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Old October 4, 2010, 09:05 AM   #1
fastr nu
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daughter's 1st time deer hunting--what caliber?

I have 13 yr. old daughter (avg. size). first time deer hunting this year, would like some advice on caliber/action choice. thinking, of course .243 but maybe something like 6mm or a 25-06. the area we will hunt will offer opportunity for
clear follow-up shots if needed. thanks for the help!
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Old October 4, 2010, 09:10 AM   #2
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I like the .243 - very efficient killer with little recoil. With a Nosler Partition there is not much it can't do.
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Old October 4, 2010, 09:13 AM   #3
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A .243 in a rem model 7 - light, easy to carry all day, accurate, mild recoil....more than enough power for deer at normal hunting ranges.

Get good glass and have her practice alot with a .22 rimfire before she moves up to the centerfire.

Have a great experience with your daughter!
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Old October 4, 2010, 09:47 AM   #4
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If you already had one, I would say it would be fine, but......not having one with your options open.....? I never really like the 243. I considered it too much for some things and not enough for others. Other people I hunt with love the 243, 25-06 and ....

At her age, I think I had my grandfathers 270 or 30-06 blasting away with rapid fire and it didn't bother me.

You could do anything from a 44mag lever action if the ranges are short.
You could do something like a 30-06/308 if you want her to have one gun for North America (reloading required).

What is she shooting now that she likes?
What is the maximum range you expect her to shoot? (Can she do it now with your current rifle?)

Lots and lots of options.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:38 PM   #5
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I think your .243 idea is on the right track,
The fine line is,shooting well is a high priority.Ear protection,of course,and modest loads to condition her,along with the fundamental of calling the shot/follow through.Then,adequate to be reliable
Going along with this,the rifle has to fit.
How big are the deer,how long are the shots?

There aren't many .250 -3000 Savages,but it comes to mind.So does a .257 Roberts.There are some CZ 7.62x39 bolt rifles.That same rifle would make a 6.5 Grendel.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:46 PM   #6
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.243 should be alright if she can shoot it accurately.

I would say a .223 if your state allows and kills are no more than 100 yards away.
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Old October 4, 2010, 02:06 PM   #7
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I'd say you are right on with the .243. Good luck this year.
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Old October 4, 2010, 02:45 PM   #8
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I would consider the 7mm08. It comes from Remington in a youth size, and there are reduced loads for it that would have no more of an intimidation factor than the .243. This would leave open the option of hunting heavier game at a future time. The .243 is a varmint or light (White Tail/ Antelope) game rifle, and shouldn't be pressed into heavier service.

I would also choose a 25/06 over the .243. Don't get me wrong, I really like the .243, and it will be my next centerfire purchase, I just feel it is pretty limited.

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Old October 4, 2010, 02:49 PM   #9
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This is my daughter's first deer hunting trip as well and she is also 13. She will be using the same 243 I used to take my first deer when I was her age.
I would like either less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it.
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Old October 4, 2010, 02:52 PM   #10
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.243 up to 7mm-08 or 7x57 depending on the load.

Getting a rifle that fits is the big thing.
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Old October 4, 2010, 03:02 PM   #11
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I'll throw in a few more to choose from 6.5X55, .260 Rem, .250 Savage, .257 Roberts, .25-06 Rem, and 6.8 Rem Spcl. Everything else previously mentioned will work fine as well. I've got a 7 year old girl and she wants to hunt with me, I'll start her off with a .250 Savage. Just because I think it is a cool little cartridge and since it is for her I can justify the build.
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Old October 4, 2010, 03:07 PM   #12
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A .243 in a rem model 7
Keep in mind that a light gun negates some of the low recoil benefits of the light caliber.

All other variable being equal, a heavy gun kicks less than a light one, and semi-auto uses up some of the recoil energy to operate the action.

