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Deer Rifle / Caliber for Starting Kids Out

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing, Outdoors' started by InTheKnow, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. InTheKnow

    A/V Subscriber InTheKnow Usually Last to Know

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    Hello Everyone:

    I've got to kids, a son (age 7) and a daughter (age 10). Until this year, neither of them had shown any interest in deer hunting. Now, that they're interested, I'm planning for next season.

    I'm wondering what your recommendations would be for a good starter rifle / caliber. I prefer a bolt action and I'm not interested in spending a lot of money on this particular rifle ($350 max for the rifle alone). I'm also partial to Remington, but certainly open to other possibilities. I've heard that the .243 and 7mm-08 are both great calibers for kids (low recoil), but I've got no personal experience with either.

    Thoughts?
  2. pokefun

    pokefun gooner hater extraordinaire

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    I think the 243 is a great round. I have no experience with the 7-08, but would like to have one for myself. I bought my son a 6.8mm Rem SPC a couple of years ago and it is a nice rifle, but ammo is hard to come by. My son and nephew (both 11) have both been shooting a 25-06 for a couple of years now without any problems.
  3. Donnyboy

    A/V Subscriber Donnyboy RELAX

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    A .243 is really really hard to beat for a kid. A 7mm-08 is one of the the very best whitetail cartridges going but doesn't have the versatility of a .243. One thing to consider is with the price of guns you may not be buying them many more rifles so an all around gun that hunt dear, varmint and has easy to find ammo is a solid start.

    If you are planning on buying them only one rifle period and don't mind them growing into it a 25-06 is worth a look. I have one and love it. They kick more than a .243 but not much and nothing a limb saver can't take care of. Difference here is they are big enough for larger mule deer, elk type game....but have light loads that can really reach out there fast and flat.

    My boys first rifle will be a .243.
  4. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    There are many great whitetail calibers, the 7-08 being maybe the best. I do not recommend a .243 for deer hunting. Will it work as a deer cartridge? yes it will. The reason I don't recommend it for young shooters is due to its limitations. It is not a good caliber to use if you are presented with a tough shot. Don't be afraid of recoil. I would be much more concerned about a child witnessing the thrashing of a badly wounded animal than I would the possible momentary discomfort of recoil.

    Look at the .257 Roberts, the .260 Remington or the 7-08 Remington. These are all wonderfully accurate, easy to shoot, mild mannered an extremely effective rounds that young shooters can easily handle. All 3 are offered in youth models for small frame shooters.

    Give a single shot rifle a look. the CVA Scout is a light, easy to carry and handle rifle that is available in 7-08. The T/C Encore is another rifle that will be able to do exactly what you want it to and you have the benefit a multitude of calibers as it is a switch barrel rifle.

    If you are determined to get bolt rifle, look at the Remington 700 Synthetic youth model. Also, check the ballistics and down range energy of the 3 calibers I mentioned against the .243.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the .243 but it's not even the best caliber in the 6 MM family and it is not more versitile than the 7mm-08. It is actually much less versitile than the 3 calibers I mentioned. I might also add that the felt recoil of the 3 calibers mentioned above is hardly more noticible than the .243, especially when in the field.
  5. tyokstate

    A/V Subscriber tyokstate Cowboy

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    Howa 2in1
    It is more than the $350 that you listed. Though it does come with an extra stock for when he gets older. I would get the paired scope combo in .308. I believe this to be an excellent value buy. A very versatile round. For all game. In the future this short rifle would make it excellent for still hunting or mountain carry.
  6. Erick

    Erick Master in the art of Gemütlichkeit

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    Im looking into this exact thing now. I have recently introduced shooting and soon hunting to my 11 year old cousin that is also my God-Son. I want to get a rifle that he can shoot now and eventually give it to my son when he gets older.

    I shot a .243 when I was a kid and it was perfect. I learned the importance of shot placement and I rarely had to track a deer growing up. I never really considered a 25-06 for a youngster, but it sounds like its worth researching.

    I am looking at an TC Encore so I could get a .243 now and a bigger caliber barrel later, but I'm not sure I like the break-over platform.

    With gun prices always climbing, It could be smart to buy something he can grow into and stay with forever.
  7. klw1042

    klw1042 Wrangler

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    This^. I loved my .243.
  8. Slugger926

    Slugger926 Deputy

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    I have had the opposite with the .243. Very easy to get good shot placement, and very effective at both 25 yards and 400 yards. I have had major issues with more popular calibers such as the .270 under 100 yards and 200 to 400 yards of trailing before finding a perfectly hit deer, or even 75 yards of pure blood trail on a deer that had its heart and chest blown out at 350 yards.

