Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Jack Package, Sep 5, 2014.
Sounds like the place I grew up.
My kids were started at 6 with the small .22's
One took it like a natural and can hit anything he shoots at, the other..... Well he still needs practice, a lot of it. But he doesn't seem to care much for the shooting sports so I don't force him. They are 15 & 11 now.
My oldest was squirrel hunting by himself at probably age 9-10. I fully trusted him and there was never any problem, my youngest I don't trust him at all with a loaded gun now. He just doesn't have the interest so he doesn't have the experience either.
My point is, all kids are different and your judgement is the key, just be sure to error on safety if you error.
My son started out on one of my single shot .22 rifles. He was in elementary school. He moved up to a shorter .22 hornet with a scope in jr. High school after that he used my regular guns starting with a Marlin 30-30 he had a double barrel .410 shot gun he inhearted from my dad he was in elementary school. He loved that gun. Dad used it to pepper stubern bulls when the would not act right. 20'yards away most of the time with bird shot. daughter followed the same rout but she did not want anything to do with dear hunting, eventhow mom has been hunting and shoot since she was small.
I don't dislike the cricket, I hate the Cricket! If you want an excellent youth model .22, look at the Savage Rascal. It is roughly $150-175 with a composition stock and $50 higher with a wood stock. It has a true safety, good sights, and scope mounts can be purchased for it. It comes with Savage's AccuTrigger and the trigger pull can be adjusted for safety or for accuracy as the child's skills improve. Savage has done an excellent job with this rifle and I suspect they are selling it with a low profit margin.
My two boys were taught at the age of 6 with a Marlin "Lil Buckaroo" single shot bolt action .22 made for little kids
Started mine with a Cricket when she was 5.
If I had it to do over again, I would choose a different rifle for all the reasons stated by others here, but it worked out well enough.
She now "owns" several guns and loves to shoot them all. By "owns" I mean they are available to her only under my supervision (or that of a highly trusted adult). IFshe wants, they will go with her when she leaves my home. I have not decided at what point she will be allowed unsupervised access. That is certainly some years away as she is only 12 now. (My father used to hunt on his own when he was twelve, but those were different times.)
I got my first BB gun at age 8 and started shooting 22 rifles at age 11 or 12. I think that is a good maturity starting age IMO.
My little brother always jokingly said he is glad we never had our own guns when we were kids because we would have probably shot each other. My little brother shot me in the leg once with his BB gun... little brother got a beating from big brother and it never happened again.
I bought my first gun when I was 26 though. I just had other priorities that were more important. It was actually my wife who suggested I get a gun for home defense and I bought a Mossberg 500 12ga. The clerk knew I was buying my first gun and said "welcome to the addiction" and I thought nah I will only have 2 or 3 at most, 12ga and a 22LR rifle... maybe a handgun... I still remember that.
Turns out he was right and I was wrong!
I bought a cricket for my daughter when she was three or so... Figured I'd have it on hand when the time is right... Now considering a Savage...
Now she's seven and shows interest. She cant shoot at the range I frequent until she's ten (though the owner might bend the rule on a case by case basis), however I'm thinking about picking up a Red Ryder for use in the yard first.
Both my boys got BB guns at 4 years of age. Spent that year learning firearms safety, and demonstrating the power of a BB gun. Once I was satisfied with both boys performance (both learned quickly) Santa brought them .22 cal pumps for Christmas. It was then demonstrated to them the difference in power between BB and rimfire using milk jugs full of water and pop cans. At the age of 8 both recieved .410 shotguns, along with another demonstration of power using large fruit and watermelon.
My oldest is now 14 and last Christmas (13 years Old) he wanted a 270. Demonstration ensued....
My youngest now 11, last Christmas got a .22 autoloader, A cheap M1 knockoff.
I built my oldest, this year for Christmas a AMD-64 AK variant. Its what he wanted from the parts kits I have laying around, and my youngest and I are one lower away from from completing his AR based rifle.
Understand, we live rural and spend plenty time shooting. My 11 year old can now shoot a fullsize .45 ACP like most average grown men, and my 14 year old is a wonderful shot with the high powered rifles. Both have fired full auto UZI's, AC-556's and belt fed's without need for a hand laid on them to help. They really enjoy shooting cylinder after cylinder from the .357 mag wheel guns.
So, to say a general age, would be hard to do.....it is all in how you ramp them up, and how much time and money you spend with them. That decides when the time is right.
The only thing I STRONGLY suggest though, is to start them out with BB or pellet....and demonstrations on items of the damage it can do can be a real eye opener for a young-un.
Buy quality not a cheap toy pellet gun or youth type firearm.
I agree about buying quality, but I remain convince that buying youth sized guns for young ones' first shooting experience is vital. It needs to fit them.
My daughter has a Ruger American Rimfire compact model waiting on her to get old enough to shoot, if she's interested. The interchangeable stock pieces so the gun "grows" with her was really appealing. I'm over 6'1" with monkey arms, but my wife is just a bit over 5', so we have no idea how tall our daughter will be. Even with the shorter stock, the rifle would still be useable for me, though I'd prefer the full size.
