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Old February 11, 2013, 01:22 PM   #1
I'vebeenduped
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Pre-rifle training for my son

My son is turning 5 on the 4th of July this year. I will be able to bring him to the shooting range with me!!!!! I really want him to be as safe as possible and 100% ready when his little feet hit the ground. I am making front and rear sight cutouts for him so that he can consistently show what a good sight looks like. I am drilling him on how to carry the rifle to and from the firing line. I am going over the basic parts of the rifle with him. I am doing my best to teach him firearms safety. In short, I want to completely take the mystery and fascination of the firearm away and have him look at this as a tool which, above all, must be respected and treated carefully.

Please, provide me with your experience in ways that you passed down this type of information with your kids. I have learned that, although experience is the best teacher, more often than not, it is still best to learn from others and their mistakes (God willing, no mistakes here)!
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Old February 11, 2013, 09:27 PM   #2
Dragline45
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When practicing with him, on top of instilling proper gun handling, make sure he understands why he has to do those things and what consequences come from it. Make him repeat back to you everything you taught him.

For example, instead of just constantly telling him to keep his finger off the trigger till ready to shoot, also ask him "why is it important to keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot", or "why is it important to always have your gun pointed in a safe direction". Learning the consequences of what can happen from improper gun handling will show him the importance of why he has to do those things.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:23 PM   #3
kraigwy
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The Civilian Marksmanship Program has excellent training resources for youth. They have several books and DVDs to aid in training, several are free.

http://www.odcmp.com/Training/CoachingResources.htm

You can find material for children as young as yours through senior, or more advanced shooters.
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Old February 13, 2013, 11:38 AM   #4
AndyWest
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Your son is lucky, although it may take him 20 years to fully appreciate it

Do you have an air rifle to practice with? Loading, handling, ALWAYS pointing downrange, etc as well as fundamental targeting. Sure the mechanics are different but the discipline is the same.

All the best, Dad
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Old February 13, 2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys. This is all good info.
The BB gun idea is a very good one. I like that very much. If you don't mind, keep the ideas coming!
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Old February 13, 2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Any child under the age of 14 --- while at the shooting range --- should always be accompanied by an adult.
Give the kid some decent eye and hearing protection. Not just ear plugs...but ear plugs and ear muffs.
Buy the kid a 22 rifle that will fit him. Don't start the kid with a pistol, until he has learned the fundamental's of firearms safety with a rifle.

Shoot reactive targets...like metal spinners, Necco Wafers, balloons, pine cones, etc, etc.
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Old February 15, 2013, 06:20 PM   #7
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My dad shot a watermelon with a 12 gauge slug to demonstrate to me quite graphically the destructive power of a firearm against something sorta comparable to the human head.

And I got into more trouble with a BB gun when a kid, but learned a lot the easy way without hurting anyone.

You son is a lucky kid for sure. Bet his friends are envious.
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Old February 15, 2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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Airsoft could be a good idea. Even less dangerous than a bb or pellet gun
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Old February 15, 2013, 07:12 PM   #9
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I agree with Erno86. something like a Crickett 22LR. They can be had for around $100 and are an excellent choice for a youth trainer. Very safe and the single shot first has the gun no longer able to fire after the excitement of a good hit when kids momentarily can forget their fundamentals (even a mature 5 year old is still a 5 Year old) and second encourages them to focus on good marksmanship and not just blasting away ammo.
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Old February 15, 2013, 10:37 PM   #10
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My father never let me play with toy guns. That was tough, because in the 1960's in Texas all little boys had cap guns. His comment was guns are not toys. He started me off on safety, safety, safety. The first thing I ever fired just after turning five, was a crossman model 101 22 caliber single shot pellet rifle. Capable of killing a rabbit at over 50 yards. He had to pump it up for me and nothing was ever touched by me as far as any of our guns unless he was there. I moved up rapidly to 22 short, LNG, and long rifle single shots. He loaded light 30-30 rounds for his winchester 94 after first making a small butt stock to fit my five year old body. Then he loaded light .270 rounds for a Remington 760 pump, again after fitting it with a small stock. Just before I turned six I used the .270 to kill my first deer at 70 yards from a tree stand with Papa sitting right next to me. His style of teaching safety was so good that even as a teenager, I was never tempted to sneak a gun of of the glass front gun case and play with it. I guess that safe gun handling was engrained into my mind at such an early age that it stuck so well. I was about ten before I was allowed to handle and shoot his s&w .38 revolver. By that time I was an excellent shot with all our rifles and also a 20 gauge shotgun.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:28 PM   #11
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In one of the neighborhoods where I run, I see a young boy, maybe 10-12 y/o, out in front of his house all the time with a lever action BB gun. He shoots palm trees, stucco walls, I'm pretty sure his mom's car and maybe the neighbors' cats and dogs. Mom is home. I see her come out once in a while talking on her cellphone. Besides the fact that it's against the law to shoot a BB gun in our city limits, this mom is clearly irresponsible.

