Need some solid dad advice from experienced hunter dads

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

  1. Shawn.54

    Shawn.54 AH Fanatic

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    My advice is to set up in a area where shoot distance is short nothing worse on a kid than to see targets they can't hit. For me I had my boys shooting open sights in a thick area where shots were no more than 50-60 yards then if they could see it they could hit it. They both shot deer before they were 9.
    Have fun and make it fun for them.
    Shawn
     
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  2. jrgould

    jrgould AH Senior Member

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    I bought a 3 barrel combination gun from H & R a few years ago for training various youth. It had a .22, 20 ga. and 243 barrels; they were easy to change and as a break open single shot very easy for them to understand and sized appropriately. We have gotten much more than our money's worth form this little inexpensive combo gun.
     

  3. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    I can vouch for the effectiveness of .243 on African game. 85g Barnes TSX.

    I got my son a Savage. It is a pure utilitarian rifle. He takes care of it well, but if he was going to learn the lesson of what happens to a gun if you don't take care of it, better a $400 commodity rifle than something fancier.
     

  4. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Thank you all for your great advice and encouragement. She's a special girl and is uniquely mature for her young years. She was literate at age 4 and spent her days reading a lot of natural history books. Now she reads 3-4 a day and usually finishes up the evening in bed with a field guide from the Audubon series just to keep herself sharp. I'm not certain my boys will be ready to start shooting at 7 and hunting at near age 9 but she certainly is intellectually and responsibly similar to a 12 year old.

    The issue will be finding something that fits her young frame that doesn't kick and will still suffice for safari conditions. I appreciated the .243 pre-64 featherweight support/amens so I've got a bid on GB on one that is properly "ruined" (shortened stock and extra drill/tap holes) which brings the price down to the right level. Liked the Mannlicher suggestion with a nice scope and claw mounts too. I saw a gorgeous one of the latter with all the trimmings for $1200 (hensoldt scope and claw mounts) awhile back but it was a .270 and I thought that would be too much gun for the kids as they grow up. Once they mature, they can shoot the same stuff dad does: 6.5x55 and 7x57 are my go-to calibers for everything up to humpback whale and wooly mammoth. I'm concerned for recoil at present because felt recoil of the latter two favorites is 11-13 foot pounds and I thought something a bit lighter would be preferred for a child presently 62lbs who will probably weigh 75lbs by the time safari comes along.

    Regrettably I long ago sold all my benches, presses, dies and other reloading gear so I'm a factory ammo guy now. I'd wish I knew someone I trusted to make reduced loads to get them started off right.

    One more tangent to ask: What do you think about a vintage/used/refurbished Schmidt & Bender 6 power Klassic fixed power scope for a child's use at the range and on safari? They seem to go on ebay for around $225 and thought that might be the best glass for the money but not sure if there should be a better plan for a .243 rifle under Africa 75-150 yard conditions with a kid as the operator?

    Really appreciate all the sage advice from all of you, I'm out of my element on little calibers and little people.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
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  5. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Ought to be a perfect topper to a nice little featherweight!
     

  6. Shawn.54

    Shawn.54 AH Fanatic

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    As far as selling reloading gear a Lee kit can get you back into business for less than 150 then replaced with better at a later date or keep simple I know that what I've shot out of my 375 Ruger if I used factory loads would have cost more than my reloading equipment.
    And if reloading is not an option there's a few reduced recoil factory loads on the market if you look.

    If you're daughter is mature and attentive she may even enjoy helping putting the rounds together I know my boy enjoy making an testing as much as hunting.

    Remember that there are a lot of mono metal bullets that work well on small/medium game and work well with light for calibers bullets even work well on large game I use 200gr in a .375 which is extremely light for caliber and much lighter recoil than 300gr.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016

  7. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Rookhawk,

    I have 4 daughters, all in their 20s now. When I started them off shooting, like most, it was with a 22LR. Inexpensive to shoot and no recoil or report to speak of so they wouldn't flinch. I stumbled across a Ruger M77 MkII in 7.62x39 and it made for a nice step up from the 22LR. The 7.62x39 at the time was about 10 cents a round. I had the same rifle in 7mm mag and the cost was over $1 per round and lots of recoil for a young shooter. In ammo costs savings alone, the 7.62x39 paid for itself. I ended up giving that rifle to my elf guide in Montana who had 3 young boys. I've since bought a Ruger Predator (slightly heavier than normal barrel) in 223. Again, low cost and low recoil were the drivers. My youngest daughter used this rifle to get comfortable with shooting off of sticks. We trained with a 223 and a 270. Went to Africa and she shoot 300 WM and 7mm mags with no problems.

    One gun I'd suggest you look at is the Ruger Hawkeye Compact, with 12.5" LOP and 16.5" barrel length. It comes in 223, 243, 308 and 7mm-08.

    http://www.ruger.com/products/HawkeyeCompact/models.html
    http://www.ruger.com/products/HawkeyeLaminateCompact/models.html
     

  8. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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  9. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    A thought on .243s and .308s for kids. For a first "deer" rifle, I purchased my ten-year old a Ruger International in .308. It was an absolute mistake. The rifle was very compact, with a mannlicher stock, and fit him beautifully. All was well until we went to the range. I did not reload, but had purchased a light for caliber load as a starting round. The little rifle was almost unshootable. Muzzle blast was ear numbing because of the short barrel, and perceived recoil was worse than whatever I was shooting that day. I didn't like shooting it - much less my son. After a very few rounds we packed it up, went to a local gun store and traded it against a Steyr in .243. This model (pro-hunter) has the adjustable length of pull feature. It shot like a dream with very little perceived recoil, and he used it very successfully into his early-twenties when I gave him the same rifle in .30-06 which he took on his first plains game safari.

