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Need some input on choosing .22 rifle

bnsaibum

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I am interested in getting a small .22 rifle to teach my kids firearm safety and shooting skills with. Primary qualifications are that the rifle needs (must) be light and on the small side as my son is also on the light and small side at 8 years and only 40 pounds and will likely be small for some time yet. It also needs to be something that can be passed on when my kids have kids of their own (quality). Secondary qualifications are my enjoyment with it's handling and performance. I have looked at the Crickett .22LR and thought it might do for the primary qualification of being a small lightweight rifle, but I was wondering about its craftsmanship. Any thoughts on this model or other models that would fit the bill would be helpful.
 

deadeye

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The cricket is a good rifle for teaching the basics but you may want to look at a 10/22 and buy an extra stock (wood) usually around $10 and cut it down for length. Doing that is cheaper than finding the youth model and buying one rifle vs going with the cricket then the 10/22 or similar. If you dont mind the money spent on the cricket and then on something else then go that way as the cricket is best for initial safety training and mechanics learning.
 
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I got my nephew a Marlin 915Y when he was 7, I think. It still serves him well at 11. He loves bringing his friends out and showing them "his gun". He is very good about safety, I laughed so hard when he had to teach my mom firearm safety.
 
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The cricket is a good rifle for teaching the basics but you may want to look at a 10/22 and buy an extra stock (wood) usually around $10 and cut it down for length. Doing that is cheaper than finding the youth model and buying one rifle vs going with the cricket then the 10/22 or similar. If you dont mind the money spent on the cricket and then on something else then go that way as the cricket is best for initial safety training and mechanics learning.
This is good advice, there are more accessories made for the 10/22 than any other 22 rifle, your kid can turn it into a lot of stuff & always keep it around
 
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I used my 10/22 for my first gun (more than a pellet) - used the same gun to teach my son. It's reliable and very durable with lots of custom options available at just about every gun show around!
 
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I will take a slightly different approach and recommend a single shot break action. It is inherently safe, easy to identify, and teaches all of the fundamentals. You have to remount the gun between shots, and, you aren't going to rattle off a string without thinking.

There are a number of modern and used single shots available - virtually all are small (er).

I got just such a rifle when I turned 5, and, I learned well. It was an Ithaca Model 49 lever action single shot. I still have it and when he's ready my son will, too. It is still fun to shoot. I'm in the process of restoring an Ithaca Model 66 single shot shotgun to complement it when he's ready for that.
 
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A marlin bolt action 22 would be a nice choice. I agree with getting a single shot action for his first, lets you focus more on the fundamentals rather than quick shot succession.
 
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I can agree with the single shot idea too.
Something with a little character, like an old Stevens.
 
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I started with a 10/22 when I was around that age, probably younger. That would be my vote. Plus he can use it forever...so many mod choices. Modded parts would make good bday presents later on too... I remember the first 30rnd mag I got for it... I was so stoked about that
 
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All good suggestions. I started my kid with the Marlin 915Y when he was 7. Fit him well, and I like the extra safety of starting kids with a single shot bolt action. It was perfect for teaching safety, however it was 2 months later that we then got him a 10/22. The only problem I found with the 10/22 is that there's WAY to many ad-ons that have drained my bank account. DAMN Volquartzen and their top end expensive addicting components!
 

Spitpatch

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While the 1022 is a fine gun, It (or any other automatic) is not what I would start someone with. Others have noted that the very last thing a youth should learn is that there is a second shot available should he(she) miss with the first. Additionally, the 1022 does not lend itself to easy safety instruction. The gun is instantly hot after pulling the trigger, and removes the new shooter from learning the basic mechanics of how a gun loads and feeds each cartridge. None if this is derogatory toward the 1022, but all of it is absolutely true.

The Cricket is a good gun for a first, but kids grow, and it becomes problematic to lengthen the stock at a later date.

I also would not outfit a kid's gun with a scope at first, and would insist (with patient instruction) that a child learn the fundamentals of iron sight picture before graduation to optics. My choice would be a good economical bolt gun (Marlin, Remington, or the like), with the receiver grooved for later scope installation. The buttstock could be shortened, and later another full-length stock could be easily obtained to accomodate the weed's inevitable growth. (Or, a "doggy" used stock could be purchased at the outset to shorten, saving the original for later.) A repeater might be an option at the outset, but again, gentle insistence at single-shot loading should be the drill, with the primary lesson (after safety) being making that first shot count, no matter what.

My own first .22 was a Winchester 67A Boy's Rifle. I will give that gun all credit for teaching me how to shoot: extremely accurate, VERY safe: at the age of 6, I did not have the strength to even cock it (it does not cock itself, requiring the firing pin plunger to be pulled to the rear before the shot: powered by a very stout spring). Trigger was as fine and crisp as could be. Fine specimens can still be found, and specimens showing the natural wear a kid installs in every first gun can be found even cheaper. The only drawback to this gun, is that it is not grooved for a scope. But then again, not having a scope, and only having one shot is precisely what allowed this gun to be a partner with my Dad in teaching me how to really shoot decent enough to engage effectively in competition when I became older. Kids that learn to shoot with irons, believe it or not, are very often RELUCTANT to go to a scope: they find comfort in the simplicity and easy understanding of the relationship between sight alignment and where their bullet will go. Optics introduce an abstract. I did not own a scoped repeater until I was 13. I still have my trusty little 67, and it sees regular use for varmint control here on the property, and will outshoot any standard 1022 at 50 yards (even with the Ruger scoped). I would also seriously consider the ability of any first .22 to be able to accomodate .22 Shorts (or CB's: even shorter). This was also instrumental in my early instruction: Dad and I fed the family with cottontails, and I knew my little cartridges would kill dinner just as effectively as his "big" Long Rifle cartridges when I did my part, and the noise from a full-house Long Rifle is detrimental to early instruction. A good accurate air rifle would be even better to avoid this drawback for kids.

As commentary (hopefully received as constructive), mpmax's scope on the cricket is mounted much too high. For sight picture to be achieved with the pictured rifle/scope combo, a youth's cheek would be above where it needs to be for good shooting form/proper cheek-weld to the comb. Another fundamental that is often overlooked, and can be easily taught with iron sights. mpmax is not alone in this oversight: I see improperly mounted scopes (way too high) on some of the premier hunting shows: carried by guys who purport to know a lot about hunting rifles. In ALL cases, the scope should be mounted as low as possible above the bore.
 

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