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My son drew the youth any bull tag, and I'm trying to decide which gun/caliber to set him up with. He will be 12 years old next month, and weighs about 95 lbs. He currently shoots a Ruger American .243 compact, and seems to handle it okay, but I'm worried about it getting the job done on a large bull. At the same time, I'd like to keep the recoil to a minimum, so he can shoot accurately as he can. Right now I'm leaning towards upgrading to a 7mm-08, but I don't have any experience with this caliber. Does anyone here have first hand accounts of shooting elk with a 7mm-08? How did it perform, and is the recoil manageable for a 12 year old to shoot accurately?

I have access to borrow a 30-30 Win. from Grandpa, which also might be a good (free) option too.

From what I've read, it sounds like the youth any bull hunt can be a tough hunt, but I'd hate for him to get an opportunity, and not be able to harvest a bull because his rifle isn't the right tool for the job.
 

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My 14 year old's killed two elk with a Savage Youth model Axis in 7mm-08 and 3 antelope. Very impressed with it. We shoot 140grn Accubonds out of it with great results. Those elk were cows though, big bulls can pack alot more lead... but stick'em in the right spot and it will get the job done.


-DallanC
 

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7-08 is awesome. Honestly with time at the range a .243 will get the job done. I always recommend first rifles as a 30-06. I don't shoot one very often, but great first/only rifle to have.

Shot is most important is what I am really trying to say!
 

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I have a .338 with a good muzzle brake and it kicks like a .270.

I imagine if you put a good muzzle brake on a .30-06 or a .270 it would kick like a .22 Long Rifle.
I've thought about a muzzle brake, but doesn't that significantly increase the sound level of the blast? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like a noise increase might make him flinch almost as much as recoil can.
 

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I've shot lots of mature bulls with a 280-- which is the same bullet, just a little faster than the 7mm08. I like 150 gr Nosler Partitions. Both of my sons shot elk with a 280 at 12 year olds.

For me, I really don't enjoy muzzlebreaks. Too loud and even some blow back if not done right. I would stay away from a rifle that is too light-- which tends to kick harder. I think a 7mm08 would be a good choice. (a 280 would be even better. haha). Tikka makes a sweet rifle in 7mm08 for a decent price. Have fun on the hunt and let him shoot any elk with antlers.
 

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I would add to the confirmation of the 7mm-08. Shoot 140 gr. Accubonds and don't think twice about it. Recoil is relative but with a good recoil pad their is not much recoil difference between the .243 and -08. What you gain is a bigger projectile. I know a few guys who have killed a pile of elk with that combo. As far out as 500 yards. I would recommend keeping it much closer for your son.
Good luck to him and congrats on the tag!
 

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My daughter has been using a .308 with either 125gr Nosler BT for deer or 130gr TTSX for elk since she was 12. Took her cow last yr at 408 yards with the 130 TTSX. She just turned 15 and will be using a 6.5x284 this yr.
 

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Until they fail... I loathe x bullets.

-DallanC
I dunno, the last 20 or so deer and elk that I have personally seen taken with a TSX, TTSX, or LRX haven't had any complaints. I personally cannot say the same for the Acubonds. The attached recovered bullet went through and annihilated both shoulders on a 5pt bull making complete jell-o of it's insides, exiting out the opposite shoulder after shattering it, and the elasticity of the elk hide pulled the little guy back in just enough that I was able to recover it while caping out the bull. The new "X-bullets" are not the old "X-bullets"

To the original poster, get something that your son can be comfortable shooting. Get him a 30-06 and reduce the load a little bit. Get him a 7-08 with an adequate bullet (whatever your preference may be). I purchased a 257 WBY for my wife to hunt with and she loves it. It's flat and fast. If you are thinking about making an investment that will last him a lifetime, you could always look at a 300WSM and have a brake installed. I think that rifle would be pretty decent for a young man to grow into and he could take any animal Utah has to offer with it. Point is, you're going to get a lot of suggestions, you just need to determine what suggestions make the most sense for you and your son. Good luck, this is the fun part!
 

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My daughter shot her elk last year (cow) with a 270 WSM with muzzlebreak and 140 gr AB's.

This year, if she goes for a bull, I will put her behind a 7 Rem Mag with a muzzlebreak and a 160 gr AB or PT.

She just turned 12 when she shot her elk last Dec. and weighs 65 lbs soaking wet.
 

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I'll vote for the 7-08! Definitely a great option for youth.

I'd only use a braked rifle if I could basically guarantee that ear protection could be placed in the shooter's ears before the shot.
 

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I'd go with the 7-08 as well. My wife has a savage 10 and its a great gun.
I killed several elk in my youth with my mom's 7x57 with 140gr partitions. Always got the job done.
 

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For kiddos to shoot elk, the 7-08 and 308 are hard to beat in my opinion. I don't like solid copper bullets at low velocity, at high velocity they are great. Just the opposite with Ballistic tips and other soft constructed bullets. The Partition and Accubond seem to fit right in the middle making them an all around good choice. To Packouts point, if your kid can handle a 280, then the argument is over. My kid will be shooting an elk this year with a 280. I fully expect the same results that we have seen before. Dead elk.-----SS
 

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My 12 year old got his first deer last fall with 120 TTSX in 7-08. I am pretty confident that if it had been any other bullet we would not have had such a good experience. Shot not placed well at all, but destroyed everything in its path knocking it down.
I used the reduced recoil loads using H4895 for his practice all summer, but unbeknownst to him I had it sighted in for full power and he didn't know any different only taking one shot. I always had him shoot with ear plugs inside the ear muffs and it worked pretty well.
Lots of good advice here, but to use a man's full sized cartridge can not have good results. My old 30-06 made me start flinching; like a donkey kick everytime and i hated it. I think a muzzle brake may be a reasonable solution, but ear protection goes w/o saying. I know of people who keep these ear plugs so that they can quickly pop them in from around their neck.
 
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