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Old July 17, 2014, 08:36 PM   #1
precision_shooter
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Youth or "Full Size" rifle for my son?

My 11yo son has taken an interest in shooting and hunting, which I'm excited about. Means I have another "reason" to buy more guns!

With deer season around the corner, I want to get him his own rifle. I hunt with a .308 Tikka T3 which is a little too stout on recoil for him. He is 4'11" or so and weighs 74lbs soaking wet. I had the same thin build when I was his age, not so much anymore...

Anyway, we went and did a little looking today at rifles. I've decided on .243 as the caliber, but am undecided on getting a youth version or full size. We did the whole LOP test where I rest the butt pad on his bicep/bend of the elbow and have him reach up to see if he can grip the rifle/reach the trigger.

The youth was about right, and the "full size" (savage axis) was about 2 inches too long. He could reach the trigger when shouldered, but not when doing the lop test. My concern is if I get him a youth, he would outgrow it pretty quick, but that could always be remedied with a full size stock replacement.

I'm pretty much set on the axis for his first rifle. They have a good reputation for accuracy and the price tag is only $250 new. I figure this is a learning test. If he is good about taking care of it, I will consider a nicer rifle in the future.

Any of you done the same tests/measurements and which way did you go, youth or full size?

Thanks!
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Old July 17, 2014, 10:49 PM   #2
semi_problomatic
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Get him the youth. In a couple years get him a boyds stock for a bday present. No reason for him to learn bad posture now.
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Old July 17, 2014, 11:00 PM   #3
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+1 what Semi said. The youth rifles re-stocked to adult sized stocks (either factory or Boyd's) tend to make for easy transitions.
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Old July 17, 2014, 11:37 PM   #4
Lucas McCain
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Get him a youth model. You did the LOP test but how was he dressed when he did it, compared to how he will be dressed when he's hunting. A heavy coat quickly makes a standard LOP gun hard to hold correctly and comfortably for a young hunter. I have a model 70 compact with a 12" LOP that I bought for the grandkids. I have no problem shouldering that rifle, matter of fact it smoother and easier than my model 70 featherweight and I'M 6'-6"tall with long arms.
As another suggestion, instead of a 243 have you considered a 7mm-08. That is an awful good cartridge, even for elk sized game. And recoil is very much the same as the 243.
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Old July 18, 2014, 12:36 AM   #5
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At 4' 11" and 74 lbs, he will love the 243, the 7-08 not so much. And anyone that says the recoils are the same is smoking loco weed. A 95 grain SST will kill an animal very well without the recoil of a 150 grain 7 mm.

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Old July 18, 2014, 04:15 AM   #6
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Echo of what they said.

Don't forget that stock spacers might be available.
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Old July 18, 2014, 04:30 AM   #7
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I too reccomend the 243 in the youth model.

Nothing says you cannot sell the 243 after 3-5 years and move to a full size 308 or something. Your "rental loss" will be minimal.

Make sure you put a reputable scope on that. Burris Fullfield II are pretty good.
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Old July 18, 2014, 04:30 AM   #8
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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FWIW: 6mm is another cartridge to consider for junior.
As far as junior's first rifle. Since he's surely going to be taught a little Gun Safety by Pop's and to pick & choose his shots (wisely) as Dad does. There is nothing better than a single shot rifle or shotgun for the purpose. A H&R Handi-Rifle on this occasion would make a great first big game rifle for a young want-to-be hunter. You could order the model that comes with a Youth Stock to accommodate junior's shoulder even. When target shooting. Your Son he'll never get bored having his very own Handi-Rifle. Him having to reload shot after shot will keep his interest on-going alone. lol~~~ A positive thing for Dad. Single shot weapons quite often help conserve ammo. Which is a good thing these days considering what centerfire ammo cost's.
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Old July 18, 2014, 07:20 AM   #9
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My plan was to take a common Rem 700 in 243 and cut 2" off the stock. The short stock would be cycled through all of our kids and then replaced with a full sized stock later. Then Daughter turned out to be a lefty. She got Dad's hand-me-down Savage 243 that already had the stock shortened 1" after she moved up from her cut down Savage 223.
Choose a common model rifle and expect to replace the stock later OR just buy an el-cheapo take-off stock and cut that one now.
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Old July 18, 2014, 07:22 AM   #10
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Excellent points all around. I actually had not thought about the wearing thicker, heavier clothes in the winter and issues it could cause with proper posture/position on the rifle compared to just a t-shirt that he was wearing yesterday.

As far as caliber, I don't see us getting the opportunity to hunt elk in the near future. It will mainly be White Tail, Hogs, and a very slim chance of Mule Deer. If the opportunity ever arises for us to go on an Elk hunting trip, it would be several years from now and if he hasn't gotten a new rifle/caliber by then, I have 2 .308's.

