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Old May 6, 2013, 10:43 PM   #1
Waketurb007
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First Rifle For Daughter

So my daughter has informed me that she wants to start hunting together. She is 13. I have not hunted in years and all of my hunting experience has been on guided hunts.

I have never really been a "rifle guy" so I am looking for your input. We plan on mainly hunting hogs and deer in Arkansas. What would you suggest as a acceptable rifle cartridge? Recoil and effectiveness is the balance I am looking for.

Thanks.
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Old May 6, 2013, 10:45 PM   #2
allaroundhunter
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Re: First Rifle For Daughter

You want a .243 Winchester.

What is the price range that you want to stay in? What do you want to pay for an optic?
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Old May 6, 2013, 10:47 PM   #3
Waketurb007
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Have not even gotten that far on price and optics.
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Old May 6, 2013, 11:48 PM   #4
allaroundhunter
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Re: First Rifle For Daughter

Okay well then first off, how big (or small) is she? (it goes towards determining if she needs a youth rifle or if she can handle a full size rifle)
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Old May 7, 2013, 04:00 AM   #5
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Yes, .243. With good ammo choice it is great on hogs. In addition, she won't get a flinch from anything more hefty. A 20 gauge with buckshot could be another option if ranges are short. Good for you for taking her out hunting!
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Old May 7, 2013, 05:16 AM   #6
taylorce1
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I'm pretty sure where you are at the .223 is legal to hunt with. With todays bullets like Barnes TSX and Nosler Partition you can easily take the game mentioned with a .223. My daughter wanted to hunt last year but the only rifle she was capable of shooting accurately due to perceived recoil was the .223. She had a very successful hunt in Oklahoma last November taking a whitetail doe at 140 yards.



She used a Stevens 200 .223 with cut down stock to fit her, and Redfield Revolution 2-7X33 scope in Leupold Rifleman rings. I think I had about $500 in the rifle with the extra stock work.
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Old May 7, 2013, 06:03 AM   #7
BoogieMan
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Hands down 30/30. I like the Marlin levers but there are plenty more to choose from. My son who is now 16 has used one since he was about 10. No reason to change as there is no upgrade for hunting out to 150+-yds. Great in the brush and my boys Marlin will easily drive 5 rnds in a 1-1/2" circle at 100yds.
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Old May 7, 2013, 07:23 AM   #8
ligonierbill
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Tell us more about your daughter's shooting experience, and remember that she will probably be using the rifle you get her for years. Everyone is assuming she needs the lowest recoiling caliber available. Maybe. Personally, I like bigger bullets for the game you are after. Consider .260, like the .243 based on the .308. I shoot the "old timer" equivalent 6.5x55, and it is a pleasure. The .243 is also a good choice. I am a reluctant convert to .223 for deer after putting some 65 gr SGK through my AR, but be sure to get a rifle with the right twist for heavy bullets. Many bolt rifles are set up to stabilize light bullets for varmints. Look for 1 in 10 or faster. Good luck.

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Old May 7, 2013, 09:04 AM   #9
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Have your daughter sign up for a State Firearm Safety Training Class. That I would suggest be your and her's first plan or hurdle to accomplish before buying a firearm.

Depending on how her body build is for stock length. If I were in your situation OP I would have her measured at a well known local gun shop to see if she could handle a T/C Encore. Its a single shot rifle. But everything including its stock, forearm, and barrel, can be interchanged as she grows. If you have a 22 rifle to start her off target shooting with >great. Otherwise if money is not in short supply. Get the Encore ordered with a 22 barrel w/ open sights. Right off the get go. Then purchase another barrel for that Encore. Something more appropriate later down the road to hunt them piggy's with after your daughter has had some range practice first. Learning how to shoot with a 22 is far and away cheaper than doing so with a center fire rifle. That's how I would proceed with my new hunting pal if that occasion ever arose for me.

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Old May 7, 2013, 05:50 PM   #10
globemaster3
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I've been down this path twice now, with a few more times to go!

My oldest was 4 when she started scouting with me. About the time I should have been shooting air rifles with her, along came 9/11 and I was gone too much for years. At the next assignment, where I was training folks and not gone much, I kicked into high gear getting her trained to shoot/hunt. Here's some things I learned along the way.

