Rifle Caliber for Kids


What caliber rifle should I get for my kiddo for deer and hogs?

The .243 Winchester is the minimum caliber that most manufacturers/sellers recommend for deer-sized game.  In fact, the Independence Ranch (where we used to hunt hogs) doesn’t allow anything smaller than a .243 to be used to hunt their hogs.  It’s offered in 80 and 100 grain loads, with the former being preferred for varmints and the latter being preferred for deer-sized game.  It’s the best choice for kids and many adults.  The 6mm Creedmoor and 6mm Remington (both are .244 caliber) have similar cartridge offerings to the .243, but their ammo is harder to find.

Don’t get anything in the .224 family (.223, .22-250, etc.).  Most of the loads for those calibers are varmint loads.  It says so right on the boxes.  Deer-sized game is not what most of their loads are designed for.  The few cartridges that are designed for deer-sized game use 62 grain loads or larger.  The 100 grain .243 has a 38% larger bullet.  With the .224 family there is less room for error so the hunter must have better shot placement than they would with calibers that are designed for deer-sized game.  Yes, many people have killed lots of deer-sized game with them, but most of those hunters have years of experience and have become expert shots.  Most kids don’t have years of experience and aren’t expert shots.  Put a .224 in their hands and you’ll be looking at a long track, and very possibly not recovering the game, which will cause it needless pain and suffering.  If a kid who is inexperienced/not an expert uses a cartridge designed for deer-sized game, you probably won’t have a long track or any at all, and the game will expire quickly.

Don’t get anything bigger than a .243, such as a 6.5 Creedmoor, .25-06, .260, .270, .280, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06, .30-30, etc.  They kick a lot more and your kiddo possibly will never want to shoot again.  Don’t get them any cartridge with the word “Magnum” in it’s name.  They can graduate to bigger calibers as they age/get bigger.  Also, .25-06, .260, .280, and 7mm-08 ammo is harder to find.

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