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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 2
What Caliber of rifle?


This is my first post here, so i will get right to the point. I used to deer hunt with my father from the ages of 10 to 17. Since I was 17 however I have not been hunting (about 15 years ago), largly in part to moving away from the country were i grew up, to the city were I work and live and I just never have time. Now my oldest son is about to turn 10 and its time for him to learn to hunt.

My dilemma is that during my teenage years of deer hunting I killed many whitetails with either a ruger .22 or a winchester lever action 30-30... depending on wether we were hunting in the brushy river bottoms or in the wide open peanut fields around were I lived. I was young and my dad was a scoundrel and we did not follow many of our states guidlines (using a .22 obviously) but now im older and like to stay out of trouble and want to teach my son the joys of hunting, but at the same time to follow the rules as well.

Other than the 30-30 (legal in Oklahoma) and the .22 (not legal in Oklahoma) the only other experience i have with firearms are the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns (skeet shooting) and the m16a2 from the marine corps(Served four yours during the first desert storm). The area were me and my son are going to be hunting are the same peanut fields where i grew up at as the whitetail there are still numerous and still fat and the same farmer still owns and operates them and has given us permission to hunt.

The average range shot there is about 200-300 yards but i would like to be able to hit accuratly at 400yards and I am reading on allot of interent sites that the .223 is not the best calibre for deer hunting. I know the 30-30 isnt effectivly accurate at 400 yards just from my teenage days of hunting with it. Since I only have experience with a couple different firearms Im hoping that someone here can help me out with finding the right type of caliber that is effective at 300-400 yards and will still take down a whitetail fairly easily.

The only real considerations here are that my 10 year old son is going to be the one doing the shooting so rifles with massive kicks probably wont be a wise decision. He is fine with shooting an ar15 and doesn't complain about the kick of it. Additionally I only have about 700 dollars to use for the gun so i guess price is a concern as well.

Any help in this selection would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 12:44 PM
BruceBruce1959's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vermont
Posts: 5,701
Greetings from Vermont and Welcome to the Club.
The First thing I have to suggest is both of you take the necessary Hunter safety course even if you've taken it in past years it will be a good refresher for you, and your son will love taking the course with his Dad. That's step one.

Step 2 is going to be finding him a nice rifle that he'll be able to use for all of his youth hunting years, We've discussed this topic many times on this site and the majority has concluded that the .243 Caliber is probably the best choice for new youth hunters, very accurate and easy to handle for most 10 year old boys.
For you Dad I would suggest either one of the following calibers the .270, .308 or .30-06 All of them will cover your whitetail hunting needs and NOW there's some reasonably priced, Excellent quality Rifles for you to choose from starting with the $399. dollar Weatherby but those aren't your only choices so take some time to shop around and see whats available.

step 3, make sure to take the time to scout the areas you plan to hunt and point out everything you can to your son, tracks, deer droppings, scrapes, rubs, trails.... That'll get him in the habit of looking for deer sign on his own. emphasize the importance of moving slowly, keeping as quiet as possible, scent control, wind direction, proper clothing while on the hunt.

When I teach kids to hunt for deer I tell them "don't look for the Deer, what you need to look for are the slightest movements in the woods It might be a Deer's ears flickering or his tail wagging" when they learn to tune their senses down that well, their usually spotting deer in no time...

Lastly, just enjoy your time in the woods with your son, those are the memories that you two will always share together... Not to mention the very special bond hunting together creates between a dad and a son.

Good Luck to you and your son.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the outcome of the vote.
-Benjamin Franklin

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 2
Step 1.
Is a gurantee. Although I consider myself pretty safe when it comes to firearms on the indoor shooting range here in oklahoma city were we accasionally go. I am almost certian both of us would benefit from the class. We already have plans to attend two weeks before modern arms season opens.

Step 2.
I don't plan to purchase two seperate rifles (one for him and one for me). I plan to just purchase one. I can use anything he can use, but I'm more concerned about the kick for him since we will be in a tree stand. Additionally the maximum range across the peanut field is right about 400 yards so it would be great if the rifle is able to effectivly hit targets at that range in a consistent pattern. Is the .243 able to do that with a relativly easy kick, compared to say an ar15's kick?

