Need a first rifle for my son

ColbyLang

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Guys, looking for input. I’m a deer hunter, would love my son to join me. He’s currently 5 and a half. IMO, he’s a little too young. I’d like to get him a bolt action now and have him come to the range with me to get used to shooting it. Question is, what to get and in what caliber??? Thx
 

Cjl2010

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This is my first attempt. Kelbly action proof 6.5cm barrel for me to hunt with. When my 3yo gets bigger I’ll order a bolt and barrel in 223 for him to shoot with. Would definitely be too heavy for a kid to swing it’s really better for tripod or prone type hunting.AEF1B652-8647-4784-ABDC-A0B3C3C4210C.jpeg
 

jcmullis2

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Definitely a 223. My 3 boys each got to go with me to the range when they were your sons age. I started them off on my Remington 700 vssf 223 Rem. using a front bag and rear rabbit ear bag. They still love shooting over 30 years later. After their first time shooting I couldn’t go hunting or shooting without them. Good times for all of us.
 
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ColbyLang

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So do I worry about length of pull with a full size rifle or do I opt for the limited “youth model” market? Remington makes one, Ruger might, can get a Tikka T3 compact.
 

M76

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I don't know how big your son is for his age but I would start with a 22. Don't want to induce a flinch early on. When he gets a little bigger I would suggest a 22-250. I like them much better than a 223 for deer. It's what I started my daughters out with and we didn't have to track any of them.
 

sea2summit

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I chopped a cricket, it’s cheap. If you want I have two I’d gladly get out of the safe.

But I found on the younger three M&P .22 was a good fit because of the adjustable stock.

The don’t have issues associated with firing rounds you don’t need to. Still train them on the importance and responsibility for each round.
22C78033-8538-4F8A-ACBC-574C0711F2A7.jpeg8FD1A33F-50AF-4611-B223-89644744C1E3.jpeg8CB7ED49-8F36-4479-B2D5-F195A84BBA90.jpeg550F1603-5728-4282-AB46-0220E7FEE3C9.jpeg
 

diggler1833

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    Cricket makes an acceptable. 22LR. When he gets a bit older there are a ton of better. 22 options.

    Every kid and every parent is different. Personally I held off on centerfire cartridges on my older kids until they were about 9. Even then, it was a relatively heavy. 223. Depending on the state you live in it may be an acceptable hunting cartridge (skill and ballistics aside).

    A flinch is harder to overcome than any other bad habit.
     

    808caliber

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    I wish i had parents who fostered an education with guns. My bro and i started on our own in our 20s. I could imagine a 22 or even a heavy 223 would be awesome. My gf who is 90lbs shoots my 223 rem 700 and loves it
     

    NewsShooter

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    Built 10/22's for the nephews, at 10 they tried shooting a heavy 6.5 with a brake. Recoil didn't bother them it was the noise. .223 is a nice step up when you go centerfire IMO. My .223 hangs right with the creedmoor to 600 with 77smk's.
     

    Wheres-Waldo

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    Get him a .22...

    If too shoot a bolt gun, make his a bolt gun. If you shoot a semi auto, make his a semi auto as well, he will be more interested seeing his gun being the same as yours, just be mindful to single load the semi auto until YOU are comfortable with having multiple rounds in the mag.

    I bought my boy a .22 when he was still afraid to be on the firing line with ANYTHING centerfire.... a few months later and he’s willing to shoot anything (sometimes a little too brave for his own well-being). He will likely outgrow it quickly, but it is a tool to get him comfortable and confident.

    My boy just turned 6 and today started breaking in his .223 AR on the 400 yard line with 2MOA steel 👍
     

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    z7.jled

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    So do I worry about length of pull with a full size rifle or do I opt for the limited “youth model” market? Remington makes one, Ruger might, can get a Tikka T3 compact.
    AR15’s fit kids really well, get an Ar and a suppressor, run 223 for most stuff and if you want get a 6mm arc or 6.5 grendel for critters
     

    Simonsza1

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    Get him his own Red Ryder now while his backyard is still a huge hunting grounds.

    And a 22 with you at the range just to show him that the world gets bigger still.
    I couldn’t agree more with this post. 100% a BB gun and an endless supply of bbs. This will instill so many fundamentals if tought and give him endless trigger time which is indispensable. Then a cricket or a little savage bolt gun but definitely a 22. Won’t need anything larger till he’s ready to hunt big game but will work for target and small game as he grows. Also I suggest sticking with iron sights for as long as possible it will lend towards a more well rounded marksman as he grows.
     

