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I need an opinion or two about a light recoiling deer rifle for my 12 yr. old Grandson. I was thinking along the lines of a .243 in a Remington 700 or Savage 10 youth model. We'd be in northern NY woods where long-distance shots wouldn't be a factor. Is this considered to be minimal recoil caliber, but a decent varmint/deer caliber? I have a great 6.5x55 Swede but I'm afraid at about 8.5lbs., it would be too much for the youngster to carry. My other choice is to let him use my Savage 99 in .300 Savage (w/ shortened LOP). Thanks for your insights.

savageT
 

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SavageT,

The Remington M7 (not 700, but the youth model) in .243 has to be THE perfect gun and caliber for our younger hunters. The gun made for small framed shooters and the caliber is fine for whitetails. Plus, the recoil is good for young shooters too.

There may be other good choices, but I can't think of any that are better. :grin:

Zachary
 

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grandsons 1st gun

like nate said about the sav. 99 in 300 sav. it does pack a sharp punch it might be a little too much to start with, the model 7 in 243 youth model is a excellent start and you can get another stock later as he grows into it or then pass that excellent sav. 99 on to him. wish I had kept mine a hundred time over. :D JIM
 

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De Ja vu! I am going through the exact same process with my 12 year-old daughter (see youth hunter category on index for more details) as you are with your grandson. I was also afraid of the weight factor with the 6.5 x 55 Swede, but when my daughter (who isn't that big or strong for her age) started carrying and handling it, she didn't seem to mind the weight. And I think the weight is helping her to keep it steady when she practices aiming, too.

Another reason I like the 6.5 x 55 is that it is a caliber she can "grow up" with. By that I mean when she grows up and wants to hunt larger game, the 6.5 will still perform well for her. She really need never get another gun unless she wants to hunt moose or grizzlies in North America. I draw the line for the .243 with whitetail-sized game.

In fact, although I know it is popular and has taken many a deer, I do not like the .243 for whitetails. I think the 100 grain bullet is on the scanty side, especially for leaving blood trails (which you will need sooner or later with a .243). I have personally known more deer that were wounded and lost with the .243 than any other caliber of deer rifle. I know that probably has more to do with shooter accuracy than the caliber, but I know as a youngster I needed a little room for error. The .243 doesn't leave much in that way-you need to be very accurate with it on deer.

I would try him with a 6.5 x 55 to see if he feels comfortable with it. Don't just assume that it is too heavy for him. It will also depend on how much walking/stalking he intends to do while hunting. But if you're going to get into that scenario, then even I (6'2", 220#) would prefer the easy-handling .30-30 levers like the Winchester or Marlin.
 

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I would opt for the 243 anyday of the week. I started one of my boys with one and he absolutely loves that gun. The bucks he shot were down within 30 yds. Granted he took good broadside or quartering away shots but that is what I wanted him to do. Too many people just want to take the shot at any angle instead of waiting. You cant take big caliber shots with any gun that a 12 year old will feed comfortable with unless it is a big caliber gun. Now that my son is older he opted for the 30-06 but the 243 is still our family gun and no doubt my younger son will use it this coming year. I bought him a 7m-08 but I think he appreciates the 243 at this time more. Who is to say that your kid will only have one gun in their life. This is a gun to start them out with the right memories, practice and ethics. However you might consider the 6mm. IT is an excellent caliber also. . . in my opinion.
 

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Strut,

I have a .260 and I can tell you that it does have more recoil than the 243.

We should keep in mind that this young shooter is only 12 years old. The last thing we want to do is have him develop a fear of shooting as a result of too much recoil.

Let our young shooters start small, then, as they age, you can always sell the gun and get something bigger. Then again, I know of many hunters of all ages up t0 60+ years old that have killed more whitetails with a 243 than I care to admit. :wink:

Zachary
 

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First Deer Rifle

:D I know I will get a lot of slack for what I am about to suggest.I would op for the Model 7 Remington in the youth version but in a 223 cal.I taught my son to only take a killing shot.That being the head first,the neck,and last the shoulder.The 223 has very light recoil and was easy for him to master quickly which I thought was all important.We use 55gr. Spitzer with 27grs. of H335.I find that shot placement is all important especially if I have to clean the kill. I sure hate to dress a body shot deer.These are just my thoughts and what worked for my son at 11 yrs.of age.Huh,man that was 24 years ago.Time flies----Seasons Greetings to All,I am CAL.........
 

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I recommend the 260. If you are after whitetails I recommend either the 129 Hornady Interlock or the 125 Nosler partition.

