Need some solid dad advice from experienced hunter dads

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by rookhawk, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    Gentlemen,

    My kids have not yet been shooting but my eldest is quickly meeting the challenges laid before her to reach that goal. (e.g. must pass hunter ed)

    I have three kids and the eldest is a very unique, very mature 7 year old. I'm trying to figure out what I can buy her as a first rifle that won't be worthless rubble in 5 years and that will have lasting power throughout her life. (realizing she'll need a new stock someday)

    Any thoughts on this plan for her? I was thinking of a pre-64 Win Model 70 featherweight in .243 that has been "ruined" by collector standards. A great gun that has been drilled/tapped, that has had the stock cut, refinished or otherwise molested. It looks like these non-collectors fetch around $700-$750 with excellent bores. Start her with a 12" stock and a thin efficient recoil pad and grow her into a 1"+ orange silvers pad out past 13" later?

    Please give me some honest dad advice here. Is this cartridge the right first choice? If yes, what bullet weight / type is appropriate for hunting Africa with it?

    Any other ideas out there for a lifelong rifle to start a child with? She's 4'2", 62lbs at present and we'll probably be on a safari together within 18 months and she'll probably be 4'8", 75lbs by then.

    Thank you for some mentoring. While I'm an experienced gun collector, I'm not an experienced dad.
     
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  2. Clayton

    Clayton AH Fanatic

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    I think you are both fortunate and on to the right idea. Yes on the Pre-64 in .243. They left New Haven drilled and tapped, so that shouldn't be a concern. You can come by a good one and put a cheap replacement cut down stock on it until such time she's grown up some and then put the OEM stock back on it for her. Assuming you plan to start off hunting Whitetails, go with the 100 gr loads.

    Congratulations and Good Luck.
     
  3. Boela

    Boela AH Veteran

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    I would have suggested exactly that had you not mentioned it- .243 Mod70 Featherweight.
    As a second choice- something with a 20" Stainless steel barrel and action, Supressor, Laminated stock, Leupold 4-12 x 44. I would again stick with .243 since it is the minimum legal calibre to hunt with in SA. Ammo and reloading components readily available from any gun shop.
    Thats my 2 cents worth...
     
  4. Pawprint Safaris

    Pawprint Safaris SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Legend

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  5. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    Thanks to the Afrikaans replying. If kudu, zebra and smaller game in Africa is the target, what factory ammo are you suggesting?

    Also, before I buy one online at auction, any AH members have such a gun for offer?

    On pre-64 should it be standard or featherweight? I assumed the latter perhaps in ignorance.
     
  6. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH Elite

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    Rookhawk,
    I started my boys out shooting very young first with a rouge river single shot 22, graduating them to a CZ 22 bolt action magazine rifle then to a 243 in a model 7 Remington. The 243 is a perfect place to start a child in the centerfire world. My eldest son took his first elk at 10 with it, one shot at 65 yards and it went down within eyesight. I will have to look tonight but I believe I was loading Hornady 100 gr SST's. He took deer, axis and an alligator in open water with the 243, all one and done.
    Now, I was not planning on this rifle growing with him, I suppose if I were I would have probably chosen a rifle in a 6.5 or quite possibly a nice Winchester chambered in 7x57 as the choice of bullets are far superior to the 6mm.
    A nice little super grade in 7x57 would probably be a gift she would cherish and enjoy long after you go to the final hunting camp.
    Good luck and glad you are at this point in life, as hunters, it is one of the moments in life we anticipate most intently.
    Cheers,
    Cody
     
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  7. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Enthusiast

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    243 is a fine round but I must put my two cents in for a .308

    If you hand-load, you can down load the .308, to have the same felt recoil as full charged 243. If you don't hand load, several companies load light rounds now.
    You can find recoil calculators on line and plug in your data to see what the felt recoil is.

    Reduced Recoil load formula's can also be found online.

    One your girl has grown larger, she can shoot the same rifle with full strength loads. As she grows up, she will continue to have the same familiarity with that gun; it will be like an old friend to her.