    Doc68

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    I have a savage model 11 in 223. Great little trainer rifle. Heavy barrel great trigger for a stock rifle and almost zero recoil.
     

    sea2summit

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    I will be the voice against BB guns. Children don’t need to be running around with something that blurs the line between toy and tool. Especially in regards to safety (aka muzzle awareness and responsibility). Get the .22 or if it’s a BB gun it’s treated like any other gun (kept in the safe, handled the same, shot in the same areas, same rules) until they’re old enough to understand the differences.

    What’s the right age? Glad you asked. It depends on the child and more importantly the parents judgment of the child’s abilities/capacities. I’ve got four, first one started shooting just prior to her fourth birthday and was totally ready while another wasn’t ready until almost seven. Don’t let anyone say at XX age they can do XZY activity, that’s your job as the parent.

    Rant off.
     

    I Spot 4U - "Eagle Eyes"

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    Previous posters made some excellent recommendations for you...


    A question OP...What brand and caliber of rifle do you hunt with? Because your boy might like a "youth version" of it. If the brand doesn't make a "youth version." Buy the rifle... Take off the "original stock" and save it, buy a 2nd stock, cut it down and add a soft recoil pad to fit the rifle to him. So he can have his own rifle. just like Dad does...:) except in .223, .243, 6mm Perhaps. When he gets older/taller you can put the "original" stock back on to have an adult size rifle.


    Showing him how to hunt the right way, how to clean and preserve his kill and eventually it's what y'all will be eating at the table. So he understands. No matter what his situation is when he grows up. You'll have taught him a valuable skill and with that skill : No matter what happens in life He'll always be able to put some food on the table so the family can eat. And a fond memory of you 2 going hunting/shooting together.

    Another option...later on of course.

    After his successful completion of a Louisiana Hunter Safety Course. You can "reward him" by taking him to the local gun shop and let him pick out his own Rifle.

    Best of wishes for you OP and your Son.
     

    ColbyLang

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    Previous posters made some excellent recommendations for you...


    A question OP...What brand and caliber of rifle do you hunt with? Because your boy might like a "youth version" of it. If the brand doesn't make a "youth version." Buy the rifle... Take off the "original stock" and save it, buy a 2nd stock, cut it down and add a soft recoil pad to fit the rifle to him. So he can have his own rifle. just like Dad does...:) except in .223, .243, 6mm Perhaps. When he gets older/taller you can put the "original" stock back on to have an adult size rifle.


    Showing him how to hunt the right way, how to clean and preserve his kill and eventually it's what y'all will be eating at the table. So he understands. No matter what his situation is when he grows up. You'll have taught him a valuable skill and with that skill : No matter what happens in life He'll always be able to put some food on the table so the family can eat. And a fond memory of you 2 going hunting/shooting together.

    Another option...later on of course.

    After his successful completion of a Louisiana Hunter Safety Course. You can "reward him" by taking him to the local gun shop and let him pick out his own Rifle.

    Best of wishes for you OP and your Son.

    I shoot a custom .280 Ackley Improved built on an early 80’s Remington 700. He’s going to start with a .22, no questions asked. My brother has an M&P 22 if the need arises. I’d prefer a bolt gun so he learns as I did. I may get him a Remington 700 in .223 or .243 and go from there when he’s ready.
     

    krw

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    I think starting with 22 is the only choice. Bolt action. But for 1st hunting rifle, 6.5 Grendel has a lot to offer. In bolt too of course. AR’s can come later
     

    Doc68

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    I think starting with 22 is the only choice. Bolt action. But for 1st hunting rifle, 6.5 Grendel has a lot to offer. In bolt too of course. AR’s can come later
    That's how I started my son. A cricket 22 and then got him the savage model 11 in 223 and for his 17th birthday this year him and I built an AR for him.
     

    F23

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    Nothing makes you more accountable for your shots than having to pump the damn thing 7 or 8 times every time you pull the trigger. As for blurring the line between firearm and toy, they're firearms (always in practice, and in some locations, by law).

    I would stay away from anything centerfire for a while for two reasons.

    First is that any gun that is comfortable for him to shoot, even in .223, will still be pretty heavy. 7-10lbs is pretty heavy for a little guy that probably weighs less than 50lbs. It would also probably end up being as long as he is tall! All in all, that makes for a pretty unwieldy firearm that he is going to have issues carrying and shooting from anything other than a bench for a while. Compare that to your average air rifle (I would go with a pump pellet gun over a spring-powered bb gun because the pellets tend to be more accurate, which is less frustrating), which is much closer to 3-5lbs, and you've got something he'll actually be able to carry comfortably and learn offhand/non-bench shooting. This is true, but to a lesser extent, with a 22.

