Rifle for 14 year old

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by PHOENIX PHIL, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Okay gents, I need a little help deciding on a rifle for my 14 year old. He's a bit on the small side for his age, but if his feet are any indication of the near future, he's going to take a growth spurt. I have bee giving strong thought to a Winchester FW Compact as it has a 13" LOP that I'm sure would fit him well. But if he goes on that growth spurt, he may grow out of it before he even gets to hunt with it.

    The picture is of him holding my Tikka in .300WM, no he isn't going to shoot that anytime soon. I have another Tikka in .223 that he has shot off the bench with little trouble, I just grabbed this rifle as it was the first one in view of my two Tikkas. But I attached the picture for you all to look at and let me know if it appears too big for him at this point. So that's question number 1.

    Question number 2 is caliber. He has shot full power 165gr .308 Win loads with little trouble and he's quite accurate. I was leaning towards staying with that caliber, but the limitation of course is not being able to go up to 200gr loads sometime in the future. And I'm a little concerned of the twist rates in the .308 Win and shooting 180gr loads. So now I'm giving thought to the .30-06 for him. I would probably continue him with 165gr loads for the time being and move him up later to 180's.

    I also like the Tikka because it's much more affordable, has a fiberglass stock that I won't fuss at him for scratching up, and those T3's are just accurate.

    So what are your thoughts my AH amigos?

    IMG_0121.jpg
  2. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Stay with the 308 ! Perfect CAL with very little recoil. I have 2 of them ! The Sako tends to have a little more recoil. I also have a Voere 308 that is one of the most accurate and smoothest guns I have ever seen. It has almost no recoil.

    A very good shot with 308 is all you will need on almost any everyday hunt ! Any of the African plainsgame go down on 308 with 180gr. with a well placed shot !

    I spend about a month each year in Gold Canyon ! Like to meet you one day !
  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks for the input. I know you don't spend summer's here, next winter look me up here on AH and we'll go do a shoot!
  4. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Will definately do so !
  5. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    The 308 are fine, unless you gonna take him on a moosehunt, or a elkhunt in near future. If thats thw case, I def. would consider .06
    Tikka makes fine rifles!
  6. North Wind

    North Wind AH Member

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    Pick him up a nice model 600 remington in 308 cal. Then if he grows out of it just sell it and buy him something with a little more heft! :)
  7. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Premium 165's will kill any PG in Africa and will handle any deer in North America. It will also kill eland and elk, but most of us would agree it would be a bit light for game north of 600 lbs. I would also stay away from 180's in a .308. The extra 15 grs aren't worth the fall off in performance in the short .308 case (and often short barrel platform). One thing to watch is a too light package for a .308. Most are very tame, but at about 14 I purchased my son a Ruger International in .308, and it was a perfect little bitch of the bench.
  8. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I would stay with the Tikka in 308.
    And the gun might be a bit big for him now, but not to big I think.
    And I would replace the Tikka recoil pad with one from Limbsaver. It makes a huge difference in felt recoil.

    I really don't see the point of using a heavier bullet than a 165 grain high quality premium bullet like Barnes and Swift in a 308 or a 30-06 for anything you would use the 308 for, including Eland.
  9. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    Phil, this what my youngest son (16) hunts with. Had it threaded and fitted with a can, with makes it a pleasure for the girls as well. Shoots sub MOA with 155, 165 and 180gr. He has been shooting a silenced .308 since he was around six years old.

    Tikka T3 Super Varmint

    Good luck with your choice.
  10. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    308 is an excellent choice. The picture of your son shows he's not a couch potato, so, like you said as he grows up you can always increase bullet weight. Then let him decide when he's ready for a new caliber (one more excuse to buy a new rifle):p... As if we need another excuse.
  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Stay with the 308 Win maybe this will help. Bob

    200 GR. SFT SP Winchester 760 .308" 2.700" 45.7 2430 46,500 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 4007 SSC .308" 2.700" 41.4 2216 40,400 PSI 44.0C 2358 48,700 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon CFE 223 .308" 2.700" 41.7 2362 48,600 PSI 45.3 2582 60,600 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon Varget .308" 2.700" 39.0 2288 43,100 CUP 42.0C 2441 50,100 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 4320 .308" 2.700" 38.3 2222 44,900 PSI 42.5C 2427 56,600 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 4064 .308" 2.700" 39.0 2268 46,100 PSI 42.5C 2466 58,400 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP Winchester 748 .308" 2.700" 43.0 2435 50,000 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon BL-C(2) .308" 2.700" 41.0 2213 40,200 CUP 43.5 2514 49,800 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 4895 .308" 2.700" 40.0 2302 47,500 PSI 43.2C 2476 59,000 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon H335 .308" 2.700" 37.0 2217 41,600 CUP 39.5 2400 50,400 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon H4895 .308" 2.700" 38.0 2256 42,400 CUP 41.0C 2403 49,400 CUP
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 8208 XBR .308" 2.700" 35.5 2250 51,900 PSI 39.5 2400 59,900 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP IMR IMR 3031 .308" 2.700" 36.0 2219 46,100 PSI 39.5C 2410 59,200 PSI
    200 GR. SFT SP Hodgdon Benchmark .308" 2.700" 37.5 2227 43,000 CUP 40.0 2355 50,100 CUP
  12. Just Passing Through

