View Full Version : Rifle for young daughter but adequate for deer

December 28, 2010, 02:50 PM
Hey all I for some reason can't shoot anymore and will be spending sometime at the range. I missed the few shots I took this year and I must of been jerking the trigger or lifting up. I lost confidence and want to blame it on my rifle. (tikka t3 7mm-08) so I can sell and buy a new toy since I already have a spare scope to mount on a new rifle.

Anyways I thought I would pick a rilfe that my daughter could use in the future but I can use as well. I have a 280 but I dont care to rough it up when the weather is nasty. She is almost 5 so it will be another year before I take her out hunting. Any suggestions on what rounds I should pick? I was considering the following since I dont handload.




December 28, 2010, 03:00 PM
.243 Can't beat it for the situation you describe. Great deer caliber and near non-existant recoil. The Savage is an excellent choice unless you have dollars to burn.

December 28, 2010, 03:08 PM
I 2nd the .243. I have killed several deer and antelope and 1 Barbary Sheep with the .243. It kills mule deer as well as my magnums or .270.


December 28, 2010, 03:12 PM
I'll third the .243 choice.

December 28, 2010, 03:18 PM
The 25-06 is going to have darn near the recoil of your 280. This is not just an opinion. I have a 280 and my shooting partner has a 25-06. I think the 243 is a great recommendation. It has long been known as a quality choice for youths as well as the ladies. The 243 is a very capable deer round and can used for varmits as well.

December 28, 2010, 03:29 PM
Keep your rifle for yourself and get your daughter an NEF Handirifle in .243. she can learn how to shoot and it, being a single shot has many advantages for her. Some of them are: It is light and easy to carry. It has low recoil. It will instill in her automaticaly the tennant of "one shot, one kill". It will teach her the principle of, if there is doubt about the shot, pass on it and wait for a better one.

December 28, 2010, 03:37 PM
I recommend the .243 as well and started my oldest with a Weatherby Vanguard Youth, but also urge you to consider all options.

The caliber is fine, but the platform you will find most rifles configured are bolt actions.

You may wish to consider an AR-15 platform. My thoughts are further recoil reduction with the buffer and spring system and a 6-position stock allows the rifle to grow with her. The down side are the options in calibers outside of .223 are more difficult to find than .243 on the shelf of most stores. Some considerations would be the 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, .30 AR, but there are threads here on TFL with a more comprehensive listing of the dizzying array of calibers available for the AR. I hesitate on recommending the AR-10 platform in .243 due to weight and the fact you are talking about taking your daughter when she's 6. A 9+ pound rifle is not ideal for the small ones.

For other rifle options, there are youth models that come with 2 stocks. The youth sized stock is good for the smaller statured shooters, but then the adult sized stock allows for growth. Something to consider.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but its worth mentioning. Your daughter is almost 5 now. Your talking about her hunting at almost 6. Only you know your daughter and her maturity level, and obviously you are thinking into the future, but with considerable experience under my belt, I'd caution you to consider carefully letting a 6 year old carry into the woods. Maybe she'll be ready, and you will have to make that call, but as a parent, expectation management is important and I've seen cases of parents pushing their kids too fast in the shooting department with detrimental results.

Best of luck to you.

December 28, 2010, 03:39 PM

She'll never outgrow it and want to move to anything else for deer, there's no need.

December 28, 2010, 03:51 PM
The 7mm-08 that you have is almost perfect. Since it is a Tikka is the T3 Lite? If so invest your money in a good recoil pad and buy some of Remington's Managed Recoil (http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/centerfire/managed-recoil/managed-recoil.aspx) ammo. Spend a lot of time at the range un-learning your flinch or re-learning the mechanics of shooting.

5 is a bit young for some kids to shoot most center fire rifles. She could grow into a 7mm-08 or .243 but at 5 most kids can't shoot a rifle as big as a .243 well. I know my daughter doesn't like shooting my .204 or .223 and she is almost 8 but she loves shooting her .22 lr all day. Another thing to consider is pretty much any center fire rifle will have too big of a stock for most 5 year olds, even the youth models.