As for when, it will all depend. I can't tell you how many people I know who grew up with loaded guns propped up in the corner. I knew where the key to my Dad's gun cabinet was long before I was big enough to actually reach it. But we all knew the whoopin' we'd get if we touched one of them. We also knew we could go shoot them just about any time as long as our parents were with us. A lot of kids today don't fit that scenario...
I have fired a BB gun just once in my 40+ years, enough to kill a barn pidgeon while staying with a friend. As my father saw it BB guns were less likely to last, people treat them as safer and don't lock them up and they filled (for us) a non-existent gap.
I started shooting at age 8 with a 20ga single-shot and Browning Buckmark but started cleaning dad's duty revolvers at around 6. The first firearm I was given was a bolt action .22 at 11 and yes, I was required to maintain it and secure it in the safe. Still required parental supervision at all times.
For my own 3 children I started them at age 3 with .22s, getting them used to noise, mechanics and trigger pull. They all have rifles and pistols designated as "theirs" but for now until they leave the nest those arms are my sole responsibility. Leave the house and buy a safe, and I'll add be of good temperament, and the guns are theirs.
I don't know if they still make the Marlin 915YS Single Shot .22 But I used to own one and it was a fantastically accurate and fun gun to shoot. I wished I still owned it.
Just get him an AKM, it works for the africans. Although I did start out shooting an sks.
myself and my best friend have owned our own guns as in kept them in our rooms since we were 12 and 13 we shot them on our own and hunted by ourselves but i would actually give a child his/her first gun around 12-14 but as many others have stated it is really a matter of if the child is capable of handaling a firearm and make no mistakes
I think the single-shot, child-oriented rifles like the Cricket series are perfect for young shooters. I think almost any age would be fine for these rifles obviously while under strict adult supervision.
Depends on the individual child and is up to the parent/legal guardian.
The 8-10 listed by OP will probably be accurate for a great many. Some could be younger, perhaps ~6. A big factor here is of course the full context of what they will be doing and what degree of directly control a responsible person/adult will have.
Physically holding the single shot rifle at the same time as them, the entire time, prone or sitting at a bench, with the rifle on a rest, is different from them shooting on their own (even if you are standing a few feet away watching)
How about 12 and a .22 LR? Then 13 can be a 30-30?
We follow our countries laws, and they state you can start to fire "real arms" from 16 y.
In Switserland, kids start to train with SG 90 and K31 from 10 (yes ten) years old.
There are kids, less then 12 y, competing in 300 m matches with k31 rifles
I don't know what's best, but here is what we did:
My kids learned to shoot with air rifles, from 8 y old
heavy competition air rifles of the rest from 10 y, to learn aiming, breathing, concentration and trigger control, without having to worry about weight or recoil.
free standing from 12 (rifles weights about 9 lbs)
It seems to have worked, because tomorrow my daughter flies of to Granada, Spain, to take part in the World Championships as one of the youngest participants (she's 15 now)
Next year she'll turn 16 and she will have a single shot 22 lr to compete with, probably Bleiker.
here she is, training in our basement
My son is 6, he has had a red Ryder bb gun with about 5" of the stock cut off for about 6 months. the bb gun is a test, I treat it, and expect him to treat it like a real gun, the 4 rules of gun safety are printed out and stuck to the refrigerator. we are watching and so far he has been decent, his finger stays off the trigger until he is on target, he is using the safety, but he has a hard time staying focused and not getting excited, he has accidentally swept others with the barrel as he moves about, so that keeps real guns out of his hands, but he is learning and getting better, I am hoping he will be ready for a savage rascal by his 7th birthday but he will not get it until he can demonstrate perfect gun safety. and he will only have it in hand when under direct supervision until his teenage years.
I think that is an individual decision based on the aptitude and personality, intelligence, etc. Of the child. No 2 people are the same so to attempt to generalize with something that can be as cautionary as shooting , is not something that should be done with one set of rules for everyone.
"This is suggested from time to time, and taking a kid to Appleseed is a great idea. However, it probably isn't a very good idea for basic firearms introduction. I wouldn't try to introduce a kid to firearms by taking them to any large organized shooting event. They should have the four rules and basic operation down, and be comfortable and safe with a gun, IMHO, before they're handed to an instructor for skills development."
The thing is we teach a lot of kids and new shooters at Appleseed and we see how well they do. They learn safety first and foremost in a formal setting. They then build confidence and competence in handling a firearm in an active setting (slinging up, steady hold factorys, 6 steps to firing a shot in 3 positions i.e., standing, sitting/kneeling and prone. I've had 10 year old, little skinny girls who have never touched a gun before and couldn't hit the paper shooting tiny little groups in multiple positions by the afternoon of the first day.
I taught my kids how to shoot and they did ok. My grandkids are going to Appleseed as soon as they are old enough. It is the best program to teach kids. But it is not a beginner program, it is for anyone who wants to learn to shoot better.
Maturity level is far more important than simple chronological age.
Even a .22 RF is deadly under the wrong circumstances.
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