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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen several post on this and other boards about what shotgun to buy because you son/daughter is interested in shooting (be it trap, skeet, s-clays, hunting or other).

I've seen posters refer to their 10 year olds, 11 year olds, 12 year olds and so on. Remember, a 10 year old is in the 4-5 grade.

At what age did you start you your young one?

Other than age, what else did you consider?

What were they shooting/doing? Trap, skeet, s-clays, hunting, etc (other)

What restrictions did you put one them? One shell at a time, shoot only, when I am directly behind you (most likely trap, skeet etc).

What did you make your young one go through before they handled a shotgun? ie: safty class, 'go with me for 6 mos and watch before you pick up a gun????etc.

How old were they before you considered it a non-event (treated them like you expected to be treated)

How long ago was that? Are they still shooting? What do they shoot?

Have you ever walked off a trap, skeet line because of a young shooter not being properly supervised?

Some one will think of something else. Share it with us.
 

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A friend brought his 7 year old daughter to the field and she loved it. She didn't shoot but she did play bird dog.
I brought along a 14 year old young man, whom I am teaching proper gun technique, safety, etc. to his first wingshoot. He did well for himself. :)
 

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I started when I was about 12. I had been shooting firearms since I was 6 (a .22 rifle under supervision obviously!) When I started shotgun shooting it was with a Remington 1100 12ga. I was big for my age, but the gun still didn't come close to fitting. I was given instruction on the operation of the gun, specific safety rules of the sport, and how a round of trap runs. When we got to the range it was empty and the trap machine was stopped from moving and we shot straight away targets then progressed to all the angles a trap machine will throw. I have seen kids as young as 9 shooting, I think it depends on the maturity of the kid. The only kid that had his parent directly behind him was 14 and he needed the supervision. The 9 year old was very safe and no one even thought twice about him not having his father right behind him. In reality Trap is a VERY safe game. On shell loaded on shell fired. Gun's always pointed down range.

As for what to consider. It's all about maturity. Does the child act responsibly? I think starting a kid with skeet or trap makes the most sense until they build their shooting skills a bit. The one thing that I wished happened differently with me was that I would have liked to start with a smaller better fitting gun. I got BEAT UP! My whole upper body hurt terribly for a couple days after each trip to the range. I still enjoyed it enough to keep shooting but it made it less fun and harder to improve.
 

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I started my son in 4-H shooting sports when he was 8, he is now 11 and he's shooting a .410 sxs (the gun my father taught me with) averaging 8 to 10 hits shooting trap, just bought him a 20 ***** 870 youth model, will see how he does thursday evening.
 

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The youngest shooter I have seen was shooting skeet around a year ago. I think he was six then but I'm not sure. He would borrow his grandpa's 28ga o/u and usually break 20 out of 25 clays. I can't even do that with a 28ga! His gandpa told me that when the boy was four, he bought himself a .410 with his Christmas money. So if you wanted to start a kid really early, I guess it dosn't matter, as long as they like to do it. But I would personally stick with the 8-10 year olds(or more) to teach.
 

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My general rule is to start a kid when he or she is big and strong enough to hold up a youth model shotgun without having to lean backward. I don't know how many times I've seen a well-meaning parent start his child out when the child was too small. The consequence frequently is that the child has a bad experience and loses interest.
 

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I started when I was around 10 yrs. old, and I loved it. My 2 sons now are 5 and 7. The seven year old is getting his first BB gun for his B-day next month. Both of the help me re-load, have watched safety videos, and I tell them all the time what they should and should'nt be doing. (I quiz them) I believe that you should take the curiosity out of the child as soon as they are old enough to understand common rules about gun safety. I let them hold my shotguns, and even my handguns, unloaded of course!!!!! just my 2 cents! enjoy them while they're young, and get them involved in the outdoors as soon as possible. They are the future!!!
 