Getting started on .22lr is the best thing to do with older kids. For younger ones, its amazing what a Red Rider or pump air rifle will do for their fundamentals. Either route, you can focus on basic gun handling and get a lot of trigger time practicing fundamentals for little cost. At least the cost was little pre-panic, and will be again in a few months in the case of .22lr.

From there, I decided on .243. For deer and hogs, as well as light recoiling, it works, and works well. There are a number of youth rifles out there, with Weatherby Vanguard Youth, Remington 700 Youth, and Savage Youth models being modest in price, but big on capabilities. I chose the Weatherby because it came with both a youth and adult stock and was very mildly priced. In addition, the 3-shot test target that came with it showed a dime sized grouping.

From there, I added a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 with bases and rings and had the perfect little setup.

First season with it, she managed to take a 250# sow and a spike. It was after that first season I recognized a problem. She did not enjoy shooting the rifle. I talked to her about it. She HATED shooting it because of the recoil. @ 4'10 and 85lbs, it was just too much for her WRT perceived recoil. Back to the drawing board, because if she didn't like to shoot it, keeping her on it would be self-defeating.

After much research, and getting opinions on here, I went with an AR-15 from Olympic Arms in 6.8 SPC. With an adjustable stock, length of pull is not a problem. They are naturally light unless you load them down, and recoil is practically nil. I took her to the range the first time and the smile after shooting it spoke volumes. Since then, she's taken 3 deer with that rifle. The .243 is back in the safe awaiting the next kid in line. With another upper in 5.56, I have a cheap practice option as well as a deer/hog option.

There are a few calibers to consider. .243, .260, 6.5 Creedmore, .257 Roberts, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, .250 Savage, 7mm-08, are all choices to consider with some of them being easier to find ammo for than others.

If you decide to go on a bolt gun, my advice is to steer away from Remington's 710 or 770 youth models. With the others, getting aftermarket stock to fit LOP, get a particular color, swap triggers, re barrel down the road, etc is possible, making it a better investment.

Bottom line, they have to enjoy shooting for it to be a long term shared event, which is the goal. At 13, you only have a handful of years left. Make them count!
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Old May 9, 2013, 07:55 AM   #11
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It's hard to beat the .243win. I started on a Remington 788 .243 (still have it) almost 20 years ago. My dad ended up putting a muzzle brake on it just before I got serious into rifle shooting. Mostly it was because he suffered a severe wreck that required an extensive neck surgery and he didn't want to miss the season lol. I shot that rifle until I was 16 and wanted a larger caliber, Remington 700 ADL .270win (still have that one also). With the .243, I never felt handicapped by the smaller caliber because it made you focus more on shot placement. I only wish I could remember the number of deer I dropped with that 788.
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Old May 11, 2013, 09:52 AM   #12
Jack O'Conner
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300 Savage is a moderate recoil cartridge that hits deer hard. But downside is ammo pricing which is double the cost of .243 cartridges.

Jack

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Old May 12, 2013, 05:36 PM   #13
AC 45-70
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7mm-08

The 7mm-08 is a little more powerful with not much more recoil. It is available in many of the same guns. With the way ammo is now it is easier to get than 308 or 243.
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Old May 12, 2013, 06:22 PM   #14
Nathan
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Wake,
Please tell us more about your daughter's shooting experience...

Unless you tell us something really surprising, I'm guessing I would recommend a Savage 11 Ladyhunter in 243 Win. In case you look elsewhere or another brand, the things I like are:
243 Win chamber
Short LOP...Need to confirm fit to her
20" barrel...easier to handle
Good quality rifle which you be able to sell with ease should things change often do with kids.

In addition, I would reccomend a 4 or 6x Leupold as her first scope depending on shortest reasonable range. If your shortest normal shot is 25, go 4x. If 50, go 6x. Leupold, not for the name, but because Leupold has a knack for the features you want at a lower weight than others can. Also, Leupold can also be sold at a later date for good money should things change.

Last, get a Leupold or Warne weaver/picatinney style mount...because PRW are the cheapest route to go and get a quality mount, IMHO. There may be others.
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Old May 13, 2013, 04:56 PM   #15
603Country
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I think that taylorce1's advice is best, though I do still think the 223 is marginal unless the kid is a real good shooter. I do believe I'd put her behind a 223 and see how she shoots and what she says about the recoil and then I'd put her behind a 243 (with a good recoil pad). If the 243 recoil doesn't bother her, that's what I'd go with. That said, if she develops a flinch from the 243, she'll be losing a lot more deer than with a non-flinch shot from a 223 (with the right bullet).