Not exactly sure where I'm going with this except to say "kudos" to you for taking the responsibility for YOUR kid's weapon safety instruction. You're clearly one less parent I feel the urge to slap silly, like I do this irresponsible mom..


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Old February 20, 2013, 10:05 AM   #12
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I have a Marlin Model 60 for my boy. I can purchase a cheap BB gun for him but I am too strapped for cash to buy a new rifle. I would like to get him a bolt action but that just isn't in the cards yet. I really want to make this an enjoyable and safe endeavor for my boy and I cannot tell you haw invaluable all of your input has been.
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Old February 20, 2013, 06:52 PM   #13
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If you go with the BB gun, make sure that he understands that it is not a toy.

The cricket is a good choice. I all ways wanted the Ithaca single shot lever action. It sold for 19.95 through an add in Boys Life. You won't get one for that now.

Every one should start on a single shot. I believe that it improves skills knowing that they have only one chance to hit the target.

Good luck

PS dittos on the hearing protection. Young ears are more easily damaged than adult ears.
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Old February 20, 2013, 08:01 PM   #14
alex0535
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Hickock45 on Child Gun Safety:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1lPReo50uY

I was given a BB gun and instructed not to point it towards people or birds. My family never really discouraged shooting at squirrel, but I shot at cans a lot. Eventually I would start shooting a Ruger 10/22 and then got a Henry.

They need to understand that guns can be incredibly destructive and easily end something's life, person or animal. Never point a gun at anyone or anything they do not intend to shoot. Guns can be dangerous in dangerous hands.

Take him to the range with you after explaining good safety practice and demonstrate good safety practice. Give him a bb gun. if he will do as he is told in treating it as he should a real gun in a safe manner, he gets to shoot a .22 at the range under close supervision.

This is how I learned firearm safety, and none of the guns in our house ever had locks on them, and I did not get into them because I knew that they were not toys. Taking the mystery out of firearms will do so much in keeping them out of them when they are not being supervised.
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Old February 22, 2013, 10:36 AM   #15
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My son (now 19) started learning gun safety as a 1st grader through Cub Scouts. At that age(6-10 1/2) they are allowed to shoot BB's and archery. The Boy Scouts(10 1/2-17) are allowed to shoot archery, .22, shotguns, and light load muzzleloaders. Venturers(14-20 boys and girls) are allowed to add in high powered rifles and pistols.

The Boy Scouts require that all shooting activities take place under the supervision of a certified instructor. The Scouts have their own certification for the Cub Scout instructors, but for the Boy Scouts and Venturers the fire arm shooting is required to have NRA Certified Instructors and a Certified Range Safety Officer; and the archery is a level 1 USA Archery Instructor.

There is a lot more information that is required before Scouts are allowed to shoot, ie: where to shoot, proper targets, and instructor to shooter ratios, but they have done a fair job of setting up the progression from one type of firearm to the next. As one of those instructors I believe the level of safety is second to none.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
mash1971 wrote:

...My son (now 19) started learning gun safety as a 1st grader through Cub Scouts.... [img attached to orig]
That's a great picture mash. That little guy in the front row looks to have the sniper mojo already.


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Old February 22, 2013, 09:15 PM   #17
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Both our boys got a Chipmunk (pre Crickets) when they were born, and started handling them as soon as they were able. I was shooting a lot of rifle matches back then, so I was always dry firing on the living room floor, and they each practiced with me for a short while, every time I did.

They both started shooting live ammo at 4, and by then, had shot thousands of "rounds" (snap caps) on the living room floor in practice. I never let them shoot from a bench, and we always worked on good field positions. The Chipmunks, unlike cut down adult rifles, were sized to fit them, and they had no troubles shooting them well. They both fired their first rounds standing/offhand, on a chair at an indoor range I belonged to, and both put their first rounds , and most of the rest in the black on a standard pistol target at about 10 yards.

I believe the main thing, is to start them as soon as you can, and take every opportunity to talk and go over safety, and anything else. They should be allowed to handle anything they want, any time its reasonably done, and they should be encouraged to do so. If you do this, you will have no troubles, and your kids will be safer than most adults.