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I was started out with my uncle's Browning A-5 20 when I was about 7, only cause then I was as big round as tall and I had the mass to handle it. This was a wonderful time in my life and one of the worst hunting mistakes ever made. Every time I saw a dove it was BANG-BANG-BANG. And no bird. I think a single shot should be used or even the same gun I had with the magazine cut-off on. However, I strongly believe that a child should be in the field with an unloaded gun for at least a season and told what is done right and wrong. As a result, or just my excuse, of having all 3 shells at my disposal as a child in a dove field I am still a bad shot with a shotgun, however, I grew up shooting squirrels and rabbits with a single shot BB gun and had to learn to feel the shot at a young age, now I am a much better rifleman than a shotgunner. Like Pa always said, "Good roots make a strong tree."
 

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My dad started me shooting a BB gun when I was around eight.
He taught me how to handle the gun, mount, shoot, and even made me clean it. When I was nine he enrolled me in a local hunter safety course. (Where I learned a lot of valuable information). When I turned 10, he took me to my first turkey shoot and let me shoot a 20ga. I did not do very well and he realized that I had an eye dominance problem. I am right handed, but left eye dominant. So he changed me from shooting right handed to left handed and the next turkey shoot we went to I won and brought home a whole ham. The same year he took me deer hunting for the first time and let me shoot his 308 he had to stand behind me to keep it from knocking me down when it kicked, but it was great I'll never forget the rush from shooting that gun.
The best part I killed my first deer that day!
No bad for "daddy's little girl"!!
I continued to shoot as I got older, but when I got into high school, I started modeling and did not have time to shoot or hunt. Now my husband and I are avid sporting clay shooters and we love it. Thanks to my great father, I've always had a love of guns and knew the proper way to handle the gun safely. I think safety is the main issue with starting kids. If you have a hunters safety program in your area, it would be well worth the time to enroll your child into the program. In my area the local 4-H club had programs for kids that are interested in shooting and hunting.
Good luck with helping your kids.
 

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I got my first gun when I was six, a 22. single shot. I got my first shotgun when I was 9, a single shot 410. When to start out a kid, when he is mature enough.
 

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My dad started me shooting when I was about 4 or 5. I used a red ryder, and then a daisy powerline bb gun. Then for my 9th Christmas, he bought me a New England Firearms youth single shot 20 gauge. It was the best Christmas present ever to me.
I took me to shoot at an empty milk jug with some 7/8ounce #8s in Win AA. I was scared at first because I had never shot a "REAL" gun before. So he opened the shell with a pocket knife and emptyed all the shot out. Then let me shoot it, no recoil or noise hardly. Then he emptyied about half the shot and then none at all. I had that box of shells emptyed by the end of the day.

I once asked him why he got a 20 gauge because most kids I knew at the time shot .410s. He said "I started with and old .410 bolt action, and I couldn't knock squirrels out of the tops of tall trees like his dads 20 would.
A 20 is less discouraging to young shooters and it will perform like a 12 with proper loads.

After the milk jug, I would shoot any shell in it. My first deer hunt I shot a doe with a Federal #3 buckshot shell and it killed her just fine.
Dad would throw coke cans and bottles in the air for me to shoot at and I finally got the hang of it.
My first time at a 5 stand sporting clays range I shot 15 out of 25, only a year after I started shooting.

10 years later I shoot and take perfect care of my little 20. I have a win. 1300 pump 20 gauge, a Remington 878 12 gauge and a Browning BPS 3 1/2" mag 12 gauge. I still rather have a 20 gauge over a 12, they are just smooth shooting little guns that will perform close to a 12 any day.

And you can't over stress safety.
I took my hunter ed class when I was 9 and it helped me gain more knowledge about firearms.
 