Pecos
 

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I agree with the last poster about the .243, that's an experts deer gun. I started hunting when I was 12,... with my dads 300 Savage. It wasn't to big, and it didn't kick to hard. Teach the kid to shoot with a 22. Let him hunt with something that is a bit more forgiving than a 243.
I would suggest the 300 Savage, but I would order one of the stocks from Cabela's, cut it down rather than the original. Then when he is grown more, put the original back on.
 

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Here's one that's not been touched on: the .257 Roberts. Granted, factory ammo is not all that common, but for the reloader it has a lot to offer. My wife is very small-framed and recoil sensitive. When it came to getting her a rifle, I wanted something she could use for most anything she'd hunt. We were considering a .243, but I was really looking for 7-08 when we happened upon a .257 that fit her to a tee, so we snatched it up. We haven't looked back! She has taken two mule deer and a big oryx (African gemsbok) with it. For the handloader, bullet options range from the fragile 75 grain V-max for varmints all the way up to 120 grain premium bullets for big game. I wouldn't hesitate to put my wife and her .257 up against any critter in the lower 48.
 

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I'll second 'Ram's recommendation of the .257 Roberts as a great beginner rifle. Does a nice job on deer, from what I have seen and heard, and recoil is very light. I was leaning that way when I was looking for my daughter's first gun, but two things put that idea out to pasture: 1) I don't handload, and factory ammo is both limited and scarce :x , and 2) there aren't very many of 'em floating around out there in the used market, and the ones I did find were kinda pricey for me :cry: . Too bad - I think the .257 Roberts is one of the best whitetail cartridges ever invented.
 

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I'd have to say either the 6.5 swede or a 7mm mauser both have pretty close the same recoil their cake to shoot. BigBill
 

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RIFLE FOR GRANDSON

SavageT
I went through this several years ago and I wound up going with the 260 for my grandson. He was started with the 100 grain loads in the beginning, which are more than enough to kill a deer and are very low in recoil factor and as he has grown he now shoot the 120's , 125's or 129's while deer hunting. He has been using this rifle for 3 years now and is getting more proficient with it each year. You also have the ability to go up to even heavier loads as they are needed. That is why I chose to get the 260 for him. He can use it for everything from varmits to bigger game and even can use up to 160 grain bullets in this caliber, but the 140's are usually more than enough. DRBOB
 

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I don't understand the problem with the 243. For years I hunted with a 243. As long as I did my job the rifle killed like lightening. I hate stories that say some guy shot this deer with xyz caliber and we had to chase it all over the place so it's obvious the rifle is just too small... If the bullet is in the right place a 243 works just great. I wouldn't suggest shooting a north bound buck in the south side but I've done it with a 95 grain partition with good results. The problem you have all had from what I've heard here was chasing a poorly hit deer. Your suggested solution was to get a bigger gun. One that kicks harder and is probably not going to be anu easier to hit with. If nothing else changes your probably still going to be chasing poorly hit deer.. A 243 is not the perfect deer rifle. It is underpowered at longer ranges even though its perfectly capably of hitting at longer ranges. My lovely little daughter, when 11 (the youngest allowed here in Missouri, took a 243 and killed her first deer. at about 40 yards. The next year she took a 20 inch inside spread 160 lbs. dressed weight buck at about 120 yards. It was shot though the heart and both lungs and went about 50-60 yards. About what my 20 incher had gone 3 years earlier, only mine was killed with a 300 Winchester longthroated and fireing 200 grain bullets at close to 3000 fps. Mine too was shot thru the chest and ran 50-60 yards. I did not rush out and buy a 375 because my 300 was too small. The daughters killed every deer she's ever shot at, all with a single shot. She switched to a 280 at about 16, because that's what her old man the gunsmith built for her. But if she had the 243, wouldn't make a bit of difference. She'l be 21 this year and if I were you I wouldn't get in any shooting matches with her..at least shooting at deer. The shooter does the killing, buy a rifle that the boy can learn to handle. Then hunt with him in situations that maximise his chances to make a clean kill. TEACH sportsmanship, don't take the poor shots. AIM the rifle, PRACTICE and be safe. If you miss or only wound, by all means feel bad. But most of all, don't blame a poor hit and a poor result on a caliber or a rifle or an action or a bullet.. Most often the cripples are our fault, not the rifle's... A 243 is light recoiling and easy for smaller kids to practice with. It provides ample power to take deer cleanly if used correctly. There are several others that would serve as well and the 257 springs to mind.. These are not the perfect deer caliber, especially for the die hard trophy hunter. They lack the power to kill cleanly at long ranges, but for teaching sportsmanship and HUNTING, they'll do quite nicely.. Teach the boy to shoot, and to hunt with his heart. Let him desire the clean kill and to accept the INDIVIDUAL resposibility for his actions. Some here may not understand. Making a poor shot happens to all of us, eventually. The worth of the man is not judged just by his successes but also by his failures and how they are handled. Cripple a deer and blame the caliber or cripple the deer and say, If I'd done a better job, that wouldn't have happened.. Sorry for the length and I really never meant to flame anyone...just tired of people blaming the rifle or the caliber or the scope or whatever for their own mistakes. Buy the 243-257-250 Savage or whatever and spend the time to teach what they need to know. By all means get one that fits him and practice with it.. In the end you will be rewarded handsomely.. as will we all.... from the gunnut69
 

