View Full Version : deer rifle for daughter.

October 30, 2009, 04:17 PM
looking to get a deer rifle for my daughter...dont want anything too big for her yet....so lookin at getting either a 243 or 223...leanin more to the 243 just for her and growing factor would the 223 be a little small for deer size game or would i be better off with the 243

October 30, 2009, 04:32 PM
even if you hadn't mentioned it,the .243 would be what I would say is good.My mother in law has got several deer with her .243.

October 30, 2009, 04:35 PM
im leanin pretty hard to the 243 in a H&R or Rossi jsut for the price...but might look into something a little nicer for her jsut to have for a few years for her

October 30, 2009, 04:44 PM
If you wind up going with the 223, don't tell us about it unless you really enjoy getting flamed.;)

Seriously, although I don't own one, the 243 should be way more versatile and be a rifle she could grow into, yet be able to handle right now. (you don't mention her age and size)

October 30, 2009, 04:55 PM
she is 9 now and big for her age...but needs some range time so want to get something for her that dont have a bad recoil to it so she can shoot it quite a bit....its a little late now for our deer season but if she can get some range time in between now and next year she should be good to go

Brian Pfleuger
October 30, 2009, 05:10 PM

Plenty of gun, little recoil.

October 30, 2009, 05:18 PM
There are some companies that sell the 243 with a youth stock and an extra adult stock in the box for when they get bigger. I've also heard that the 7x57 is good for youngins, they are supposed to be loaded light factory ammo.

October 30, 2009, 05:58 PM
Those Rossi's are pretty cheesey ! I would recomend the H&R JMO

October 30, 2009, 06:11 PM
I've also heard that the 7x57 is good for youngins

My 7x57 is even a tad stout fer a youn-gun. It's sibling, the 257 Roberts or the 250 Savage is just perfect fer a new hunter.

James R. Burke
October 30, 2009, 06:40 PM
I got my wife a .243 Ruger No 1A light sporter. She shot at her first two deer and got them both. Shot placement is key, and she knows when to let them walk, just like any caliber. Since I reload she gets to practice alot. You do need the correct bullet for the .243 for deer. There are a few real good ones out there. I am using a Nosler 100 grain partition for hers. It will make a complete pass thru on a deer holds together pretty good, and mushrooms perfect from what I seen so far. A .223 is a nice rifle with little recoil but just a hair light for deer, but that is just my feelings. Fisherman 66 also named some real good ones to start out with. I had my concerns at first with the .243 but I dont anymore. I know the load I worked up is a good one, and she will only take a shot with good placement. She did leave two real nice bucks walk feeling she could not get the correct shot. So those type of things took my doubts away. Good luck, and you will have a good time with the new hunting partner. Also you do not need to spend a ton of money to start with, there are some pretty good rifles out there that are not to bad on the wallet, again have fun with your daughter, and hope you both get the big one!

October 30, 2009, 06:47 PM
The 223 is an excelent choice for a starter cartridge, it is more than enough for deer. Especially for a youngster... She most likely at that age will be able to master the 223 much better.. Precision and shot placement is the key... don't let the Utra Mag croud kid you! It's darn hard to hit well with both eys shut and your head out of the way. 1 shot placed with precison is much better than 3 in the guts!

The 243 is a great "all around" cartridge... but I bet in a few years (if she sticks with shooting/hunting) that you will be glad you chose a nice 223. When she is older you can get her a bigger caliber.

Any dad that wants to get his 9 year old into hunting/shooting can surely appreciate the idea of 2 Guns:D... :D

October 30, 2009, 07:20 PM
"The 223 is an excelent choice for a starter cartridge, it is more than enough for deer.":eek:

Don't come to WY with your .223 for deer ,stupid statement.

October 30, 2009, 08:31 PM
I lived in WY for a lot of years, In the high country and not out on the eastern plains... didn't notice the deer or even there hand fed elk to be any tougher than they are anywhere else :D

Yeah out here in the west a 300yrd shot can be a close one on some days but I don't suppose this is what he has in mind... even our western regs prevent fathers from taking there kids hunting until they are 12 or 14...back east some states have no age restrictions.

