away front that rem 770, especially at that price being that brand new ones go for $269 around here.
  5. Fred in Wisc

    Fred in Wisc Well-Known Member

    I have several nieces in that size category that hunt with me, along with some young fellas, hope I can provide some advice. I have a decent selection of rifles available, and we just spent time with 2 of the smaller girls picking out the ones that they are most comfortable with.

    My smallest is 11, and a little smaller than your daughter. She prefers the little break open Rossi with a youth sized stock. She fired over 50 rounds of .223 out of that today and was ready for more. If you want an inexpensive starter gun that is safe and easy to use, that's a good one. Make sure to spend the $8 for the side hammer spur, it makes cocking a lot easier for kids with small hands. I'd have preferred a .243 on that, but I found a great deal on the .223. I have another in '06 but it's significantly heavier, one of my older nieces likes that one (she shoots left handed, works great for her).

    I like that the Rossis come with other barrels too, so I can swap them out and they have the same operating controls for small game hunting. You can get a 3 barrel combo in .22LR, 410 or 20ga, and 243 for under $300. In a couple years order a regular sized buttstock to replace the youth one. If she really gets into it, you can buy nicer guns later but that combo will do everything she needs and it's inexpensive and durable.

    The next one up (12 or 13, about the size of your daughter) LOVES the Marlin 1894 in 44mag. It's light and handles well, and she feels like a cowgirl with it. The teen boys like that gun as well, it's built on a smaller action then the 30-30's and handles great. Her second choice is the Rossi 30-06. She's pretty tough though, a lot of kids find the recoil of that excessive.

    The favorite of kids a little bigger is either a lever gun or the Remington Model 7 in 7mm-08. A little heaver than the Rossi or 1894, but still pretty light and compact, well balanced. Has a little too much recoil for some kids. One of those in a slightly lighter caliber, or with handloads at about 80% power, is a sweet gun for kids.

    Almost all the kids LOVE black powder guns. Especially smaller lighter ones with traditional looks (CVA makes a couple). Traditional Hawkens and Pennsylvania rifles are way too long and heavy.We have a special black powder season here, probably not the best choice for a normal season.

    Not favorites of the smaller kids: full sized bolt actions (too heavy), ARs (odd, they love shooting them on the range, but not for hunting), "long action" lever guns (the bigger kids like those, small kids find them too heavy), any stuff with long barrels (especially pump shotguns) and big optics (can't find target in the scope easily).

    I'd like to see the Savage Edge youth in person, looks like a great gun for the price, but I have not had a good excuse to buy one yet. I would definitely look at that instead of the Rem 770 (I did some work on one for a friend, it's definitely built to hit a low price point, the thing just oozes cheapness. I'm not a Remington hater either, I have a few that I really like.)

    Stuff that kids find important:
    Gun has to be light if you are walking at all. They will be tired and dragging at the end of the day with a heavy gun, or they will always have it on the sling. Also make sure she's comfortable holding the gun up to shoot offhand, many shorter kids have trouble with that, there is just too much muzzle weight to hold up easily.
    Optics: Iron sights make it way easier to find the deer in the sights. If you are going to use a scope get one with a low magnification and a wide field of view.
    Sling: a must. Kids get tired and really appreciate a sling for when you are traveling between drives, walking the logging roads, etc.
    Recoil: Kids vary tremendously in their response to recoil. I have one niece that is afraid of light 20ga target loads, another that can shoot 2 boxes of 30-06 in 20 minutes and come looking for more. Go a little light on the caliber, use that Remington Reduced Recoil ammo, handload light bullets over smaller powder charges, or something. You really don't want her scared of the gun or uncomfortable shooting it.
    Stocks: At her height, she will have a lot of trouble with a full size stock, you really need a youth sized gun to for it to fit her well. Too big a stock makes felt recoil worse, adds weight, makes it hard to get scope eye relief right. Very frustrating to use, and the whole point is that hunting should be fun.
    Accuracy: Your mileage may vary here, but I go to the range with the kids and a life size deer target (way more fun for them than bullseye targets). The max range we consider a safe shot is where they can place almost all the shots in the kill zone offhand. This year that means 30-35 yards for one of the girls and 50-60 yards for the other. A wounded animal as a first experience is a big turnoff to the kids, it can be very traumatic and you can lose a new hunter right away. Limiting range also works well when we are using lighter calibers.
    Operating controls: need to work with little hands and be relatively light and smooth. Kids will almost always jerk heavy triggers and get really poor accuracy, which is frustrating for them.

    We talk a lot about making ethical shots, how it is their responsibility to make sure the animal dies right away, and that nobody will be unhappy if they pass up a shot they are not sure of. Really stressing getting waiting for a good shot mostly broadside, making sure they know where to shoot, and not trying to shoot too far. We come home with no deer about half the time, but it's about the experience, not the meat.

    I'd highly recommend letting your daughter handle a bunch of different guns, see what fits her, which one naturally points where she wants it too. make sure it's not too heavy. Get her a good sling and some practice time at the range.

    Sorry I kind of wrote a book there, but I hope it helps. Getting kids started hunting is really important, and I'm glad to hear your daughter will be joining you in the woods.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  6. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Well-Known Member

    If legal in your state, my two young sisters cut their teeth and have grounded many deer with .223 Remington. They've graduated to .260 rem since then, but the deer are apDRT just the same. Shot placement and bullet construction are key.
  7. splithoof

    splithoof Well-Known Member

    My 14 yo daughter shoots .308 through a Handi Rifle very well. She started a couple of years ago with a Mini-14, and now also likes the Ruger GSR. For deer hunting she likes the H&R because of it's light weight. She is tall for her age (5' 08") and thin, but learning with reduced loads was (and continues to be) a big help. I ordered an extra .223 barrel for it, so she can clean up the squirrel over-population problem up at the ranch. Now MY problem is dealing with those pesky high-school boys who keep calling and asking her to go hunting with them!
  8. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Well-Known Member

    .243 or .257.

