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Best rifle for 7yr old to shoot?

 
Posts: 48
Location: twin tiers of WNY zone 5A
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We are close to PA and apparently, it ok for us to take our kids out deer hunting, under thier mentor program. Yeah. Problem is we only have 12 gauges. I Don't like the kick, so I doubt my 7yr old would be able to shoot it. One of my co-workers suggested buying a 243. Finding mixed revues online. Open to suggestions from people here, also, before I invest in a gun. Looking for a good large game caliber gun, my boys can shoot. Thanks.
 
author
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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as a father of a 7 year old it seems pretty insane to put a lethal weapon in their hands for fun.

I'd vote for teaching the youth how to skin a deer before giving him a gun. All things in due time. Just because the law allows something doesnt mean it is a good idea. Like young kids with guns, just not a good idea.

short answer- best rifle for a 7 year old is a toy rifle. just like a toy car or a toy tiger. toys are a good substitute for lethality when dealing with young humans who dont quite grap mortailty just yet. just my 2cents.
 
pollinator
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What Adam said.

If he must shoot something, I suggest a broom stick and some big elastic bands. Use the red ones. They will be easier to find in the grass. In a few years move up to a slingshot or a daisy air rifle while wearing goggles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YleZvTSDC6s
 
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I am a firm believer in a single shot rifle for young beginner's. I find it easier to monitor during the learning curve and I just think it's safer.
12 appears to be the minimum age for hunting big game in PA I'm not sure how the mentoring program works. If he is not actually participating in the harvest is there a need for another firearm?
A .243 is a good choice as far as an effective caliber with what I would call moderate recoil but still not something a 7 year old might find pleasant. Correct sizing of a large caliber rifle to a seven year olds frame is not going to be correct at 8-10-12 year olds.
My choice of a low cost starter rifle has been a H&R or NEF .410 for a little over 100.00 the kids and grand kids have gotten their first taste of shooting with a minimum outlay of cash. The shotgun is is a little more forgiving when first learning to sight in.
 
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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H&R, NEF, or Rossi single shot will be 100-150 in any suitable cailber, or about 200-250 for one that comes with 3 barrels--.22, 20 ga, and 243.

That said, Adam and Dale are right. You do not want to start out with the above. I have had one 7 year old I would trust with a deer rifle, and several I won't even trust with a broom handle.
 
Robert Ray
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There are a lot of adults that shouldn't have broom handles. Emotional and cognitive maturity would be an important consideration. Restricted access with an adult present goes without saying.
 
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
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I was gonna come in and say a single shot, no magazine/tube, bolt-action .22lr bought for them to learn on and use in your presence, but not "theirs" per se.

I'm a believer a lot of the violence today is because of the complete lack of respect and familiarity with weapons. Kids play video games where they shoot people non-stop..... Without proper respect for firearms, it's hard to know fantasy from reality.

I was raised around guns.
My friends weren't.
The first thing I do when given a gun is point it at the ground, check the action, and the safety.
The first thing my friends do is point it at someone and pull the trigger.


I've been shot by my friend once (pellet to the eye), and had scary close calls twice (one .22, one 12 ga).
No, I don't shoot regularly or with my friends at all anymore.
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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My dad counciled us on the proper use of guns and demonstrated technique. I went out in the bush with my older brother and his friend and they unloaded into a Goodyear blimp. I knew exactly what they were shooting. They had convinced themselves that it carried Russia invaders. Blame the TV, or blame the parents. Those idiots were not mature enough to possess killing machines.

After the deed was done, I quickly headed home under tree cover, so as to not be seen from above. The dummies couldn't see how they could get in trouble. I explained the concept of the police radio.
 
pollinator
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I was shooting a bb gun with my best friend when I was 7. Enough power to teach one something about real world consequences and the finality of death but not enough to cause any true catastrophe. And we where pretty unmonitored there in his back yard and both packin'. But I cant say I'd introduce a real riffle at that age. I think even in the boy scouts they wait until 11 or 12 and then Its mostly .22s and a 410. In any case I second the beware of cops bit since they don't always seem to distinguish between 'firearm' and 'toy' even when carried by kids.
 