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sorry boys but....

let me be the one to cast the first stone. :) the .243 is not too small for deer by any shape or form. i've hunted with the .270 for years and in my opinion, even it's just too much gun for deer at normal ranges. :shock: if there's an experts gun out there it's the big calibers not the dandy .243. you have to be an expert to handle the recoil and still hit where your aiming. the big guns only offer advantages at longer ranges. alright pour it on me. i can take it. hehe! :D
 

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rifle for grandson

Gunnut69
I don't think I was criticizing the caliber or blaming it for any problems, which are usually operator error. I chose the 260 for the versatility that it offerred. I could load light recoiling 100 grain bullets that equal or exceed the 243 and as he was able increase the loads to heavier bullets. For me his being able to grow and become more familiar with this rifle has led to his ability to place his shots effectivly and accurately. This was also the way that I started him into reloading and all that he has shot with this rifle was with his own reloads. I had been looking for a 7-08 but couldn't find what I wanted and I came across this 260 and bought it after reading about the possibilities it offerred. In N.C. the deer don't usually get all that large and everything that has been shot has had complete penetration and quick kills. I know that as he continues to grow he may want something in a larger caliber but until that time comes he is very happy with the 260. DRBOB
 

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Gunnut and Kyode you are absolutely right. I have been "on long tracking jobs" and never was it the fault of the caliber of gun someone used. Each time, it was from less than ideal shot placement. The 243 is an excellent caliber rifle for anyone. Is it the best? No, but there is no caliber that is. But it is a great gun for my boys and I sure wish I would have started with one instead of the 30-30 that I was started with back in the earlyl 70's. (Not to blame my Grampa . . . as that was the gun of choice in our area for many years ). As an adult I think the 30-30 can be a lot of fun. But as a kid shooting a rifle where the barrel kicked up , as well as back, and the metal butt plate etc... it was not a fun gun to shoot. So who wants to practice with something that has no joy in it? Start a kid with a caliber that they can bond with . . . not fear.
 

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get a .270

get him a .270 i am 15 and have a .270 it doesnt kick very much i can shoot it all day long or how about a 30-30 they dont kick worth diddly squat
 

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.243—Love ve it or hate it

First off, happy new year to all and sundry! Glad to be a new member here!

Secondly, Gunnut69 and Kyode said what I was going to, otherwise this would be a lengthy post about getting a gun fit for the youngster, etc. etc. My son & I shopped and studied for 2 years before he was the minimum legal deer-hunting age, and ended up with a .243, Winchester Youth Model. We also took a Hunter Safety Class, together (although I didn't have to), viewed umpty-nine videos on stalking, deer anatomy, butchering, etc, etc. AND we put in our range time together. The year before he was legal he voluntarily came out with me on opening morning and sat motionless with me on my stand, holding no gun, for 2 hours in 0-degree weather before admitting defeat. When he got his license the next year, we both knew he was ready. And we'd had a ton of quality time together.

My boy would not have been as confident with anything with more recoil than the .243. He was then rather small and slender. The Winchester YM fit him perfectly, and he was able to put holes where he wanted 'em with it.

I agree the .243 is a marginal deer gun. My boy knew it too, and he knew where he had to put a bullet. I loaded 100 gr Nosler Partitions, and the deer he used 'em on never knew what hit 'em.

2 yrs later I had to replace the stock with a full-sized one. Son was still slender, and he still needed the light recoil. The new stock necessitated more quality range time, oh darn.

Since, son has gone off to college, and has filled out considerably. He could now handle a full-house .30-'06, or heck, any of the huge magnums, but I haven't had him home for deer season for years. When or if I ever get him back here for deer season, I'll suggest a bigger caliber, but I think I know what his choice will be—the rifle he learned on, and felt confident with. And I am certain that he'll still have the understanding to use it properly.
 
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