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Deer round for a 12 year old boy

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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.
 

osprey

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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.
65C1DEE8-9D2B-4E90-AAA8-69AA540130F2.jpeg
 

bbbass

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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
Nice buck!! Looks like my kinda countryside...
 

DeanMk

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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.
...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.
Told my dad to keep an eye out for a wounded deer.
About 1/2 hour later this guy comes up behind me and asks if I've seen any elk.
I said no, but asked if he were following that blood trail.
He said yes. He'd been following it for about an hour and a half at that point.
Turns out, he'd taken a bad shot on an elk over in Hardy Canyon (basically, "across the street" from Black Canyon) and had been tracking him ever since.
Thinking he wasn't using enough gun for the job, I asked him what he shot it with.
He said, ".338 Winchester Magnum ", and held up his rather nice bolt action.
I was like, "...oh...." and then said it looked like the trail headed over the other side of the ridge.
We heard a shot a while later. I figure he must've found his elk.

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.


Dean
 
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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.
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.
The event I spoke of was when I was 13, and the shot placement really wasn't bad at all. Maybe a couple inches farther forward than ideal, is all. I am fairly sure a bullet with just a smidge more whomp and a bit heavier jacket would have done the job more cleanly. Just my opinion. And you know what they say about opinions...

BTW, my first deer was a coast range Blacktail, and the gun was... a .25/20. Really. Not bragging, but the buck fell right the hell over. Shot placement is crucial. I saw once what some of my friends used to call a 'Texas heart shot' done with a 7mm Mag, and, well, what a miserable event.

Dave
 

DeanMk

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Yeah, I guess I misread your original post when I posted that.
You didn't say the kid had to carry a .458, just something with a little more density.
FWIW, when I was a kid, you couldn't hunt in Washington with anything smaller than 6mm and it had to make at least 1000 ft. lbs. of energy at 100 yards....no kidding. It said so right in the regs.
My dad picked up his .30-30 when I was about 11 or 12.
Sometimes I carried his .270, but that's kind of a big gun for someone around that age (and I was big for my age).
Most of the time I carried my brother's Mauser. It's a pretty light and handy gun and worked well when I was 14 and knocked down that record black tail.
Sometimes I'd just walk with him and carry nothing, acting as a second pair of eyes. Something I'd done since I was 8.
I remember .243 was a popular caliber back then, but so was .25-35. Seems like a lot of guys swore by that old lever round.
I'm not surprised you dropped one with a .25-20.
It seems like a pipsqueak cartridge, but it, along with .32-20, fed a lot of families as the 19th century became the 20th...and for many years after.
Anyway, I guess this is the "I'm sorry" post, so let me get on with it....Dave, I humbly apologize for misreading your post. Seriously!
It was a good post and you gave some sound advice.
I'll have to pay closer attention next time.
Sorry 'bout that.

Dean
 
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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.
 
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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.
 

bbbass

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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.
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.

The .257Bob is one of my favorites for deer. I've always been recoil sensitive, so I looked to this early on. A few years back I shot my buddy's .257Roberts AI and loved it... what a sweet thing!!!

My last years of hunting big game, I used a .308 Ruger 77 Stainless. It is a lighter rifle, but not too heavy in recoil. I've thought about putting a muzzle brake on it for range use, but since my buddy died I no longer have a private place to shoot... and nobody except the shooter likes a muzzle brake at the range!!
 

DeanMk

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I'll post another vote for .30-30 in a lever action carbine.
It's light and compact, so a smaller frame can handle it easily.
Recoil isn't too bad, either, but it does have a bit of muzzle blast, so prepare the young person that they may notice a bit of smoke and fire out of the end of the barrel.
You can place the front of the sling up near the end of the barrel and that will allow the gun to hang low when slung on the shoulder....keeps it from snagging on overhead branches when hunting in the deep woods.
Another point is this is NOT the setup for shooting across canyons...and that's a good thing.
Its effective range teaches the young hunter to do just that, hunt...
Looking for sign of prior activity, listening for other animals to tell YOU that there's something else walking around and where it is, tracking/stalking your quarry until you can get into an advantageous position in order to make a clean kill, being conscious of their odor if they're nearby, how to walk quietly without dawdling....all of these things the young hunter can gain knowledge about, if the range of their gun forces them to exercise these practices.
Anyway, food for thought.

Dean
 

DeanMk

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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.
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.
Also, never heard of an Elg before. Interesting animal. I prefer a bigger rack though.....guess I'm a rack guy. :D

 
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Elg = Norwegian word for moose.

I apologise for the chicken-size of 'my' elg/elk/moose but it WAS starving and had run out of luck, being tuberculose. I dare say that if it had been in its prime, around 750kg* you may have been more impressed. It looked quite impressive to me, but then, I'm not used to your two-ton American mooses, just our regular-sized Canadian and Scandinavian variery.

*1653 pounds
 

DeanMk

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No apologies needed tac. They're magnificent animals, regardless of where they hail from.
Its just when I googled "Elg", all the moose they showed seemed to have small antlers.
If that's not the norm, that's fine.

Dean
 

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