    Second is that centerfire guns are just loud, and even with only small amounts of recoil, the sound can be enough to induce flinching in new shooters. Not needing ear-pro will make teaching easier, and the lack of sound makes the whole teaching scenario just that little bit easier. Especially with ammo prices as they are right now, that $5 can of Daisy pellets is a lot easier to stomach (and find) than even your cheapest .223 or .22lr.

    Just my opinion, which is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    F23
     
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    ColbyLang

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    I get the concern about being loud. My plan is to let him start with my .22 that’s suppressed. He can then move up and that too can be suppressed. I have multiple caliber cans. I want him to have fun shooting. I would love if he got into hunting, but not every kid wants to.
     

    M76

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    If you're going to go suppressed try using 22 CB's. They aren't loud unsuppressee. With a suppressor they will sound like mouse farts.
     

    lariat

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    It’s hard to go against a Red Ryder and then a Cricket. Both are slow and keep the crazed excitement of sending everything downrange down while giving you time to reinforce good habits and skills. No flinch and good times with great memories.
     
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    Wheres-Waldo

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    Buy that pump BB gun...

    You’ll be pumping it, the kid will be shooting it. Ask me how I know.

    Plus, get them something that is capable of decent accuracy. You don’t have to buy an Anschutz, my sons $350 Savage Rascal Target XP will hit tennis balls at 100 with him consistently.

    And we’re talking about 22lr with a suppressor? Get him subsonics, they are quieter than a NERF gun, no suppressor needed, unless you’re looking for a reason to give the wife.
     

    Guns&WhiteWater

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    Guys, looking for input. I’m a deer hunter, would love my son to join me. He’s currently 5 and a half. IMO, he’s a little too young. I’d like to get him a bolt action now and have him come to the range with me to get used to shooting it. Question is, what to get and in what caliber??? Thx

    For deer hunting and fun shooting for a youth, I’d recommend a bolt action in 300 BLK. Very low recoil, low muzzle blast, and plenty of bullet for deer at close range. I’d probably just go with a cheap Ruger American and chunk the plastic stock and order a shortened LOP laminated stock from Boyd’s. They have some fun colors a young boy might enjoy. The 300 BLK is a lot more versatile than most “beginner” cartridges when you are talking hunting.

    Edited to add: the BLK was my recommendation for a first deer rifle. A 22 would easily be my first choice for a first rifle for general shooting. We have purchased a different 22 for all four of our nieces and nephews upon their first birthday’s, each engraved with their names and various designs using a wood burner on the stocks. That last Henry 22 lever action that we gifted sure was hard to put back in the box though. Sweet little rifle to be sure.
     
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    HMRamateur

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    Get that pump bb gun and let him do the pumping... I shot a bb gun in my basement as a kid all the time, absolutely loved it, and my dad didn't care either because my weak arms couldn't pump enough to make it go through the cardboard box and damage the wall behind it
     

    Don Dial

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    Guys, looking for input. I’m a deer hunter, would love my son to join me. He’s currently 5 and a half. IMO, he’s a little too young. I’d like to get him a bolt action now and have him come to the range with me to get used to shooting it. Question is, what to get and in what caliber??? Thx
    I’m currently breaking in a 6.5 PRC Mauser M18 for one of my young grandsons. I put an inexpensive Texas Precision Instruments 5x27 Scope on it. Has a premium bbl, adjustable trigger and ten year factory warranty. Also sub MOA 5 shot factory ammo guarantee. The warranty is real, had a problem with first and they replaced on the spot. At 21 rounds I got 5 rounds inside a penny. It’ll be my son’s til grandson can fit. I figured it is a better deal than the old 788 Remington. Euro Optic has a special on them. I’m about $900 total in the deal.
     

