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Best gun for a 12 year old

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  • Best gun for a 12 year old

    I’m twelve y/o I want to shoot dear and like small game rabbits and squirrels. I weigh 110 and 5/2. I can lift around 75 on bench

  • #2
    To even start to answer your question well, we would have to know what your states fish and game laws are concerning age, and what type of weapons are legal for deer hunting.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the site , first Ernies advice is very good young man. Search the game laws and requirements to hunt in your state. So by your own description you a big kid for your age so you will be able to handle most standard deer rifles . There is so much information that you need to give us about what kind of area you live, type of deer hunting your doing etc. I remember being 12 years old and pouring over gun magazines and catalogs and being in a hurry to get started but being in a non hunting family it was hard. Thank god my parents were supportive and I had two uncles that were a big help. Find a adult ( with parents approval ) that can mentor you. Reading is great but practical experience is key to finding your way through this endeavor . Do that all being said here is my advice, three guns every hunter can make do with 22 rimfire ! 22 are quiet cheap and you can get a lot of practice. 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun. If I had to choose one it would be a 12, upland and small game hunting is a way of getting out and learning a little of everything. In my youth it was 5 months of hunting verses 1 week of deer season. Deer rifles are choices to the individual but 6.5 creedmoor , 7mm-08 or 308 win will kill any deer you come across and you will be able find ammo. Best luck to you young man and don’t be afraid to ask questions .,

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      • #4
        What firearm experience do you have, Brogan?

        Starting beginners used to be pretty simple. A mentor, a single shot rifle/shotgun and small game like squirrels or rabbits.

        No more.
        States have laws that prohibit hunting until a certain age. Hunter safety requirements, etc, etc....

        A simple answer to your question is a single shot shotgun.
        Probably a 20 gauge. Twelve gauge single shot, shotguns tend to have heavy recoil.
        The 20 gauge will do very well in teaching you to be patient until a good shot presents itself. A single shot will teach you that you must make each shot count.
        The 20 gauge will also work well as a slug gun for deer.

        I think a single shot 20 gauge is a real good "starter" gun.


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        • #5
          I gave my Grandson a Tikka T3 .308 which I had cut the barrel to 20 inches and put a Simms Limb Saver recoil pad on it when he was 10. I loaded reduced loads with Sierra 125 grain Pro Hunters. He killed several deer with that load. When he was 13 I moved him up to full loads with the Nosler 125 grain ballistic tip. He is 20 now and still used that same gun with the same Nosler 125 Balistic Tip load. They are loaded pretty fast, book says they are traveling 3250 FPS. He killed a big buck 3 years ago at 400 yards. His Dad ranged the deer and asked him if he realized how far it was. He said no problem Pop Pop loaded my rounds, run them on the ballistic calculater , put the chart on my shell box and I have it memorized. 1 shot big buck down. The same year he killed a doe at 340 yards.

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          • #6
            I like the NEF single shot for a first rifle. Either a shotgun or rimfire. If you are strong for your age a 12ga would work, otherwise a 16ga would serve you well. The NEF or most any single shot is available in .22lr. There are also some bolt actions that can be limited to single shot until ready for multiple shots. Good Luck. Be Safe.

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            • #7
              Brogan,

              Do you have someone who can help you get started? At your age you'll need someone to provide you with whatever gun you end up with. "Best" is a hard question to answer, if you have an adult who is willing to help you but also has questions have them ask here as well.

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              • #8
                To answer some of your questions I’m pretty experienced with guns but not hunting. My dad has never really hunted before besides ducks, but my uncle has hunted before not much but has hunted. I live in sc so I would be able to hunt for what I have seen. Thank you for all your responses!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BroganLiddy View Post
                  To answer some of your questions I’m pretty experienced with guns but not hunting. My dad has never really hunted before besides ducks, but my uncle has hunted before not much but has hunted. I live in sc so I would be able to hunt for what I have seen. Thank you for all your responses!
                  Will your family buy a gun/optic for you and find someone to teach the fundamentals of shooting, and then have someone be with you when you are hunting?
                  Cartridges I would consider: 243 Winchester, 6mm Creedmoor, 260 Remington, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
                  I do not see the need to jump to a 7mm or 30 caliber for deer. Keep your recoil down, and learn the basics.

