I'm having a difficult time locating an affordable 12GA Semi-Auto shotgun for a 12 year old.
I've considered a pump but ruled it out. I've also considered 20GA but I want him to be able to shoot my 12GA reloads.
Is there anything affordable out there? I don't want to spend 800+ on a Beretta or Benelli. The perfect gun would be something like a Stoeger 2000 with a youth stock.
i started my 12 yr old (turned 13 last week) with a 20ga pump with a sims recoil pad - he loved it. within 2 months he was ready for the 12ga and not just any 12 - he went straight to the o/u. we put a gooey pad on it to tame the recoil and it is a soft shooter with 1 1/8 oz target loads. he is tall and skinny and any felt recoil is going to knock him around but he can't feel anything (nor can i when he lets me shoot it). we were at the range yeasterday for trap practice and he shot 6 rounds over the course of 4 hours (150 shells) - no soreness, no pain, just a big smile when he psoted his best score.
don't underestimate your 12 yr old - a properly fit gun with a comfortable recoil pad will make all the difference and the 12 ga o/u is a fun gun to shoot.
now, all that being said, we just picked up a 11-87 semi auto for $600 off gunbroker. a near new gun with 30" barrel, should make an excellent addition to his armory. the remington 11-87 is a quality gun that can be serviced domestically and no problems with parts. don't be fooled into buying an inexpensive gun only to find the warranty isn't worth the paper it's written on and you can't get service or parts.