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I went squirrel hunting with my dad several times between the ages of 7 and 10. Never saw anything and we usually just shot a couple boxes of .22 shells at variuos targets we brought out with us. i then took hunter saftey when i was just turned 10(march). there we shot 5 clays with a 20 and 5 with a 12. from there i was hooked. i started shooting on a league when i was still 10 (june). i went with my uncle because my father worker an early second shift. I started with a very old model 12 field grade, made around 1960. it is a very light gun with a very tight choke. my dad told me that it would kick hard but i would learn to brace myself and the bruises would go away as i learned. i would break 10 to 15 birds that first year. we shot for about 15 weeks, once a week with 4 boxes of remington 3 dram #8. I would come home rip off my shirt and go in the bathroom and look in the mirror. i learned that the less bruising there was the better i was getting. i didnt mind the kick at all. i actually enjoyed it. i would see the guy be like doesnt that hurt and i would say i just see the birds break. for x-mas that year my parents bought me a vest. for my 13 b-day my dad took me to gander mountain and bought me a BPS 12ga. with a 26" barrel. I still shoot that gun every week (I am 20 now). this gun being heavier doesnt kick near as much and i am the only guy at the club witha pump gun. 2 weeks ago i busted out the old model 12 and i had to switch guns halfway through because I got kicked inthe eye because it has almost no drop to it at all and being 6'5" doesnt help anything. I started reloading all my own shells and experminting with different loads(just what the books say not conjouring my own up) when i was about 15. this is also about the same time my parents let me take the guns to the club alone with out any adults there. when i 16 i started to take my little brother (13) to the club. I never had any supervisior look over my shoulder. they said the trusted me and that was enough. as i grew up i have seen kids come and go because of parents looking over them on the line. they become very embarresed and it kinda pushes them away. the first couple of rounds would be understandabout but not more then the first 2 or 3 times to the range. I have to say that without someone behind me i felt like a man even though i was only 10. i was with men much older then me particapting with them without any special provisions made. but i can see that i have rambled a lot more then what the question asked. all i can say is make the kid feel grown up and important and you will see how well they do on their own.

skog
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A lot (if mot most) of the responses to this question deal with when YOU got started in gun shooting. What I am more interested in is for the older folk (your fathers)--when did YOU START YOUR KIDS? And why, and how?

For you guys/gals 30-50 years old: when did you introduce you munchkins to shooting? How did you go about it? At what age did you introduce them to SHOTGUNS? How did you go about it? At what age (theirs, not yours) were you comfortable with them managing a shotgun?

Please excuse my prior posting, I apparently did not word it as I wished.

Thanks.
 
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my son just recently started shooting trap with a model 100 20 ga. last month. he is 10 yrs old. he`s been shooting a .22 and a bb gun for the last 2 yrs. i guess to anwser your question i just watched him and he showed me that he is very serious and shows a great deal of maturity at his age. on the trap range i let him shoot on his own and he is very safe. all the gentleman at the club where we shoot have remarked on his responsible behavior and his ability and they treat him just like everyone else. we shot sporting clays the other night and i did stand behind him since it was his first time and only once did he try to leave the box with a hot gun, but im sure we`ve all made that mistake at least once as a begginner ( i know i did :oops: ). but luckily i was behind him and it was nipped in the bud. he insists on cleaning his gun after every shoot and when im present he reloads all his own ammo. the rule i have is i pay for the stuff but u shoot u reload it. and he loves to reload thank god lol . i think the earlier u let them have some responsibility and learn safe gun handling the better. u take all the mystery out of guns and the kids dont get curious and get hurt.
 

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JMCCOYB--great thread about a crucial topic. Thanks for starting it.

For your stats, I'm 50 years old, no kids, so I work with my 12 year old niece, Kiley, quite alot. So far we've done lots of plinking and informal clay shooting and one hunting trip--it was to a private preserve where the guide and I could keep an eye on her as she killed her first pheasant. Much to Kiley's delight and our amusement, the dogs, a pair of German shorthair pointers, insisted on bringing her every bird, no matter who shot it! Connecticut has a "Junior Hunting Day" too,which we plan to do this year, and I have had her take a safety course (I went to the course with her and was dragooned into being a group leader--not all the youngsters were as well-disciplined as Kiley, making for some interesting moments).