December 28, 2010, 03:55 PM
To clear things up I am not pushing her. If I felt she was not ready she could just continue to go out and enjoy the outdoors. I just wanted to a rifle that could suit her in the future and me when I got out myself. I guess she would really need a youth gun with a shorter barrell etc to accomodate her. I killed my first buck with a 243 so I know its capable. I was kinda wanting something different but I did not know about the recoil of the 2 calibers I mentioned but things for giving advice. I thought recoil would be relatively light in those 2.

December 28, 2010, 03:56 PM
I bought my niece a CZ 550 American Classic in .243 Winchester when she was 12 (my sister wasn't happy :D). She's 22 now and that's still HER rifle, although she allows her husband to shoot it on occasion.

December 28, 2010, 03:58 PM
Any caliber you want from 30-06 down will be fine. They make reduced recoil loads in most of them. Light handloads can be used if the reduced recoil loads are not available in the caliber you choose. Even a 30-06 with the reduced recoil loads will recoil about like a 243, and can be used with full power loads after they grow.

December 28, 2010, 04:07 PM
.243 or a .223 if your state allows it.
Maybe even a 30-30

December 28, 2010, 04:15 PM
I find the 30-30 to have a mild recoil and ammo is cheap and plentiful.

December 28, 2010, 04:28 PM
.223 / .243 / 30-30 all fine choices, even your 7mm-08 isn't bad. Don't blame that rifle for missing, just look into the mirror to find the cause.:rolleyes:

December 28, 2010, 04:29 PM
.243 ADL remington. Cant beat the price and even with factory Hornady ammo mine holds a solid .5" group at 100 yards. They dont carry alot of recoil but if it does put a 100 dollar muzzle on it

December 28, 2010, 04:51 PM
Didn't mean to imply that I thought you were pushing your daughter just kind of stating my experience. My daughter just wanted to shoot one day so I let her shoot my .204 and .223 that I had with me. Stocks were too big for her and she just didn't like the muzzle blast. She was fine shooting my .22 lr the next time out but it was too big for her to hold properly so I invested in a laminated pink stocked Cricket rifle for her. She loves shooting that thing and she will soon outgrow it but it is a great learning tool for her and I.

The .25-06 will recoil less than your current .280, probably more like your 7mm-08. The .260's recoil will be nearly identical as well to the 7mm-08 since they are basically have the same weight range of usable bullets. While I can echo the .243 as rifle choice there are other options as well for a light recoiling deer rifle but it all depends on if you hand load or not and what kind of rifle you buy and what is legal in your State.

.223 Remington, with the premium bullets of today it is a deer killer and legal in a lot of States. Bullet selection is of upmost importance when using this cartridge to hunt deer 53 grain TSX and 62 grain Nosler Partitions would be my fist choices. Not legal here in Colorado though.

.22-250 Remington, same bullet choices as the .223 just a little more under the hood so to speak. Again not Colorado legal.

.250 Savage, Savage makes this rifle in the M14 American Classic IIRC. Nice light recoiling rifle, use with 100 grain bullets and it will be a deer slayer. Ammunition can be tough to find without special ordering.

7-30 Waters, first offered in a M94 Winchester lever action but found its calling in T/C Contenders. Federal I think still offers factory ammunition for this cartridge but it uses round nose bullets for lever actions in the single shot if you reload you can run better spitzer bullets. Worse than the .250 Savage for ammunition availability.

December 28, 2010, 05:17 PM
Both of my boys have H+R Handi Rifles. Youth Models in .243 Winchester. The recoil is not heavy but I would not call it nonexistant by any means. I have found them to be priced right,and accurate. An ideal kids rifle.

December 28, 2010, 06:10 PM
I went to read that post again, she's five now and you'll have her deer hunting by six?

Come on, why don't you just say you want a deer rifle? :D

December 28, 2010, 06:14 PM
.243 and if you're really concerned about recoil .223.

Dr. Strangelove
December 28, 2010, 06:27 PM
The .243win with a youth stock is a great choice, .223 is marginal for deer in my opinion unless the shooter can place the bullet with precision.

Buy a .243win with a youth stock, you can restock it as she grows...

December 28, 2010, 06:40 PM
250-3000 (aka 250 Savage) or 257 Roberts would also be excellent choices.

