We all remember our first hunt with our parents and now it’s time to make some new memories with your children. Hunting season provides an opportunity for some truly unique bonding, you get to enjoy time with your family whilst they also get to learn some valuable life skills, like using shotguns for hunting.
If your children have never hunted before, you may be better off hunting small game such as birds or rabbits. This type of game is great for shotgun hunting and provides your child with a little more room for error, plus less chance of incident from wounded animals.
With so many rifles in the market, we’ve taken some time to compile a brief list of things to consider when buying youngsters their first rifles, as well as the best rifles currently available.
Things To Consider When Buying Your Children The Right Rifle
This will play a major factor in a child’s first hunting trip, having to carry an overly heavily shotguns around all day can put a dampener on their experience. Guns between 5-6 lbs are a more reasonable weight for children, worst case this is when slings come in handy.
The type of animal you choose to hunt is also important, choosing easier to hit targets will provide the child with a greater sense of accomplishment and encourage future hunts. Small game such as large flocks of birds or small rabbits that can be flushed out is a great starting point.
This is closely linked to the type of game you’ll be hunting but if you take our advice and start off with birds, birdshot will be best. Shooting a larger number of pellets than buckshot, damage per shot is decreased but shooters can be less accurate and still achieve a successful hit.
Depending on the age of the child you may want to buy a shotgun they can grow up with. Hence, it may be worth buying a shotgun slightly oversized to get more use out of it. However, buying a gun that’s simply too big will prove to be too much for the child and they won’t have an enjoyable experience.
The gauge is directly linked to the power of the shot, a smaller gauge number relates to a larger internal diameter of the barrel whereas a larger number is a smaller internal diameter. A 20 gauge may prove easier for children as it’ll save them from some recoil.
When buying a shotgun for your child it’s important to make sure they’re interested in the sport before forking out a huge amount on a top-quality firearm. If you have multiple children spending a little bit more money may be beneficial as the gun can then be passed down when your next little hunter is ready. Luckily for us, there are loads of great junior options available and we’ve listed some of our favorites below.
Our 5 Favourite Youth Shotguns
The Remington 870 Express Compact Jr offers a durable synthetic fore-end and stock with a not only short but adjustable LOP, in increments up to 1″. It also comes with a great recoil pad for increased comfort of the shooter and has one of the shorter barrel lengths of only 37.25″. Combine this with only weighing 5.75 lbs, young shooters won’t have a problem comfortable handling this shotgun.
Weight: 5.75 lbs
Length Of Pull: 12 inches adjustable
Overall length: 37.25″
The Benelli Nova Pump Compact is an incredibly durable firearm proving itself no matter what the weather. It can also take a beating with its steel skeletal framework that is over-molded with a high-tech polymer. It’s a 20 gauge shotgun making it great for young or petite shooters as they won’t have to deal with as much of a kick as a 12 gauge.
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Overall length 44.2″
The H&R Topper Junior is a great single shot, break-action shotgun. It’s both incredibly short and lightweight, 36″ and 5-6 lbs respectively. This is matched with a 12.5″ length of pull allowing for a more comfortably shot fit for the shooter. Being a break-action is great for first-time shooters as it isn’t too overwhelming with less to wrong allowing for easy maintenance.
Weight: 5-6 lbs
Overall length: 36″
The Winchester SXP Compact is great for youths who can handle a bit more of a kick. Still only weighing 6.6 lbs, this 12 gauge offers a comfortable fit and size whilst not compromising its power. The SXP also comes with a back-bored barrel for improved shot patterns that are matched with an Invector-Plus choke tube system. This is a great gun to shoot but also our pricey option.
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Overall length: 45.5″
The TriStar Viper G2 Youth Wood offers a semi-automatic shotgun that youths can shoot without having to continually pump for their next round. This is great for younger shooters as it gives them less to worry about when focusing their next shot. The Viper also has a chrome lined barrel and choked for increased durability and its E-Z load cut-off magazine allows for quick unloading and increased safety.
Weight: 5.7 lbs
Overall length: 42.75″
Our Final Thoughts
The main consideration to take away is that a child’s first gun is their introduction to the world of shooting. Making it an easy and comfortable experience will fuel their interest and help to create great family memories. Take your child to a few stores and ranges to get them used to handling shotguns you intend to purchase beforehand, this will help them become familiar with the firearm before you head out on a hunt.