We never kept toy guns from our kids, and I actually encouraged them as well, but they were never allowed to have BB guns. This was something my dad started, and I believe his theory was right. He felt we would treat them as toys, which we did later on when we were old enough to get our own (pre paint ball days). It was paintball guns for our kids, and this kid had one too. . Even more lessons learned. Lots of fun too.
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Old February 23, 2013, 12:16 PM   #18
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Mash, that is a wonderful picture. I wish that there was a way to show the anti's that type of thing.

These are all pearls of wisdom, guys! PLEASE, keep them rolling!
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Old March 27, 2013, 11:47 AM   #19
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I don't mean to revive an old threat if it is unusable. However, in my plight to have my son as well trained as possible, I recognize that others may feel the same. One more thing that I will be including in this regimen are bedtime stories. He won't go to sleep without them anyway, so I may as well include firearms safety into that mix. I just bought 3 books for him; My First Rifle, My First BB Gun, and My First Bow. Hopefully, the repetition from books and his Papa's endless droning about safety, will ingrain it into his psyche. I will include the link for all who can make use of it. To all, good training!

http://www.littlesportsman.com/books.php
"The MY FIRST series emphasizes safety and responsibility to youth, and explains the dangers that may result from negligent gun or bow handling"
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Old March 27, 2013, 03:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
I was given a BB gun and instructed not to point it towards people or birds.
I was given a BB gun and ammunition and instructed to kill all the English sparrows, grackels, starlings, magpies,squirrels, mice, rats, rattlesnakes and anything else that might either bother the farm animals or eat their feed ..... my brothers and I were usually down to shooting grasshoppers and locusts by the end of July, having killed or run off all the "legal targets" (Mom's Robins and Goldfinches were "protected species", and even shooting at them would result in a spankin' .... damage to any siblings or property, likewise ..... ) on the farm.
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Old March 27, 2013, 03:37 PM   #21
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My dad let me fire his .06 around age 9 from the shoulder and the recoil about knocked me on my butt. He told me if it hurts that way when using it correctly, could i imagine what it would feel like to fire it irresponsibly or even worse to be on the recieving end. Mom wasn't exactly thrilled with the bruise, but looking back i don't think i would have taken firearms nearly as serious without my dads 'wake up call'.
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:55 AM   #22
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My two cents:
1. There's no rush. Have him help when you clean your weapons after your next few range trips. Explain to him the parts, their function, how a safety works, etc. Let him do a bit of scrubbing. Understanding how the system works will deepen the foundation. Taking away a bit of the mystery won't take away the fun. Remember, though, that he's 5 and has the memory span of a goldfish; much of this will be lost on him. Repetition is the key.
2. Take him out and shoot some cans or a target taped to a cardboard box using one of those break barrel pellet guns. It's quieter, produces less recoil, the sights work the same and you get to watch cans fall over. Every little boy loves to watch cans fall over. Better, you can start shooting at closer ranges, so he'll improve faster. If it's just the two of you, it could be great education as well as bonding time. You can talk to him at length about the rules of safety or how crappy the Cubs are going to be again this year w/out constantly being drowned out by the guy sighting in his new 7mm Mag 3 lanes over. Also, it's safer for you and those around you; if your boy ADs using a pellet gun, there's only a slight chance of severe injury.
3. Move up to the range and a real firearm after you think that step 2 has brought him up to speed.

Enjoy it. You both will have great memories.
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Old March 28, 2013, 12:00 PM   #23
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Pre-rifle training for my son

Daisy red rider BB gun. Set up targets in back yard. Maybe staple some balloons into the fence. Shoot with him, correcting his mistakes as u go. Try to keep it fun though. A negative experience might turn him away from firearms. Maybe preface him that you are going to be watching him and correcting him a lot bc guns are very serious and can kill people, but that you aren't getting mad at him. I remember my dad taking my 20 gauge away from me for 15 minutes when I was in 3rd grade while we were dove hunting. That was actually a good eye opening lesson.
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Old March 28, 2013, 04:14 PM   #24
ChasingWhitetail91
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I like the balloon idea, i know as a kid i liked re-active targets. Maybe put water or flour in them to make it a little more interesting.
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Old March 28, 2013, 04:44 PM   #25
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My father prohibited BB guns !! This based on the observation that all too many kids and all too many adults thought they were toys. I agree with him !

Reactive targets are a great challenge. I used to put the empty 6 or 7 oz frozen juice cans out in the field .When hit they bounce , changing position to something that's more , or less visible.
When more expert use animal crackers as targets ! This BTW is challenging for adults at a 50' indoor range.
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