A good friend of mine has a 10 year old daughter that successfully drew a youth hunt cow elk tag in AZ. Since my 9 year old Kasilof nephew took a nice 63" bull moose September 2011 with a youth Weatherby in AK we thought that caliber would be just fine for her down here.
My buddy found a great deal, $320.00 on a new youth compact Ruger American. The reach is reduced to 12.5" and the barrel is 18". This makes a nice easy handling light rifle for a child. He picked up a Red Field 4.5-12X40mm scope for it, $220.00.
He mounted the scope and they went to the range with a box of Winchester Silver Tip 140gr. He seemed to be happy with the rifle and she was hitting the steel plates at 100 & 200 yards with consistency.
I've been wanting to play with one of these entry level low cost import buster Ruger rifles. Actually it is quite nice. The V-Block bedding system is interesting. I adjusted the trigger down to 3.5 pounds measured, it was nearly 5 as delivered. After verifying the reticle was level I measured the zero jump COAL length with Accubonds and one of her fired pieces of brass. This length was 0.037 longer than the rotary magazine.
We put together some test loads at .050, .075, .100 & .125 off the lands. This allows the cartridges to feed from the magazine. We choose H-414, Chuck will be loading the finished recipe in the future with his recently acquired reloading kit.
Since I hadn't shot this rifle before I sent two into the center diamond then made a scope adjustment and sent the third dead center. This fouling load was left over ammo from my nephews Weatherby load.
Top Left #1 -0.050 off
Top Right #2 -0.750 off
Bottom Left #3 -.100 off
Bottom Right #4 -.125 off
All charges are identical, only seating depths are different. Number one and four grouped well but 2 and 3 had single digit ES. In reality, all groups are 1 moa or less, not bad from a child's low cost rifle system. As the bullets were seated deeper velocity went up and the groups raised point of impact versus point of aim. I will bump the charge .5gr and test all seating depths again next weekend. If one stands out I will tweak that one the following weekend.
I think it's quite nice that today's modern low cost rifles shoot so well with minimum effort and affordable optics.
Interesting side note. The guy shooting to my right was using a Pro Chrony, I had a cheap Alpha Master. He had error after error after error. I tried to assist but he wasn't having any of it. Not sure what he was doing wrong. My guess is shooting off center. He had an ultra high power optic which makes it difficult to see the sky shield rods to assist with alignment. I had an error free morning and zero wind thanks to the 15' wall to the right and a 7:00am range time.