Posts: 171
Location: western n.c.
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only you are able to decide if your boy is capable of handling a rifle, not some joker on the internet... A .243 is a fine choice, as was mentioned here, one of those break action NEF .243 rifles would be great. Plus, it's a little bit of a process to load the thing so I'm of the opinion that this teaches folks to be a little more careful with their shots as well as those rifles are extremely safe since you can load it and keep the hammer down until it's time to shoot.

Maybe ask around to your friends or even at a local gun shop/gun range and see if someone is willing to let your boy shoot their .243 before you buy one? Most of us gun owners would be more than happy to do that. It may prove to be too much for a 7 year old, i didn't see if you posted his height and weight... If so, just let it be and take him rabbit or squirrel hunting until he's big enough to handle a .243.

Enjoy your time with your son!

 
Ray Star
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Location: twin tiers of WNY zone 5A
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I appreciate the time everyone took to answer me. Even those of you who disagree with our decision to take our boys hunting.

Robert Ray, the mentor program is for youths under the age of 12. I didn't read any mention of a minimum age. One of my co-workers, who told me of the program, said he knew a 5yr old who participated, this season. There isn't another firearm, only the one the youth will be shooting. The mentor carries the gun in and out, and the youth only has possesion after you've reached your spot/ blind. They do get their own tag. It costs $2. The mentor has to be a licensed hunter in PA, but they are not there to hunt, only mentor at that time.

M foti, You probably have the right idea. I'm not sure a gun shop would allow it, but my friend who recommended the .243, offered to lend me his for a couple days. So "I" could try it out. Seems like the best way to go.

Again , thanks all for your imput.
 
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Does any one really believe a 7 year old should be faced with taking a life? I'm all for hunting and self protection with the prudent use of firearms or any means an adult deems necessary. I don't know the young man but it might be a little too much for someone that age.
 
Posts: 125
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If using full velocity rounds I would highly recommend that a 7 year old only shoots a .22 rimfire.
Whilst they may be able to physically handle and fire a .223 or .243 it is almost guaranteed that they will develop very bad marksmanship habits due to recoil and muzzle blast. This will takes years to re-educate and retrain them to get good marksmanship skills.
If you really wanted a larger calibre rifle why not go for something like .308 and make some reduced loads - low recoil, low muzzle blast, but still has lots of kinetic energy.

I second the idea of a single shot - easy to monitor and manage, and reinforces the idea that they have to make every shot count.
 
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I recommend a bolt action .22 LR as others did. The average 7 year old is not prepared to handle a .243. Too much kick and they wont be able to develop any accuracy. Once they have become use to the .22 and shows responsibility in it's use. Introduce them to larger caliber weapons.

If you really want to go all-out, you can introduce them to other forms of hunting while helping with responsibility and marksmanship. Some of the tools of these other forms of hunting include sling's, sling shots, rabbit sticks, bows and atlatls. Some of those can be obtained and/or crafted in the woods and one never knows when some meat might be a handy thing but no firearms are available.
 
Ray Star
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Thanks Matt, I'll look into a 308.
C. Kirkley. Looks like there are even more things I'm going to be researching, lol. I've never even heard of rabbit sticks or atlatls. Thanks again, everyone.
 
Robert Ray
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One other thing to consider from Matt's suggeston for a .308 is availability of surplus military ammunition and it's affordability over factory ammunition for target shooting.
 
Mat Smith
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Robert Ray wrote: Oe other thing to consider from Matt's suggeston for a .308 is availability of surplus military ammunition and it's affordability over factory ammunition for target shooting.


Yep, sorry didn't mention that bit, but that's why I would certainly look closely at .223 & .308.
.223 and .308 are both NATO calibres so ammo and reloading gear is very common and easy to come by.
 
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Location: near Springfield, MO, USA
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If you want to get them their own dedicated firearm then I'll offer another vote here for a single shot .223 (or .243) with soft point ammunition. These are also available in combo versions.