Yeah I know about WY's 22cal. law that comes from big brother trying to tell a free people what they can and can't do....

I allow hunting around my place but only if guys shoot my 22 hornet...this keeps my neighbors and my livestock safe. I have never had a single cripple from the hornet so I know that the 223 is plenty .

I belive in Big Guns.. even my user name shows that, but I see no benifit in the extra blast and recoil for a new 9yr old shooter...
She might even like the sport if you don't bash her in the head with the scope and deafen her with the first shot. A 243 with a 100gr kicks plenty hard enough to sour a little girl. My little girl is now 15 and pushing 6ft but she still doesn't like shooting guns that kick..(even if they don't hurt)

I sure don't suppose this father with his 9 yr old daughter plans on backpacking into the Grey's River for a high country Muley, where a big high powered, long range magnum may be nessassary..

So please keep your rude remarks about how stupid I may be to your self!

October 30, 2009, 08:50 PM
champ, The added mass of a loaded lever action Marlin really absorbs the recoil well. The .30-30 is usually pretty sedate. The short overall length negates some of the extra weight as it is still very pointable.

Many good deals abound. Mine sold for 175.00 OTD! It is a 1977 model 336C that showed nothing more than some shine on the hammer and lever (gotta love racking the action) and the guts were like new.

October 30, 2009, 09:32 PM
.243 or 6mm or 6.5mm/.260. in a bolt action
30-30 in a Marlin 336

October 30, 2009, 09:44 PM
Forget the .223, unless you are hunting deer the size of German Sheppard, go with the .243, much more knock down power. A Ruger, Remington, or Savage bolt action would work well, and not cost a whole lot of money.

October 30, 2009, 11:12 PM
You 223 bashers are starting to crack me up!!! I just got thru with one of these threads last night before the moderator mercifully closed it down.

Champ, only you know your daughter well enough to know whether she is recoil sensitive, but if she is (or you think she will be), the 223 will be perfectly adequate and you should make NO apology when selecting it for the task at hand - as long as it's legal where you hunt. Do a search and sort thru the bull and you'll find a large number of folks who have proven to themselves that the 223 can do it and do it well.

You can't go wrong with either choice. Good luck.

October 30, 2009, 11:20 PM
I have thrown this one out in the rifle thread, but here in LA, there is not legal min. age. My 7 yo daughter is proficient with a .22 bolt (scoped) and has been for over a year. She has been in the stand with me for a couple years. She knows where to put it too, having marked up tons of deer magizines. We take a pen and have her draw a dot on the aiming point of all the deer at various angles and discuss the ones that do not offer a shot.

LA also has a primitive weapon season that allows single shot riles with exposed hammers, as long as it is at least a .45 caliber. One friend, who is aware of her ability yet her small size as well, has suggested that she try a 45 Colt. We have a childrens stand set up as a box stand and which offers 50 yard shots, maximum. He says the cartridge is adequate, recoil is low and it will also qualify as a primitive weapon, thereby allowing her to extend the number of opportunities she will have.

Anyone have experience or opinion on 45 Colt as short range deer round or any knowlege on the recoil we should expect. I have an H&R in 30-30 that I could stuff with the managed recoil round. Just trying to chose between the two...the least recoil the better. Thanks

James R. Burke
October 31, 2009, 09:56 AM
There is no doubt the .223 will kill a deer. Even a .243 you will have lots of people say it is to light, and it is not. My wife is about 90 pounds, and there is hardly any recoil with the .243. It is not a big rifle with a big recoil.

Art Eatman
October 31, 2009, 10:27 AM
I killed my first deer with a .222, but it was a patient, volunteer doe, standing about thirty yards away. Easy hit into the white spot.