December 28, 2010, 07:46 PM
Just not as good as a .243. :rolleyes:

December 28, 2010, 07:55 PM
The .25 has many loads with better section density and weight compared to the .243. Both listed have low recoil (the 250 Savage much less than the .243). Muzzle blast is much lower too which should be a serious consideration for a very young shooter.

December 29, 2010, 12:18 AM
I vote 7.62x39 cz makes one:


December 29, 2010, 05:27 AM
I have 7 grandchildren and none of them were ready to shoot a .243 Win for practice. One fairly good-sized 10 year old wasn't ready to carry the Handi-rifle and shoot it offhand just this past season.

The scoped Handi-Rifle is a heavy rifle for it's size, but recoil in a .243 Win can be fairly dramatic from a bench for normal 10 year olds, some can handle it and some can't. There's always the danger of having them develop a flinch that lasts a very long time.

I'd give them the rifle and see how far they can carry it and whether they can hit a target reliably offhand out to 50 yards. If they aren't comfortable and can't shoot it well, they're not ready to hunt.

In my state, kids can't hunt until they're 10, but many aren't really ready until they're 12.

December 29, 2010, 06:17 AM
attila's idea is something to consider, cheap shooting for sure.

"I vote 7.62x39 cz makes one:

http://cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-527-carbine/ "

December 29, 2010, 09:20 AM
Either the 243Win. or 260Rem. would be good choices. Coop204

December 29, 2010, 10:25 AM
25-06 might be a bit much for someone so small. 22-250 would probably be ok except for the fact that it is illegal to hunt most game in most states. 243 isnt a bad choice but perhaps for her a better one would be the 257 Roberts. Its a wonderful cartridge that is quite pleasant to fire and something she would never outgrow. Bigest downside to the 257 is ammo. It is difficlult to find, but if you reload, it can be made from the 7x57 mauser brass.

December 29, 2010, 11:47 AM
22-250 would probably be ok except for the fact that it is illegal to hunt most game in most states.

Not true and I sure don't condone using anything just because it is legal. Common sense needs to be used when selecting a cartridge to hunt game with. I feel that there are plenty of good bullet options out there for the .224 calibers and if used on deer sized game or smaller it is adequate, but probably not the ideal choice especially if ranges will be beyond 200 yards.

There is a list compiled on HuntingNet.com (http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/whitetail-deer-hunting/227252-legal-rifle-calibers-state.html), and it looks like most States that allow rifle hunting allow .22 calibers. I bolded the places that don't allow it or rifle hunting. Put the questionable ones in Italics, but it looks like even the .223 with the right bullet will meet those so they are in red as well as all the other places where a .22 caliber is legal.

So it looks like the .22 caliber centerfire is legal in 35 out of 50 States and in 2 Canadian Providences. 20 States say only centerfire or no restrictions (rimfires legal), so that means even the .144-.204 calibers are legal not just .22 calibers and up. Maine says .22 WMR and up for deer, moose requires a centerfire rifle IIRC as I had to look that one up for myself awhile back. WV requires a .25 caliber rimfire and up all centerfire rifles. 7 states only allow ML/Shotgun/Pistol or Pistol cartridge rifles. So that puts us to 8 States that require a .23 caliber or larger rifle when hunting.

Here is the list.