As for Safety and Hunting etiquette, he is and will continue to learn the fundamentals, just as my Dad taught me.

Thanks for the helpful feedback!
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Old July 18, 2014, 03:18 PM   #11
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.243 is a 6mm.... Isn't it?
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Old July 18, 2014, 07:26 PM   #12
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weatherby vanguard

I have a weatherby vanguard youth in .243 and it came with shims to adjust lop as shooter grows. I really love this rifle. sub moa guaranty out of the box. you might take a look at it.
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Old July 19, 2014, 02:27 AM   #13
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Maybe Sure Shot was referring to the 6mm Remington. That's a fine ctg but I don't think I'd recommend one at this time. I just had one built on a 03A3 action and I caint find any 6mm or .257 Bob brass anywhere a factory ammo is sure 'nuff slim pickins.
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Old July 19, 2014, 03:07 AM   #14
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unless your son is very small, I would suggest a full sized rifle... eventually he will outgrow the youth otherwise and you'll be stuck trying to get a full sized rifle or putting an adult stock on a very small gun which can make the gun as unserviceable as trying to use use an undersized rifle.
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Old July 19, 2014, 04:58 AM   #15
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putting an adult stock on a very small gun which can make the gun as unserviceable as trying to use use an undersized rifle.
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A matter of opinion. I actually have two rifles that I use frequently which were originally "youth" rifles. At one time, the only way to get a Remington 700 "carbine"(20" barrel) was to buy a youth rifle and restock with a full size stock. I wanted a .308 carbine to use as a "guide gun" and that's how I got one. The other is a Wby Vanguard 7mm08 that I bought at a discount because it didn't sell right away and the store wanted to recoup and stock a more popular rifle. A $30 ebay synthetic full sized stock and 5 minutes with a screwdriver and I have a nice little deer carbine at $100 under normal price.
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Old July 19, 2014, 08:51 AM   #16
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My son was a little older than your when I gave him obe of my 30-30. The problem was that my son is on the short size, so I bought a youth stock for it and he can now shot it well. The its an old marlin (1982) 336 but I like it because it's simple, shot well and its light. Here it is the one with the black stock.
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Old July 19, 2014, 10:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
stock on a very small gun which can make the gun as unserviceable as trying to use use an undersized rifle.
Huh? The action will be the same size if we are talking Remington 700 Youth, the Savage Youth models, or Weatherby Vanguard Youth. Perhaps the barrels might be a tad shorter, but the actions are the same.

To the OP, I purchased a Weatherby Vanguard Youth .243 which served its purposes well, and my oldest is all of 5'1". She started with that rifle when she was 12. She's now 18. The rifle came with an extra adult LOP stock for the purposes of mounting later when your young one gets taller (which happens much too fast).

The only problem I had was her perception of the recoil. To me, the rifle is a sweetheart to shoot, with the youth LOP! To her, she thought it kicked too much. If you have a son who is recoil sensitive, it's something to think about.

Should you run into the same problem, in the end I went with the AR and a 6 position stock. Very adjustable length of pull, very mild recoil in either 5.56 or in 6.8 which she shoots for deer. My only problem now is she like to shoot it too much! It gets expensive on our range trips.
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Old July 19, 2014, 05:06 PM   #18
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Youth model with shorter length of pull !! I purchased a sportered Spanish mauser (chopped military stock) in 7x57 mauser that fit him perfect, when he was 12.
Since I reload, I downloaded it to 30-30 levels for him. Now that he is 17 years old and 45 lbs heavier, it sits in a full sized Boyd's laminate
and he takes full power loads, which in 7x57 mauser is still fairly mild in the recoil dept.
He can handle full power 8x57 mauser loads, but still prefers his 7mm, as it's lighter and quicker handling. He also has a 30-30.
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Old July 19, 2014, 06:32 PM   #19
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Do both. I'm serious. Get a rifle that is commonly made in both full sized and youth stocked models. Then, buy the opposite stock on either Ebay or Gunbroker. If you have chosen one of the models that produced lots of both variants, there will be a good supply of take-off stocks. Take-off stocks like I'm talking about almost always go for less than $100.
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Old July 19, 2014, 07:44 PM   #20
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.22

Hope your spending lots of time on a .22 !
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Old July 19, 2014, 07:59 PM   #21
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Youth Rifle

OR get a wood stock, cut two 3/4" pieces off the stock and add a leather lace-up recoil pad with 3/8" of that space-age silly putty. As he grows, put the pieces back on the rifle. stock. Could be a great keepsake/hand-me-down for his kids as it can also be taken back apart in the future.
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Old July 21, 2014, 05:34 PM   #22
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Short stocks (youth or bantam/mid-sized/lady-sized) are better for rifles that are going to STAY iron-sight-use (such as yes, a levergun). As an adult, if the stock is "too short", it's still quite usable, but no scope-eye. So that bodes toward a .30-30 or other levergun (although turnbolts and pumps can have iron sights too of course).

