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Youth deer rifle caliber recommendations

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by todd-45, Oct 25, 2006.

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  1. todd-45

    todd-45 Member

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    It's time to get my 8 year old son a deer rifle. He's got a youth size .22 and he also shoots an old single shot .410 that was handed down to me by my father. He's not new to guns and he has been brought up hunting with me and has learned to respect guns. I've got a .243 he might could shoot but it's got the full size stock so he can't shoulder it to shoot it. What would be a good caliber for deer that he could shoot? I've looked at 22-250, 223, etc. but I'm not familiar with how they kick. I shoot .270 and .308 and have never shot anything smaller than .243. Any recommendations on caliber? It will probably be either a 700 or Win 70.
     
  2. enkindler

    enkindler Member

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    Growing up my brother had a 257 roberts, I had a 25-06, we both still use the same deer guns almost 20 years later.
     
  3. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    What's the .243? I mean, what kind of rifle? Youth stocks are available for some types, for a lot less money than a whole rifle. He's going to grow up pretty quick, and a youth rifle won't be good for much then.

    That's about a perfect caliber, I think.

    Bigger, and it'll have an adult-size kick, smaller, and you're wandeing into unethical hunting territory.:)
     
  4. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    CZ 527 Carbine in 7.62x39 would be a good choice for a kid. I just bought one for plinking and target shooting and love it. Light weight, easy to handle, and good on deer out to 150yds or so.
     
  5. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Sounds like a NEF youth model in 243 would do just fine.
     
  6. Inner Monkey

    Inner Monkey Member

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    My 10 year old loves our 30-30 Winchester lever gun.
     
  7. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    Hi IM...

    Top 10 deer cartridges for all hunters between the ages of 8 and 108 are:

    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester
    .243 Winchester :D
     
  8. 'Card

    'Card Member

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    I went through the same process choosing a hunting gun for my son a few months ago. I'll be honest though and say that while he's had a lot of range and shooting experience, I personally wasn't comfortable letting him carry a gun in the woods until he turned 11.

    I chose H&R/NEF's Superlight Youth Handi-Rifle/Combo (comes with a .243 rifle barrel and a 20-gauge shotgun barrel) for him. He liked the way it felt a lot, and I was a lot more comfortable with a single-shot gun for a young man. I remember when I was a kid, knowing I only had one shot made me much more cautious and less likely to shoot carelessly.

    Two other things I liked about the Youth Combo were that he can use the same gun for squirrels, deer, birds, whatever - and as he grows I can simply buy different barrels for it. I was also pleased to find that the gun has a big, black, prominent hammer, which means Dad can look over and make sure the thing isn't cocked from 20 feet away.
     
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    :)

    Without his even knowing that you're "spying on him."

    Apart from being an entertaining poster, you sound like a great Dad!

    Perhaps you can give me lessons. We've got one on the way in a few short months, and I've never done this before. I mean, I guess the dog turned out okay, mostly, but that's as close as I've been.
     
  10. Davo

    Davo Member

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    You could get a savage youth hunter (smaller stock), either in .243,
    7mm08,or .308(and just shoot the .308 reduced recoil loadings till hes a bit older). With the savage and some others he can upgrade to a full sized stock when hes a bit older.
    The NEF single shot in any of the above calibers will do fine also, 'Card knows what he's talking about.
     
  11. Mr White

    Mr White Member

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    Make a man out of him right from the start

    .300 RUM!

    that , or a .243.

    I have a 700 SPS .243, 20" barrel, youth stock with a Nikon Buckmaster 4-14 scope. It does double duty as a varmit (groundhog/coyote) gun for me and a deer rifle for my oldest son.

    I just read and article that the .243 is a cartridge on the decline because it straddles the fence between varmits and deer and the trend nowadays is for more specialization, but its an excellent cartridge capable of taking deer out to 400 yards.

    Your other obvious choice would be a 30-30, but that might even be too much for an 8YO. IMO, .22-250 and .223 are too small for deer.
     
  12. Samuel_Hoggson

    Samuel_Hoggson Member

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    This is my son's first season (age 10). We put an Aimpoint on a 77RSI in .308 and loaded 150s to about 2400 fps with IMR 3031. I like the Aimpoint b/c kids don't need magnification, but have a difficult time with eye relief and with centering their eye.

    Sam
     
  13. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    A 6.5x55 or 260 Rem in either a M7 or Ruger M77 would be a good choice. The 6.5s with 120 gr bullets recoil very similar to a 257 Rbts and you have the option of useing the heavier 140 gr bullets in the future. I would look for a rifle that offers a "youth" stock and this way when he outgrows the one on the rifle you can replace it with a full sized one. I also would try to avoid the very light rifles. A little wgt in a rifle helps dampen recoil and especially if he hunts from a blind the couple ounces weight won`t be much of a hinderance.
     
  14. possum

    possum Member

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    my first rifle as a kid was a winchester model 70 in .270. i really liked it and shot good with it, and it was defenetly not to much for me at all. I was about the same age when i was hunting with it! I think the above would be perfect for him.
     
  15. nico

    nico Member

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    A guy I hunt with (who is 23 or 24) has been hunting with a Savage in .270 since he was 12. I would think a typical deer round with a reduced load (ie: Remington managed recoil) would be suitable.
     
