Rifle for 12 year old?

Rifle for 12 year old?

This is a discussion on Rifle for 12 year old? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Not particularly looking for something for a defensive purpose, but I have a fairly small-built 12-year-old son who want to start deer hunting with me. ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array DrJ's Avatar
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    Rifle for 12 year old?

    Not particularly looking for something for a defensive purpose, but I have a fairly small-built 12-year-old son who want to start deer hunting with me. I'm trying to get some ideas on what kind of rifle he could should that the recoil or weight wouldn't be too much for him to handle. He's no stranger to shooting, but mostly .22 or .410. I tried him with a 12 gauge single-shot, and he managed to make it through 2 or 3 rounds, but hated it due to the recoil. I borrowed a .243 "youth" New England rifle from a friend, and he can shoot that fine. I'm a little reluctant to buy a "youth" rifle that he would outgrow, hopefully soon, though. I was thinking about trying a 30-30 lever action (which I've always wanted anyway ), but wondered if anyone had any thoughts on whether or not that might would be a gun a kid could handle. Just for further info, son is about 90 lbs, and most or all of our hunting would be shots less than 100 yards.


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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I suggest a Marlin 1894C Lever .357/.38. Versatile, short, fun, and you have the optional loads from light standard pressure .38s to full bore .357 Magnums. Good for small, medium, and large game (up to 100 yards), plinking, target, etc. I have one and I think it fits this bill perfectly.
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    Senior Member Array deafdave3's Avatar
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    I was actually gonna suggest a .243 youth rifle. It maintains its resale value due to demand. There's always a supply of children and women who could use a small rifle. Anyway, that's my suggestion.
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    If he's shot the friend's NER .243 just fine, why not get one of those for him? It'll be a smaller investment than a Rem 700 or Win M70, and single shots tend to inspire care with that first shot. The .243 is just fine for deer, and when he grows a bit more you can get him a better gun with a magazine and good glass.
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    What is the minimum caliber allowable per your states game laws toward hunting deer?

    That should be your starting point...

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    We got my son a Ruger compact .308 when he was 7 years old. Using the Remington Reduced Recoil rounds, it is very managable. It is a smaller rifle, but I have found it to be very handy even for me. Very accurate and is also a beautiful gun with the laminated wood. The cost was well worth it to me.

    Here is a link to the rifle we got my son:
    http://www.ruger.com/products/m77Haw...act/index.html
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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    I would buy him a Remington 770 Compact in .243 Winchester. It comes with a pre-mounted and boresighted riflescope, it is based on the popular Remington 700 rifle, the caliber is great for deer hunting and it is very affordable.

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    AR-platform with adjustable stock, if they make an appropriate caliber for what you are hunting.
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    The .243 is a low-recoil, potent, and versatile round that will fit the bill for many hunters, regardless of size or age.

    I agree at age 12 he's about to hit a growth burst and will outgrow a youth rifle in short order. If he's short-armed, an option you have is to buy an inexpensive bolter, shorten the stock and install a thin buttpad trimmed to fit, and then as he grows, add thicker recoil pads to lengthen the stock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    The .243 is a low-recoil, potent, and versatile round that will fit the bill for many hunters, regardless of size or age.

    I agree at age 12 he's about to hit a growth burst and will outgrow a youth rifle in short order. If he's short-armed, an option you have is to buy an inexpensive bolter, shorten the stock and install a thin buttpad trimmed to fit, and then as he grows, add thicker recoil pads to lengthen the stock.
    What he said. :)

    My 11-year-old (about 80 pounds and short) shoots a .30-30 lever with a shortened stock just fine. For bird hunting I have a Winchester Model 37a single shot 20 gauge that I shortened the stock on for him. Yeah he will outgrow it, but hey that just means you get to buy more guns! Keep the small ones in the safe for grandkids. :)
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    A good lever-action .357mag or .44mag is hard to beat. It's relatively simple to learn, easy to shoot, carries a good number of rounds, can be acquired for just a few hundred dollars if you consider used examples. For a 12yr old with some experience shooting rifles with a kick, a .30-30 lever-action might be the right choice. A "youth" butt stock can be installed for now, and then the standard-sized stock can be installed when he grows into it. Beyond which, lever-action rifles simply have a history (here in the USA) that other options just don't have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
    Not particularly looking for something for a defensive purpose, but I have a fairly small-built 12-year-old son who want to start deer hunting with me. I'm trying to get some ideas on what kind of rifle he could should that the recoil or weight wouldn't be too much for him to handle. He's no stranger to shooting, but mostly .22 or .410. I tried him with a 12 gauge single-shot, and he managed to make it through 2 or 3 rounds, but hated it due to the recoil. I borrowed a .243 "youth" New England rifle from a friend, and he can shoot that fine. I'm a little reluctant to buy a "youth" rifle that he would outgrow, hopefully soon, though. I was thinking about trying a 30-30 lever action (which I've always wanted anyway ), but wondered if anyone had any thoughts on whether or not that might would be a gun a kid could handle. Just for further info, son is about 90 lbs, and most or all of our hunting would be shots less than 100 yards.
    I bought one of the NEF youth rifles for my daughter. You can buy a full size buttstock for it when he outgrows it.
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    Member Array rglyons's Avatar
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    I'm suggesting the NEF too. I had one that you could get numerous extra barrels for.
    Also agree to shorten the buttstock to him and buy a longer replacement when he grows.
    Make sure the receiver is the SB-2 model. That's the model you can get the extra barrels for
    A good start would be a .243 and 20 Ga. barrels.
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  14. #14
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    A good 'ole Marlin 30-30 (336?)...he'll have it for the rest of his life and can still pass it on...
    A lever action is for life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
    I'm a little reluctant to buy a "youth" rifle that he would outgrow, hopefully soon, though.
    Find a gun/caliber you like then see if there is a tactical stock for it. I did this with my son. I have a Mossberg M500 that I have had for years, we put a tactical stock with 5 positions on it and the gun literally grew with my son. It has a pistol grip which may be a plus or minus depending on how you see things, but it allowed me to keep my stock stock stock and still get good use from the gun.
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