I know the .223 can handle that range because I shot at twice that range in the marine corps but I have been reading it isnt good for deer. How true is that?

My dad used to use a .308 and a 30-06 and I remember those guns kicking like mules the one or two times that I shot them. Its easy to say those probably arent a good choice's for him as you said, but I know nothing of a .270, how does it perform at 400 yards? and how hard is the kick comparing it to say an ar15, that he has shot before?

Step 3.
Already done. The farmer that runs these peanut fields works them nearly everyday and knows the deer's habits and has offered to show us some good places and even let us use his own treestand that he says holds up to 4 people? I never used a tree stand like that as a teenager, but he says himself and buddies use it during black powder season and they all kill nice deer from it. This palce is about a 4 hour drive from were we live so I am relying on him for this really. Hes a pretty reliable old man from what I can remember and was good friends with my dad before he passed on.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 02:28 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: concord nh
Posts: 1,203
first things first. welcome to the site, and thank you for your service. im x army myself so i now exactly whan an m16a2 kicks like. .223's are leagal in most states but realy not recomended. .243's and .270's are alot like .223's just a little bigger. they are both fast flat shooting rounds that can reach out and touch somthing like a .223. because of that. i would recomend one of thoughs 2 callabers.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Oregon, Ohio
Posts: 8,381
Hello from Ohio and thanks for your service/protection of our country. The 243 is a great youth/women rifle, however, I would have no problem using one myself as thats what I started deer hunting with. The 400 yd shot is a long one and requires good optics and complete knowledge of the rifle, as you know. I would have to look at the ballistic chart for the 243 to see what the performance would be at that range. My personal opinion is it would come up a bit light. I would throw another caliber that you both could shoot, a Remington 260. My son shot it well and it will shoot a 140 gr bullet for deer with very little felt recoil. The 223 bullet is not considered a good caliber for hunting as we see it as too light. I'm really glad your introducing your son to hunting and sharing quality time with each other!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 04:56 PM
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the 243 is about the lightest i would use for deer. pushing shots out as far as you are looking for might be a bit much, especially for a new shooter.
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2009, 07:51 PM
Scrub Buck
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Southwest Florida
Posts: 2
Smile for what it's worth...

I would think most deer hunters would agree the heart of hunting is the fun/challenge of putting yourself on top of the deer. That's where the scouting mentioned earlier comes in. You might consider not allowing your friend and property owner to rob your son and you of this very enjoyable and critical part of hunting. If you read the sign correctly and your son gets the hang of that, all his life he will not need to pull the trigger from more than 150 yards, most of the time a lot less. I have killed quite a few deer in my 40 years of hunting. I have never needed to try a shot longer than 150 yards. In fact, I would consider it a defeat to be in that position. Score one for the deer! If you give this a try, I bet you will have a great time doing it and come to realize squeezing the trigger is anticlimatic. Just a thought, I could be wrong. Whatever you do, have fun. Oh yeah, .243 would be a great gun for your son.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 01:26 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lower Arkansas
Posts: 138
Just got my nine year old daughter a .243. It will be fine. Just make sure he can hit paper at 300 before you let him try to shoot something breathing at that distance.

As long as you don't hit from shoulder bone at 250+ it will drop. I am very impressed with that round for deer hunting. I shoot a .270 when hunting alone. When the wife claims it, I use the old 30-06. If I was reaching out to 300+ the .270 would be my pick.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 09:23 PM
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Midlothian, Va.
Posts: 12
What Caliber?

I think a .270 or 7mm-08 is hard to beat. Great range, plenty of factory ammo available, and easy on the shoulder.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 01:45 PM
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 2
.270 would be a fine choice but the recoil would be to much for a boy. 7mm-08 is a really good choice. Its a very accurate round and recoil isn't very bad. The .25-06 is another accurate round with easy recoil.
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