    Klondike

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    Great post. 22lr and a second for a 300blackout. My some killed his first 3 deer with good shots. Low recoil so promotes practice and under 200 yards dumping as much energy before pass thru as many other calibers

    I agree with the posters emphasizing BB guns get treated like firearms. Best practice and in our modern world bb gun usage like many of us grew up with gets you a trip to jail. Current world is a far cry from when the dining room was the most armed and displayed room in the house
     

    RamLindsey

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    Guys, looking for input. I’m a deer hunter, would love my son to join me. He’s currently 5 and a half. IMO, he’s a little too young. I’d like to get him a bolt action now and have him come to the range with me to get used to shooting it. Question is, what to get and in what caliber??? Thx
    Check your state laws. For deer hunting in Texas it must be .25 caliber or greater and, I think the bullet must weigh more than 55 grains. If it weren’t for that, a .22 would be my suggestion.
    My son took his first deer, a spike buck, when he was 6 with a Browning 222. Still have the European mounted skull and the cartridge.
    Whatever you choose, he will love it, and you’ll build great memories.
     

    drew_235

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    Check your state laws. For deer hunting in Texas it must be .25 caliber or greater and, I think the bullet must weigh more than 55 grains. If it weren’t for that, a .22 would be my suggestion.
    My son took his first deer, a spike buck, when he was 6 with a Browning 222. Still have the European mounted skull and the cartridge.
    Whatever you choose, he will love it, and you’ll build great memories.

    I was just about to make a post asking the rhetorical question, "Why do some states do dumb things?" when I thought better of it and Google'd the minimum caliber for deer hunting in Texas. Turns out, the only limitation is that it cannot be rimfire. Apparently, .223 is perfectly legal in Texas.
     
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    walt willis

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    Guys, looking for input. I’m a deer hunter, would love my son to join me. He’s currently 5 and a half. IMO, he’s a little too young. I’d like to get him a bolt action now and have him come to the range with me to get used to shooting it. Question is, what to get and in what caliber??? Thx
    Gunny Hathcock and I both started out with a bolt action .22 rifle on a farm.
    It made us not waste time and ammo plinking.
    It was also much safer for a first time gun owner.
    Practice prone, sitting, and offhand.
    Basics first for gun safety is a MUST!118225979_746921622735328_1950539074939128264_n.jpg
     

    23Delta

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    I took my kids out sniping at rabbits when they were around nine years old. We had good fun, with a heavy barrelled 17 Remington and 12 power scope, Harris bipod and sandbag under the stock. Very steady and zero recoil. But here's my reason for chiming in - whatever you do Colby, look after your child's hearing like it's your child's hearing. Research with young boys going out on their first seal hunt in the Arctic has shown that one rifle shot can rob a child of a clearly measurable percentage of their hearing acuity - like 20% - permanently. I hope you enjoy many great hunting experiences with your son over many years, along with being able to enjoy many outings together to the best orchestral concerts and opera.
     

    Don Dial

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    I was just about to make a post asking the rhetorical question, "Why do some states do dumb things?" when I thought better of it and Google'd the minimum caliber for deer hunting in Texas. Turns out, the only limitation is that it cannot be rimfire. Apparently, .223 is perfectly legal in Texas.
    You are correct. I cull shot MLD Ranches for years with a 22-250 & 55 Gr Barnes. Never lost one and 99.9% were DRT. Unfortunately most parents get kids a break open SS 223 for a first rifle and usually then they don’t shoot well enough to even hunt. I see Ranchers who are marginal shots use them and lose deer. But there Cheap.
     

    AZgeek

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    There is nothing wrong with hearing the "Dad, my shoulder is a little sore" when they are young IMHO. Since he's only 5.5 years old maybe a .22lr is the right option. Just hate to buy new with nothing to grow into in the longer term.
     

    Toney198

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    I understand the buy once cry once, but if he is ready to hunt, why force the bolt gun issue? My son killed his first at 5 however it was 223 gas gun, the next year it was 300blk, this year we got him a 6.5 grendel with very little recoil and will shoot it until he is ready for a bigger caliber and or bolt gun.
     

    AZgeek

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    Not forcing anything. His father will make the right call. Since when is a bolt gun a bad option at any age?
     
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    Toney198

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    Not forcing anything. His father will make the right call. Since when is a bolt gun a bad option at any age?

    since when did I say it was a bad call? He is asking about a five year old, that Is usually because of recoil and fitment of a young shooter he also refers to “wanting him to join him hunting” so I was suggesting a system that will allow a small frame hunter to have a caliber capable to kill a deer. As far as your open sights comment, no “I am a firm believer in a magnum caliber with a scope so he have a flinch for now on”
     
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    Don Dial

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    Correct. My first couple deer were with a 22 hornet.
    Yes and parents will purchase a break open 223 put a $200 scope on it and have their kids shoot deer with them. Most of those same parents don’t shoot well