    The "Classic" model Schmidt & Bender has both a very narrow field of view and extremely short eye relief. I have two, and have to be careful not to eat the scope even on a moderately recoiling rifle. It would be a questionable choice for a new shooter. I do have two variable S&B's that are the finest optical instruments I have ever owned, but that would be an over the top investment for your purposes. For your project, it would be hard to go wrong with something like a Leopold VX-3 1.75x6. Very light (lighter than the classic), Great field of view, extremely generous eye-relief, and it will last forever. Last bit of advice. Be careful of too good to be true S&B scopes. Some outfit in Eastern Europe was churning them out up until the wall collapsed, and another batch came out of Asia fairly recently. Europtics sells over-stock and demos on ebay, often at very good prices, and they can be trusted totally. But, I am always nervous about the guy who appears with a few used scopes to sell.

    Royal, you are an anarchist at heart.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016

  10. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I saw one last month I believe, don't remember if it was finished or not. Really looked out of place with all fo the "African" rifles there.
     

  11. Desperatezulu

    Desperatezulu AH Veteran

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    It's a real pity that you no longer reload as that would have opened some novel and 'better' options.

    In practice, the 243 Win is too much gun for an under 10 to hunt with - juniors are unlikely to take shots beyond say 150 yards and the 243 is a meat mincer at those ranges. A featherweight gun may also be a little snappy for a light child.

    For my money, as Stug intimates, the ideal calibre for the budding new hunter is a 223 necked up to 243 to give the best of both worlds. The minimal recoil of the .223 and the increased knock-down of a 90-100gr 243 but all in a package delivering sensible hunting velocities (2400-2600f/s).

    This calibre of course is the 6x45! As a wildcat, it would however require a custom build and reloading. There is quite a cult following of this calibre in SA including a run of factory brass that was produced. I am on the lookout for one myself!

    The closest factory offering to the 6x45 is the 6x47 Lapua I guess - not sure what the factory ammo offerings in the Lapua might be - but probably going to be limited.
     

  12. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    You can also go a totally different direction and buy something like a 243, 7mm-08 or 308 and put a suppressor on it. The recoil and report are reduced significantly. For young kids, that loud bang does make them flinch. I shot a suppressed rifle for the first time back in May during my PG hunt with Game4Africa Safaris. The difference is amazing. I've read similar comments from other AH posters where their PH had a suppressed rifle and how impressed they were with it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
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  13. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Fanatic

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    @Desperatezulu that wild cat sure sounds interesting! I have my first official grandchild coming in April... maybe it's time to put a gun together!

    PS. I just looked up the 6 X 45. what a neat little cartridge. I have an absolute ton of .223 brass that I can use to neck up. I think I have found a new project!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016

  14. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    When I grew up, you were old enough to big game hunt when you were able to shoot your dad's 270/308. That normally meant age 12, which was the legal minimum age at the time. That's still going to be my rule in my family.

    But times are changing...

    My opinion of the 243 is it's too light for game pushing 250-300 pounds. But it would work well for impala, blesbok, steenbok, and the likes.

    If it were me, I'd be buying a 25-06, 257 roberts, 7-08, 270, or 308. A lot of these rounds are available in managed recoil factory loads.
    I'd rather have something not quite right for her for 2 years instead of 70.

    There are many companies that have youth rifles with the option to upgrade to a new stock later. She sounds like she could grow rather tall, but she may never need the adult stock or it could be solved with a thick recoil pad.
     

  15. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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  16. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Rookhawk, I have shot several animals in Africa, up to a Tsessebe, with a 22.250, so I would not worry about small calibers being effective, given good shot placement.

    To me the goal would be to find a rifle that fits her perfectly and that she is both comfortable and confident shooting it.

    And of course, practice a lot, but you already know that !
     

  17. Excessexpress

    Excessexpress AH Senior Member

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    The Lithgow bolt action not long released in Australia has a synthetic stock option with removable sections to shorten the stock. I comes in 308, 243 and 223.

    It's not especially light, but would make for a decent "growth" model.
     

  18. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Rookhawk, my 12 year old son shot a 243 that was a loaner in SA this fall and it worked perfect. Blesbuck, Blue Wildebeest both fell with good shots. It was his first time shooting a center fire rifle and his first big game animals.

    Savage makes their Axis rifle in 243 with a youth stock with an option to upgrade to a full size stock later. It's a dependable inexpensive rifle. Most of the other manufactures also offer similar upgrade options.

    As for picking up a well used pre-64 model 70, can I be your kid???? A plain jane 30-06 will be fine for me...:A Banana:.:D Cheers:
     

  19. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    I think youre making a mistake with 243. Its really limiting on the upper end. A far better choice is 223 or 300Blkout for smaller game and something like 6.5x55 or maybe 7mm-08 for medium to large(er) game.

    Starting off with 223 or 300Blk will mean both a light rifle and one that can be used for the rest of her life. In some areas its legal for deer; but certainly anything smaller. Im a huge fan of the Remington/AAC Model 7 in 300Blk. Its absolutely tiny to carry but still a full size gun and it comes with an adjustable cheek piece. Even with a suppressor, its still small.

    Jumping up to 6.5x55 or 7mm-08 isnt a big recoil jump; BUT it is a big power jump. After searching for the "perfect" rifle for my wife, we stumbled upon the Savage Lady Hunter. Im something of a "Rifle Snob" and was hesitant about the Savage; but its built for women-not just a chopped stock. The whole proportions are geared to females, including a smaller grip. Both 6.5x55 and 7mm-08s are mild on the shoulder. Adding a suppressor makes them powder puffs.
     

  20. BWH

    BWH AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Hey bud..... As for caliber, recoil, power, won't out grow..... Highly consider the 7mm-08. Check out the ballistics & recoil.
     

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