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Teaching the Grandkids to use a boltgun, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ThunderDownUnder, Dec 31, 2013.

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  1. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    Both our boys started on Chipmunks, which are like a Cricket. Single shot bolt guns. They learned to shoot with them from field positions, and I always made them work the bolt like it was a repeater as they were learning.

    Great, accurate little rifles that are scaled to fit kids, so it makes for easy learning.

    When they both got to be around 8 or so, they each got an FR8 in .308, and they never skipped a beat.

    Between range trips, they sat in front of the TV with strippers of dummy rounds, dry firing and reloading using the strippers until they could do it in their sleep.

    Learning the basics young pays off big time. :)
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    A big rifle in a big caliber is generally the worst possible choice for teaching youngsters to shoot.

    Sure, it can be done, and you can build mild loads and could use a muzzle brake. But you're starting out behind the 8-ball there with a gun that won't fit either of them well, and that's probably much more important that which caliber.

    Yes, many of us were subjected to poorly fitted guns with unforgiving recoil levels and managed to struggle through and eventually overcome that detriment to eventually learn to enjoy shooting and to shoot well -- but why put anyone through that? These days there is no need at all.

    Find a gun that FITS them (there are lots of micro- and youth-sized guns out there these days) and pick a cartridge that has mild recoil -- .22, .223, .30 Carbine, .357, etc., double up the plugs and muffs (THAT'S IMPORTANT if you're not starting with .22s) and set them up to learn.
     
  3. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    That's an excellent idea. I started the same way. Had a bolt action, single shot pellet gun for several years before I received my first "real" gun around age 13-14. Several thousand pellets were fired in those early years. I think pellets are about $5 for a few hundred of em. Hard to go wrong with that. Start em with irons, progress to an airgun optic about a year later if desired, then progress to a 22 rimfire another year or two later if they demonstrate safe handling practices with the airguns. Plenty of opportunity to establish marksmanship skills in the meantime, and even inexpensive airguns are accurate and powerful enough to keep a kid entertained for several years.
     
  4. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    I will second the pellet rifle, these are real guns now not toys.

    I would suggest looking at something along the lines of a QB series rifle, these are Chinese made (hold on a sec) and of amazing quality.

    I have one for practice with and it is just amazing, at a price at under $100 you can have one that will run on 2 CO2 cartridges and you will get about 100 shots out of each pair of cartridges. You can also have them run off of paint ball tanks but IMHO that screws up the balance of the rifle.

    You can easy put 10 shots at 25 into the area of a dime....I love to shoot cherries out of the tree near my house.

    Pellets are very inexpensive, I can assure you that you are going to be dollars ahead over even a 22 rifle with ammo prices what they are now.

    Don't discount good air rifles....I would also suggest staying away from the Magnum springers....they do require a different type of hold, and different scopes should you ever want to scope the rifle....plus you have to cock it each time....with CO2 it is more like a "real" rifle.

    Good luck and if you do want to look at the QB check out Archers Airguns website. I have bought two from him and am VERY happy with the quality, finish and just how accurate these sub $100 air rifles are.

    And if needed it is a good hunting rifle for smaller pests....starlings and such that is all you ever need. I don't think I would take anything larger then a tree rat however.
     
  5. threoh8

    threoh8 Member

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    Just an idea, if using that Mauser is a firm part of the plan:

    Get a plain unfinished wood sporter stock from Richards or another stockmaker, cut it to give an appropriate length of pull for the youngsters with a recoil pad in placem, and do some minimal finishing. In other words, make an inexpensive temporary stock for training smaller people. Factory second stocks and used stocks are fairly cheap.

    Oh, and refinishing the stock could be another fun quality-time project.

    Definitely develop some inexpensive, low recoil loads. Consider "The Load" (from C. E. Harris - the article is available several places online.)
     
  6. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    I'll echo everything in Post #27. I began shooting at age 8, continued till college, then took a fair bit of time to get back to it. It started with rigid training and ill fitting firearms that nearly turned me away for life.

    When I started my journey back, I started with a new .22 even though I owned one already. That has ballooned to some dozen rimfires along with centerfire rifles, shotguns and handguns. Make it easy, make it fun and allow the shooter to decide if and when it becomes more challenging.

    An air rifle would be a great bargain these days but current ammo prices aside, a .22 bolt action properly cared for will last several lifetimes. Hardly a losing investment. For a nice starter rifle I'd recommend the Savage Rascal, had for $169 nearly everywhere in a variety of colors. It's sized right for youngsters with a decent peep sight and a trigger they can actually pull with one finger.
     
  7. WYO

    WYO Member

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    I really like the new Ruger American Rimfire Compact. It has a short stock for kids, and a $20 stock adapter turns it into a full size stocked rifle when the kids grow up. It has a solid feeling and a decent trigger for learning the fundamentals right the first time without blast and recoil.
     
  8. Tinpig

    Tinpig Member

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    All 4 of my kids (and their friends) learned to shoot with my old .22 Model 69A Winchester. They really enjoyed operating the bolt and loading the magazine, and became good shooters and safe gun handlers with it. Good enough so my youngest boy qualified Expert in both rifle and pistol the first time he shot his Coast Guard courses.
    I didn't move them to centerfire until they were totally comfortable with the .22.

