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Joined: Dec 2003
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gwsmith Offline OP
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My son has shot a BB gun for awhile but I'm ready to start him on a shotgun I think. I've been waiting until he was big enough to shoot a 20 gauge - as my personal opinion would be that a 410 doesn't really qualify as a true gun. But he's 10 years old and big enough to handle a 20 now I think.

I have gone back and forth on whether to buy him a double gun (O/U) or a single barrel gun. In terms of safety and ease of use - which do you think is better for a kid. I've always thought double guns were much safer in the field. However I could also start him on a pump with 1 or 2 shells at a time. Would like something he can use for a few years though. I'm going back and forth on this and just thought I'd get some other opinions from guys that have been there already.

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I would start him with a 410 or a 28 gauge. Probably O/U as they are plentiful and relatively cheap. Or the CZ Bobwhite in one of those gauges. I would get a light weight gun 6 pounds or less. I would cut down the stock and save the drop off. I would add incremental length as he grows.

The singleshot hammerguns (like a Winchester 37) are hard for a child to cock in time to shoot a flushing bird. Savage made a singleshot hammerless that would be good for a child.

When the ten year old gets the gun it should have cylinder or skeet chokes in it.

My bias is toward guns used in hunting flushing birds over pointing dogs. If he is going to primarily hunt geese and ducks then probably not good recommendations.

Best,

Mike

Last edited by AmarilloMike; 02/04/14 11:47 AM. Reason: spelling and grammar


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Michael McIntosh talks about this subject extensively in his book: More Shotguns and Shooting. He advised against a 410, as its pattern is so poor. He seemed to lean toward a 28 gauge. More Shotguns and Shooting has a lot of helpful tips on getting new shooters started.

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GLS Offline
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Baikal makes youth model single shots. They are hammerless and are in .410 and 20 gauge. If you look at the specs, the weight is listed at 9 lbs. This is an error of translation from the Russian. My full sized adult version in 20 gauge weighs 5.4 lbs. Cheaperthandirt offers them and the costs run from $91-140. I haven't found another vendor. Shipping is either free or $11 to your FFL holder depending on which warehouse guns ship from. Baikal is marketed by USSG, Inc.

Mossberg makes several youth model pumps in .410 and 20 gauge. There is a mini series and a youth series. The guns come with sectioned stocks so the lop can be reduced or increased simply by unscrewing the pad and adding subtracting sections. The Super Bantam is one such model which comes with a certificate to buy at discount the adult stock once the child grows.

I taught a young boy shotgunning with an old Beretta gas operated auto. I handloaded 12 gauge rounds with 7/8 oz. loads. I cut the stock off and added the section back as he grew. Gil

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This is just me. All kids are different.

I raised three boys to become responsible safe (knock on wood) shooters and hunters. If your boy has been used to a BB gun a .410 will be a 'real gun' to him even if not to you. For safety I started mine with single shots. My favorite is the Savage model 220 because it is hammerless with a tang safety making the transition to a double practically seamless. Find one on GunBroker.

I tried to move my boys up to a 20ga too quickly and they let me know they were afraid of it. When you do move up to a 20ga make it a double or a restricted capacity pump; the extra weight will
offset the increased recoil.

Good luck, do it right and you will have the best hunting buddy you will ever find!...Geo

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I feel that much better lifelong gun safety can be learned with a pump gun. The adult must be diligent when supervising barrel direction at all times and the child will pick up the concept that the gun muzzle is always a risk. With a break apart gun, the mind releases some of those safety thoughts as soon as the gun is broken open. Early success on targets will come much easier with a 20 or 28 than a 410. A pump gun wont have as severe of recoil as a double. Auto loaders can be frustrating for parent and child when they dont work right.

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In reference to 410s I learned to shoot with one - a cheap Spanish SxS my older brother bought for me. I killed lots of game with it including quail, dove, pheasant, jackrabbits and cottontails. As I grew up on an irrigated farm I had lots of opportunity also. I loaned it to my son at the appropriate age and then passed it on to a friend for his sons. I highly recommend 410s as first guns.

Best,

Mike

Last edited by AmarilloMike; 02/04/14 11:45 AM.


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I know I'm going to come across as a heretic here but I'd recommend a Remington** 1100 Light 20. I believe Remington also offers a "youth" stock for this that can easily be replaced with a longer stock later.
Another reason for this recommendation is an 1100 is a noticeably light kicker which to me is a big advantage when starting a youngster shotgun shooting.
Jim

**If these are no longer made you will have to look for a used example.


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I tried just about everything, and I started my son too young, but if I had it to do over again I would start with what he has now.
I bought an older Uggie SxS and bobbed both ends. The guns are cheap so I didn't feel bad butchering it and they are as simple and reliable as a hammer. Open chokes don't hurt for a kid just learning, so I cut the barrels to 25" and left them cylinder, I may jug choke them as he gets older. My plan is to add progressively longer recoil pads as my son grows. There are plenty of older SxS and O/U guns that would fit the bill.
I would suggest buying a 12 gauge gun, and using subgauge inserts to fire 28 or 20 gauge shells until they are no longer needed. The weight of a 12 gauge gun will help negate recoil. As long as the barrels were cut and the gun still had decent balance a little extra weight was OK, at least for my son.
It is much easier to see that a break open gun is open and safe than a pump or auto. CJ started bird hunting with me this year and he carries the gun open until the dog goes on point. I don't feel as comfortable about the pump, and I would be even more worried about an automatic. The self resetting safety on the break open gun is also a comfort.

Good luck to you and your boy.
CHAZ



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A clays shooting instructor told me that he likes to start women and children off with an 1100 20 gauge, cut butt and barrel cut to 24" or so.

Not all 1100 20s are created equal. My second gun was a brand new 1100 20 gauge built on a twelve frame given to me by my father. It weighs 7-3/4 pounds (I still have it). He gave it to me when I was twelve and I didn't hit anything for three years. It was much too heavy for a twelve year old.



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