Alabama- centerfire
Alaska- centerfire
Alberta- .23 and up centerfire
Arizona- centerfire
Arkansas- .22 and up centerfire
California- centerfire
Colorado- .24 and up, 70grn or larger bullet/ minimum of 1000ft/lbs at 100 yards
Connecticut- .243 and up if legal in your area
Delaware- shotgun/muzzle loader
Florida- centerfire
Georgia- .22 and up centerfire
Hawaii- Any rifle with at least 1200 ft/lbs of ME. This would start at around .223 I think
Idaho- Centerfire (cannot weigh more than 16 lbs?)
Illinois- Shotgun/ML/Pistol only
Indiana- Rifles with pistol calibers/shotgun/ML/Pistols
Iowa- .24 or larger centerfire only for antlerless season in part of the state
Kansas- .23 or larger centerfire (actually says larger than .23 so maybe .24 is the mininum).
kentucky- centerfire
Louisiana- .22 and up centerfire
Maine- .22 magnum rimfire and up!
Manitoba- Centerfire, but it says .23 and below not recommended. Does not say illegal though.
Maryland- ME of at least 1200 ft/lbs
Mass- Shotgun/ML
Michigan- centerfire in certain areas
Minnesota- .24 and up centerfire
Mississippi- No restrictions that I could find
Missouri- centerfire
Montana- No restrictions
Nebraska- Rifles with 900 ft/lbs or more at 100 yards
Nevada- .22 centerfire and up
New Hampshire- centerfire
New Jersey- shotgun only
New Mexico- centerfire
New York- centerfire
North Carolina- No restrictions
North Dakota- .22-.49 centerfire
Nova Scotia- .23 and up
Ohio- Shotgun/ML
Oklahoma- centerfire with 55 grn or heavier bullet
Ontario- centerfire
Oregon- .22 centerfire and up
Pennsylvania- centerfire
Quebec- 6mm/.243 and up
Rhode Island- shotgun/ML
Saskatchewan- .24 and up
South Carolina- centerfire
South Dakota- rifles with 1,000 ft/lbs or more ME
Tennessee- centerfire
Texas- centerfire
Utah- centerfire
vermont- No restriction
Virginia- .23 centerfire and up
Washington- .24 centerfire and up
West Virginia- .25 rimfire and up and all centerfire
Wisconsin- .22 centerfire and up
Wyoming- .23 centerfire and up

ky hunter
December 29, 2010, 12:19 PM
When choosing a gun for kids you should think about weight.I started my boys out with a TC Encore 243 Win with a youth stock @ 10 years old.The other one @12 with a 244 Rem in a 740 Rem auto.The boy with the auto used more bullets to kill his deer. It might be hard for a kid to hold a bolt gun with one hand and stroke the bolt . Then the 10 year old got older he wanted more gun he got a 30-06 barrel and new stock.GOOD LUCK thanks for bring your kid in to the shooting world it's not just hunting once a year.I hope it wasn't for me it was time well spent! SHOOT MORE AND MORE AND HAVE FUN:)

December 30, 2010, 02:26 AM
I'm a fan of a 7.62 x 39 bolt gun also. CZ is still in the market. There may be a Ruger so chambered also.

You get 30-30 power, w/ NO tube mag, external hammer/half cock or complicated manual of arms. Easily scoped. Conventional safety, removeable box mag. It will take deer out to 125-50 yds easy, which is about as far as a kid out to be shooting.

A .243 has more range, but an x39 is all she'll need for a good while.

December 30, 2010, 08:15 AM
Hi Spanky,
I too have an 8 year old little girl who also says that she wants to start Deer Hunting with me. After spending a lot of time thinking about it, I think that I am going to use a pellet rifle w/scope to teach her the basics of firearms safety and marksmanship. Then, I think I will let her go hunt with me in one of the two person blinds that we have so that she can learn to sit still and be quiet. If she is still interested after that, and can tolerate being cold, then I will think about buying her a TC Encore in .243. That would be my rifle choice because of all the different things that can be done to make it suitable as the child grows or loses interest.
Barbie Dolls, pony tails, camo, and rifles. Very interesting.

December 30, 2010, 08:31 AM
I'm voting for the 7.62x39 also. I ordered two from Bud's this week. One for me, and one for my daughter as well(she's 13). I've got the H&R in 30-30, use it rarely. Always wanted a x39 in a single shot, so I bought the Rossi with synthetic stock. The way I look at it, it's a 100yd deer rifle, since where I hunt a long shot is 50yds. And, $207 each with free shipping, doesn't hurt any. Now, my daughter will leave my guns alone. Not!

December 30, 2010, 01:09 PM
My favorite "little rifle" is one I make up. I have done a 4 of them this way now.

I start with a CZ 527 in 223. I re-barrel it with a .277” 1-10 twist barrel of 18" in length, and turned down to a very light contour. I chamber it for 6.8SPC. The bolt face is opened up to fit the 6.8SPC cartridge. I then buy a full set of "bottom metal from CZ USA for the 7.62X39, which feeds the 6.8 shells very well.