But I'll recommend the .243. I've tagged over 20 bucks with mine. I use the Sierra 85-grain HPBT bullet, which is now a factory load from Federal. (Happily, they shoot as tight a group as my handloads. :D) Negligible recoil.

The main thing is trigger time, to get her "all married up" with the rifle. And not all from the benchrest; field positions are a must.

If need be, shorten the stock to fit, and install a quality recoil pad. Save the cutoff piece to eventually put it back as she grows.

October 31, 2009, 10:35 AM
what about the 6.8 SPC?

i've never shot one but i wouldn't think that the recoil would be unmanageable, and it has plenty of power to take a deer.

October 31, 2009, 11:33 AM
I lived in WY for a lot of years, In the high country and not out on the eastern plains... didn't notice the deer or even there hand fed elk to be any tougher than they are anywhere else

Thats not the point, the point is hunting big game in Wyoming with a 223 is illegal. Min cal. is a .23, whick means 243 unless there is a .23something I havent heard of.

The 243 is perfect for kids (or anyone else) for deer size animals. My wife had three rods between her shoulder blades and cant take much recoil, she has no problems with the 243. My Grandaughter stole my 257 Roberts which is damn near the same thing.

October 31, 2009, 01:43 PM
I used a .243 H&R Handi-rifle for my first 8 years of hunting. I then got a Savage Model 10 bolt action .243 and have been using that since. A couple things about the .243 and the Handi-rifle that were good: Low recoil in an adequate caliber for deer, single shot action, youth models available, cheap, accurate and well made. Can't really go wrong with it.

FWIW my brother started with the same handi-rifle in a 30-30 and loved it. IMO a single shot is very important for a young hunter because it teaches the importance of shot placement, and with a mechanism that doesn't allow for much error (cock the hammer, squeeze the trigger)

October 31, 2009, 01:50 PM
but you also need to get an appropriate length of pull, especially if she's a small 9.

You can always add longer recoil pads as she gets bigger.

Or you could get a youth rifle from a major brand, and change out stocks over time.

October 31, 2009, 03:57 PM
This one is easy. 260 rem (6.5-308). Flat shooting, good knockdown, light recoil. Good for game up to and including elk. Just what the lady ordered. Its also a great cartridge for those who are recoil sensitive or those who would like to try a little of that long range paper punching.

October 31, 2009, 04:56 PM
You did not say what your price range was so I will recommend an AR-15 in 6.5 Grendel with a six position stock. Low recoil, powerful, adjustable to the shooter she can use the rifle with various uppers in different calibers for the rest of her life.

October 31, 2009, 09:04 PM
I am with sc928porche. A 260 in a Remington model 7 is a gun that will last a lifetime. With my young son, I got a 7-08 (260 not available back then.) We had the stock cut to a correct length of pull and as he grew, it went into a McMillan.

I have seen 2 deer hit with 243s (100gr factory) that did not have adequate tissue damage and we almost did not recover them. I know that doesn't always happen, but my 260 with 120 grain bullets is great on deer and there seems to be very little more perceived recoil compared to the 243.

A 7-08 with 120 grain bullets in the same gun would also be very nice.

November 1, 2009, 08:03 AM
A 260 in a Remington model 7 is a gun that will last a lifetime. With my young son, I got a 7-08 (260 not available back then.) We had the stock cut to a correct length of pull and as he grew, it went into a McMillan.

I bet that's a great combo. I don't care for plasticwerks, but I could make an exception for a 7/Swirly. What's the total weight on that walkabout 260?

November 1, 2009, 01:01 PM
A Marlin 336 in .30-30 would also fit a youngster well, hardly recoil at all, and drop the deer flat.

November 1, 2009, 09:08 PM
.243. But, if you are bent on a 22 cal, go with a 22-250, or better yet, get a 250-3000 savage. That is the cartridge the 22-250 was necked down from. You may also want to consider the 7mm-08. I shot my first deer siting on my dad's lap when I was 9. didn't bother me a bit. May want to look at a Howa. Inexpensive, accurate rifle. The rossi's don't group worth a flip. I tried working up some handloads for a friend - he couldnt get it to group. After a lot of powder, and bullets, I couldn't get it to group either. I would not buy one of those P.O.S. after that experience. I love my 22-250, but I'd get a little more gun for a new shooter.

