Which caliber for my son.

Thread starter #1


Senior Member
My boy will be 8 this November and my goal is to let him kill his first deer this year. I’m gonna buy him a “budget “ gun and get him shooting it in the next week or two.

Wondering which caliber would be the best for him? I’ve always heard of kids shooting .243’s and 7mm-08’s so that’s kinda what I have in mind now but would like to hear some opinions. Thanks


Senior Member
Ar15 in 6.5 Grendel, or 223 with the right bullet. The adjustable stock and better shooting with light recoil make all the difference


Senior Member
I received a 7mm-08 as a scrawny 9 year old. Did the job nicely for many years. it was topped with a 3-9x32 when i received it, which i upgrated to a 3-9x40 in high school. I'm a firm believer in more scope than is "needed". Aim small, miss small.

.243 would also do well, but the 7mm-08 always left a better blood trail than the .243 I have in my hunting rifle rotation does.

There is not much difference in recoil. I used full powered rounds out of my 7-08 and it was not an issue.

Jim Boyd

Senior Member
If you can find an older Savage youth model in 7-08, it should do him a great job.

Mine has not been used in a great many years now, but I have one with the factory muzzle brake and accutrigger and it is very deadly.

I added a Sims pad and it is a very soft and highly accurate rifle. Maybe not sub MOA but very close.

Running a 139 Barnes, it was a death ray on deer.

Good luck whichever way you go.


Senior Member
A few years ago, we purchased a Ruger American in .243 to get the Grands started. Nice enough rifle and plenty accurate. While I would normally say the 7/08 is a better choice, as a first rifle I do like the .243 as it's a crossover cartridge, usable for varmints and deer as well. It will always be useful, in that respect, even when he moves "up" in caliber at some point. If I was buying today, I'b be sure to check out the Mossberg Patriot with wood stock, and I'm guessing I'd lean that way today.

Best of luck with whatever you choose.



Senior Member
i've never killed but one deer w/ 243 but i've shot enough foxes , coyotes , steel, water jugs to say , never underestimate the ability of a .243. it's a bad mammy jammy w/ a very wide choice of ammo and i know any kid that wants to hunt will not care about that little kick . i shot 20 ga. single barrel w/ magnum loads@ rabbits when i was a kid , the kick wasn't ever even thought about. heck, i liked it , that and the smell

Mark K

Senior Member
If you’re just buying a budget gun, then get him a 30/30. Don’t worry about a scope or anything else. He’s 9 and will be hunting with you anyways. More than likely have a rest. And I’m hoping he’s already got a BB gun or pellet gun so he should be used to regular sights.
After he gets a few under his belt and decides that’s what he likes, then go buy something he can hunt with the rest of his life.
Bought my son the gun/caliber of his choice when he turned 18 or 19 and he picked a Ruger American LH in 7mm’08. He swears by that gun and caliber. He’s taken a limit every year with it.