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Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt #8075589 12/04/20 04:41 AM
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It is a really long story but I dropped the ball with my son on introducing him to the sport. He is 16 and has never hunted anything but dove, geese, and shooting rabbits around our house. I work a ton, traveling a lot, and didn’t have a place to take him. That ends now. I just bought 330 acres an hour from our house and am intending on making up for lost time.

I was on the property earlier this week and there are plenty hogs and deer. We are gearing up for a hunt. I am planning on sighting in whatever rifles we decide on tomorrow (I have a 300 yard range at my house) and then going this weekend.

It is kind of messed up I built this range five years ago and I don’t think it has had fifty rounds fired into it yet. My son has shot my AR a couple of times but other than that has never shot any other center fire rifles.

At our disposal are 204, 223,22-250, 243, 270, 270 WSM, 308, 300 w mag.

Any recommendations on which one I should start him out with? He is a big strong kid. Plays high school football. Other than possibly the 300 I don’t think any of them will bother him. The 204, 22-250, 270WSM are all new in box rifles with no scopes mounted but I can pick one up tomorrow if need be.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075596 12/04/20 04:43 AM
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Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075598 12/04/20 04:48 AM
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I also think .223 or .22-250 are great.


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Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075601 12/04/20 04:52 AM
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Start him off with whichever one he wants to shoot and tell him not to be a puzzy. Why would you even ask this question? He’s a man, not a boy.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075602 12/04/20 04:52 AM
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Have him practice with the .223 then let his first season be with the .243 (plenty for deer, shoot hogs in the neck).

After that .308 (relatively mild recoil, plenty for hogs or deer). Just DON'T over-gun him starting out. You want to avoid him developing a 'flinch' which is very hard to get rid of later.

Regardless his size or strength....you just don't know how recoil sensitive (or not) they might be. Let him build his confidence (through success) the first season, then move him up (power factor) later if needed.

Last edited by flintknapper; 12/04/20 04:54 AM.

Spartans ask not...how many, but where!
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: flintknapper] #8075612 12/04/20 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by flintknapper
Have him practice with the .223 then let his first season be with the .243 (plenty for deer, shoot hogs in the neck).

After that .308 (relatively mild recoil, plenty for hogs or deer). Just DON'T over-gun him starting out. You want to avoid him developing a 'flinch' which is very hard to get rid of later.

Regardless his size or strength....you just don't know how recoil sensitive (or not) they might be. Let him build his confidence (through success) the first season, then move him up (power factor) later if needed.



I shot and hunted a ton growing up. The flinch thing is very real. The only gun in my life that startled me is the 300 win mag. It is a light gun with a synthetic stock but when I got it I was sighting it in and hurt like heck. Call me a puzzy if you want I don’t care but I was anticipating the shots so bad I couldn’t shoot a good group. I put it in the safe nearly 20 years ago and it hasn’t had more than a half a box through it. I would get rid of the darn thing but my dad gave it to me. I just am really wanting to avoid any bad experiences for my son as he hasn’t shot a lot. I have a limited window of time to introduce him to all of this and don’t want to start off on a bad foot with a gun that scares him.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: scalebuster] #8075614 12/04/20 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by scalebuster
Start him off with whichever one he wants to shoot and tell him not to be a puzzy. Why would you even ask this question? He’s a man, not a boy.


If he cared about shooting he would have already made use of your range. It may be too late for him.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: txtrophy85] #8075615 12/04/20 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270 or the .308

Fify! Seriously, txtrophy85 has good advice. If any of the larger caliber rifles is semi auto, it would get my nod.


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: txtrophy85] #8075616 12/04/20 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270



I agree with this.

Congratulations on the land Sewer, and don't beat yourself up over your situation. Been there Sir. We all travel different roads in this life and the fact that your Son and hunting is in the front of your mind speaks volumes.

As much as I love the 22-250 and 223, my first deer rifle was a 270 at age 13. I was skinny but never had any issues with recoil, every animal was a one shot kill. Your boy will be just fine.

Post up some pics of his kill when it happens. up

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: scalebuster] #8075623 12/04/20 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by scalebuster
[quote=scalebuster]

If he cared about shooting he would have already made use of your range. It may be too late for him.



That is all on me. I have spent way too much time working 100+ hour weeks and spending 200 nights a year away from home working. He is interested I have been absent.

