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I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but here goes. I don't have any kids as of now but I'm sure I will have a couple in the future. I was just thinking the other day about what type of firearm I would start my children off with and at what age would I start them at. I don't want my children to be afraid of guns but I would want them to have a healthy respect for them as I do, but also be comfortable growing up with guns and being involved in recreational shooting. I know I will have to stress SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!!!! I would think there is a good age where children are young enough to "start early" but also be old enough to understand the responsibility. I Know many of you all have children. What age did you get them started and what did you start them with? I'm not real sure on an age, I was thinking of starting a child on a rifle of some sort. .22LR cal.? .17 HMR? semiauto? single shot? bolt? lever? pump? My first firearm was a marlin model 60. I had so much fun with that thing, I still have it and it still works great. Anyway I know you all will have some good feedback for me. Let me know what you think. Just thinking about the future :D

Tbull
 

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tbull55: I can tell you from experience in dealing with emotionally disturbed children for nearly 30 years that as soon as your children are able to understand the concept of safety and the ramifications of unsafe actions, you can begin teaching them about firearms and safety. The most important aspects of your teaching are the consistency of your approach both to shooting and safety, and your consistent follow-up for both postivie and negative actions. The first thing that will screw up a kids thought process is when he/she has the lattitude to make their own unexperienced and uninformed decisions resulting from an inconsistent parenting/teaching approach. If you remain consistent, level headed and thoughtful about teaching your children anything, you will be a good parent and a safe and thoughtful firearms instructor for your children.

Age is specific to the individual child, but I would think you would want the child to be old enough and physically capable enough to be able to safety and correctly hold and shoot the rifle while under your immediate and hands-on supervision and control.

Hands-on means you are right with your child and immediately able to stop any inadvertant or unsafe action the child may initiate. I had one father tell me that 'hands-on' was what he was doing when he was drinking his coffee 20' behind where his son was shooting the snot out of the target stand frame.

As for choice of rifle - depends on the stature of your children. Shorter arm reaches call for shorter stocks for more comfortable learning and shooting. It is also easier to teach someone who doesn't have to struggle to reach the controls of the equipment he/she is operating. With that in mind, rifles like the Chipmunk, a single shot bolt action 22lr (by Henry ???)is always a great first place to start. Being a bolt action and single shot, you can start with 22 shorts and move up from there - those, and others like them are fun guns, yet still deadly. Once your children understand and can practice safe shooting, then you could move them up to a lever action or a bolt with a clip. I would hold on semi-autos until they can no longer hit their targets with the first shot then I would let them have semi-autos. Of course, they may be 60 or 70 years old by then but hay, they can have a lot fo fun before that. LOLOL. HTH. Mikey.
 

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The mental maturity of the child is more important than chronological age. Can he or she listen to and follow directions? Can they stay calm and focussed or are they excitable, inattentive and forget what it is that they are doing? Etc.
I feel that one of the best guns to start a child out with is a simple bb gun. They are great for teaching basic firearms handling and shooting skills while being relatively safe. The other benefit of a bb gun is that a 'range' can be set up in your own backyard, basement or garage so that you can easily enjoy a quick shooting session after dinner, between chores , etc and not have to find time to drive to a real shooting range. Heck, many adults, myself included, enjoy plinking with bb or pellet guns. It's a great, inexpensive way to spend quality time alone with the kids. When/if the child shows an interest in hunting with the 'old man' you can move up to a single shot rimfire for small game.
 

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I agree with the previous responses, and also suggest that a childs first gun be a BB gun. That was my first rifle and I fired thousands of BB's with it. In fact I still have it. I don't remember what age I was when I got it as a birthday or Christmas present, but I do remember that for the first year or so I had to ask an adult to cock it for me. There are all sorts of safe back yard shooting games that can be enjoyed with a BB gun.

If you do decide to go that way I suggest a good quality BB gun that has enough muzzle velocity to keep the childs interest. A gun with good muzzle velocity will also be a fine tool with which to teach firearm safety. And I recommend a rifle rather than a pistol. I have found only one BB pistol that impressed me. It is a Plainsman that was available with either a smooth barrel for BB's or a rifled barrel for lead shot. I don't think the manufacturer is in business anymore. I'm know you can still buy BB guns made by Daisy, and by other makers also. My two sons are adults now and while they always knew that we had guns in the house they never showed much interest in shooting sports. I took them into the backyard several times and let them shoot my old BB gun and talked about gun safety. Since I was not very involved in shooting sports at the time they were more interested in soccer, 4H, and Boy Scouts.

JR
 

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I started my oldest of four children... a daughter... shooting a rifle I made (shortened, re-carved and refinished the stock) for the kids out of a Stevens 15Y single shot .22 rimfire rifle. My daughter was 5 years old at the time, but I started the boys a bit later... when they were about 6 or 7 years old.

That was 40 years ago and that rifle is still doing it's job, only with some of my 13 Grandchildren now rather than my eldest daughter and my two sons... my youngest, another daughter, wasn't interested in learning to shoot.

I always started each child out by demonstrating the "power" of the rifle. I filled a plastic milk jug (either a plastic ½ gallon or gallon jug) with water colored BRIGHT red with food coloring... then backed off 10 yards or so and shot it with a high-velocity hollow point. The red "SPLASH" made by the colored water plus the torn plastic water jug made a long-lasting impression on each of the kids... one they never forgot.

Then I explained to them that if they ever shot anything that was alive, what happened to the water jug is what happens to the "insides" of the "something alive" if hit by a fast bullet.

I never had a problem with any of the kids mis-handling a firearm after that "demonstration". Their "respect" was obvious.

From there on, it was all down-hill.


Strength & Honor...

Ron T.
 

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I started my son with a Chipmunk .22RF. Actually his mother started him shooting at the age of five. My wife is a certified NRA Shooting Instructor, and she started him shooting with a very strong imphasis on safety. Being the only child in the house, his big brother was seventeen when he was born and left a year later, he was treated as an adult and he matured faster than normal. The Chipmunk worked fine since it was small enough for him. He could not cock it so an adult had to pull the cocking knob. At the age of ten he moved up to a T/C Contender fitted with a youth stock, and a match grade .22RF barrel. At Thirteen he moved up to an Anschutz, and I got my Contender back. Now at sixteen he is on his schools rifle team, and his mom is trying to get him started in High-power matches with a Garand.
 

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I concur with the foregoing answers.
Single shot is the way to go NEF or Rossi is a good start. Some folks don't like to buy one starter gun and then another one later..
They can do as I did with my two boys..get one with a clip/magazine....but they don't get it right away..
In fact, my boys did their first year of legal solo hunting without the magazines...they didn't miss them then and never got into the " spray & pray" habit...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the input. I'm sure I'll be starting off on the right foot when we have one of the little boogers!! :grin:

Tbull
 

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My boys both, 6 & 8 have their own 22's. Ones a Marlin 15ys & the little guys got a Crikett(Same rifle as a chipmunk) I started them off young. They both have had alot of experience around guns from a very young age.
At that young age they seemed easy to teach saftey to as it was just part of shooting or cleaning the guns. You hand them a closed gun & theye'll either open it or if they dont know how hand it back & tell you to. :grin:
Now it may help that they know the guns they see kill things too that matters, I dunno, but I do know that I have 2 boys that treat guns with the respect they deserve. Kinda makes me proud. I didn't go the BB gun route only because alot of folks think theyre toys & I wanted no mistakes on that note. Of course I have a couple & theyre more than welcome to shoot them, since they know that its a gun & treat them as such. :grin:
 
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