Nice buck!! Looks like my kinda countryside...Good call on the 6.5 Creedmoor. It will serve him well. I shot this Mulie a few weeks ago at a touch over 500 yds with a xbolt in 6.5 Creedmoor. I used handloaded 129 gr Accubond lr bullets. It took only a few steps and expired. I usually don’t shoot that long at game but the Creed is certainly up to the task.
View attachment 639125
...then again, I remember hunting chukar along that ridge out in Black Canyon and there was a light snowfall on the ground. I started to notice I was basically following a blood trail.I wish I'd gotten on this thread earlier.
Now it seems like everyone has had their say and I hope the OP has read some of it...
A 12-yo, no matter how well practiced, might not make a perfect shot. For that matter, none of us are guaranteed to. Unless coached, maybe range estimation might be a factor too.
I do not recommend the .243 or any of the cartridges of smaller than 6mm, simply because a less-than-perfect shot can turn in to a miserable experience or even a lost animal. The first and only deer I hit with a .243 was my 2nd, was good but not great placement at about 110 yds. Deer acted confused at first but headed out looking determined. Dad was afraid I'd yank the 2nd shot and he put the deer down with his .30-06. The .243 bullet hit a rib and deflected. It broke apart rather than expand as desired.
Admittedly only a single experience but enough to make me recommend a slightly larger caliber. There are plenty of light-kicking rifle/cartridge combos available. For a bolt gun, 6.5x55, .260 Rem, 6.5 CM would be great. As mentioned several times, the fit of the gun is crucial. A 6.5 CM with a 125 gr. Nosler Partition loaded to 2750 fps in 7# rifle with a recoil pad might be a good choice. I'm not sure a lever gun is a great choice as it's possible that an excited 12-yo might short stroke the lever for a followup shot and jam the gun. I saw it happen.
Oh, absolutely no disagreement... shot placement is crucial. But I was thinking of a 12-yo who is finding out about buck fever and might be having a little quiver in the liver.Moral to this story is, you can hunt with the biggest howitzer you can carry, but unless you know how to shoot it, its "massiveness" isn't going to help things one bit.
Learn how to shoot, first, THEN worry about the caliber.
I loved both my .243 and my 6mmRemington... took a lot of deer with them. My understanding is that early bullet designs could be problematic as they were with the 7mmRemMag, which had trouble punching thru with a small hole and not enough wound channel or blowing up on contact with a rib. I used Sierra 100gr SPBT in my .243/6mm and never had a problem with bullet performance. In my 7mm, I used Nosler partition.I'm not a big fan of the .243 and I've never owned one, but I do feel like I should add a little here. If your son is going to be introduce to shooting and hunting properly, he's going to fire a LOT more rounds down range in practice than he ever will in the field. The .243 is an ideal cartridge to do that. As is your choice of the 6.5. At this stage of the game, light recoil is far more important than the potency and killing power of the cartridge. He won't stay 12 very long and in a few years he'll probably want to transition to a larger caliber anyway. He'' make good shots IF he's not worrying about recoil at this age.
As I've aged, my personal preference is for a rifle with light recoil AND light weight to carry all day without becoming a LOAD. I've killed nearly 100 deer and antelope with my .257 Roberts than any other gun I own. My Grandfather never used anything larger than his 25-35 to put game in the pot his entire life.
If I recall correctly, the 6.5 Swede was designed to shoot long heavy bullets, so that may have actually been a more ideal gun to use on that hunt than it may have seemed on the surface.In 1990 I dropped an Elg, like a moose, but Norwegian, with a single shot from a fifty-year-old open-sighted Swedish m/38 short rifle. The distance was around 80 yards, the sights were plain old iron, and the bullet was a 140gr Norma SP. It fell right where it was standing and never even twitched. It weighed out at an even 595 kg. That's around 1300 pounds.
That little rifle, and the round it fired, had been used since 1946 to take dozens of elk every year for conservation purposes. Bullet placement is paramount.