I am looking at youth model rifles for my little one as she will be 12 next year and up to bat here in CO. Does anyone have experience with the Howa youth models? I am considering 308 and 7mm-08 and starting with reduced recoil ammo. Thoughts?
My little girl turned 12 this year and I got her the Howa Youth package in .243 Win. I own lots of high dollar guns, but this little thing is pretty darn nice for the price I paid. It came with both the youth and the full size stock.... I figured that she could use it during the rifle season and maybe I could swap out the stock and shoot some coyotes or something with it in the off season.... but to be honest, I kind of like the feel of the Hogue youth stock. I am not a real big guy (5'8") and I don't think I will have any problem shooting it with the youth stock. My daughter is pretty small, and I don't expect her to get a lot bigger, so the youth stock will probably last her a lifetime.
My only regret is that I didn't get it in a 7mm-08 like her moms.... I figured we already had a 7-08 and a .308 she could shoot if she wanted to chase elk, so the .243 will be a little gentler on her and would be used for deer and antelope only. Now that I have played with it a bit, I would really consider taking this little gun bear hunting when I head into some of the steep nasty stuff. Normally I carry my 15lb long range gun, because it is nice to reach across those canyons in the spring, but there were a couple of hikes this year, that I would have gladly swapped that gun out for something smaller and lighter.
I'd let her decide if she likes the girthiness of the Hogue stock or something svelter like the Ruger American Rifle. You can get the RAR compact stock for $50ish from Ruger, should you buy the full size and want a shorter length of pull.
I got a marlin xs7 in a youth model in 7mm08. I am sure the howa is a good one too. I don't have much to add on the gun but go with the hornady reduced recoil and not remington. Remington uses corloks and the bullet doesn't travel fast enough to properly expand. Hornady uses their sst. On his first deer, he took out both shoulders and it pushed with its rear legs for 75 yards before I finished it. There was not a drop of blood to be found. The exit hole was almost the same size as the entrance and there was hardly any internal damage. We switched to hornady two years ago. 5 deer later they have never gone more than 25 yards with plenty of internal damage and blood. Both shot equally well through his gun.
I will give you my hindsight adjustment for my son if I could replay it. I am not too sure I wouldn't go with a .243 with full power shells because the recoil would be the same as most reduced loads and the bullet would perform correctly.
Don't want to sidetrack away from the howa conversation, but if you're considering savage the axisll has the Accutrigger at a slightly lower price. My son and I bought his as a youth package with a weaver scope.This also included a coupon for (I think) 50 dollars off an adult stock. I know its not the most expensive rifle in the safe , but at reasonable ranges it works well, also a ton of eye relief which was one of the selling pionts for him, he could see through it well without having to have his eye in exactly the right spot. It's a lightweight rifle he can carry well, he shoots well, and he has shot at two deer with it, they both graced our table this winter.
Weatherby Vanguard youth model has served my son well. It also comes with two stocks and shoots MOA. We have it in 308 Win. and I loaded it with reduced loads for deer topped with a 150 gr. Accubond. When my boy turned 14, I upped the powder charge and he now shoots the 165 accubond for both deer and elk.