    IMG_0625_zpse2620a08.gif

    Ready for the grandkids now.:)

    Tinpig
     
  9. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    I have an old Stevens 15-B, single shot .22 that is perfect for teaching a kid to shoot. It's not kid size but it's not quite adult size either. Kids outgrow those kid size guns like they outgrow shoes - quickly. Unless you're willing to buy new guns soon I'd get something a little bigger. I still shoot my Stevens some. It's very accurate and is so simple it will last 500 years. There's only about 5 moving parts in the thing. Kids can operate it. My kids learned to shoot on it. My brother used it to hunt squirrels for decades. My neighbor killed varmints with it before leaving it to dad in his will. I've had it around for almost 40 years myself. It shoots shorts, longs and LR's too which can be a good thing. I think your 8mm is going to scare kids pretty badly or at least it would some kids. And the price is a big thing. You can buy a used Stevens like mine for $50 at times. It will cost far more than that to alter your 8mm. And that will be a heavy gun instead of one a kid can operate well.

    I think about 95% of us learned to shoot rifles with a .22. I did. I actually learned shotguns first because dad didn't want us shooting the neighbors across the river. It was a good half a mile to their house but even with a .22 that's possible. Not with a shotgun though. A shotgun has a very limited range. We used .410's at first but quickly moved up. Those .410's didn't get much use after that. Again you get a kid size gun and when the kid is no longer kid size the gun will collect dust.

    I don't get why you think you would lose money on a .223 or a .17 either. Both are much more expensive to shoot than a .22 (in normal times anyway) but they don't lose their value. I have a bolt action .223 that will hold it's value until long after I'm dead and gone.

    There are lots of older .22's around like the ones mentioned in this thread. A popular design for kids was the pull to cock models like the Stevens, There are a lot of rifles like that around from different companies. It's a solid design that will stand up to abuse. I expect to teach my grandkids to shoot with the same rifle in fact. I could have learned on that Stevens but I had already learned on a Marlin before we got the Stevens. It's older than I am though and it still works perfect and shoots as well as any rifle I own. Accuracy is important in teaching kids too. They need to learn that when they do things right they will hit what they're aiming at IMO.
     
  10. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Outgrow a Rifle???

    This Savage belongs to my son. Under 4 lbs., short LOP and one of my favorite to shoot. I'm 6'2" and I cannot imagine outgrowing the rifle. My daughter's Savage (in pink) is just as much fun to shoot though it gets me looks at the range when she isn't along.

    9pq19Zml.jpg
     
  11. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Certified instructor here. A pellet or BB pistol is a good starter because they can learn sight alignment and trigger control and they are fun and easy to shoot. Now some use airsoft pistols. When they have mastered that go to a pellet or BB rifle gun. Daisy makes a model called the Target pro for around $100 that is excellent. Do not use a springer for training as the hold is different. I do agree about the QB78 air rifle. A great 10 meter air rifle.. CO 2 powered so it is much like shooting a 22lr.
    It is essential to learn proper holds, sight alignment, trigger control and safety before being distracted by the noise and recoil of centerfire. I would then let them try a .22lr. Next. Then the kids will have good habits. If you start them wrong you will screw them up for good. I have seen a lot of kids taught by dad or grandpa that had every bad habit you can name. Do not start them on a center fire. If you think that is ok you should not be teaching them. Maybe you should volunteer for a youth shooting program and get some training on how to train kids. Once you get them gun shy, blinking or flinching you won't cure it. They won't learn if they don't enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Time was companies used to sell that feature as a bonus, but in reality it is a fiddly bit of hassle that doesn't make anyone one whit safer. It's a way of masking a design/manufacturing shortcut as a desireable benefit. I've distinctly avoided training with rifles that are so (in-)equipped.

    It has nothin to do with the normal operation of any gun they'll ever use again. Kind of like learning to drive in a car you have to pull-start every time you come to a stop sign.
     
  13. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    Santa---a.k.a. Grandpa---just brought my 8-year old grandson a Savage Rascal for Christmas. I did a heck of a lot of study before getting the Rascal based on what I thought was important, including a single-shot only rifle, bolt action, and peep sights. The little feller is short on stature, so I wanted to be sure his limited upper body strength was capable of offhand shooting. The LOP and weight were perfect, so he gets an excellent cheek weld. Of course, I wanted to "bring him up" on a good trigger, and the Accutrigger is excellent in this regard. We spent hours indoors dry-firing yellow plastic drywall anchors as dummy rounds.

    I believe he is getting a first-rate education with the Savage Rascal.
     
  14. Ashcons

    Ashcons Member

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    If you want them to enjoy shooting, don't start them with too much gun. When I was younger (maybe 9th grade), my younger cousin was visiting and we went shooting with my shotgun (20-ga). The recoil was too much and he did not enjoy shooting that day; I'm pretty sure it was the first time he'd been shooting.

    I think a .22lr would have been much more fun for him, especially since you can practice on the basics of targeting and you can find inexpensive bolt-action .22lr rifles both new and used.

    The Savage MKII I bought at WM a couple years ago ran me $120 after tax. The biggest issue right now would be finding ammo if you don't already have some squirreled away.
     
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