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Deer rifle for 12 year old

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BobTheTomato, Aug 29, 2016.

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  1. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Depends on the kid. When I got my 30-30 (first time ever shooting one), I was thinkin I could give it to my boy for his first gun at age 8 or so. Nice, light recoil.

    Had my wife try it out and she didn't like it because it "kicks hard."

    There's more to this than age.
     
  2. jaowens76

    jaowens76 Member

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    a lot of that is proper fit, If a gun doesn't fit right even a "light" recoil to you or me might be painful to the non fitted shooter. I had an old Moisin Nagant that out of my friends I was the only one who didn't feel it kicked like a mule, I was also the only one who could put rounds on paper. I have short "Russian"* arms and torso, where all my buddies were typically tall "American" build.

    *I am not Russian just using that as a description.
     
  3. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    My kids who hunt started out with a Remington Model 7 in .243. My daughter in particular disliked my .30-30 because of the recoil. To her, the .243 was "just right," and she has taken several deer with it; that rifle is now hers.

    I still have a youth-stocked Model 7 in .243 that is my "loaner" rifle for young shooters; a slip-on limbsaver recoil pad brings the stock back to full length for adult shooters. No plans to part with it any time soon.
     
  4. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    I've shot a Handi-Rifle in .243 owned by a friend, and to me it kicks harder than a Savage Axis in .308, presumably because it is rather slim and lightweight. I'd recommend a Limbsaver recoil pad if it doesn't make the stock too long.

    If you could find a lightweight .243 bolt-action with a short youth stock, put a Limbsaver on it, and put some lead shot in the butt for recoil reduction without adding up-front weight, it would probably be a mild shooter (or skip the extra weight if the recoil is manageable without it).
     
  5. tdbmd

    tdbmd Member

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    I will take a .257 Roberts over a .243, but that is just my 2 cents. Or use some of the reduced recoil loads available.
     
  6. dranrab

    dranrab Member

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    My grandson lives in MS. When he turned 10 I bought him a single shot youth 223. It fits him. Recoil is non-existent. Noise is nominal. He was comfortable with it and became a good marksman. He has piled up the deer with it. Using my Nosler Partition handloads or factory Fusion 62 grain bullets, he has shut down about a dozen deer with a single well placed shot. Most of them dropped in their tracks. The furthest one ran was about 40-50 yards.

    My recommendation is a youth 223 with the right ammo. CVA single shots are inexpensive and pleasantly accurate.
     
  7. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Ruger American ranch in 300 BO. Light, plenty of power, low recoil, well made, and she won't "outgrow" it.
     
  8. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    ^ Brilliant recommendation. I'd take it a step further and say make it a 300 BO AR15. The gift that keeps on giving.
     
  9. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    My first hunting rifle for elk at 13 was a M1916 Spanish Carbine using Federal's 175 gr RNSP loading. My son is 10 now, so this topic will be coming up again soon...
     
  10. 3212

    3212 Member

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    In 50+ seasons chasing whitetails I've only carried 2 calibers,30-30 and .243.I harvested more than 60.16 with the 30-30 and the rest with the .243.The .243 dropped them more quickly.The longest run was about 70 yards.I hear good things about the 7mm-08,never used one.I would go with a bolt .243.You can make it a single shot.Just give her one bullet.
     
  11. GAF

    GAF Member

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    I`ll throw something a little different into the mix.

    A CZ 527 carbine in 7.62X39.
     
  12. HankR

    HankR Member

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    I was getting ready to log on and suggest a bolt action .243 with a similar action to whatever she would "grow into" if she keeps at it. That's what I did with my son. Got a used Savage .243 that looked just like my 30-06 with about 1" less length of pull (both pre-accutrigger). He outgrew hunting before I could hand him down 30-06 (I splurged and bought myself a left-handed, accu-trigger package gun about then). I'm planning on my 11 yo daughter using that same .243 next fall when she starts deer hunting. I also have a very similar scoped bolt gun so that she can practice a lot before she goes for deer.

    That said, I really like WestKentucky's suggestion. Assuming Alabama would have shorter shots that we enjoy up here in the frozen tundra, a lever (or bolt) handgun cartridge would probably do the trick with less recoil and less dollars. It's also easier to find a friend who reloads straight-wall pistol cartridges than rifle rounds. This would let you tailor the load even more.
     
  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My favorite for youth hunters.

    Heck, I like shooting both those rounds, and I'm long past youth....
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  14. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

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    Someone beat me to the punch, but not knowing the budget, I'd go the nontraditional route and recommend a lightweight AR-15 chambered in 6.8 SPC. Lightweight rifle, very low recoil, deadly on southern deer, accurate, handy, won't be outgrown and a great introduction to the MSR world, adjustable stock for comfortable shooting. What's not to like?
     
