Do you think a 15 year old can handle a .308?

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Aug 13, 2007
I have heard bad stories of flinching and such... As long the the scope's eye relief is good and the recoil pad is decent it should be alright, right?
My son was shooting my 7mm Rem mag at 12 years a 308 should be handled easily enough.
I would say it would most likely be OK, if hes been properly prepped mentally, and taught to shoot the rifle properly.

As was mentioned, everyones different, but proper instruction on position and how to hold and handle the rifle take most of the problems out of the equation.

Dont teach him to shoot from a bench. It only teaches bad habits and beats you up.
It all depends on the level of experience and the size of the kid (to a degree).

Best to try the first time from a bench w/ sand bags or a similar set up.

Lower recoil .308 is out there on the market, too--but really, .308 doesn't kick that much especially from a bench.
I think a better question is, does he WANT to shoot .308? If he does want to, in general, our hard headed minds makes us capable of handling lots of recoil.

There isn't much harm in letting him try, unless its scoped, be wary of moon eye. Other than that, a good nudging won't hurt him.
As mentioned, 15 year-olds, as well as other teens, come in all sizes. Make sure that the stock fits him, as well as the right scope eye releif.

A good indicator that the stock is too long is if he bends his back backwards while shooting off hand, or tends to let the buttplate slip down under his armpit. If you see this, have the stock length corrected.
We used to take my little brother shooting when he was that age and he had no problem with an FAL or an HK91 clone.

He liked shooting them. Didn't flinch. It's really all about the persons exposure to firearms...
I think it will depend a lot on the child's size and experience, but also on the specific gun.

Some guns will recoil much more heavily than others with the same caliber. This effect can be magnified greatly by a poor stock fit. That being said there is no reason at all that most 15 year olds couldn't handle 308 in a properly fitting rifle.

I was fine shooting a 12 gauge 870 all day long at 14.
well i turned 17 today and i got a 2a enfield which is .308 as my first rifle last november and i have no flinch or anything to this day infact that was the first rifle other thaan a .22lr that i fired
Well, that round is not for the timid, but I watch youngsters all the time at my local range. Some step right up, others are way too tentative to be enjoying the sport. I'd say let him (her?) just watch and listen to you shoot and take it from there. If your goal is to get this youngster into shooting, take it slow and easy. Most kids I see start with .22 rifles and work up from there.
Depends entirely on his/her experience with firearms and their desire to do so. Size isn't much of a factor; a slightly-built individual "rolls" with recoil moreso than does a 250-pounder, such as myself. Both my Son & Daughter were shooting 12 gauge, .45s, 357s, & centerfire rifles up to & including the '06 before that age, but they started young with airguns, 20-gauges, & 22s & had a fairly good experience base to build on. The last thing you want to do is force him/her to shoot something of which they may be afraid . . . makes for a bad experience & worse habits. Ensure it is a "fun" experience. I'd recommend introducing something that generates higher recoil initially from a standing or sitting position so his/her upper body can "give" more with recoil, rather than absorb it as would happen at a bench or in the prone position.

Heck, to this day, my Daughter's favorite piece to shoot is my 12-gauge coach gun & it thumps you pretty good. It's all in the introduction, I reckon . . .
How well does this "child" handle other firearms?

Not all 15-year-olds are made alike!


My son (turned 13 years old in April) was firing my SA SOCOM II from a standing off-hand position without any difficulty this past week. He has also been firing my Savage Arms 10FP-LE2 from both bi-pod and sandbag rest since age 12 with no difficulty at all. Please note though, my Savage Arms rifle has the Choate Sniper Stock with a few pounds of lead shot in the grip.

I think a better question is, does he WANT to shoot .308? If he does want to, in general, our hard headed minds makes us capable of handling lots of recoil.

There isn't much harm in letting him try, unless its scoped, be wary of moon eye. Other than that, a good nudging won't hurt him.

Also true.

When I bought my son a Marlin 1894CB chambered in .44 mag for his 12th b-day last year, I thought he would take a beating and ask to have it put up until he was bigger. He grinned the whole time we were at the range and only until we got home did he show me his shoulder. We've cut back on how much magnum ammo he can shoot at one time now but he still loves it.
My first "real man's rifle" was an Enfield 1917 sporter. As time went on I bought a no gunsmithing base, and added a bushnell 3200 3-9x on it. I had been using this as a deer and a primer for long range shooting since I was about 13. When I got a job flipping burgers, I saved up to get more involved in precision-long range marksmanship with a Remington 700 PSS in .300 win mag with an IOR 10x56T. Because of the ergonomic design, I felt that shooting the PSS with 190 grain match loads (TTI armory) was more comfortable than shooting any load with the Enfield. I could obviously achieve better accuracy, not only because of the better design of the rifle, but for the fact that this rifle was obviously more comfortable.

For various reasons, I traded my .300 mag to a buddy of mine for a PSS in .308, despite many hours of customizing, to include the trigger, a Nightforce 20MOA rail and the IOR scope itself perfectly zeroed with little BDCs that I made attached around the knobs. After going through the whole process of smoothing out and lightening the trigger, barrel break in, and scope calibration, this time with a Ken Farrell 15MOA rail, shooting the .308 in a heavy rifle is some of the easiest and most accurate shooting I can do. I miss the capabilities of the .300 win mag, but I definitely like the cheaper ammo and ubiquity of the .308. Now I just need to get this Super Sniper 10x42 to turn itself into an IOR.
All things being equal (rifle weight, bullet weight, etc), they are very close, with slightly more recoil generated by an '06 . . . somewhere in the 11 - 13 foot-pound range for both, depending on bullet.
He is around 5'9 125 Pounds. He has only ever shot .22's but he wants to start shooting longer ranges and since I'm going to be getting a Savage 10FP in .308 I was just wondering.... I will be installing a Duramaxx stock so that should help with comfort a bit..
Depends on your kid. I recently turned 16 and I'm 6'2" and 235lbs. I'm getting a .308 in a couple weeks and have shot plenty of large bore rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
When I was 14 I had and shot a 30-06 regularly for deer hunting in Northern Michigan,,,so I would hazard a guess that a 15 year old, other than an urban wimp, which is to say a good old country boy, can certainly handle a 308...
well dtmoss im 17 and 5'8" and 130 i think he should have no problem after he shoots it 3-4 times and gets used to the recoil

Sounds as if the "desire" is there . . . go for it. I'd recommend 150-grain or lighter bullets (lighter bullet/lower recoil, but it's incremental), watch closely so he doesn't "crowd" the scope (set it at max eye-relief when you mount the optics), and no matter how much fun he is having, don't over-do it. Kids will surprise you & it's a joy to share things like this with your own (or others, as I do now). If it's kosher to do so where you shoot, use an "animated" target . . . milk jug full of water, balloons, clay birds . . . takes their mind off the perceived recoil when "something happens" upon impact. I introduced both Kids to a 12-gauge with light loads after Halloween shooting at pumpkins . . . they realized: a) the awesome power of a firearm, b) the responsibility associated with handling one; c) the realization that there is NO "taking back the shot" (I asked each if they could re-assemble the pumpkin; when they replied "No," I said to remember that . . . the rubber thing on the end of the buttstock is a recoil pad -- there's no eraser . . . ). Oh, and d) the deer in the area we were shooting had a fine decimated pumpkin meal that evening . . . all scraps were gone the next morning.
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