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Highpower for a 12 year old

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by sugarmaker, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    Hi everyone, we're new to the forum. My 12 year old son enjoys shooting, we're thinking service rifle might be fun. He's reasonably good standing, sitting, and prone with a single shot .22 bolt. He's tall and slim, 5 feet and 80 lbs soaking wet. I have fond (and somewhat vague) memories of doing SR with my older brother-in-law as a teenager (early 80's) using an M1A. So far, here's where we're at:

    Gun: Though I tried, he simply cannot hold an NM AR-15 - think grinch's dog when he tied the antlers on. "I can hold this, dad..." as the muzzle slowly droops. I ended up with a lightly used RRA elite CAR A4, we adjust the stock 2 clicks from full. He can hold this gun reasonably well with his hand under a 20 round mag. It's defintely all he can manage. He really likes the gun. Local club directors say equipment rules aren't strictly enforced for young shooters. I plan on standing behind him at all times.

    Spotting scope - found we really needed one of these at the local range (I grew up shooting with a 200 yd range behind our barn, really hate public ranges but...). Have a 20 year old wobbly wal mart tripod.

    Gear - none.

    Thus far we've been mostly on the bench at 50YDS learning sight picture and trigger control. Shooting federal XM193 (LC09). I'm a reasonably good shot myself, but feel I'm struggling as an instructor. We're in Vermont, neither one of us is a really keen cold weather shooter, so we go on 30+ degree Sundays.

    Some questions for experienced instructor / parents:

    What gear should we get? I have 2 younger kids coming up, possibly even my wife:what:, would love to make this a family sport. I'm not a gear nut, but I will buy quality gear if it makes a difference. I don't want lack of equipment / poor quality/ ill fitting to be a point of frustration. Cheap is fine as long as it works well. If this dies out I want the reason to be lack of interest and not equipment.

    Pointers on books or personal tips on instruction?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sugarmaker
     
  2. mm1ut1

    mm1ut1 Member

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    I am in the same situation. I decided to let my daughter shoot in 22 sporter matches. Don't need a lot of gear and the competition can be fierce. She shoots an Erma/Iver Johnson "M1 carbine" 22. A good trainer for service rifle. Heck I use one myself for practice! Any 22 rifle with a 5 round magazine is eligible, but there are weight limits and no Anschutz type target rifles allowed. 22 Sporter was started with new shooters in mind, but is challenging enough for adults. Give it a try.
     
  3. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Far as a spotting scope, a Konus scopes are the best deal out there. Jim Owens has the best deal of them all a too http://www.jarheadtop.com/KONUS.htm scroll to the bottom for the rent a scope bit.

    In terms of the rifle, if he can shoot your carbine with the stock collapsed then it's not too bad of an option. Officially he'd be in the match rifle category, but as noted especially when starting out juniors and new shooters aren't held to strict standards. If you've got other centerfire rifles (that'll reach out to 200-600 yds depending on your range) that he's more comfortable/capable of shooting I might go that route. If not no worries.

    Far as must have equipment, the only thing is a shooting sling. Everything else you can improvise or add on later. Far as slings go a GI web sling is the cheapest and easiest to use. It has set and held several national records too, http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.as...Category=ded35583-5dba-48bd-a934-6fb8d2981326

    Shooting jackets are great, but especially with growing kids it can be an expensive investment. A cheap cloth shooting jacket doesn't do a whole lot that a heavy stiff jacket (carhart stlye) can't. For the adults a good shooting jacket is a good investment, check for used ones to help lower the cost. A shooting glove is about the same, a ski glove or other thick glove will work fine if you already own one. A heavily padded running backs glove with the super sticky palm works REALLY well and can be a lot cheaper then purpose built shooting gloves.

    Beyond that an old army blanket or camp pad makes a good low cost shooting mat, and a 5 gallon bucket (or 25lb cat litter bucket in my case) makes a great cheap/free gear tote. A score book makes tracking you're progress much easier and is highly recommend, but can be made out of graph paper or an old school chemistry notebook.

    A range cart that holds your rifle, scope, score book, etc is quiet nice though. Especially if the whole family is coming along it'd be a good investment.

