View Full Version : shotgun for youth

May 1, 2005, 07:28 PM
I have an 8 and 9 year old who would like to go hunting with me. I'm figuring on starting them shooting this summer, and I figured shotguns would be easier for them to hit something with. I like the single shot break open guns and have acquired a few NEW and H&R shotguns recently.

I'm learning shotgunning myself, and I wasn't raised around hunting or guns for that matter. So I don't know what shooting is like for a kid.

I figured a 20 gauge would be middle of the road- to use shot for small game or use slugs for deer or hog. I picked up a couple of 20 gauge youth guns cheap and it seems to me they kick awful hard for a kid. I shot them today with 1 oz birdshot and they kick about like my 12 gauge does with light loads.

In your guys' experience is 20 ga. too much? Will the kids get kicked less seeing as how they are lighter than me? I can get the youth guns rebarreled. H&R can put any of these on the gun: 28ga., 410, 50 cal muzzleloader, or a combination of these.

410 shells are expensive and I don't imagine there's a good load for deer/hog. Of course I can always get more than one barrel.

What did some of you guys start off on? How about a 28 gauge? Will 28 ga. slugs work on deer & hog?

May 1, 2005, 08:37 PM
28ga is a wonderful gun for kids, but no one makes a factory slug load in them. Shells are more expensive than a .410 also.

The single shots are much too light, and have brutal recoil. Get the lightest loads that you can find in 20ga, 3/4oz, or 7/8oz reduced speed loads, or find someone that can reload for you and make some light shot loads. Slugs are still going to be hard on the shoulder.

If you really wanted a good gun for kids, and for youself as well, get the youth Remington 1100. It is a sweet shooter with very little felt recoil, not too heavy, not too light.

May 2, 2005, 01:10 AM
A 20 ga. that is correctly fitted to the shooter's size, has a good quality recoil pad and using the lightest slug loading available, should have little problem. That is not to say there will not be recoil. There will! Anytime you use slugs you're going to get a jolt. A .410 is TOO small and many states don't allow hunting with the tiny slugs they fire.

The lighter the gun, the more recoil they make - there is no getting around that. Go slowly with your son, especially if he is a bit on the small side, don't shoot too much at a time. Too much will cause pain and flinching - two very bad things. Make it a game (it should be, shouldn't it?), get a clay thrower and let him hone his abilities. It won't be long before he wouldn't even think about the recoil.

If you were shooting a "youth" size shotgun, it probably did beat you up a little because it was not the correct size for your frame. The correct size gun goes a long way in lessening felt recoil.

May 2, 2005, 07:49 AM
A 20 gauge break-action gun can be a brutal kicker. I started my boy on one of those, but I loaded 3/4 oz. shells for him, and even then he could only take a dozen or so per shooting session. Today I would buy a .410 chamber insert. You can get one for around $40, and that will allow him to get used to shooting the gun without getting belted in the chops each time. Use 2 1/2 inch .410's with 1/2 oz of shot. That will kill doves, rabbits and squirrels.

For deer or hogs you would probably do better to get a very light kicking rifle for the kids. Beware that even some "light" kickers like the 30-30 and the 243 can have unpleasant recoil if the gun is fired from a benchrest position. I have found that a .257 Roberts with 100 grain loads is about the easiest, most effective gun to shoot for a kid (or even for an old phart!). It has less felt recoil than the 243 (to me), and it seems to be a better deer killer. Of course handloading will open up a world of opportunity to produce reduced power loads in just about any caliber. That would make a 7mm08 or 308 or even a 30-06 a possible choice.


May 2, 2005, 02:03 PM
First shotgun I ever got to shoot was my grandpa's Remmington 870 loaded with magnum shells, 'bout knocked me on my ass but it was fun(9 at the time).

May 2, 2005, 06:50 PM
"Too much will cause pain and flinching - two very bad things."

I definitely don't want to do that. I need to either get a heavier gun that fits them better, or get a smaller gauge barrel. I'm not willing to start reloading shotgun shells yet, that's a whole new ball game. I'll forget about slugs, and they can use a smaller shotgun for small game. So I might go for a 28 gauge barrel, because I can get 28 ga. shells for about the same price as 20 gauge in fort lauderdale. And maybe I'll shorten the stock a bit, too.

I think I'll get a youth rifle for bigger game and handload for the kids, like clemson suggested.

Thanks for the advice, guys!

May 2, 2005, 07:05 PM
Wayne, it is pretty easy to fire either 28's or 410's in a 20 gauge gun with these:


Good luck!


May 2, 2005, 10:09 PM
I can still remember getting my first shotgun it was my 12th birthday. I was a 20ga double barrel. If I shot a lot it would leave a bruse on my shoulder. I never noticed it till I tried shooting on same shoulder the next day. Ouch!! Anyways I never considered it too much for me. I just wouldn't go to a 410. 28 ok.