  16. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    The .243 is an excellent choice for kids, I have a 11 year old deer hunting with my 6x45 (sort of a neutered .243) this weekend. It's an upper for my AR so I installed a stock that can be shortened for him. I'd look for a youth model stock for the existing rifle, that's definately the cheapest answer, then as he grows you just put the original back on.

    Personally I don't like the .2's for deer, although lots of people use them in Texas. I'd go with the .243, 7mm-08. 7.62x39 is a light kicker but to me doesn't have the all round capability of the 7mm-08. If all the hunting is relatively close distance it would do fine though.
     
  17. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    if you can find an old remmy mohawk with the 16 inch bbl in 6mm remmy , this would be awesome. Other than that , the nef youth comes in a variety of cals, including 7.08, and the other excellent choice i see mentioned here is the cz carbine in 762.39 , I have one and absolutely love it. Also Savage makes a most excellent youth model.
     
  18. 'Card

    'Card Member

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    Thanks a bunch for saying that - but I don't think I'm a great Dad so much as I just have a good memory of what a raving idiot I often was when I was a kid. :cool:

    True story: When I was 13 or 14, I was deer hunting with my Dad, just up the holler from the little town where we lived. Dad had put me on stand, and he was working a little one-man drive around the ridge towards me. I was hunting with a Winchester Model 37 single-shot 16-gauge with slugs at the time, and Dad had told me my cardinal rules for hunting with that gun over and over and over again. "Don't put it to your shoulder until you SEE the deer. Don't pull the hammer back until you SEE antlers. Don't pull the trigger unless it's close enough that you KNOW you can kill it."

    We didn't know it at the time, but we weren't alone in the woods that day. An old (he must have been pushing 80) man named Cuthbert Simms (yeah, that was really his name) who lived a few houses up the road from us decided to go hunting that day too. It was state law by that point that everyone had to wear orange when they were deer hunting, but apparently Mr. Simms hadn't gotten that memo. He had on a green pair of pants, a grey wool sweater, a white button-up shirt, and a grey felt hat.

    So as I'm sitting there on that stump, with barely-teenaged eyes and ears peeled, Mr. Simms came crashing along through a thicket of mountain laurel, right along in front of me. All I could see through the thick brush was grey fur and white belly, and I raised the gun to my shoulder, but I didn't cock it. A couple of things stopped me. I hadn't seen any antlers yet, and Dad had really hammered those rules into me. Plus, I knew that if my first shot wasn't perfect, I probably wouldn't get another. By the time I reloaded that single-shot, the deer would be long gone. So I was frozen there with my gun up, waiting for a break in the thicket, heart hammering and nerves on edge.

    I'm not a bit embarassed to say that when Mr. Simms came out of that thicket and I saw it was a person and not a deer, I dropped the gun and threw up right there on the spot. To this day I'm thankful for my Dad's rules and his insistence on them, and everytime I take my son in the woods I think about Mr. Simms and say a little prayer that my son will never have that close a call.
     
  19. Davo

    Davo Member

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    LOL sounds like a vintage Darwin candidate. That story should be submitted to Field and Stream-well written as it was.
     
  20. goalie

    goalie Member

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    I agree with the guy who said .243 about a hundred times.
     
  21. todd-45

    todd-45 Member

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    Thanks guys. It looks like .243 is the most common recommendation. I've got a Howa (Weatherby action) Lightning .243 with composite stocks. I wonder if I could find a short stock for that gun. That way I could keep my original stocks for me if I ever had to use it and he could shoot it with the youth size stock. I've got a Ruger M77 .308 that I use most anyway. Thanks for all the suggestions.
     
  22. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I had an H&R Topper, Jr. 20 gauge growing up.

    That shotgun kicked worse than an 870 or 500!

    .243's a good choice. 7.62x39mm is also an excellent- perhaps even better- choice.

    J
     
  23. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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    Depending on how much an after-market stock will cost, you might be better off just picking up a NEF youth combo. The local army navy store around here just had a sale, and I was out the door with a nice laminate stocked 243 which was bundled with 20 ga barrel for under $180.

    I sold off the 20ga barrel and swapped for a set of full size stocks which brought my total cost down to roughly $135 for the .243.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

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    i'm no expert

    but I would say the 243 (because you have it) or a 30-30 levergun... or maybe a 357 or 44 lever gun..
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    NO .22s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the kid can't handle a .243, he's too young for deer hunting!:fire: One of my peeves is people giving kids inadequate rifles because of recoil. If they can't handle the .243, wait a few years.

    The .243 is my choice. All else is compromise. Lots of kids started out with the .30-30, but they actually have some pretty hefty recoil compared to the .243.

    I started with, and still own, a Remington M722 in .257 Roberts. Awesome caliber and it's the most accurate gun I have, by about a quarter MOA. I also own a M7. Mine's in .308, but it's available in .243 and it's a very light, short rifle that, with the stock trimmed down, would make a dandy kid's rifle IMHO.

    The 7.62x39 is a wimpy short range cartridge, but low in recoil and adequate for deer to maybe 200 yards if the accuracy of the gun is adequate for it. I'd not consider any SKS and that leaves you looking for a Ruger M77 in that caliber, the only bolt gun I know of chambered for it. .243 is a superior caliber to the 7.62, anyway. It also will make him a great varmint gun if you guys hunt long range prairie dogs or woodchuck or that sort of thing.
     
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