    And it has to fit her not you.
  9. BigN

    BigN Well-Known Member

    30-06 or a 308 is a bit much for a young girl to start out with. She'll quit shooting altogether.
  10. skidooman603

    skidooman603 Well-Known Member

    If those are your options, I would go with a .308 and load it DOWN...My Kids both cut their teeth on 6.5x55 swedes...Mild to shoot and 95% of the deer I have harvested with this caliber go less than 50 yds (most dropping in their tracks if I do my part) Just a small piece of advise..A cailber that puts a flinch into a young hunter isn't worth saving a couple bucks.
  11. Abel

    Abel Well-Known Member

    I would say 243 is the way to go. Keep shopping.
  12. hentown

    hentown Well-Known Member

    This one is really easy. .243, as has been already recommended. Sorry, Fred, but I'm just not psychologically capable of writing 1000 words, when ten-to-fifteen words will work! :D
  13. j1

    j1 Well-Known Member

    If you do not intend to load down the 30 06 ought to be traded for a 30 30. Very little recoil and been killing deer for over 100 years quite well. Short light and no recoil. If you reload the 06 could do quite well too. Why do you want to get a small young girl a 30 06 though.
  14. 06

    06 Well-Known Member

    Have fired '06s for a lifetime and love them -- BUT --going to a 243 soon. Have rotator cuff problems and 30s just punish too much. A 243 will be more than adequate for any game around here. Will be buying my bud's 77 stainless Ruger w/synthetic furniture-3X10 glass. Have one in '06 that is a tack driver. She will like a bolt.
  15. j1

    j1 Well-Known Member

    06 I too just love the 30 06 and it could be my one gun for everything along with a 22 of course, but is it the best choice for a small young girl? Sorry to say I think not. Maybe a few years, and pounds down the road but not now. Do not buy her what you want and need buy her what she needs.:)
  16. gunner69

    gunner69 Well-Known Member

    +1 for the 6.5x55 Swed, or its American cousin the .260 remington. Very little recoil and a whole bunch of result at the target end. The Europeans use this caliber for Moose and Hirsch (Elk) very effectively. Another plus is that they shoot very tight groups........
  17. 45Frank

    45Frank Well-Known Member

    First let me say thanks so much this is what I wanted those who have had experience with my issue.
    Fred from Wis thank I appreciate your experience with the kids.
    I am a reloaded, been doing it about 25 years 90% handgun reloads other then my 22-250 and .30 carbine.
    This came on all of a sudden, she never was all that interested until last year she went along with some friends her age(all girls)with dad's present. And then signed up for the H.E. class which she did pass, Kind of a hint. I have never been big into hunting but am a reloader/shooter.
    One thing I didn't mention and maybe the reason I was leaning bigger cal. was it's not uncommon to come across bear here. Last year one of the girls with the .243 shot a 250lb. one but a dad had to finish it off with a .44 mag. Maybe they should have been a little more versed and taught you can come across anything.
    One thing I am sure of is she will need a short stock after reading and sizing her up yesterday, she is small all over, LOL.
    I do have a lever action in 30-30 so we will go shooting today after church. I am in the process of adding a scope to that. We also have access (not mine)to a .223. and a .243. If she is comfortable with that I can get the larger.

    BigN I don't want that to happen.
    bushmaster1313 I have to keep reminding myself of that.
    meanmrmustard here ya can hunt with just about anything, me and one of the rangers discussed this her last class night. He and some of his buds don't like it but.

    Thanks to all this is the feedback I wanted to ground myself some. I'll be back with more questions I'm sure.
  18. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    i agree with the others that 30-06 and 308 Win might be a bit much.

    My additional comment is to get the stock modified to fit your daughter.

    There are a number of ways to accomplish this depending on how much more you think your daughter will grow and whether you want to keep the original stock for the future.

    I hope your daughter has a great experience this season.
  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    If you find a .308 or a .30-'06 in a rifle that fits her and that she doesn't think is too heavy: Load about 25 grains of 2400 in the '06 or 20 in the .308 behind a 150-grain Sierra SPBT. That will give a muzzle velocity not much over 2,000 ft/sec. The recoil is hardly noticeable. That's fine for deer to 100 or 150 yards.

    That bullet is a bit lighter construction than the flat-base and should expand properly at that lower velocity.

    Anyhow, try it. I've used that sort of load for years for plinking and for working on eye-finger coordination.
  20. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Well-Known Member

    If bear is a concern, forget the 556. I use it on deer, have for over a decade, and it is an ethical killer inside 200 yards (through and through kills on large MO whitetails at that distance for this hunter) and is accurate without meat destruction. But...then you threw bears in the blender. I'm changing my recommendation.

    30-30. Loaded with Hornady Levorevolutions. This is a fine round, and I can attest to the bullets prowess over "regular" rounded soft tips. 165 gr ballistic polymer tips start expansion AND make it safe in a tubular magazine. Plenty stout for black bear I'd think, slower and heavier bullet than .243, just the ticket for putting Teddy on the ground.

    I hope that she enjoys the outdoors, and tell her I said good luck!!!

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