Good youth rifles. What do y'all recommend?

MaxPower

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
77
Location
Gillette, WY
My son will soon be joining me in harvesting game and I want to find a good rifle he can pack around for deer and pronghorn.

He's been hunting with me for years, but next year he'll finally be able to start filling tags. I bought a nice Weatherby .243 about 5 years ago and justified it to my wife with the "kids will use it soon too" line, but I just love it too much to let my kids carry it around.

I really like the looks/feel/weight of the Ruger American Compact. Anything else in a 243/308/7mm-08 for around $400 or less that I should consider?
 

Chris76

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
41
Location
Blair Pa
My son will soon be joining me in harvesting game and I want to find a good rifle he can pack around for deer and pronghorn.

He's been hunting with me for years, but next year he'll finally be able to start filling tags. I bought a nice Weatherby .243 about 5 years ago and justified it to my wife with the "kids will use it soon too" line, but I just love it too much to let my kids carry it around.

I really like the looks/feel/weight of the Ruger American Compact. Anything else in a 243/308/7mm-08 for around $400 or less that I should consider?
I got my son a 7mm08 and bought the reduce coil shells. Don’t kick hardly at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LCH

RockinU

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
573
Location
Texas
I agree, give him the Weatherby, let him build his confidence with something you know will shoot. Save your $400 and add to it, then when he’s ready you can buy him a bigger rifle, and trade him for the .243 back if you want.
 

jvanhoy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
793
Location
VA
My 11 year old son has killed around 6 deer now with a savage axis 7mm08. It’s a tack driver.
 

3855WIN

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
1,058
Location
Mississippi
Son may also want to hunt elk. Let him handle several brands and see what fits. Then buy him something in a 6.5, 7mm-08, or .308.
My son started shooting a Rutgers Compact .308 at 7 yrs old and killed a bunch of whitetails with it.
 

Chris76

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
41
Location
Blair Pa
Sounds like the answer is the 7mm08. My son is 12 and killed his first buck last year with 7mm08 at about 90 yards and dropped it. I know 90 yards doesn’t sound that far but in the woods I was really proud of him. Now just wish he was the one dragging it out.
 

Brian in Montana

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,211
Location
Ramsay, MT
Weatherbys tend to be a little heavy. Is that the problem with the .243?

If so, Jvanboy mentioned the Savage Axis. I've had a couple of those over the years. My wife started out on one, they are pretty darn accurate in my experience. My one and only experience with Ruger American left me very unimpressed, but I know others that like them.
 

MaxPower

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
77
Location
Gillette, WY
Good thoughts, I appreciate the input.

The 243 is pretty heavy for my scrawny kid - but maybe that's just what he needs....
 

junior88

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
497
Location
Surprise, AZ
I bought my son a Weatherby Vanguard youth model in 243. It came with an adult sized stock for when he outgrew the youth stock. This was 13 years ago so I don't even know if it is still manufactured. It has served him well.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
4,096
I'm going to go opposite track from the consensus and reccomend the Savage Axis II. It's very similar to the Ruger American but seems to be a little bit more rugged. I picked one up in .243 for my children and was very impressed with how accurate it is.

I would let him carry a gun that isn't too heavy for with weight and keep the caliber lighter if recoil is an issue. I think the .243 is just about perfect for all things deer and pronghorn.
 

Botch

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Messages
98
After my son earned his Hunters Ed Card I offered him a new rifle of his choice or one of my. Turd opted for my Browning .270 with Leupold VX3 CDS. I think he knows I buy nice gear. But he shoots reduced recoil...no problems with flinch. Good caliber to grow with with. I probably would’ve encouraged a .308 or 7mm08 if he wanted something off the shelf
 

SticksMcKinley

Active member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
124
I'll vote for the Weatherby. I bought a Ruger Hawkeye in 7mm-08 for my son and it's heavy, but a good rifle. I later bought him a Ruger American in .223 that was on sale and regretted it. Looked cheap, felt cheap, didn't feed everything well, but shot ok. I sold it and wouldn't buy another one. I think your son would not forget that his first rifle was a Weatherby.
 

VikingsGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
2,824
Location
Twin Cities
The most important question is, as already noted by others, fit (including if it is too heavy to hold steady). If the weatherby fits then use it. If it doesn't, then a weatherby vanguard 2 or savage model 110 are way nicer rifles than the Ruger American and Savage Axis I/II for only an extra $100 - I have owned and shot all 5 and there is no comparison amongst these lower end rifles in my experience. Of course, for a few hundred more you can have a Tikka :)
 
Last edited:
Top