Help With A Complicated 'First' Rifle Choice

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by RVTECH, Oct 6, 2012.


    Wickiup Junction
    Well-Known Member

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    I am helping a friend make a decision for his 11 year old son's first rifle. He wants to take him deer hunting with the possibility of Elk in the future. The issue is he wants to get him something that will be adequate for both but will have negligible recoil. He likes the idea of a .243 but is concerned about it being a little light for Elk. Another friend of his believes the 7mm - 08 is the right choice for a combination rifle. Again recoil is the issue as most of us own rifles perfect for both deer and elk but for us recoil is not an issue. I am beginning to think he may have to make a decision between a deer caliber Vs. an Elk caliber and maybe start with something on the lighter end (such as a .243) and then if there is an elk hunt in the future maybe look at something larger at that time. He does like the idea of a Marlin .336 in 30-30 because it can be scoped easier than a Winchester and I guess it could not be discounted as an elk rifle but lets not get into the 30-30 for elk debate here. Thanks.
  2. hillbilli

    whidbey island
    New Member

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    my recommendation will be the .308 or 7mm-08, either one. With a good recoil pad like the limbsaver and a normal weight rifle, not superlight, recoil should be fine. the plain black synthetic rem 700 with the youth stock can be gotten from wal mart, they'll order it in if they dont have it.. he will not have to worry about it being enough gun for elk, or about anything else..
  3. kirkthoma

    Woodland WA

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    Go with the .308... Big bullet, light recoil. I got my first rifle (30.06) when I turned 12, and it took quite a bit of ammo to get past the flinch and scope eye... :)
  4. Solomon

    Active Member

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    No such thing, unfortunately. I'd either get him a 270 or 30-.06 and use Hornady CustomLite (very soft shooting) for while tail and to get the kid used to the gun. He'll grow into it quick.

    It's available at Cabela's: Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Ammunition :: Rifle :: Choose by Product Line :: CustomLite™
  5. Darkker

    Mesa, Wa
    Active Member

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    I'm not sure what Ore considers Kosher for Elk, so keep that in mind here.
    The 243, much like the thing we aren't supposed to mention in this thread CAN kill an elk, yes. But it is VERY light for that purpose.
    The problem is the eternal one of: What can MY kid do, because here is what I want him to do....

    The 308 is a fantastic recomendation, that will easily handle any animal on our continent, with ease. Using 165gr Hot-Cor bullets I have killed Elk, Moose, Bear, of the "big" critters. Can this kid take the recoil?? The problem is, that if you want a "clean, fast" kill, you gotta get bullets into the boiler room, then have them do REAL damage. A young kid is likely to NOT make the best shot, so now you gotta account for that. BY popularity, the 7mm bullets are for FAST cartridges, so with the 7-08 speed, they will penetrate, but aren't as likely to be the most destructive.
  6. DieselScout

    S Clackamas County
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    What about something a little less common, like the 6.5x55 Swede, .25-06 or something else in that family of bullets?
  7. Greenbug

    Well-Known Member

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    Why limit the caliber? Get something that will work for deer and elk both then put a muzzle break on it. I am shooting a 338-06 for elk right now with a break installed and recoil is similar to my lightweight 243. As for the 30-30, IMHO in a lever gun it kicks worse than a 308, 7mm-08, and a 270 in a bolt gun. I don't know why so many people choose the 30-30 in a lever gun for youth and ladies first guns.
  8. Douglas

    Active Member

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    7x57 Mauser

    Lincoln City, OR

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    308 or 30/06. Have the boy shoot both and see what he likes. Go with common ammo, price and availability is a concideration.
    Also, go with a name brand rifle such as remington, winchester, ruger if you have to shorten a stock, a replacement can be bought on ebay.
  10. beavernation

    Active Member

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    Simple......Find a used Rem Mdl 7 in 260 Rem. Teach him to shoot it using any 120 gr. bullet loaded to about 2500-2600 fps. Purchase the best 140 gr. bullets that you can afford (partitions, x-bullets, a-frames) and use them to hunt deer and elk.......dead deer and dead elk!....
  11. nextgenar

    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My daughter started out and still uses a remington model 7 in 7mm-08. I started her out with remingtons reduced recoil rounds, for target shooting, getting her used to shooting. Then I sighted it in with 140 Grain superperformance for deer, that way she wouldn't feel the recoil from the full power loads. It has worked great for her. She has killed 3 deer in her first 3 years of hunting. She hasn't killed and elk yet, but i'm sure the GMX bullet in the superperformance load would be up to the task. A friend of mine uses the same rifle in 260 remington and has killed elk with it, without any trouble. So I would suggest the 308, 7mm-08, or 260 Remington for starting a kid out, just start them shooting the reduced or mananged recoil stuff so they won't develop a flinch. MAKE THAT 4 DEER. She just got another one today. 10/8/12
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
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  12. Kurly