You can also download ...... if you can handload. I'm starting my 12 y.o. daughter off with an 8x57 ...... but I've downloaded it to 2300 f/sec, using a 170 gr RN soft point bullet. With a Limbsaver recoil pad, it's pretty mild.
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Old October 4, 2010, 03:19 PM   #13
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I have taken deer with .270, 7MM Mag, 300 Wby, and .243 Win.

I handload all my ammunition. I loaded the .243 with 100 gr Horn and Sierra, plus 105 gr Speer. Fortunately my gun is a fast one, and is a Pre 64 M 70 Fwt. My handloads with 100 gr bullets clock at 3150 fps. That is considerably faster than factory loads, but are not excessive for this gun.

I have had a higher percentage of one shot in the tracks kills with the .243 than any of the others. I have probably taken a dozen deer and two antelope plus one barbary sheep with the .243. It has performed well. The longest range for antelope was 525 yards, and deer about 250.
The bullet construction and velocity seem ideal for deer at reasonable ranges. If I were to shoot over 400 yds at deer I would choose the .270.

The light recoil and good performance make the .243 my choice for a youngster, and make hitting the game easier.

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Old October 4, 2010, 03:29 PM   #14
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.257 Roberts, or 250 Savage. .260 Rem or 6.5x55.
Or .243
Or something bigger with a reduced load.
7-08 might be a good choice too.
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Old October 4, 2010, 03:35 PM   #15
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The 25-06 is my "go-to" cartridge for everything I do. With that said, my handloads in a lighter gun do have more recoil than I would recommend for a youngster. When my son is old enough to deer hunt, he will start with a 243 (smallest legal in ks) and some lighter loads. Don't want him to miss a great deer because he's scared of the recoil.
Lots of rounds through a 22 is a great place to start for them too.
This forum isn't very friendly to ruger but ruger makes a very nice compact or youth model rifle. There is one sitting on the shelf at the local sporting goods store that I've been considering for my son. I'll probably wait though since he's only 16 months old!
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Old October 4, 2010, 03:47 PM   #16
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I was 12 when I took my first deer. I used a Ruger Ultralight in .250 Savage. I was small for my age, and I don't remember being adversely affected by recoil. 1 shot... dead doe.
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Old October 4, 2010, 04:49 PM   #17
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.243 is what I started with (well for center fire rifles that is)

the compact rugers are good, but a bit pricey.

remington and weatherby came out with rifles that have a youth stock and an adult stock, so when the kid gets big enough they just swap out the short LOP stock with the normal LOP stock. They can still be found online and in some stores.

for my daughter (turns 13 soon) she didn't like my old rifle in .243, but took to the 6.8 REM SPC and has been deadly accurate with it. Now this is in an AR platform, but with a 6.8 bullet (.270) at 110 grains (nosler accubonds) that is some serious pig and deer medicine. (remington makes a bolt action rifle in 6.8, but is based on the outdated and old SAMMI spec chambers, but they will be soon releasing updated guns with the SPC II chambers and proper 1:10 and 1:11 twist barrels)
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Old October 4, 2010, 05:05 PM   #18
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Since 1973 and my first Sako .243 Forrester I have shot at least 20 deer, and yes there were large Mule deer. That cartridge seems to have an inherent accuracy edge. Even one a friend had with iron sights was so accurate he never felt the need to scope the thing, it was a Remington 700. In fact that guy was a 30-06 die hard until he shot my Sako and he had a .243 within a year. The .243 seems notable for drop where they are hit performance, and I'm not the only one that says that. It seems to have superb terminal performance even at 400+ yards which is about as far out as I tend to go, I have taken a couple beyond though out to about 475.

I'd be making the same recommendation for a man as well as your daughter, it just happens that it had a very mild recoil that's perfectly suited for women and new shooters.

Back about 20 years ago one of the guys my brother worked with needed to be outfitted with a rifle for a big Colorado deer hunt he was going on. He had never hunted or done much shooting but he had decided he needed a .270 even though I told him he could try my Sako .243. He bought a Sako .270 Hunter and a Leupold 4-12x scope and Sako rings that are pricey but excellent. I mounted the scope for him.