A different option that I chose to let my child get slowly acquainted with firearms is the shotgun adapter. I slide these into the barrel of my single shot 12 gauge and can shoot anything from .22lr, 9mm Luger, .410 or 20 gauge. The range suffers but it's all about teaching fundamentals and firearms safety.

http://www.gunadapters.com/categories/Shotgun-Adapters/12-gauge/
 
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Location: Sunshine Coast BC
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Wesley Staggs wrote:If you want to get them their own dedicated firearm then I'll offer another vote here for a single shot .223 (or .243) with soft point ammunition. These are also available in combo versions.



A different option that I chose to let my child get slowly acquainted with firearms is the shotgun adapter. I slide these into the barrel of my single shot 12 gauge and can shoot anything from .22lr, 9mm Luger, .410 or 20 gauge. The range suffers but it's all about teaching fundamentals and firearms safety.

http://www.gunadapters.com/categories/Shotgun-Adapters/12-gauge/



Seems like logical choices.
 
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Location: D'Hanis, Texas
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I was about 7 years old when I took my first white-tailed deer with a 270. Looking back we commonly shot 22 LR and .410 for small game. I don't recommend a 243 or a 270 for younger children. I think it's too much for that age and I agree with other comments that it will develop bad marksmanship.

What about a 22-250 for hunting white-tails? Excellent rifle with almost no kick.

I believe that the younger we teach our children to hunt and fend for themselves the better. They are so impressionable at that age. There really aren't safety issues unless you teach them otherwise. I know plenty of children I would rather hunt with than some of my adult friends (for safety reasons). Also, hunting is a great way to teach them about the conservation of natural resources.

,Travis Krause
-Parker Creek Ranch
 
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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depending on the size of the child
these might be good starting rifles

http://www.crickett.com/
 
Ray Star
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Just wanted everyone to know that we've been reading your replys and looking into the things that have been recommended. Thank you all for the time you've taken to answer.
 
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My son and my nephews all went out at 7 years hunting and we taught them respect of what they were doing. We were always with them per the law, but really from just from a logical sense. I've also included them in chicken processing, my kids gave a great appreciation and knowledge of where their food comes from.

with my kids we could easily separate video games from reality and talk about what and why we were hunting. But my son has friends who I wouldn't be willing to take out due to their maturity level

Smaller calibers are easier to shoot but less forgiving. Learning to shoot with a .22 gives good habits but I wouldn't hunt deer with it. Try some reduced coil loads, I've seen a 10 yr old girl shoot a 30-06 with reduced recoil with no issues.
 
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While I do agree that a responsible mentor will do everything in their power to educate our new hunters to ethical hunting methods. I am a state Hunter Education Instructor. I have instructed children as young as 7 that are mentally and physically able to handle a wide variety of firearms. My daughter has had a pink cricket single shot since the age of 4. My son is not mature enough to be introduced to firearm use. Both children are educated in woodsmanship and conservation.
There are very good comments made thru out this thread.
1st make the time to take a hunters education class. Make it a family affair so that the household is involved.
Teach ethical hunting practices and conservation. Respect the sustainable gift of pure food.
keep the child's respect for life in check and lead by example.
The fact that you are asking questions is great. If you live in an area that has 4H clubs look into the shooting sport aspect of the programs.
 
pollinator
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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28948946


I dont think I need to comment any more

David
 
Mat Smith
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David Livingston wrote:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28948946


I dont think I need to comment any more

David



I wish I had an Uzi!
 
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Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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What about a bow? I've seen videos of kids that age shooting compound bows competently at small deer. It takes more practice, but overall is even more satisfying.
 
Garth Rasmusson
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I primarily bow hunt. You and the family can have a fun family time learning primitive hunting methods. Depending on your state requirements, archery is a great way to be involved in wild harvest and connections with the outdoors. Matthews make the Craze, Bow Tech makes an ultimate edge which offer complete adjustment from youth to adult draw lengths and weights. Go for it!
 
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My Father started me shooting when I was 6 years old with a .22 rifle. It sounds like you are looking for a deer hunting rifle. Most of the rifle stocks out there will not fit your son,they are made for adults. Now there are youth models being made these days that might fit him,you will have to go to a gun shop and see. There is not much recoil from a 243,if and adult is shooting the rifle. Not knowing your son I can't say if he could handle the recoil. Find some one you know that owns a 243 and take your son to a range and see if he can stand the recoil,it may well be to much for him.
 
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