    The .243 will have light recoil for younger kids, or even adults. If you are worried about a difficult shot placement for a kid, teach them patience and shot selection for both safety and clean kills.

    Also, get a deer blind setup a month or so before season, and your kids will have a blast. I had deer walk within 5 yards of my then 4 year old son and myself last year during muzzle loader season.
  9. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    Not going to start an argument because nobody wins in these discussions. At the end of the day, it is likely going to be a dollar decision.

    But I would like to see what you have killed at 400 yards with a .243.
  10. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    I should add that if one is going to use the .243 as a deer caliber, I would recommend premium bullets, such as the Barnes TTSX or Nosler Partition. These are not the only premium bullet for the .243 but they are very good in any caliber and will help with the .243.
  11. pokefun

    pokefun gooner hater extraordinaire

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    This. I have had people tell me they kill deer at 400 yards with their 30-30 also. Not saying it can't be done with a .243, but I am going to say I would never attempt it and I have been shooting at that distance for a lot of years.
  12. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    400 yards is a long shot, with any caliber and requires some pretty good shooting skill to accomplish it with regularity. I am not comfortable shooting at game animals at that distance.

    I may have to run the numbers on a 100 grain 6mm diameter bullet at 400 yards to see how much energy is left.
  13. pokefun

    pokefun gooner hater extraordinaire

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    Here is a table for Remmy factory stuff:

    Energy (ft-lbs)
    Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
    Remington® Express® 100 PSP CL 1945 1615 1332 1089 882 708
    Premier® Core-Lokt® Ultra 100 CLUB 1945 1629 1356 1120 917 745

    I would feel comfortable to 300 with either of these, but not at 400. It takes a fairly special shooter to hit the sweet spot on a deer at 400 yards under normal hunting conditions. I don't have a problem doing it with the 7 STW that is set up for it, but I won't do it with a smaller round. I have shot one out past 400 with the 25-06, but it was a calm day and I had a lot of time to set up.
  14. State

    A/V Subscriber State Cold Ass Honkey

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    I'm looking for a rifle for my wife right now. She handles a 30-06 alright, but it's not something she'd want to shoot for too long. I've had her shoot a 22-250, 243, and 308. I've got a 25-06 and 270 lined up for her to shoot as well. I like what all of you have to say and what I've read about the 25-06. It seems to fit the gap between a 223 and 30-06 perfectly so that we can shoot about every grain bullet there is. The only knock I hear against it is that ammo will be a big expense. Is it going to drive me to reload?
  15. Orange N Black

    Orange N Black Greenhorn

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    I bought my two sons ages 10 and 12 their first rifles this year. Since I was buying two rifles, price was an issue for me. I did a lot of research and went with the Mossberg ATR 100 .243 with scope for $300 at Academy. I bought CoreLokt 80 grain ammo.

    The boys said the gun didn't kick and liked shooting it. The 12 year old shot his first deer, 8 pt, the last weekend of rifle season.

    I could have spent more money on a Remington but went with a cheaper brand. I'm happy with the Mossberg and so are my sons.
  16. pokefun

    pokefun gooner hater extraordinaire

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    How much are you going to shoot? I spend between $50 and $62 a box for the loads I shoot at deer. You can find some cheap corelokt ammo for it, and it is fine for plinking, but I really like the 100 grain ballistic tip stuff for deer. I can't believe the price of good ammo now.
  17. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    I like quarter bores but the choices of bullet weights is somewhat limited. I have a .257 Roberts (actually 2) and shoot 90, 100 & 117 grain bullets for deer-size game. It's extremely well mannered, accurate and a deer killing machine.

    I enjoy handloading and recommend anyone who wants to shoot rifles to learn to handload.
  18. InTheKnow

    A/V Subscriber InTheKnow Usually Last to Know

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    This is a thread full of great information. I appreciate all the input. :)
  19. pokefun

    pokefun gooner hater extraordinaire

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    Have you ever had a 257 Roberts Ackley Improved? I am thinking of having one built for the Encore just to see what it is like.
  20. OSU Sig

    OSU Sig Cowboy

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    I thought of having one done when I had MGM do my 257 Bob barrel but if you look closely at what you are getting, I don't see the benefit outpacing the issues of having to fireform or resize standard brass.
    I don't think a deer will realize whether the bullet hits at 3,000 or 3,185 fps. It'll be just as dead.

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