We went to the range and he wanted to sight it in, I told him to leave me three or four bullets to check it out after he was done. I was shooting the .243 and a .22-250 next to him so I was also trying to see what he was doing. His shots were so all over the target as in 14 inches all over with nothing even close to another shot that it was impossible for him to make any adjustments. He was doing a lot of lip service about how lousy the rifle was shooting and kept asking if I was sure the scope was mounted right.

He ran through a box and I told him to let me see what was up with my four I had set aside. The first shot was an inch right and low so I dialed in the changes and shot three that could be covered with a dime. I assured him there was nothing wrong with the rifle and that there were an awful lot of guys that would be downright tickled pink with a rifle that shot like his did. I told him to get another box of shells so we could go back out to the range the next day but he said he wouldn't have another chance before he was to go to Colorado.

Next best thing was to tell him to try 10 or 20 shots through the .243. The first shot he remarked how light the kick was, his words were, "wow, this thing doesn't even kick". He was shooting groups like a pro with it, and I asked him if he was sure he didn't want to take the .243.

Well he missed a big buck that was only 75 yards away standing there looking at him, he shot under it the first shot, saw it go low so he compensated and shot over it's back the second time. He was dead sure something was wrong with the scope so he took it to a gunstore and had it remounted. He did a followup Colorado hunt and pulled the rookie move of all time. He had a deer 20 yards away from him, and had the scope on 14x even though I had told him several times to keep it at 4x, he said all he could see was detailed hair, he didn't have a clue what part of the body he was looking at. My comment was "tell me you didn't shoot, please". He said, "I did but I don't know if I hit it or not". At that point I washed my hands of him, I couldn't hang with the total ineptitude.

My point here is that a low recoil is way easier for a new hunter to shoot well, and a .243 will do the job sometimes too well as it will punch a bullet through the shoulders and out the back side.

Stick to your original thoughts here, it's perfect.
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Last edited by woodguru; October 4, 2010 at 05:18 PM.
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Old October 5, 2010, 12:28 PM   #19
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Use the 260 remington. Recoil is close to the same as the 243, but with a bit more knockdown. It would provide her with a rifle that she could use for a lifetime of hunting including elk up to 200yds.
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Old October 5, 2010, 01:17 PM   #20
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I went with a 7mm-08 for my girls rifle...and she loves it.
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Old October 5, 2010, 05:43 PM   #21
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While I agree with the cal suggestions, each young shooter is different as to how they react to recoil. It would be a great help if you are a member of a good gun club where she could try different weight rifles and test "light" recoil calibers. It needs to be a legal cal, but it dosen't take much to bring down a deer with an excellent shot.
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Old October 5, 2010, 06:45 PM   #22
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13 year old shooting for the first time? 7.62x39mm ... cheap, does the job, get a rossi single shot and see if the young shooter likes it, then go from there....
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Old October 5, 2010, 07:37 PM   #23
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I have a friend in Florida that has a daughter that killed her first deer with a 7mm-08. I believe she is 15 yo.

I personally have had my daughter squeeze off a few rounds of my .308 Bar with the BOSS. She is 10 yo and doesn't hunt. Still can't get her to be quiet enough and not so figety.
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Old October 5, 2010, 08:33 PM   #24
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Another vote for the .260

Lifetime rifle for her and great round for anyone who puts a premium on performance over advertising.
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Old October 5, 2010, 08:40 PM   #25
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Another excellent choice might be the .30-30. Rifles for that are light and slim and can fit a smaller statured person quite well as short length of pull can be a necessity. As previously suggested, a 6.8 SPC in an AR15 also can fit well as the telescoping stock can easily adjust to her length of pull.

I seem to have missed in previous posts asking: what do you currently have with you already?
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