  15. Mr Woody

    Mr Woody Member

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    If you reload the caliber is less important as you can load down to minimize the recoil. If you don't reload pick an available cartridge that is medium powered. If your land is woods which will keep the range down maybe a larger pistol cartridge in the rifle of your choice.

    To make her enjoy shooting she needs to be able to hold the rifle and not be intimidated by the recoil. To fit her, Have the stock cut down to fit her reach. You can shoot a stock too short but it's not good if the stock is too long for you. Keep the weight down and the barrel does not need to be much over 16 inches when using optics.

    A bolt action would be my first pick because they are simple. An AR in 6.8 may be good if she has the interest to work with the gun and learn the ins and outs of semi auto. A lever gun in 30-30 or even a 44 or 45 may work. If you/she wants a lever gun look into them carefully. Something that will take optics would be a good first requirement.

    When my wife was that age her dad shortened a .303 British on both ends and added an old scope. It still fit her when we got married :) Never did get any taller
     
  16. dmoserwy

    dmoserwy Member

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    My wife is 4'9" and weighs about 100. We bought her a Savage Axis compact in 243. She shoots it just fine and very accurate. 243 is what I would recommend.
     
  17. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream Member

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    7.62x39

    Don't overlook the other 30 cal. A number of bolt guns were made for the "SKS" round. Just ask an SOF veteran how well that rounds kills. It will punch a shoulder if the round strays off target a bit.
     
  18. RevJim

    RevJim Member

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    A Handy Rifle in 223 will work, but one in 22-250 works better! My 80yr old uncle has been using one in SE Texas ( looks just like Alabama there) and he shoots them off corn feeders. One and done, and he does it with whatever ammo his grandson gives him, 55gr softpoints. I have a girl cousin (65) who has always used a Remington 700 in 22-250 for Texas deer. I've killed mule deer in Utah, Blackbuck, and Axis in Texas with a 220 Swift like nobodies business. A 22-250 will run with a 220 Swift. The main problem I have with any Handirifle is that sorry butt trigger pull! Get her a nice Youth model bolt gun in 22-250 and she will use it forever! have fun though!
     
  19. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Aside from the 243, the Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 300 Blackout would be a very close second. They make a compact size and a regular size model. Both have 16" barrels so they are very short, light, and handy. Recoil will be less than the 243, but you're looking at ranges of 150 yards or so. So the 243 will be a better choice for longer ranges, but I like the 300 Blackout as a "woods" rifle.
     
  20. another pake

    another pake Member

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    Ding, ding, ding. +1 ^

    A year or so ago I was asking the same question and someone suggested I look into building the AR option in 6.8.

    I did and the rest is history. It just might be the most versatile little shooter in the safe. It's light, can be easily adjusted to a youth's length of pull and is just plain fun to shoot for young or old.

    Everyone wants to use it at least once during our season.
     
  21. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

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    I've been traveling for business and this is the first chance I've had to look at all of the recommendations. I might just go with the 223 and handload or get her a 762x39 but the 6.8 ar is really intriguing.
     
  22. helitack32f1

    helitack32f1 Member

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    I am going through the same selection process as the OP is, for my 11 year old daughter, though she will probably be 12 before she actually goes hunting due to my financial inability at the moment.

    I am really surprised it took this long for someone to mention this! The CZ in 7.62X39 seems like a great option that most are over looking.

    I went to Cabelas the other day to once again make a choice on this. I tried the Ruger American in .243, the Tikka T3 lite in .243, and a TC of some type. Of course, the more expensive Tikka felt the best.

    The idea of .300BO never even crossed my mind but is a brilliant option, as is any of the other alternate AR rounds. To me, the AR platform is so great for growing kids because you have an adjustable stock that can grow with the child. This is why, when looking for my daughters first .22, I ended up with the M&P 15-22. It is fun, light weight, adjustable, and just the perfect gun for a kid that needs short length of pull as well as light weight out front.

    I will now have to seriously consider the AR as her first hunting platform, though they are a bit too expensive compared to the American rifles etc. At least she will be well trained on the platform by the M&P!
     
  23. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    Not sure about an ar. Give a 12 year old an ar with ? rounds and it is more fun to shoot at targets but a bolt gun to me is a better option.
     
  24. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    Ditto.
     
  25. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    The 243 would certainly be a great platform.

    However, IF you could find one (and the ammo to go with them) a 250 Savage or 257 Roberts in a Ruger M77 lightweight (made in the early 90's) would likely be better. They are elegant little rifles. My brother's granddaughter is trying to finagle a 257 Roberts out of her grandmother as I write this.
     
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