Take a look at the Marlin 915Y, another youth sized single shot but no cocking issues. You might check out the Savage Rascal too. I bought my oldest boy (8 this month) the earlier version of the Marlin (15YN) and he loves it. The rifle shoots really well and fits him pretty well. If you're into gun shows you might be able to find a pre-loved 15YN for under $100, I got his last year for $75 or so. If you're looking for something new then the 915Y might be a better choice.