    I bought both my daughters .308's and have followed this strategy. The load I used was one that utilized 125 grain bullets and H4895 powder. Two mule deer shot with down-loaded .308's

    DSCN0228.JPG DSCN1173.JPG
     
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  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Ambassador

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    I like your plan rook. I've brought up 3 new shooters in the last few years. Two of those are my sons and recently my wife. I started out with very light loads that I built myself. I made sure their shoulders were well padded also. Take it slow. Let her fire just a handful of rounds, like 4 or 5 on first trip to the range. There is a lot to get used to for them and it can be a somewhat intimidating experience. Also remember that their shoulders are not desensitized to recoil. So let her shoot a few and walk away knowing the experience is okay and she's not going to be hurt.

    Next time out, shoot a few more. If all is going well, then step up in bullet weight and/or a little padding on the shoulder. My kids and my wife both learned to shoot in these steps and all of them shoot quite accurately. The latest step up was for my 13 year old to a .30-06 this past weekend, he took it like a champ with no issues.
     
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  9. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Enthusiast

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    Just a follow-up to my above post. When I took both girls to Africa, the rifle we used was also a .308 (thanks Marius at KMG) using a 130 GS Custom bullet. The fact that it was a "just" a .308 was a great relief the girls when they shot it in practice for the first time before going out on safari.
     
  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Cody's sequence is about perfect.

    I hope you reload. It would be great to step down some loads to start her out after you have set the rifle up.
     
  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Ambassador

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    @HuntingGold doesn't have a bad plan either. A .308 with a 165gr A-Frame can take down some big animals.

    Forgot to answer that part of your post. If you're not a handloader then I'd be looking at either the A-Frames or TSX bullets first.
     
  12. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Enthusiast

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    Bottom line is to intro the really young kids as easy as you can. I like the strategy Phoenix Phil mentioned in only shooting a few rounds per session.

    Both rounds mentioned are very effective. My preference is for the .308 due to the versatility. With that said, my old man bought his grandson a 243 and the 10 year old just killed his second mule deer with it. I even down-loaded that one for him. This kid is very small for his age and seems comfortable in shooting the gun.
     
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  13. mdwest

    mdwest AH Enthusiast

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    I think .243 is a great first center fire caliber for kids (and most "new", small framed shooters.. when my wife first expressed an interest in hunting, the first rifle I bought her was a "youth" model .243).. She had great success shooting NA pigs and deer with both Barnes 80gr Vor-tx factory loads and Federal Vital-Shok 100gr factory loads.. (not sure how either of those loads stack up against African PG though).. and the rifle fit her reasonably well (she is both short (5'3" and small framed)..

    When my wife was ready to step up to something a little bigger.. we handed her .243 down to my son who was about 9 at the time.. it was a great first rifle for him as well.. he has since stepped up to something bigger.. and has handed the rifle down to one of my daughters.. and its worked out great for her too..
     
  14. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I started my son off with a t/c pro hunter in 270win. I would say the 243 or 25 06 would be a great start. The t/c is a single shot but you can get barrels from 22 up to 375 and custom barrels over that. They learn the feel of one gun as they start out which is a good way in my eyes.

    My son was shooting it in a 50 cal muzzlerloader by the age of 11 on his first elk. I think one of the best guns going for the $$$ to learn how to shot.

    To me the biggest key will be making shooting fun for your kids but still keeping serious enough they know the gun is no toy. Have them start of on a lead sled and they can shot any smaller caliber pretty easy that way and get some confidence going.

    Just remember shooting for you for hours may be fun but maybe just to long for them to stay focused.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
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  15. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    If you can put a moderator/suppressor on it. Makes a huge difference for kids. My 11yr old daughter is happy shooting my Rem 700 7-08 with 110gr TTSX.
    The other one to think about is a .223 if you can use it on game. If you can't it would be a good intro to centr fire before you step up to a 243.
     