I used walnut dowels to fit into the old barrel channel, sanded down to fit in very tightly. I glue them in with acra-gals. When it's set, I make a new channel in the dowel to fit the new thinner barrel. I cut the stock down in front about 4" and add 1.5" of ebony to it. I contour the stock to a very slim neat shape, bringing the outside edge within about 1/32”: of the dowel that is glued in. I shape the forend to a light classic shape.

I reshape the grip to a slimmer more oval shape and install a small steel grip cap.
I reshape the butt stock with comb flutes and add a slim steel butt plate to the stock.
I sand it all down and do a good finish, and re-checker it to 24 LPI
Add a Burris or similar 4X compact scope and you get a deer rifle with will shoot a 110 or 115 grain bullet with excellent accuracy at about 2750 FPS. This compares favorable to the old original 257 Roberts with shot a 117 grain bullet at 2625FPS but it makes a rifle that is shorter and lighter. This rifle will weigh about the same as a Ruger 10-22 when it’s done.

December 30, 2010, 02:33 PM
My favorite "little rifle" is one I make up.

Sounds like a sweet little rig you build, got any pictures????

December 30, 2010, 06:40 PM
No. I was stupid. I made six 6.8 bolt actions so far. Four on CZ 527s, one on a Ruger #3 and one on a converted XP100.
I took no pictures of any!

(What a moron I am!)

December 30, 2010, 06:57 PM
.243 Winchester but muzzle blast might put the skids to it for a few years--once experienced by a young kid. Ear protection a must or flinch can develop even with light kicking guns.

The Remington Model 7 chambered for 243 would be nice, weight wise, but shorter barrel would make for more muzzle blast.

250 Savage as good or better for your purpose but probably require getting it in a used gun and the ammo would be much harder to find.

22 long rifle or 22 rim-fire magnum would be best to start a young kid with.


December 30, 2010, 07:17 PM

Savage has at least one current rifle chambered in 250-3000. http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/models/

Ruger has promised a #1 in 250-3000 for a Lipsey's run, but that's a pretty pricey starter gun for a very young shooter.

Ammo may not be available at the local big box, but the internet makes the world pretty small.

You are spot on about muzzle blast.

December 31, 2010, 07:27 AM
My daughter uses the Rossi-Combo rifle. .243 Win., She shoots bullseyes at 50 yds consistantly with the Win grey box, 100 grainers, and took a decent buck at 75 yds with it this last deer season. It does have a short barrel and does make some noise but it's not real bad. With the Combo she also got a twenty guage barrel which she shoots once in awhile at doves or squirrels and such.

December 31, 2010, 08:18 AM
Hey all I for some reason can't shoot anymore and will be spending sometime at the range. I missed the few shots I took this year and I must of been jerking the trigger or lifting up. I lost confidence and want to blame it on my rifle. (tikka t3 7mm-08) so I can sell and buy a new toy since I already have a spare scope to mount on a new rifle.

By all means, buy another rifle, but don't blame the tool for the misses ............ practice (from field positions) will fix that.

As for a rifle for your daughter....... what I did was handload reduced recoil rounds ....... .270 WIN with 130gr bullets going 2800 as opposed to 3100 f/sec. The .270/130's are not known for recoil in the first place, but by slowing them down a bit, they are real cream puffs. The same could be done with your 7-08.

December 31, 2010, 08:25 AM
a deer rifle with will shoot a 110 or 115 grain bullet with excellent accuracy at about 2750 FPS.

......from an 18" barrel? Sounds good! Put a can on it and it'd be about perfect!

Old Time Hunter
December 31, 2010, 04:48 PM
6.5 X 55

December 31, 2010, 04:58 PM
6.5 X 55

Never a bad suggestion.

December 31, 2010, 06:43 PM
I would suggest a 257 roberts but the OP doesn't hand load....

Did anyone mention a 243 wcf?

December 31, 2010, 10:43 PM
I agree with 243 also. Thinking about getting my 2 year old son one now. Think about how much more expensive they will be in a few years:)

I would like to thank everyone for all the great responses on this thread. As a father, I think ( obsess) about this a lot. How to start him off? What age? What caliber? What action?

I think the age will depend on him and when I can assure myself that he completely understands and can fully practice firearm safety. That is first and foremost. Even then, he will not carry a firearm into the woods without having completed our hunters education course. Not that I don't feel like I can teach him everything he will learn there, but it will just reinforce that he is ready.