November 1, 2009, 09:18 PM
My mom is 90lbs and 70+ years old and uses a Ruger 44Mag riffle. I don't think they mke them anymore. But you can get it in a Marlin lever action in 44mag.

A .223 or .243 will kill a deer with a well placed shot but a .44mag, 45Lc or 30-30 is a lot more forgiving on where she hits it and has very little kick in a riffle. It is a lot safer in the woods also a .223/.243 will travel a lot father.


November 2, 2009, 08:21 AM
Since I could not determine where you are (an indication of deer size), nor do you mention the ability of your little shooter, I'll provide some general thoughts.

Although many consider .223 adequate for deer, you find most supporters hail from states with smaller deer (FL, TX, etc) or their ability overcomes the weaknesses in the cartridge. I shot wild hogs with a Mini-14 in .223 in Florida growing up, but shot placement was important.

Your choice of .243 is well considered. A plethora of factory ammo exist in the heavier bullets you'd want to choose. It also performs the varmint role well with lighter bullets designed for the task.

.260 is definitely worth a look! Based on the same .308 casing the .243 came from, it launches a larger bullet and does it well. From articles I've read on the cartridge, more shooters are showing up every year at long range competitions with it. Factory loadings are more limited than the .243, and finding boxes of ammo anywhere outside the larger stores might be a challenge, although online ordering is an option.

Some other cartridges exist you have not considered. .257 Roberts is a mild-recoiling round that is very adequate for deer. The hard part to get over with the venerable "Bob" is limited ammo selection and IIRC, only Ruger is currently chambering a rifle in that caliber. If you use Gunbroker, you won't have a problem finding an available rifle, however. Like the .260, you will have a hard time finding a box in anywhere but the larger stores or online.

7mm-08 is another .308 parent cartridge to consider. It is only .5mm larger diameter than the .260, but gets the job done very fine on deer sized game and is more common than the .260 or "Bob".

The .250-3000 Savage was a nice round. No longer chambered in a factory rifle I am aware of, trying to find ammo can be challenging in person, but the "electronoshpere" can assist. Most of your used rifles will be the excellent Savage 99 lever action.

If you are considering an AR-15 platform, there are a dizzying array of available cartridges to consider. Since you are concerned about recoil, this is the best platform for recoil mitigation. However, the loadings for deer sized game present challenges to find ammo for unless you are willing to buy online. A quick search on this topic will reveal a thread started to document all available chamberings for the AR-15. Just beware: I took this route in 6.8 Remington SPC to meet the needs of a recoil adverse daughter, an acceptable cartridge for out to 100 yards, only to be forced to purchase my deer hunting ammo online. Absolutely zero shops in my local area carry anything other than Hornady with V-Max bullets.

Good luck and I hope this provided some help.

November 2, 2009, 03:35 PM
The .250-3000 Savage was a nice round. No longer chambered in a factory rifle I am aware of

Savage currently chambers the 250-3000 (aka 250 Savage) in their "Classic" line. I'd love to get my hands on a Rem Model 7, Ruger 77 - tang safety or #1 (Which is due out as a Lipsy Special soon).

Cool little deer cartridge with no muss or fuss; easy on the ears and shoulders but very adequate for clean kills on deer sized game...one of the most under appreciated cartridge around.


November 2, 2009, 11:44 PM
Good call fisherman. It's not in their standard Model 14 Classic, but in the Model 14 American Classic. Glad to see a venerable cartridge like that being chambered!

November 2, 2009, 11:56 PM
I don't believe .223 would be legal here...... .243 would be more versatile.....

I started with a .243 model 788 that I wish I still had...

My own daughter took her first deer last fall with a 30/30 Win .... Marlin 336 that she inherited from my mom. It worked just fine.