    Overall I'd go shoot a match or two with basic gear and see how it goes. If people are interested then I'd start looking at a basic canvas or cloth shooting jacket as your first big investment. Don't over think shooting your first few matches, just go shoot and have fun. I'd also pick up the Army Marksmanship Units Guide to Service Rifle: https://estore.odcmp.com/store/cata...pmax=&note1=&note2=&note3=&note4=&note5=&max= Only $6.95 and has a ton of good info.

    -Jenrick
     
  4. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    I would start by taking him to Appleseed. They are said to be great at teaching shooting skills. And/or join a gun club with a good range and long-range events. Either way, you'll get in with people who really can teach some good things about shooting and gear.

    80 pounds is pretty light, so I'd keep him in light calibers (.22LR, 17HMR, .204 Ruger) for right now. Stick with a light rifle that he can handle on his own.
     
  5. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    Check with your local club they probably have a junior program. Some will provide all the equipment. The one I used to shoot with even provided ammo for the juniors.
     
  6. P-32

    P-32 Member

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    I would look for a 4-H small bore club first. Small bore does everything for High Power and most clubs have the gear for a shooter to use. This will give him a couple of years.

    In my area out in the sticks of Eastern Washington, there is a 4-H club who has bought AR's for the kids to use too if they have the desire. They have adults who train the kids Marksmanship. Some of the kids stick with it and have become quit the shooters.

    There was one Junior who has made High Power his game. He has missed a few matches due to sports and girlfriends. He was the youngest shooter one of the ranges would allow to shoot High Power because of the location impact area relative to houses and people. It is an old range and the town grew up around it. The match director found the kid was able to follow instuctions and never dropped the bolt on a elevated muzzel.

    Your area Friends of the NRA director should be able to tell you who has a small bore club in your area.

    Another idea would be to put a A1 stock on your AR. The A1 stock is shorter.
     
  7. TonyDedo

    TonyDedo Member

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    sugarmaker, sounds like the Appleseed program would be a PERFECT fit for you and your son. The program teaches fundamental rifleman skills in a very accessible and affordable manner, and sprinkles some history and heritage into the mix. It's perfect for your son to learn the fundamentals, and would be a great review for you. The program is very, very strong in New England, and we have some great instructions in the region (including Nickle, one of the program's master instructors).

    Things are slow in New England during the winter (I think there's one program in NH at the end of February), but I'd highly recommend the Patriot's Day program in Harvard, MA on April 17th. Patriot's Day (anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord) is the official holiday of the Appleseed program, and it's an especially good program to attend.

    As far as equipment goes, my girlfriend (who isn't much bigger than your son) shoots a Colt lightweight target rifle with an ACE entry skeleton stock. It's the smallest, lightest AR I've seen, and fits her like a glove. Perhaps something to look into.

    Also, you might want to consider a .22LR upper or .22LR conversion kit (I recommend the dedicated upper from Spike Tactical) for the rifle. Makes practice far more affordable.

    I received many recommendations for a Celestron spotting scope, got one, and love it.

    Otherwise, just make sure your equipment functions 100% (don't cheap out on magazines) and get in as much practice and training as you can.
     
  8. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Member

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    Well, the collapsible stock takes you out of the SERVICE RIFLE class, but you can shoot it in the MATCH RIFLE class in NRA matches. Using the collapsible stock completely excludes you from shooting in CMP competitions.

    In order to compete, the only gear that you must have is the rifle, two magazines and a sling. Other niceties are:

    A glove/mitt is nice to have as it can relieve some of the sling pressure on your hand when shooting in position. full glove/open finger types are personal preference. The cheap route is to use an oven mitt with the finger-end cut off.

    Extra magazines are nice. I carry 5 of them and preload all my mags for the rapid fire strings ahead of time. That way to also have a spare in case you have a magazine malfunction.

    A shooting mat is nice as it can help keep your body in position (and out of the mud!). A closed-cell foam camping pad works well.

    Sight black/sight smokers are nice too. They help blacken the sights and give you a nice crisp sight picture.

    A simple stool is nice as it can be used to haul all your stuff around. Also, it can be used to rest the rifle on the stool when shooting in the standing position. Avoid getting a cart for now

    Shooting coats are nice in that they provide additional support, but can also set you back some serious money. An old surplus cloth coat may be a nice place to start if you feel you need one.

