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Thread: Son's first hunting rifle

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    Default Son's first hunting rifle

    A question for you guys. I am looking to take my son out hunting with me this year. Bear baiting, moose, and possibly caribou. Do you guys think that a .308 will be okay for these animals? He is thirteen years old, about 5'5" and a 125 pounds. He has no issues shooting my 12 gauge. Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willyum10 View Post
    A question for you guys. I am looking to take my son out hunting with me this year. Bear baiting, moose, and possibly caribou. Do you guys think that a .308 will be okay for these animals? He is thirteen years old, about 5'5" and a 125 pounds. He has no issues shooting my 12 gauge. Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks.
    I would consider a 30-06 and use reduced recoil ammo until he gets to where he can handle full strengh loads. There is a vararity of ammo avaiable for the 30-06 and it can be used to hunt about anything.

    I started my wife out with a 308, she shot a large bull caribou in the shoulder, I found the bullet stuck in the shoulder blade.

    Bought her a 270 WSM after that hunt.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    It's perfectly adequate for all those animals. Critters have been falling to 150-180gr .308 bullets at moderate velocity for over a century. If your son can shoot it well and place bullets where they'll count, it'll do the job. I've hunted with a .308 off and on for 20+ years now and never found it wanting.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Not much more than a nickels difference between the .308 and the .30-06. If Kimber made a lefty model of their .308 montana, I'd have owned one yesterday.

    You're on the right track. Any make/model ideas floating in the noggin yet?

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willyum10 View Post
    A question for you guys. I am looking to take my son out hunting with me this year. Bear baiting, moose, and possibly caribou. Do you guys think that a .308 will be okay for these animals? He is thirteen years old, about 5'5" and a 125 pounds. He has no issues shooting my 12 gauge. Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks.
    The 308 is (IMHO) a very good starter rifle. Both of my boys started on my old 308. and now one of my teenage grandson's is using it.

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    At 15 yo, I got a 308 (Savage 99) and as I recall, it kicked like a sumbitz. The only centerfires I had previously shot were a 222 & 35 Rem.
    How much does the rifle weigh? Does it "fit your son? Or does he have to "stretch" (neck, arms) in order to shoot it? If he does, you should probably trim the stock to fit him better.
    What I'd do is load a bunch of light bullets at a reduced charge to practice with. You could probably get a 110 gr bullet loaded down to recoil comparable to a 223 level.
    Whatever you do - DO NOT let him shoot (practice) without good hearing protection. If you go to a public range, don't let him shoot within 2 benches of someone using a muzzlebrake. IMO, what assualts your ears has more to do with developing a flinch than actual recoil does.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Whatever you do - DO NOT let him shoot (practice) without good hearing protection. If you go to a public range, don't let him shoot within 2 benches of someone using a muzzlebrake. IMO, what assualts your ears has more to do with developing a flinch than actual recoil does.
    +1...that's been my experience as well. Muzzle blast is much more flinch inducing than recoil ever is. Great point!

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    Something else to look at along the same lines would be a Ruger compact, Savage weather worrior, or a Tika in .260 rem. A bit less kick and a barnes 120 gr tsx will do anything up to caribou with ease. Flat shooting too. 140s or 160s for bigger stuff. People been killing moose for years across the pond with the 6.5x55 sweed. (it's ballistic twin)

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    Not just for kids, my m77 compact .308 is my go to gun for anything smaller than brown bear, and would shoot one of them with it in the right set of circumstances. Remington loads a 125 grain managed recoil load if necessary,and I have shot them. I believe the half recoil claim this ammo makes. Great variety and price for ammo with negligble loss from shorter barrel. I have harvested caribou, deer, moose, goats, black bears, sheep, wolverine, and fox with this gun. This is a great rifle to pack and carry and the most accurate rifle I own. I carry a 180gr. nosler partition in the barrel when hunting Kodiak and carry lighter bullet rounds for extended shooting. The 147 grain FMJ's are inexpensive and do a good job on smaller fur bearers like the fox and wolverine.

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    I harvested a deer this year with the .308 that I will pass down to my daughter when she is ready. It is a good caliber.
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    I would recommend stepping up to the .30-06' as well. I learned to shoot at age 12 5'3" and 115lbs then, with a 12ga. and a 06'. Never bothered me a bit. The .308 is a good choice though, also if he does not have one already, I suggest a scoped .22lr for the majority of marksmanship practice, besides everyone should have a .22lr .