I think I will start him out on pellets, like another posted. Then a 22. Then a 243.

However, I would have no problem starting him out on a larger caliber if he can handle it safely. My dad started me out hunting with a 303 enfield when I was 11. Killed my first deer with it. As far as action, I think bolt would be great. My ideal would be to get him something he could use all his life rather than something he will soon outgrow.

Hence, Im leaning towards getting him a 243 in a rem700.
Pretty soon too.:)

December 31, 2010, 11:25 PM
One more vote for .243:

Ruger Laminate Compact

get a Vais Muzzle Brake, it really for for recoil with no increase in sound
light rifle with a 16.5" barrel
would recommend a timney trigger, because the stock trigger is heavy
expensive option

Savage Weather Warrior, or Savage Axis (cheaper option)

probably the best option for value for accuracy

Also might want to consider a 6.8 SPC. I heard it's good for deer too.

I'm assuming you are already training your daughter to shoot with a pellet rifle and .22 lr? Since you think you've developed a flinch...wouldn't it be wise to not even let your daughter shoot a large rifle until she's profficient with a .22? Just a thought.

the blur
January 1, 2011, 01:01 AM
You can fix that 7mm-08 with reduced recoil ammo from remmington.

January 1, 2011, 03:22 AM
.223, .243, 7.62x39mm, 6.8SPC, .30-30

They will work perfectly fine when she is older too. The "Bigger is Better" mentality is a very strange phenomenon, especially for CXP2 game.

Shot Placement & Bullet Design > Caliber.

January 1, 2011, 08:10 AM
Low cost savage or Stevens 243 bolt cut the stock if necessary and restock later down the road,IMO the 243 is one of the best deer rifles going with proper ammo, super accurate and will produce one shot humane kills.

TX Hunter
January 1, 2011, 09:03 AM
Your talking about buying a Centerfire Rifle for a 5 Year Old Little Girl.
I hope your talking about getting it for when she gets older. Good Grief.

Buzzard Bait
January 1, 2011, 11:06 AM
My little girl took her first deer at 10. It was the most rewarding and exciting hunt of my life. I learned a little along the way, # 1 noise is perceived by kids as recoil #2 what a grown man thinks doesn't kick may seem like a high recoil gun to a young girl my daughter couldn't handle a 243. Their shoulders are just that way. So double up on hearing protection, plugs and muffs. My gun and caliber choice the break open single shot in 223 loaded with premium bullets. Broad side shots 100 yards and less will produce threw and threw wounds and dead deer. Take lots of pictures they grow up too quick.

January 1, 2011, 11:13 AM
Get another stock for the Tika and let her shoot that w/ a shortened stock. You can both use it-not at the same time.

If you reload, or someone you trust, get some Trail Boss or H4895 and load her some reduced power loads.

Most 'smaller' shooters use a stock that is too looonnngg and they have a hard time finding any pic in the scope.

""The scoped Handi-Rifle is a heavy rifle for it's size, but recoil in a .243 Win can be fairly dramatic from a bench for normal 10 year olds, some can handle it and some can't. There's always the danger of having them develop a flinch that lasts a very long time. "" from post #26

All true and unnecessary. Use a reduced load for the youngsters.

Deja vu
January 1, 2011, 06:14 PM
my son is 8 and loves the marlin 357 magnum...

January 1, 2011, 08:00 PM
Deer hunting with a centerfire is IMHO waaay too much for a six year old girl, and more likely to turn her away from firearms for good then make a hunting partner of her.

Tell me that she's been hunting with a .22 for appropriately sized game for a year (at FIVE???) and I'd feel a lot better. But when she has, and she's nagging you to try something bigger, make it the smallest chambering that's a step up from .22 that you can borrow. .243 sounds great. And the poster who said that children respond to noise as recoil is right.

January 2, 2011, 12:43 PM
You may want to consider something like a Rossi Trifecta. That way she could start with a 22 and work up to a 243. It's a single shot, but looks like it might fit as a trainer.

January 2, 2011, 09:25 PM
Hey Spanky,ah thinks I hear uh bar CUB(Savage)outside?No,Alfalfa it,s just a CRICKETT.But I,ll VENTURE outside to see.