  16. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Enthusiast

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    Forgot to mention, regardless of the caliber, make sure to start the new shooter with good ear protection. I am convinced much of the flinch problem starts because of the noise as much as the recoil.
     
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  17. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    I would agree with 243 as well. As far as the make an model, I would definitely get a youth version. I realize you want something to last a lifetime, but hopefully she catches the shooting bug and will upgrade to larger calibers and bigger guns. I think that it would be great story and new family tradition that someday she hand that down to her daughter for her first hunt. Or first trip to Africa. I think the most important thing is that you are spending time and showing her you trust her, the type of gun with be secondary. Heck my dad had be shooting so big heavy 12 gauge, I could barely get it up and it knock the stuff out of me but I love it.

    Has she shot a 22 Magnum or 22 hornet, might be a nice way to get her hunting varmints.

    @HuntingGold those are some nice mule deer! Can you adopt me and take me mule deer hunting? Haha
     
  18. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Enthusiast

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    Those two deer were shot about 3 years apart, but out of hundreds of square miles... were found within a few hundred yards of each other. The first is wide and appears to be bigger. With great balance and tine length, the second actually outscores the first by three or four inches.

    As for the adoption... probs not. Trouble enough with three daughters and a wife. First grand-kid due next April. Might re-consider if you bring beer and know how to remodel a house. I will drink the beer while you do the remodel with my wife leaning over your shoulder and chippin in your ear constantly. :D Pop Popcorn:
     
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  19. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    Still great deer! I could hold the end of deal on the beer but remodeling is not my strongest talent. I doubt I would meet your wife's quality standards.
     
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  20. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Rookhawk,

    You are an above average Father and I salute you for it.
    If the majority of parents were like you, all this drug addiction, violence and general foolishness, so rampant in our world today, would be greatly diminished.

    Since you described a first rifle for your young daughter as, among other specifications - "won't be worthless rubble in 5 years" - my suggestion is for a Mannlicher-Schoenauer carbine length in 6.5 MS caliber.
    I have seen these, (www.gunsinternational.com) both uncut and sometimes after someone has sawed off part of the original stock.
    Of course, the price is always lower, according to the extent of such modification.
    However, most of them for sale are uncut, thankfully from my big fat person's point of view.
    If you do buy a shortened one, then after she stops growing physically, you could consider a Master Stock Maker, hand-crafting a stock of very fine English, Turkish, etc., walnut, to your daughter's preferences.

    In the event that you do not buy an already shortened one, I presume it is feasable to find a replacement stock to fit, from one of these mass-produced companies like; "Boyd's", Etc.
    Any decent Gunsmith can then cut it to fit your daughter, while saving the valuable original stock for when she is suddenly grown up (I swear I actually could see my kids getting bigger, every time they ate something).

    If you hand-load it with light spitzers, (100 grain to 120 grain) the 6.5 MS cartridge is capable of fairly long shots on pronghorn, "across the bean field whitetail" plus, crow and groundhog hunting, etc.
    With the classic 160 grain round nose soft, I feel it would be far more sure than any possible .243 load on larger tougher animals, such as boar, elk, black bear, not to mention very tough animals like zebra and guldang wilderbeasts.

    The rodent in this beer is that, the "split bridge" MS is "different" to fasten a scope base onto properly.
    You certainly are more familiar with better than average rifles wearing scopes than I am but for my taste, I would want either claw mounts or, all steel Grifffin & Howe type side mount, with a relatively low power (about 3x or 4x), Austrian or German scope, on such a rifle.

    A much less expensive alternative would be a CZ 550 FS model (full stock / 20" barrel), in either 6.5x55 or 7x57 caliber.
    USA ammunition factories seem to down load these two cartridges, especially 6.5x55, which of course results in light recoil.
    Plus, the CZ has no "funny business" in regards to fastening a scope to it.
    I have one of these in 6.5x55 and it is a real peach, for under a thousand US dollars.
    As far as I know, in carbine version it is not available with any other stock configuration than the full length stock but, it is attractive enough as such.
    Incidentally, mine is extremely accurate.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016

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