He bought a high end pellet gun on his own and has been killing the crap out of pigeons around our place.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: txtrophy85] #8075625 12/04/20 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270



I think this is a great strategy but time is limited. I literally got access to the property today and we don’t even close until next week. Scouting around there when we viewed it with the realtor all I saw was mule deer and hogs. Mule deer season ends Sunday so the plan is to get sighted in and accustomed to the gun tomorrow and hunt Saturday and Sunday. There will be time for whitetails and hogs after that. I can’t imagine whitetails not being there I just didn’t see any.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075626 12/04/20 05:12 AM
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Oh, btw... welcome


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: unclebubba] #8075629 12/04/20 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by unclebubba
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270 or the .308

Fify! Seriously, txtrophy85 has good advice. If any of the larger caliber rifles is semi auto, it would get my nod.


The 308 is an AR-10 but all the others are bolt actions.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: skinnerback] #8075632 12/04/20 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by skinnerback
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270



I agree with this.

Congratulations on the land Sewer, and don't beat yourself up over your situation. Been there Sir. We all travel different roads in this life and the fact that your Son and hunting is in the front of your mind speaks volumes.

As much as I love the 22-250 and 223, my first deer rifle was a 270 at age 13. I was skinny but never had any issues with recoil, every animal was a one shot kill. Your boy will be just fine.

Post up some pics of his kill when it happens. up


Thank you. I am excited about it and introducing my kids to to hunting. Aside from my 16 year old I have a 9 year old son and I have plenty of time with him.

My dad was an amazing man. He spent so much time taking me hunting, he taught youth shooting sports, hunter’s safety classes, etc. He always talked about someday he and I going in together and buying a place to hunt on for his grandsons. Dad got cancer and passed away and mom died not too long after. I recently settled their estate and used the proceeds to buy this property. It seemed like the best thing to do and something that would honor their memory. I am hoping the kids will love it and someday we take my grandkids hunting there. A legacy type of thing.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075643 12/04/20 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sewer rat
Originally Posted by unclebubba
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270 or the .308

Fify! Seriously, txtrophy85 has good advice. If any of the larger caliber rifles is semi auto, it would get my nod.


The 308 is an AR-10 but all the others are bolt actions.


If he's recoil sensative, that 308 will probably be the softer shooting of the 2.


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075654 12/04/20 05:50 AM
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I feel sorry for this kid. Why would a 16 year old man need someone to tell him what rifle he needs to shoot? When I was his age I was guiding deer hunters in Terrell county. Drinking whiskey every night and guiding a lot of out of state hunters on trips to Boys Town. I had a full time job in the summer cutting metal in a machine shop and played football on a state championship team in ‘91. I don’t know what it takes to grow up these days but my sons need a lot more supervision than I did. Hopefully when they’re 16 I won’t have to choose a caliber for them.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075680 12/04/20 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Sewer rat
Originally Posted by skinnerback
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Start with the .223 or .22-250 to get him comfortable then hunt with the .270



I agree with this.

Congratulations on the land Sewer, and don't beat yourself up over your situation. Been there Sir. We all travel different roads in this life and the fact that your Son and hunting is in the front of your mind speaks volumes.

As much as I love the 22-250 and 223, my first deer rifle was a 270 at age 13. I was skinny but never had any issues with recoil, every animal was a one shot kill. Your boy will be just fine.

Post up some pics of his kill when it happens. up


Thank you. I am excited about it and introducing my kids to to hunting. Aside from my 16 year old I have a 9 year old son and I have plenty of time with him.

My dad was an amazing man. He spent so much time taking me hunting, he taught youth shooting sports, hunter’s safety classes, etc. He always talked about someday he and I going in together and buying a place to hunt on for his grandsons. Dad got cancer and passed away and mom died not too long after. I recently settled their estate and used the proceeds to buy this property. It seemed like the best thing to do and something that would honor their memory. I am hoping the kids will love it and someday we take my grandkids hunting there. A legacy type of thing.



I am sorry to hear about your Dad. It sure hurts losing them.

Your heart is in the right place.

Keep doing what you are doing and enjoy every memory you make with your kids.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: scalebuster] #8075682 12/04/20 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by scalebuster
I feel sorry for this kid. Why would a 16 year old man need someone to tell him what rifle he needs to shoot? When I was his age I was guiding deer hunters in Terrell county. Drinking whiskey every night and guiding a lot of out of state hunters on trips to Boys Town. I had a full time job in the summer cutting metal in a machine shop and played football on a state championship team in ‘91. I don’t know what it takes to grow up these days but my sons need a lot more supervision than I did. Hopefully when they’re 16 I won’t have to choose a caliber for them.


