For people involved in shooting sports who have young families, often a question that crosses their mind is what the best option for a starting rifle for children might be.
Many gun clubs and ranges allow members’ children to come and shoot under supervision as guests, and many also offer family membership packages.
But adult-sized rifles are quite often inappropriate for younger people, due to their size and dimensions, the length between the buttstock and the trigger, and the calibre of the firearm. Mom or Dad’s .270 Winchester hunting rifle may be too much power, and even too expensive, for junior to learn to shoot with.
Gun manufacturers have a range of suitable options for children to learn to shoot safely (under close and responsible supervision of course).
Our top picks are:
1. Savage Youth Rascal .22lr
U.S. gun maker Savage Arms makes a single-shot bolt action in the popular .22lr cartridge, in a range of colours that appeal to the kids, and that come in at a reasonable price.
It features an easy to use manual safety lever, and a large feed ramp that makes it easy for small fingers to load those small rimfire rounds in. Because it’s a single-shot, it makes learning to shoot safe, and worry-free. For storing, the bolt is easily removable, and mosst standard trigger locks will fit just fine.
Like bigger cousins, there are adjustable sights, adjustable triggers, and even sling mounts. The barrel length is a mere 16-1/8″, keeping the size and weight reasonable for children.
2. Savage Mark II G Bolt Action
When they’re ready to graduate to a rifle that holds more than a single shot, the Savage Mark II G bolt action rifle is another option.
Again, using the same safe and easy-to-learn-with bolt action as the Rascal, the Mark II adds a magazine that holds up to 10 .22lr rimfire cartridges. And the price is still reasonable – coming in at just $250 with most retailers.
3. Henry Golden Boy Youth Lever Action
A true piece of craftmanship, the Henry Golden Boy Youth is a lever action rifle for children that will last until they pass it on to their own children.
A little heavier than the Savage options, the Henry rifle has all the familiar lever action features, and is even a great small-game and varmint starting hunting rifle.
Cabela’s sells the premium “golden boy” edition complete with highly polished brass receiver, but other Canadian retailers such as Bass Pro sell less expensive models as well.