He is 6. I took him out Saturday to do a little shooting. We hadn't been out for a while so I had to go over the Four Rules with him a little. After a few warmup shots at paper with the .22 he was doing pretty well and fired several nice groups. We switched to a steel plate. I think it is a 4" diameter plate. When he hit it 6 times in a row I declared him "up to speed enough" and he switched to a "deer rifle".
This is a Marlin 336 with an XS Scout Mount and a Simmons Prohunter 2x pistol scope on it. It also has an adjustable cheek rest from Fulton Armory. If you search the blog you will find links to this stuff. The youngster was also using a PAST Magnum Recoil Shield.
The ammunition was Remington Managed Recoil factory loads which have a 125gr pointed softpoint Corelokt bullet at a nominal 2175fps. It has much less recoil than full power factory ammo. My experience is that this is plenty of power if you hit a deer properly. Again, if you search back through the blog you can probably find some info on deer that my oldest boy has taken with this load.
At any rate the young hunter fired his first shot at 25 yards to see what it was like. He liked it. He said he enjoyed the recoil. Good man. I like a good belt up to a point. He then fired 3 more shots at the same target. His first group with a "high powered" rifle was four shots in about 3" at 25 yards.
When his older brothers could do as well at about his age they were declared ready to make venison and they did just that.
I think we'll have a full freezer again this year.
Sitting out in the dark and freezing cold for hours waiting for deer and turkey to come along is good for youngsters. "It builds character" and all that sort of stuff. The same boy that will sometimes stop and cry when he gets a grass burr while walking will say "Ow, ow, ow!!!" and keep going when he gets a grass burr while he's helping to lift his deer into the back of a truck. Seeing what a bullet will do to a living creature gives youngsters a respect for firearms that talking and books just can't deliver. Seeing, smelling and touching a still warm animal and later eating a meal from that same animals helps youngsters understand their place in the world and where food comes from. Kids know that hamburger comes from cows and fried chicken comes from a bird, but they don't really KNOW it until they've had a hand in the process and seen it for themselves.
Get your kids out in the field. Killing things and eating them should be part of their education.
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