So really, the question is, will the gun stay iron sighted or will it get scoped later? Something with really good iron sights like a CZ 550 FS (in say, .243), is a great choice for a rifle you leave iron sighted - well it would be except it doesn't come with a youth stock, so nevermind. But the short run Marlin did recently with the 336Y (youth) - that'd be a great one to scoop up as they're still out there new. I think Rossi sells some single shot rifles and sets where the stock has spacers to put in or out.

And yes, .30-30 win and .243 are great choices that you won't regret, as they're so good and versatile for youth and adult alike (the game is the same sized, as you get older, ain't it?). They kick about the same from a similarly weighted gun.
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Old July 23, 2014, 08:02 AM   #23
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I don't like lever actions for kids. There, I said it! They're heavier than many bolt-actions and pumps and, in cold weather, very cold on the lever hand. They also have blind magazines and older ones rely on half-cock notches. I've witnessed too many accidental discharges, especially by youngsters trying to let the hammer down with gloves on.

Newer ones that have cross-bolt safeties and rebounding hammers are safer, but still pretty heavy.

A Remington pump can be a very good rifle for a kid, since they're fairly light and have magazines that make loading/unloading fairly safe. Stocks are cheap and youth stocks can be swapped with adult ones fairly quickly, should others in the family want to use the rifle. Adjustable buttstocks are also available.

My favorite rifles are bolt-actions and there area many youth models that work fine. Remington and Ruger make light and handy ones.
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Old July 23, 2014, 10:09 AM   #24
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When I was 13, my Dad bought me a .243 Winchester. Cut 1.6" off the buttstock with a bandsaw and refitted the buttplate. I still have not lengthened it. I have planned for many years to put an XL buttplate on it. Can't bring myself to replace the Black Walnut wood with anything else...seared into my early memories of hunting.

My 12 year old, the day after his 12th Birthday, shot his first deer, and then an elk (at 350 yards) with a .308. He was 4'10 and 80 pounds. He is now almost 5' and 90 pounds. He shot the .243 with normal loads and the .308 with some reduced recoil loads and the recoil was the same. With proper fit, recoil is not a big deal with the .308, but there are reduced recoil loads that work great and keep the .308 at or below .243 recoil levels.

There are lots of options, and I have found that including the person shooting the gun into the decision is of huge benefit. Pick 2 or 3 options, present them and then let him decide.
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Old July 23, 2014, 10:32 AM   #25
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Has your boy shot anything larger than a .22 lr before? I went through this with my daughter a couple of years ago when she was nine and wanted to hunt. I finally had to settle on a .223 for her first rifle. I spend a little money buying her a .250 Savage that had a 13" LOP. However she hated the report so much from anything larger than the .223 she was scared to shoot it because she said it "kicked", even though it wasn't the recoil that bothered her.

I wouldn't have considered a .223 for her first deer rifle if not for the fact she was too young to hunt in Colorado. So I knew I'd have to look elswhere for a hunt for her. That had me looking to States where they didn't have a 12 year old requirement for hunting big game. Most of these States don't have any caliber restrictions like Colorado as well. TX was my primary target but I eventually settled on Oklahoma as I have a buddy whose father let us hunt for free for white tail.

I was a little unsure of letting my daughter use a .223 at first but she has changed my opinion of this little cartridge. She only shoots 55 grain TSX out of it so far for deer but I wouldn't hesitate to let her use a Nosler Partiton or Bonded Perfomance bullet on deer as well. She bagged her first white tail doe at 140 yards when she was nine and 116 yards when she was 10, and hopefully she'll fill her buck tag this next hunting season at 11. She's about outgrown the cut down stock but she refuses to let me change it out as that woudl change her little "bruiser" as she has named it.

I'm not saying you have to buy your boy a .223, just keep your options open because what you want them to shoot may not be what they're able to shoot. That said I wouldn't buy a Savage Axis for my kid. I'd spend the money and buy a regular old Savage 10 Trophy hunter package. You'll get a much better trigger and Nikon Prostaff scope for around $300 more so you'll be money ahead by not buying the Axis for $250. Have the stock cut down to fit your son and then when he needs a larger stock you can find more stocks availabe for his rifle than what the Axis offers.

Don't buy cheap for your son's first rifle he'll more than likely want to keep it forever. Buy a rifle that your able to have grow with him and something he can hand down to your grandchild. So having two stocks isn't ever a bad option for a youth rifle.
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