    A spotting scope is a great tool to have, but you'll want to balance cost vs the quality of the optics. With decent optics, you should be able to pick out most .223 holes at 200yds, but it will depend on conditions.

    Lastly, start keeping a data book to record shot placement, shooting conditions and other performance related notes. Over time, it will turn into a useful reference book to measure your progress. There are a number available for purchase, but there are some available for download as well.

    It's nice if you can find a mentor that will be willing to offer coaching. Best bet is to show up to some matches and explain your situation to the match director & other shooters. I'm sure that someone will be willing to pony up some useful pointers!
     
  9. UMB

    UMB Member

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    At my club juniors shoot free. Everything until they're 21.
     
  10. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    Unless your 12 year old's the size of an adult, Highpower rifle's going to be a difficult game simply becasue nothing will really fir to him.

    Have him do an Appleseed, if he's really into it find him a smallbore junior program. A couple years shooting tens of thousands of .22 will make him nearly a zen voodoo Jedi Master across the course.
     
  11. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    22LR smallbore silhouette is fun for kids

    Lost of good suggestions, esp. the bit about keeping it fun. imo, for kids, shooting paper gets old, fast; shooting steel is more rewarding.

    Suggest you look into smallbore metallic silhouette (NRA sanctioned) which involves nothing more than a good quality 5-shot .22LR (bolt or 10-22) rifle w/o sling or glove, a good scope (14x, 16x are useful magnifications), a decent spotting scope for the spotter (you), a small match fee, and that's all. Shooting coats are allowed. All shots are from standing; there's a shelf in front of you to hold ammo and rest the rifle between relays. Each spotter keeps his shooter's scorecard.

    SB silhouette targets are cast iron (10 tiny chickens on a stand at 40M, 10 slightly bigger pigs at 60M, 10 thin tall turkeys at 77M, and 10 rams at 100M.

    All shooters come to the line and start together, with 2.5 minutes to hit their first 10 animals. Then everyone moves on to the next rack where there is 2.5 minutes to shoot the next 10 animal relay. And so on till you've fired 40 shots. Targets must be shot in sequence, and a miss is a miss - there is no 2nd chance or makeup shot.

    The sound and visuals of the hits are very entertaining. There are several levels through which the competitors can move through, so the kids get a sense of progression within their class. Disciplined safe kids are definitely welcome at most silhouette matches.

    edit: like jaholder1971 said above, a couple years practicing and competing in SB metallic silhouette means you son will fire some 10,000 rounds. That's 10,000 target acquisitions, sight pictures, hold and release, 10,000 follow-throughs.

    When your son is ready, he can give HP silhouette a go. Matches are shot with 6.5mm, .260s, 7-08s. The targets are scaled up but still shot offhand: chickens at 200M, pigs at 300, turkeys at ? and rams at 500M. Now that is excitement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  12. gamike

    gamike Member

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    I am a 4h rifle coach and there are other programs to shoot in to get the basics for high power .As someone said earlier talk to the local 4h ,but talk to them about sporter and precision air rifle . that would be the best way to start . Dont be upset if they want you to go through bbgun .We ALWAYS had kids start in bb because we needed to know if the kids were going to be a problem child and would much rather turn them loose with bb than with pellets . If you pm me i can probably get you in touch with your local 4h
     
  13. HB

    HB Member

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    Start with sporter air rifle or smallbore. A good smallbore shooter will smoke many SR shooters after they get some experience shooting outside.
     
  14. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Good point, HB. The low pellet velocity forces the shooter to REALLY follow-through or drop the shot. Some of the best SR (silhouette rifle) shooters train with airguns.

    A competitor friend is buying a quality air rifle next month. He wants us to train together - lucky me.
     
  15. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    jak and P-32 said it: Get him into a 4-H smallbore type competition. I shoot High Power and help coach our kids smallbore team. The smallbore shoots take place at 50' with targets that are proportional to High Power targets at their respective distances, in other words, the sight picture is exactly the same for smallbore and High Power. After learning to shoot at these targets at 50', High Power should be realitively easy to switch to. One of our smallbore team members who is a husky 15 year old, shoots High Power with us and almost always shoots Expert scores.