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                  • #10
                    If I had to choose one it would be a 12, upland and small game hunting is a way of getting out and learning a little of everything. In my youth it was 5 months of hunting verses 1 week of deer season. Deer rifles are choices to the individual but 6.5 creedmoor , 7mm-08 or 308 win will kill any deer you come across and you will be able find ammo. Best luck to you young man and don’t be afraid to ask questions ., Speed Test
                    Last edited by EVAKATY75; 01-02-2021, 05:12 AM.

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                    • #11
                      If you are dependent on one gun to take deer and small game, that pretty well leaves you with a shotgun. Use slugs for deer and #6 birdshot for the rabbits and squirrels. A single shot will do the job but I'd suggest getting as good a shotgun as you can while you are at it if you can. I'd suggest starting with a 20 gauge unless you really like shooting a 12 gauge repeatedly. A 12 gauge can beat you up.

                      Regarding shotguns, a 12 gauge can throw a bigger pattern than a 20 gauge but it is generally not necessary if you know how to shoot it. My 72 year old buddy has shot his first 20 gauge (Rem 1100) for a lifetime. He has shot more ducks, geese, pheasants, quail etc. than most people would dream about. He is a better shot than I am so he is more successful hunting, even though I shoot a 12 gauge. I like shooting his Rem 1100 and shoot better with it because of the low recoil and quick follow up shots. The Benelli Black Eagle lets me do the same using 12 gauge shells but that is an expensive shotgun.

                      I've started many young people like you out on their first deer rifle. They have been very happy with all the great choices mentioned above. Several have used a .223 with 55g Nosler Partitions for deer out to about 250 yards (not legal in some states and magazine restrictions in others). Many have used a .243 or 25-06 which are both light in recoil; the 25-06 being versatile enough for prairie/bean field deer and antelope out to 500 yards and beyond. I went on to use mine for more than 50 years for everything from prairie dogs to antelope and deer and still haven't found a better all around rifle unless you are hunting dense timber. Small fast bullets do well in the open field but the larger diameter bullets do a little better in the timbers of the eastern seaboard. The 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, 7mm-08 and 35 Remington work great in those timbers.

                      The lightest young lady (75-80 pounds) I prepared for hunting used a .308 in Georgia with my custom handloads using 110g Barnes bullets. She was deadly with it and claimed she felt no recoil. She was an excellent shooter with it at the range.

                      Just remember, it will actually make no difference what cartridge you use for deer as long as you can comfortably place your shot very predictably in a kill zone the size of a dinner plate. I've seen deer shot with almost every cartridge from a .223 Rem to a .375 H&H. They all kill quickly and mercifully with a good hit. I suggest getting a light recoil cartridge and you will shoot better. I've seen many a young hunter be ruined by attempting to use a cartridge that has too much recoil (like a 30-06, .270, 7mm Mag) so that they hate shooting it and flinch too much to hit a barn at 100 yards.

                      I personally favor the 25-06 on the plains and my favorite timber rifle is the .35 Remington.

                      Welcome aboard, good luck and please let us know how you are doing.
                      Last edited by DakotaMan; 01-01-2021, 09:52 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I don't like single shot break down rifles for kids. I had several self inflicted shootings with them when I was an Officer. Any firearm that you have to pull the trigger to make it safe is not a safe firearm. People say they have a transfer bar to make them safe but when you pull the trigger the transfer falls down out of the way of the hammer. You can't beat a bolt action rifle for safety or a pump action shotgun for safety. Yu never have to put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire. The amount of rounds a firearm holds does not make it dangerous.

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                        • #13
                          Sarge, I would prefer to start kids on a bolt rig as well.
                          I am not opposed to a single-shot weapons.
                          I started both of my kids on single shot handguns for hunting
                          Last edited by Ernie; 01-02-2021, 12:23 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Game animal health. Anybody hear of any game animals getting the virus ? I heard a lion at the Bronx Zoo got the virus. Also heard of several dogs that got the virus.

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                            • #15
                              "...Any firearm that you have to pull the trigger to make it safe is not a safe firearm. ..."

                              That single statement disqualifies Marlins, Winchesters, H&R's, ALL sidelock muzzle loaders, some Brownings and who knows what all else.
                              I grew up hunting with a single shot hammer gun, then a Marlin 336. Single action revolvers.

                              "Stay out of the water 'til you learn to swim."

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