Saturday, July 07, 2007

Taking Your Kid To The Range

A friend asks about starting his son out with target shooting and what type of gun I suggest to get him started.

Like anything else, everybody is different on what they place their values on, but most will agree that a .22 rimfire is the best, most suitable caliber for breaking in a rookie. I started on one myself, and continued the tradition with my son and daughter the same way.
With firearms I place priorities in this order: Safety, Reliability, Practicality, and Cost. I place cost a very distant last after learning the hard way that compromise is costly. Get the 'right' gun, and you'll never pay the money for something better later.

As for .22 rifles that grab reasonable market share, three rise to the top, but for varying reasons:

The Marlin Model 60. The lowest priced of it's kind on the market, it is reliable, accurate, and comes as a 14 round, tubular fed auto-loader (semi-automatic), with walnut a stock. Walnut is widely desired for gun stocks due to it's durability and aesthetic beauty. This rifle is well made, and the most prolific .22 rifle out there. Not a bad rifle at all. This is what I started out on. MSRP: about $175.

Next is the Ruger Model 10/22. A short stock, short barrel carbine, this is often the second .22 rifle many will buy after experiences with their Marlin. The Marlin is found in lots of homes, but the Ruger is preferred by those who really like their firearms. Clip magazine fed, it lacks the capacity of the Marlin at only 10 rounds, but expanded aftermarket magazines are available up to a 100 round capacity. Basic package includes a hardwood stock, but walnut can be had for a few dollars more. It's easy to handle, especially for kid, and tops in reliability. MSRP: about $250, and it's a deal at that.

Last, but not least, is the Remington Model 552. This a great, tubular fed, top of line .22 rifle. Makes an excellent companion whether in the field or on the range. Most accurate of the three, but to me, once you get to this level of personal proficiency you've moved on to another realm of shooting skills that I don't deal in. MSRP: about $550. Add another $250 for optics (scope), and you have something you'll always be proud of and will last you three lifetimes.

All three rifles come in a variety of options as to stock material, barrel length, and barrel size. The 'bull barrel' is a heavier wieght used for stability in target competitions.

Modern auto-loaders basically come two ways: Tube fed, or clip fed.
Tubular magazines store rounds in a long attached tube below the barrel, and feed them into the action as needed.
Detachable (clip) magazines attach to the bottom of the action, are easily removed with a push of a button, and are interchangeable with a higher capacity magazine.
Tubes offer higher standard capacity,but capacity is fixed, and take longer to reload.

Another drawback of tube magazines: you need to keep them clean to work properly. And after a couple thousand rounds, they need to be broken down and cleaned thoroughly, and then reassembled properly. If left dirty, the rounds won't feed straight, and/or spent shells won't eject properly, jamming the action.

I prefer the detachable magazine,myself.
My Ruger, even when dirty, has never failed to feed,fire and eject. And cleaning is a breeze. After untold thousands of rounds, and 20 years, I have yet to break it down and give it a thorough scrubbing. All it needs is few squirts of WD-40 in the interior,followed with running a cloth patch through the barrel, and I'm good to go.

In my totally biased opinion: get your kid the Ruger. He will be glad you did.


kingdavid said...

This is great info; thanks. I think we'll take a ride over to Cabelas and check out their selections. I think his certification class starts in mid-August. The biggest problem I can foresee for JR is getting it back from mom; she's gung-ho about going out and shooting as well.

kingdavid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kingdavid said...

Ooops, my bad. That was me, I entered the comment twice. Thanks.

Gino said...

you can buy the ruger at walmart, and it will be cheaper than cabelas.
maybe the remington,too.

Mick said...

You forgot the Winchester Model 1890, 1906 and 62

RobiWan Kenobi said...

Gotta agree on the Ruger. Nothing topped going out with dad to shoot the .22 on a Saturday.

I take my nephews out to continue the tradition, because my brother gave up his firearms and his testicles when he got married. The kids love to shoot, and can`t wait until they graduate from "gun school" so they can shoot my M1 Garand and my WASR....

Ahhhhh.... good times.


Gino said...

i was only hittin the top three favs, according to my not so humble opinion.
next time i'll review that smith and wesson rifle you keep talkin about.

robiwan: i bought my ruger the same way many others did: after going shootin with a buddy who already had one. i was hooked.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

I will pass this on to Jim and Krissy. They are already making plans for their rugrat's gun safety training.

Gino said...

dont forget to tell them to bookmark me and become regular readers. :)