It's good that you are being considerate of your daughter's shoulder. You are going about this correctly. Nice job, Dad.
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Old May 13, 2013, 07:46 PM   #16
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Readily available ammo is something to consider. 30-30, 243win, 270, 308, 30-06. All are awesome deer takers and come hunting season, ammo's on sale all over for these calibers!
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Old May 16, 2013, 08:39 AM   #17
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There are companies that make reduced recoil versions of the .30's now for the recoil sensitive hunter out there. There's always handloading as well. If she can hack a bit more than the .223, I think the 7mm-08 is a sweet little cartridge. I got the opportunity to shoot a friend's last season, and it's just a sweetheart.
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Old May 16, 2013, 12:32 PM   #18
taylorce1
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I was a little worried about the .223 for deer as well. I couldn't get her worked into anything bigger even though I tried, since I have a .243 Stevens 200 that I could drop into her stock as well. However, now I wouldn't be afraid to put her on a big mule deer buck with that rifle and the 55 grain Barnes TSX load she used if it were legal in CO.

My daughter was nine when she shot the deer pictured and the biggest thing you can do for your daughter to ensure her success is to instill confidence in her. If she is confident in her shooting ability then she'll be able to be successful when it comes time to take the shot. Confidence will do more to ensure success than any advantage one cartridge will give over another.

My daughter lost her confidence about two months before her hunt took place and almost made me cancel the hunting trip. A few extra trips to the range, going over deer anatomy, and one day of shooting prairie dogs was all it took to get her back on track. When she realized how small of a target a prairie dog was compared to the kill zone on an average deer. She shot several pasture poodles that day past 200 yards and I was a super proud dad.

When it comes time for the hunt make sure you do everything possible to ensure her success as well. Make it easy for her by having the blinds set up to where if possible you can keep the shots 100 yards or less. Have shooting aids available for her to use, my daughter had a tripod to shoot off of out of the ground blind. Don't rush her to take the shot and if she isn't comfortable don't be afraid to go home empty handed. My daughter couldn't shoot the first day out hunting even though she had deer much closer to the blind than on the second when she shot the doe pictured.

The biggest plus of the whole journey with my daughter, is the pride she shows when we sit down to dinner and eat the venison that she put there.
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Old May 16, 2013, 01:59 PM   #19
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same

My experience mirrors Taylorce. I spent a bunch of time w/ bamaboy on .22 lr, then moved up to .223 Mini Mauser. He took his first two with .223 bonded slugs and me coaching in his ear. Very controlled conditions, green fields and shooting houses. We moved up to 7.62x39mm bolt gun pretty quickly after that, but he did not stay with that rifle long, and moved on to the .243 which shot much flatter and had more reach. We needed that on our ROW club, the x39 was a bit out of its league. But if ranges will always be pretty close, a 7.62x39 bolt is a great kids gun.

I am much opposed to 30-30 levers for kids or beginners If not equipped with a safety, lowering the hammer on a live round is a challenge for cold small hesitant hands. Loading and unloading ammo from the tube is always tedious, regardless if equipped with a lawyer safety or not. And I always felt some 30-30 loads in carbines kicked a whole lot more than they should. Remember felt recoil to a hundred pound person is a good bit more than what us beefy shooters feel. Now a 30-30 bolt like the old Savage 340 is another story. Practical safey, easy load and unload, etc.
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Old May 19, 2013, 09:53 PM   #20
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The 6.5 Grendel in either a bolt gun or an AR will be very hard to beat.

Shooting .264 caliber bullets of modest weight makes the rifle capable of harvesting most North American game and the low velocity keeps the recoil down to the same level as the .243 Winchester.

In today's world, trajectory is not as important as it once was because we will almost always use a laser rangefinder when the target is further away than 200-250 yards. This means that the same effort is needed to get the right holdover regardless of cartridge. The heavier bullets in the Grendel tend to drift a bit less too.