I get it. I grew up in a similar fashion. When I was 16 I was working using explosives. Pretty sure that isn’t legal now and likely wasn’t then but no one cared. Different times. My dad taught me to shoot at a very young age. We lived in New Mexico with lots of BLM land. I remember when I got my drivers license at 15 heading out to the public land on my own many times to hunt.

I really feel I failed my son in a lot of ways due to my career but I can’t undo the past. All I can do is try and make the future better. If he had a lot of experience shooting I wouldn’t be asking this. He doesn’t though. The only center fire rifle he has ever shot was an AR.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: scalebuster] #8075683 12/04/20 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by scalebuster
I feel sorry for this kid. Why would a 16 year old man need someone to tell him what rifle he needs to shoot? When I was his age I was guiding deer hunters in Terrell county. Drinking whiskey every night and guiding a lot of out of state hunters on trips to Boys Town. I had a full time job in the summer cutting metal in a machine shop and played football on a state championship team in ‘91. I don’t know what it takes to grow up these days but my sons need a lot more supervision than I did. Hopefully when they’re 16 I won’t have to choose a caliber for them.



I miss Boys Town.

That was cool.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075694 12/04/20 08:45 AM
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I don't feel sorry for your son. Everyone's circumstances are different and not all of us get introduced to firearms and hunting at a young age. Some people only take up hunting later in life and it's never too late. It's exciting that you are going down this path now and it's wonderful for him and for you. I'm happy for him.

I would take him to the range with the .223, 243 and the .308. He already knows about breathing, squeezing etc from shooting around the house so you're not starting him from scratch. Let him shoot a good group with the .223 first to get used to the bang and recoil of a centrefire. Two "getting used to" shots and then maybe two 3-shot groups. If he shoots a good group then there is no point continuing with the .223. Move on to the .243 using a similar approach to the above. If he shoots a good group with the .243 then you have a suitable calibre for deer/hogs and the marksman can do his bit. You could always stop there. However, if the lad is keen, he can try the .308 as well. If he can't group with that go back down to the .243. If he can then so much the better. If it were my son and he couldn't group with the .243 then I wouldn't want to take the chance of him using it - or anything heavier - on game. If he is a crackshot with the .223 then perhaps I would consider allowing him to take a heart/lungshot on a small hog. I certainly would not want to risk him wounding an animal on his very first hunt when I knew he wasn't quite ready.

Best of luck to you and your son this weekend. I hope it goes well.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075695 12/04/20 10:09 AM
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"I feel sorry for this kid. Why would a 16 year old man need someone to tell him what rifle he needs to shoot? When I was his age I was guiding deer hunters in Terrell county. Drinking whiskey every night and guiding a lot of out of state hunters on trips to Boys Town. I had a full time job in the summer cutting metal in a machine shop and played football on a state championship team in ‘91." Not real sure these are actually all signs of growing up.

I feel sorry for judgmental people who act obtuse when someone actually calls out for help. My girls started out with the 22.250 and it is still utilized this day. They went to the range (not just once) and would then take head and neck shots out in the field. They started when they were ten and were already on the way to being sturdy, but they were ten. By the time they were 16, each were 5'10" and if starting at that time, neither would have feared the .243.

Good luck with it all. I hope your sons discovers a passion he didn't realize was out there.

Last edited by Hudbone; 12/04/20 10:28 AM.
Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075726 12/04/20 11:51 AM
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270 would be my pick but I think that is a generational thing. At 16, I would advise him which of the rifles to choose from. Then I would give him the rifle he picks for his own. At 16, he is old enough to take himself if you can’t make the time for him.
Good luck this weekend


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Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075749 12/04/20 12:40 PM
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Sounds to me like he is fixing to be a very, very lucky kid. Give him that 270, I bet he will like it a lot!

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075753 12/04/20 12:43 PM
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for lots of reasons, i think a .270 is the way to go. id spend's the time and get him comfortable with that.

Re: Caliber for my son’s first deer hunt [Re: Sewer rat] #8075760 12/04/20 12:48 PM
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Surprised no one has asked yet -- you said he's been wingshooting. What shotgun did you have him on? If it was a 12 gauge, especially inertia driven, then the recoil won't bother him on almost any of those except the 300WM. What will get him will be the noise. Make sure you give him some ear plugs and then put some muffs on over those.

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