I would also look at a 762 X 39 Just bought a Ruger Mini 30 for my youngest daughter (10yrs old) larger then the .223 & hardly any kick it is a semi so I limited her to one round at first then bumped it up to two if she can't do the job in two no sense in putting more out there also serve as a great varmint & range gun whole family has a great time with this one
Had a gunsmith/dealer recommend the 7.62x39 as a replacement for my almost 70 year old varmint gun (M1 Carbine). I handled the Saiga and it fit nicely in my hands, although I haven't fired one yet. It's built on the same mechanics as the veritable AK-47 which has proven to be one of the most reliable auto-loading rifles regardless of the conditions it's fired in. Saiga 7.62 x 39
Here's a website to go take a peek at one.