    I also wouldn't automatically go to an AR. The gentleman who wins practically every one of our local matches and is a High Master shooter shoots a Win. Mod. 70 .223 with Redfield sights. Another Master score competitor shoots a Remington 700 .223 with Redfield sights. Both rifles have smooth, short bolt throws and shoot circles around even heavily modified AR's.
    35W
     
  16. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    Thanks to all for the advice. We're looking into the appleseed program, sounds really interesting. We also like the smallbore silhouette idea (knockin' stuff over can't be beat), we have a win 62a, 61, (both pump) and a single shot 510 targetmaster, along with a few other bolt action .22's. The 510 is more like a full sized rifle, everyone in our family started on that gun. The 61/62 are very easy to hold. All of these guns have the classic open sights, not of the highest quality. Have a '94 38-55 SRC with lyman tang peep which is a very light gun also, might be fun for him. Maybe we need to get a good small frame .22LR with apeture sights?? Any suggestions for that area? Say we spend $400 incl. sights?
     
  17. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    I'd look into possibly the old Mossberg U.S. 44. They usually come with good aperture sights. If not, Redfield 75's are relatively inexpensive and Williams and Lyman currently make receiver sights for .22's. Even the Remington 510 Targetmaster would be fine as smallbore is all single-load shooting. Alot of the Mossberg .22's produced in the '40's,'50's and '60's came equipped with decent sights for competition shooting. You might also check with the CMP as they sometimes have surplus .22's. Though about 1/2 our kids have their own rifles, our smallbore program has more than enough rifles for all the kids with a few left over.
    I cannot overstate the importance of a good foundation when it comes to target shooting. There's so much more to shooting than lining up the sights and pulling the trigger. A good smallbore program will have coaches that know how to work with kids in these areas.
    I began shooting our local High Power matches in earnest about a year ago and at age 46 even after having hunted and being a gun nut all my life, I've learned volumes about shooting from the smallbore coaches with whom I compete in High Power. It also made a remarkable difference in my shooting abilities in the field last hunting season.

    35W
     
  18. sfc_mark

    sfc_mark Member

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    CMP has Savage Mk I and Mk II FVT youth .22lr target rifles at way below MSRP if you qualify for purchase. $220 for the Mk I (single shot) and $225 for the Mk II (5-shot). Both come with aperture sights.
     
  19. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    quoting 35 Whelen:
    "I began shooting our local High Power matches in earnest about a year ago and at age 46 even after having hunted and being a gun nut all my life, I've learned volumes about shooting from the smallbore coaches with whom I compete in High Power. It also made a remarkable difference in my shooting abilities in the field last hunting season."

    Training and competing with guys that are 4x as good as I am has helped my shooting immensely. Our R&G club has a weekly rifle match that I attend regularly and I've noticed that everyone's field position shooting has improved over the last few years.

    If the OP gets his 12yo kid into some sort of fun but structured program, and the kid wants to do well, that young feller will grow up to be a very efficient shot on game, steel or paper.
     
  20. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    I don't know if you meant to type not allowed, but just to clarify, they're not allowed in silhouette.
     
  21. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...80 pounds is pretty light..." Means nothing. It's his upper body tone/strength that's light.
    I'd look into the CMP M1 Carbine matches as well as small bore, though. The Carbine is light weight, well balanced and short.
     
  22. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Sorry, I wasn't precise enough:
    You are right, shooting coats as used in Camp Perry National Match events (the ones that truss you up with straps) are not allowed in silhouette.

    What is allowed are shooting vests with pockets. The better vests are fairly heavy (leather),worn loose, but they tend to steady reticle wobble.
    iirc, you can put a 22LR ammo box or two in each pocket, which also lowers the center of gravity and is great on a gusty day.
     
  23. westerngrizzly

    westerngrizzly Member

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    about the rifle. you can get an A4 with a breaching gun stock (the mini A2 stock). even with a heavy barrel the rifle will probably be managable. I know a 10 year old who does this. and the clubs are happy to let him shoot. once he learns the basics and gets a little stronger you can put a sevice rifle upper on the lower and change out the stock.
    matt
     
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