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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok all,

Here is my thought train. I can't buy lots of calibers, because that would mean lots of Rifles and I have a "Wine Taste on a Beer Budget," plus Child Support won't allow that. So I need to get a few rifles around a few cartridges. If you've followed my posts, you'll know I wasn't quite happy with my Creedmoor and dumped her for a .308. I also have a 5.56 AR, and then all things .22 for the kids to learn on (pistol, revolver, rifle, AR).

So without further adieu, my son is 9 and I want to get him shooting more. He has shot .22's with me since he was 7 and is getting good. The reason I want to get him shooting more though is that 12 is around the corner, and he has expressed interest in Big Game. I plan on putting him in hunter safety at 10 for the Fall season soon so that he could do Waterfowl and Upland with me, with a .410 I have bought. Plus, the other kids as they age into hunting (currently 6's and 1).

I have been looking at rifles for him though, and have whittled it down to a few cartridges and rifles. We'd mostly be doing Deer and Coyotes while he is young. Hopefully with the ability to get a deer tag as a youth since they're impossible for adults now.

First - Ruger Ranch 5.56: On the small end, I know, but can be done. Plus matches my existing 5.56 and would be good for him and coyotes

Second - Ruger Ranch 300 Blkout: A bit bigger bullet, could use my existing AR magazines and I have been interested in a Blkout

Third - Ruger American Compact 243: This is the way I am leaning the most, since it has a farther range and more forgiving on shot placement (plus I could use it for Pronghorn which I have been wanting to try)

I don't really want to throw him or any of my kids to the wolves with a 30-30 or my .308, though I will own a Lever 30-30 once they're available again. Does anyone have any insight with their young hunters?

PS - He has been on a couple big game trips, but will be there all Fall this year for sure to get him used to the cold and camping.
 

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You should try a 6.5 Creedmore! Just kidding, but kind of serious. You’ve already been there and done that.

7mm-08 is a great cartridge that won’t blow their shoulders off. And it works well for Utah game when kept within its limits.
 

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Ammunition is a challenge right now, but a 6.5 PRC will get you all the way from coyotes to elk. Recoil is very manageable.
 
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I don't like the 243 for kids.

Don't get me wrong, it will do the job and is a light recoiling round but I don't think it is a good round for kids starting out. Same for the 223/556, they will work but the margin for err will always be present.


I was shooting a 30-06 when was 12 when we went out rabbit hunting and at the time you could of blowen me over with a sneeze.

I'd look at the 25, 6.5, and 7mm cartridges. Let him shoot your 308 and see how he likes it, even keep your eye out for some of the light rounds for it.

Sent from my SM-A426U using Tapatalk
 

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Another vote for a 243!

I started my seven year old son with a 7mm-08 with reduced recoil loads and when I slipped in a couple "full strength" rounds, he didn't notice the difference. With that being said, he now shoots a 243 and shoots lights out with it - mainly because it fits him better.

I know some think a 243 is a little light for western game on paper. But we aren't hunting paper - put a good quality bullet in the kill zone of any animal in North America with a 243 and it'll die. I'm currently getting his 243 threaded for a suppressor and, if he'll let me, I plan on taking it antelope hunting in Wyoming this year. :)
 

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.243 or 7mm-08
My daughter used my .22-250 for a couple of years with success each year. It's probably not the best choice for deer, but it killed them dead. I used it one time for deer with success also.
 

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I'd take a look at the CVA Cascade SB in .308 and then suppress it. Keeps you shooting the same ammo choices but would make the recoil manageable for a youth. Wouldn't be so long and unwieldly with the suppressor that a 12 year old couldn't handle it. And it wouldn't enforce bad habits of flinching at the sound of a rifle shot. If they made a left handed version in 6.5 I would already have one for my 9 year old.

Another great option would be a Howa Mini Action in 6.5 Grendel.

Whatever you do, make it enjoyable to shoot so that they want to get trigger time with dad. Then when the time comes to press the trigger on a animal they and you will be confident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another vote for a 243!

I started my seven year old son with a 7mm-08 with reduced recoil loads and when I slipped in a couple "full strength" rounds, he didn't notice the difference. With that being said, he now shoots a 243 and shoots lights out with it - mainly because it fits him better.

I know some think a 243 is a little light for western game on paper. But we aren't hunting paper - put a good quality bullet in the kill zone of any animal in North America with a 243 and it'll die. I'm currently getting his 243 threaded for a suppressor and, if he'll let me, I plan on taking it antelope hunting in Wyoming this year. :)
I hear everyone on the 7mm-08, I honestly wish I would have started my personal collection there and a 7mm because those two cover pretty much everything in North America. But from all that I have read, the recoil of the 7mm-08 is above that of the 6.5 creedmoor. I really want him to get comfy and crush it with a gun, that is why I am leaning towards the .243. I think this best sums it up. This way too, I only have 5 calibers across a lot of rifles. 5.56, .243, 30-30, .308, and a 300 Win Mag or 7mm (haven't made up my mind yet..)
 

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All four of my kids have hunted with one of our 7mm-08 rifles. We own three. If deer or antelope is on the "menu", then I will be toting my 7mm-08 loaded with 140 Ballistic Tips. When the kids have hauled them around for elk, 140 Accubonds on top of Hodgdon Varget were the recipe of choice. They have been terrific. Each of the kids started shooting them before they were 12. They are easy on the shoulder, typically very accurate, and put deer, antelope and cow elk on the ground with little fanfare. We are big fans around here and we own three of them. A Tikka T3 (mine officially, but have a youth stock too for the girls when needed), An old Winchester Model 70 Westerner .243 that was rebarreled to 7mm-08 with a Shillen barrel (youngest son took this when he earned his Eagle Scout award) and one Browning ABolt that belongs to my oldest son (earned when he received his Eagle Scout award too). Daughter chose to use mine instead of getting a rifle, and chose a nice camera when she accomplished her teenage goals. Proud of all of them. And they all shoot the guns with deadly accuracy. Youngest daughter has decided hunting is NOT what she wants to do, but enjoys shooting and fishing.
 

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I'd head to the sporting goods store and see what ammo is on the shelf before purchasing the weapon and then have to worry about finding ammo.

So, are they making "kids" nowadays smaller than they made them 20-30 years ago? My 1st shotgun was an H&R single shot 12gage I opened on Christmas Day when I was 11. .30-06 at the age of 14. I think kids are to soft now, they need to be...."manned up" some.
 
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