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    When I was 13 I shot a moose with a .338 sako with muzzle brake. No problem hit the moose fine and put it right down. Really a .300 or .338 with a muzzle brake don't kick bad at all and has way more knock down power for bears and moose. Trust me blackies are tough I think some people will even tell you they are the toughest animal in Ak to put down. I saw my brother shoot a moose at about 11 or 12, with a .308 about 5 times and it barely flinched each time and finally my dad had to shoot it with his .300 to put it down. I wouldn't hesitate to get a .300 wsm or .300 rcm, or even a .338 at all. Plus your son will grow and once he reaches a certain age he will want a gun with more power, might as well just get it for him now. A 12 gauge will kick just as much as a .338 or .300 with a muzzle brake will.

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    Thanks guys for all the advice. I will take all your advice into consideration when it comes to hearing pro, flinch and sizing my son to the rifle. I know when I first learned to shoot a rifle, I was an Airman in Basic training. I never really thought about all the other things until I had a friend teach me the fundamentals of hunting and actually took me out to do it. I fell in love from that point and wanted to pass down everything I learned as well as continue to learn with my son. Once again thanks for the advice. If you guys have advice on the rifles, let me know.
    hunt ak - Right now, the different rifles I am looking at are the Remington Model 770, Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact, or the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Compact. Price range is pretty close with the Winchester and Ruger.

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    11 or 12 years old to clarify in my first post.

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    I started by using my fathers mosberg .308 with iron sights. I feel it is important for people to learn to use iron sights before using a scope. Also I was 5'4' and 95 lbs. I would not recommend using a muzzle brake ever. Comp shooting fine, but in a hunting situation there is a chance of the non shooter getting there hearing severly damaged.

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    Whatever caliber you pick, I think 308 is fine for what it's worth, do not I repeat DO NOT! Buy a Remington 770 or 710. I repair guns for a living and those rifles are the absolute biggest pile of crap to come out of any US factory ever.

    I don't want to hurt anyones feelings as I know money can be tight, but buy used or bargain shop or whatever just don't buy the kid one of those. A first hunting rifle should and will be cherished with fond memories for years to come, with a 770 it won't.

    I personally would get him a used wood and blues Ruger 77. They can usually be had pretty cheap, are nearly bulletproof, and the wood stock and blued steel will help teach him about gun maintainence as well as tell a story with the scuffs and worn bluing some day down the road.

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    Bummer - a few months back Sporty's had stainless remington ADLs for $430. Fixodent and forget it.

    I sort of loathe the notion of "starter rifles". Don't get a kid something that you yourself wouldn't use. If you don't reload, the 308 gives you more options for high quality factory hunting, target, and plinking ammo than about anything else, and a 308 will kill anything up here with the right bullet put in the right place.

    I agree with The Kid - cruise consignment racks and pawnshops and internet classified ads like those on this site. You have some time between now and August. If buying used, expand your candidates to 270, 30-06, 260, and 7-08. If you end up with an '06, watch your ammo selections and stick to premium bullets of 150 grains (or 130 barnes) to reduce recoil for a few years. A full house 30-06 can kick a bit. Good used candidates are pushfeed winchester 70 and 670, Remington 7/700/721/722/725, Rugers of all ages, and Howa/ WBY Vanguards. The vanguard is the sleeper of the bunch - it won't kick too much as it's heavy, they're inexpensive but not cheap, and they generally shoot with the best of 'em. If you have a choice, get a blind magazine, but that will be tough to come by in anything but remington. No savage, no browning a-bolt.

    No muzzle brakes. Never. Ever.

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    Oh, and no hubble telescopes for scope. Get him a fixed 4x or 6x leupold for starters. Nothing worse than screwing around with a magnification ring for a new hunter. Some of us who have done this for a while hardly own any variable scopes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I would consider a 30-06 and use reduced recoil ammo until he gets to where he can handle full strengh loads. There is a vararity of ammo avaiable for the 30-06 and it can be used to hunt about anything.

    I started my wife out with a 308, she shot a large bull caribou in the shoulder, I found the bullet stuck in the shoulder blade.

    Bought her a 270 WSM after that hunt.
    I agree with this post, 30-06 is a great all around rifle perfect for everything you said. And the kick on a 30.06 isn't anything your kid isn't used to if he is shooting your shotgun.

    EDIT I actually have the m77 hawkeye that you were considering, it is a great gun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak rhubarb View Post
    I agree with this post, 30-06 is a great all around rifle perfect for everything you said. And the kick on a 30.06 isn't anything your kid isn't used to if he is shooting your shotgun.

    EDIT I actually have the m77 hawkeye that you were considering, it is a great gun!
    I'd try shooting that shotgun from the bench or the prone position a few times, before making that statement. I certainly wouldn't suggest letting any kid do that (or shoot full power 06 loads) to introduce them to guns or hunting.
    Shooting a weapon from a standing position does result in about the same "felt" recoil, but shooting a rifle from a standing position isn't the way to get a kid to hit the target on his first outing.

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