    Just Passing Through AH Senior Member

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    If you handload, a .30-06 can easily be loaded down to .308 levels (or lower) or loaded up to full power. The LOP issue is a tough one unless you use a rifle that has aftermarket stocks available to match his growth. Perhaps one of the Remington rifles like the SPS Compact (synthetic stock) ot the Model 7 would be a good choice. As he grows it would be easy to restock the rifle to match his stature.
  13. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I see you had to bait him with the offer of a rifle for helping you get those mounts up those ladders! :)
    Nice Elk.

    As for those rifles. Let him shoot them all, with a shoulder pad if required, and see which one he likes.

    If you are really concerned about scratches, you know which way to go already.

    Length- You can always add a recoil pad until he stops growing.
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I would stay with the 308 Win too. It's a very good caliber.
  15. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    Phil,

    I have been going thru the exact same search that you have. My middle daughter is a little short for her age. Essentially she is in between the youth and a full size rifle. Her length of pull should ideally be 12.0-13.0 in my opinion. I would like to put her in a 30-06 shooting reduced recoil loads and let her increase from there since she isn't necessarily limited by caliber as much as stature. After looking at every conceivable option in my geographic location this is what I have found. Howa has a two stock package with both a youth size and an adult sized stock available in most short action calibers, only problem is one is too small and the other too large. Remington offers the 770 in an adult rifle with a 13.25 inch length of pull in 30-06. Tikka has several models which seem to run a full inch shorter than a stock LOP, all coming in at roughly 13.0 inches. Weatherby offers a Weather Vanguard in 30-06 and .308 with a LOP of 13.5 inches. Mossberg has a package rifle in the ATR that comes with three recoil pads and several shims that allows you to change from a minimum of 12.0 inch LOP to a max of 14.5 inches.

    The caliber preference is the biggest limiting factor. if you want a .243 caliber you can find a youth size from nearly every maker. If you want a .30 caliber you might find a maker who sells a .308 caliber. The 30-06 is a tough one, very few makers offer a 30-06 in anything other than a full size rifle. Even fewer have adult sized rifles with less than 14.0 inch LOP. I have settled on the Remington 770 composite at 13.25 inch LOP in a 30-06 for my daughter. My best advice is to hit the gun shops and try every rifle on the shelf out on your child. I was surprised by her take on "feel" of the various rifles. Balance and weight play a huge part in finding a rifle that fits a middle size youth, good luck.
  16. Jay Kelley

    Jay Kelley AH Senior Member

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    I'm somewhat biased, but I'd go with the '06. The recoil difference in 150/165 gr. between the two is minimal and the 30-06 handles 180 and even 200 gr. bullets for larger game much better.
  17. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks for replies gents. I'm leaning towards staying with the .308 at this point. But what I think I'm going to do for rifle fit is to swap the recoil pad on my Tikka .300WM with the .223 Tikka. The recoil pad on the .300WM is larger making the LOP longer. If I put that on the .223 and he can still shoot it accurately, then I think we're good to go.

    I had never had a .308 Win or .30-06 in the house until I bought the junior model Savage .308 for him. It was a good gun to get him started on, but it's built like a cheap gun. It's finicky about feeding from the magazine and the fit and finish leaves much to be desired. I want this next gun to be something he keeps for the rest of his life.
  18. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    Still own my first Savage rifle (23 years old next month) still one of the most accurate rifles I own. The game could care less what it looks like.:p
  19. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    I don't doubt it, not trying to slap around Savage, just this particular rifle. If I were only worried about looks, I wouldn't be looking at a Tikka for him, not an elegant rifle, but very accurate and well made in my opinion.
  20. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I've been going all sorts of crazy going through the exact same thing for my kids. I got a gently used Mk V .300 Wby when I was 16. I'm 40 now and it's still my favorite. It's taken everything from duiker to moose and I instinctively trust it.

    I guess my point is to get something reasonably inexpensive that an adolescent can shoot well (.243, 25-06, .308, 7mm-08) to use for a few years. When they get a little meat on them get something nice in a high quality rifle, even if it's a financial stretch. Quality never goes out of style.

    I got a Wby Vanguard in 7mm-08, youth model last year. It kicked the royal snot out of my daughter, my dad, and me, even with wee little bullets and light loads. I'd rather bench shoot a .338. She used my full-sized .257 vanguard instead and handled it much better. Go figure.

    I'm really digging the quality of the Kimbers. Probably I'll get her something chambered in a mid-range deer/elk round for her "grown-up" gun.

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