You can read more about this and a neat Grendel Reloading Handbook and more about medium game hunting with the Grendel by selecting the highlighted text.
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
the biggest thing you can do for your daughter to ensure her success is to instill confidence in her. If she is confident in her shooting ability then she'll be able to be successful when it comes time to take the shot. Confidence will do more to ensure success than any advantage one cartridge will give over another.
+1.

While not the fan of the .223 for deer that taylorce1 is, I can not agree with the above statement more.

My eldest daughter uses a .30/30 ....... in open country, and with a great deal of success- because she knows the gun and believes in her ability to use it with the same conviction she knows she can swim, or drive, or any other skill she has practiced.

Practice is Priceless, and Practical Practice even moreso: Establish that the gun and load and sights/scope work, and then move off the bench, and shoot as much from field positions as possible.......

Finding a gun that fits your daughter is more important than what caliber it is chambered in ......
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:26 AM   #22
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Its a lot more difficult now to decide on what cartridge to pick for your youngster. Most of it has to do with the child. Seems to be a lot more cartridges to choose from now than when I was young. Like the greatest majority of kids of my day, first hunting rifle was the old 30-30. It seemed to be that or an 06.

I have 2 suggestions for youngsters. 25-06 or 6.5x308 (260 Remington). I stumbled across the 260 when I had an old arisaka 38 that I was going to clean up a bit. Upon checking, I discovered that it had a headspace problem, but the bore was in excellent shape. Of course ammo was very expensive for it, so I decided to convert to 6.5x308 (Remington hadn't released the 260 yet). It was an easy conversion. Of course I had to do something with the telephone pole length barrel, So it got shortened to 22". The handguard was deleted, the forearm cut back a bit to keep classic rifle lines, and the wrist grip trimmed down. An inch off the butt and a 1" recoil pad installed completed the changes. A thorough sanding, some stain, and true oil completed the stock. Gave metal a high polish and then hot tank blue. Bedded the action in the stock and the rifle was complete. A little bit of work, but well worth it. Little rifle has dropped quite a few deer and you cant pry it out of my oldest daughters hands.

Apologies, sometimes I get a bit carried away, I have my own 260 now and of course a 25-06. As my girls have grown up, they have had their choice of 260 or 25-06. My oldest is 40 (time flies!) and youngest turns 12 this year. Results of their choice has been 2 for the 260 and 2 for the 25-06.

Whatever the two of you decide, enjoy your precious time together it slips by so quickly!
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:29 PM   #23
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
While not the fan of the .223 for deer that taylorce1 is, I can not agree with the above statement more.
I wouldn't say I'm a fan of the .223 for deer hunting, just that I have more respect for it than I did in the past after working with my daughter on her first hunt. My daughter has now moved into a used .250-3000 Savage custom Mini-Mauser rifle that my gunsmith built for his daughter and she has out grown. No luck on getting her to shoot full house 100 grain bullets yet but she tolerates 75-87 grain bullets well in the 3000+ fps range. It won't be long until the 100 grain bullets are slinging with the same kind of accuracy as the lighter weights. It is amazing what a few months of age, a good fitting rifle, and even more confidence can do.







Best thing is she is now CO legal for big game when she turns 12 in a couple of years. I doubt I'll let her take an elk with it but pronghorn and deer will certainly be on the menu. I'll probably put her in something like a 7mm-08, .260, 6.5X55, or .300 Savage when the elk hunt begins.
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:03 PM   #24
JASmith
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from jimbob86:
Quote:
Finding a gun that fits your daughter is more important than what caliber it is chambered in ......
+1

Excellent advice as long as the rifle and ammunition combination has less than about 10 ft-lb of recoil energy.

You can calculate by going here for your dream rifle and ammunition combination. Go to the recoil calculator after you have entered the base load and the characteristics of your rifle and ammunition.

Generally, the load can be factory ammunition and any load manual can get you about the right powder charge. The main thing is that most factory data is for a different barrel length than the one you plan to use. The calculator allows you to use your barrel length in the "New Load and Barrel Length" section.
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Old May 22, 2013, 05:32 PM   #25
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I have had some success making reduced recoil loads for the kids ..... a few years back with a .270 WIN with 130gr SP @2800 and lately with a Ruger Frontier in 7mm-08 loaded down to 2400 f/sec for a 139gr bullet. Both loads proved plenty lethal at less than 100 yards, which was as far as the shooters could hit a pie plate at the time ......
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