I started her on a .22, then a single-shot .410, despite all the rhetoric on our boards about it being "an expert's gun" and so forth. I used the .410 for two main reasons: 1) it's the same gun my dad started me on, so I'm used to it and 2) it makes picking one's shots important early on. She knows her shotgun's limitations, because we have shot some patterns together with it to see what it can and can't do. Safety first, then clean humane kills, then hunting skills. By "hunting skills," I mean the how-to's of setting up a blind, walking quietly in the woods, listening, looking for animal sign, cleaning the game, and etiquette towards others in the party or people who happen to be nearby, and so on. I've tried to teach Kiley that you don't hunt so much with a firearm as you do with your mind and heart. Time enough for her to become a gun enthusiast when she's older. I have stressed gun care though, and we clean the guns after every trip, even though I'm well aware that you don't have to do so. It's a ritual, and ritual has long been part iof the hunting culture.

We do a great deal of talking about hunting as a tradition. She particulary likes native American history right now, since they've been doing it at school. She's not quite Frederick Remington, but she did draw a pretty cool pic of a Comanche killing a buffalo. It's out in my garage / hideout, hanging in a place of pride next to one of my pop's old antique creels. This summer we took almost weekly salt water angling trips and she spenty lots of time learning to tie on her own rigs, picking backlash tangles out of the reels, and cutting the bait. I stressed the theme of "catch enough for dinner," and we threw the rest back. Her first experience with a bluefish made all the work so far worthwhile. We also spent some time on a local farmer's place killing woodchucks for him. We did not shoot them from afar with a varmint rifle. I had a .22 with open sights, and Kiley had her trusty .410. It was great practice in stalking for the both of us!

Kiley's an athlete--basketball, soccer, and gymnastics, so she has tons of physical self-confidence for a 12-year old--much more so than even I ever did. This year I may try to pick up a decent used 20 or 28 gauge for her. She's doing extra chores for her mom and dad to earn it.

Teaching is probably not for everyone, so take all this with the proverbial gran of salt. Personally, if a pupil of mine started screwing around and making immature jokes about serious matters, I'd decline to work with him or her until some maturity took over.

There's more, but you get the idea. Good luck to all; these kids are our most valuable resource!

Best,

Jeff23
 

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The rule for my family (and it's a large extended family) is the same as when we were kids. We got BB guns at 9 and our father taught us gun safety with it. When we were 10 we were allowed to go hunting with him but we could only carry the bb gun. We were however allowed to shoot an HR 20 ga. single barrel at clay pigeons as much as we wanted as long as an adult was behind us for safety purposes. We each got our first 20 ga. H&R for our 13th Christmas (4 boys).

We keep the same rules now, my daughter currently has her bb gun and will inherit my 20 ga. next year for Christmas after she turns 13(since I don't have a son to pass it down to). We have been taking our daughters/nephews and nieces out when they turn 10 and they have a ball (every one has sworn to hitting a flushing quail with their bb gun :p ). The bb guns are light enough not to wear them out and their imagination does the rest. In fact we even found a brass bb in one quail which they all took credit for.
 

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My daughter is 7 and she takes her faithful Daisy Red Rider with her every time we go to the country. She just will not leave home without it.

She has a "youth" .22 and often takes it but she is still learning the basics of safety and I do not put the bolt in it for her yet. She has fired it many times under supervision but I'm not ready to turn her loose with it just yet.
 

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I found this when I was looking at the Orvis web site.
This would be good way to teach gun safety and handling to a young child, who is interested in guns. This small-scale cap gun has authentic features, including a working safety. Shells are reusable; just insert a new cap in the primer position and fire the double triggers. The report is not too loud, and there is no recoil or compression built up. Barrel-ends are plugged, so it's perfectly safe. At $49.00 you can't beat this to teach gun saftey and handling. Check out the link below.

http://www.orvis.com/store/product_...p_id=1705&feature_id=5&cat_id=946&subcat_id=1
 
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