    Puget Sound

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    .308 is perfect for a young man.
  13. Vantage

    Pacific Standard Time
    Active Member

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    You can make a .30-06 perform like a .308, but you can't make a .308 perform like a .30-06. You can get lighter bullets to soften up the recoil, or go big for bigger game when he grows into it. I'd recommend a wood stock for recoil absorption.
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  14. orygun

    West Linn
    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'll be the 2nd (or 3rd) to recommend the 7mm-08. I bought one for my wife in a Ruger Compact. She had been shooting a .243 and we needed to "step up" for elk. The recoil difference between the two is minimal. She's not very big and she doesn't like recoil. In fact, the Ruger is lighter than her Savage 99 243. She doesn't mind the difference in weight when shooting and lives it when packing it around! The elk she shot with it is dead, so we can't ask him what he thinks. For deer, Remington Core-Lokts. For elk Federal Partition. Both of those 140gr.
    The 7x57 comes close, but the 7mmx08 has more oomph. The .260 is a good one, too, but the 7mmx08 is easier to find ammo for (small difference) and has a better choice of bullets if you handload. The .308 is a great round, but it has a fair amount more recoil. I would pick a .270 long before I'd pick a .308 if the person is recoil shy. In fact, I'd pick a 30-06 over a 308 any day. If recoil is the issue, the long action 30-06 will weigh just a bit more than a 308, and since they shoot the same bullet at the same speed (until you get to 180gr bullets) that heavier gun will dampen the recoil just a tad.
    Weatherby makes a 7mm-08 with two stocks. One smaller for when they are young, and one full size for when they "grow up". I think Remington does a similar thing with the Model 7.
  15. nitestocker

    woodland washington
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    go with any of these 270 , 308 or 06 they will take ether deer or elk satisfactory just my opinion and he will be keeping that gun the rest of his life
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  16. M67

    NW Oregon
    Active Member

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    For new shooters or hunters, i like to start them out on the intermediate caliber, 7.62x39mm. I have taught shooters as young as 8 or 9 to handle the 7.62x39 with ease.

    The intermediate caliber has a lot less felt recoil than a 30-30 lever action and it is just as effective.

    If your shooter/hunter does not mind the recoil, the 270, 308, 30-06, 7mm mauser, etc... are all great choices.
  17. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu
    PDX OR
    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I started my Son on a Winchester M-100 in .308. Never been sorry and he still uses it!
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  18. snooopidydoo

    Medford Oregon
    Active Member

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    Savage 111 338 lupua should be perfect!! $999 at sportsman's :)

    Seriously though when i was 11 or 12 my father gave me remington 30-06 semi auto, killed my first buck, and elk hunted many times with it.
    Recoil really isn't all that bad, i don't remember ever being scared of it, but to each his own.
  19. Silver Hand

    Silver Hand
    Southern Oregon Coast
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    At eleven years old I had a .300 savage by twelve years old I had some knowledge of bigger cartridges and wanted a bigger better rifle. Over the next four or five years I shot a deer several snow shoe rabbits and a lot of paper targets at one hundred yards. All with holes in the center, three shots you could cover with a quarter. I learned about the woods and my guns ability and the lack of my reflexes waking several bucks in there bed.
    Just do not give a beginner a semi auto to start with.
    I would favor a choice involving the thirty caliber. There is no other caliber with more versatility than the thirty caliber bullet. From a mere 90 to over 220 grains the largest bullet selection of any bore size available.
    Silver Hand
  20. longcolt

    Zephyrhills, FL
    Active Member

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    Lighter bullets in the 30-06 might work, depends on the personality of the shooter. Some kids can handle the 06 just fine some will flinch until the cows come home.

    Suggest you borrow some rifles, take him to the range and see what he is comfortable with. A 243, 25-06, 6mm, 6.5mm 7mm08 and many other calibers are what many young people and wifes hunt with and with great success. The 270, 308 and 30-06 are all kickers but mild compared to the mags.

    Lever rifles with a recoil pad are fast acting and easy to manage for the young folks. A Marlin 30-30 or 35 rem might just be the ticket. Have him try them out and see what fits best. My son hunts with the Marlin 30-30 and loves it. I use a rem 06.

    Good luck with your choice.

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