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Gun Guys - Good Starter Rifle for a 16 YO?


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My son has been hinting around that he would like a rifle.  I am not a gun guy, didn't really grow up with them.  I had a .22 when I was a kid and maybe shot it 5 times total.  So I have little relevant experience.

He's had experience with guns through scouts, grandparents, and friends.

What is a good starter rifle for a 16 YO?  Something fun to shoot, relatively easy to maintain.  I'm thinking larger than a .22 and fun to shoot.

Anything else I should be thinking of in getting a 16 YO a gun?

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15 minutes ago, Buckychudd said:

Anything else I should be thinking of in getting a 16 YO a gun?

How about not getting him one?  Or buying a lockable gun cabinet that you control access to?  He's 16 and most 16 year olds are complete idiots.

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45 minutes ago, trader jake said:

How about not getting him one?  Or buying a lockable gun cabinet that you control access to?  He's 16 and most 16 year olds are complete idiots.

To clarify, it would be his gun but yes I would control access.  I'm not just going to throw it in his room and tell him good luck.

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1 hour ago, [scooter] said:

Has he shot very many types of rifles before? You should just take him to a shooting range and try out a bunch of rifles and see what he can handle and what he likes.

Great idea.

He's shot enough to know he wants something larger than a .22, but I think he's probably shot less than 5 types of rifles and a few shotguns.

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1 minute ago, Buckychudd said:

He might want to try hunting at some point but just paper for now.

 

Just now, Buckychudd said:

Great idea.

He's shot enough to know he wants something larger than a .22, but I think he's probably shot less than 5 types of rifles and a few shotguns.

I’d suggest .222, .223, maybe .243.

He can shoot them all day long and not get jumpy from recoil. 

I’d also suggest a cheap model until he figures out if it’s something he really wants to get into or not.

The Remington 700 ADL is a pretty good shooting gun especially for the price and comes with a scope I believe. Not sure exactly which calibers they’re available in though

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42 minutes ago, Buckychudd said:

Great idea.

He's shot enough to know he wants something larger than a .22, but I think he's probably shot less than 5 types of rifles and a few shotguns.

Who does he go shooting with?

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2 hours ago, Mad Cow said:

Hard to argue against a Ruger 10/22, as well.

That’s good to hear, since I just won one as second prize in a raffle and will be the first thing bigger than a BB gun I’ve owned. Will only be used for paper targets and plinking by me and my 17 year old.

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ruger 10/22.  Great gun.  Sure it shoots 22 rounds however 22 rounds are dirt cheap and any skill you learn from shooting this transfers to larger guns.  Plus you can get both a 25 50 and even 100 round drum magazines for it.   Great fun and cheap.

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Unless he deer hunts there really isn’t any reason for a higher caliber. Especially for fun shooting. It’s not fun paying for boxes of .223 at 35 cents a piece.  22 you can buy a bucket of bullets at Walmart for cheap. 

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23 minutes ago, boots11234 said:

Unless he deer hunts there really isn’t any reason for a higher caliber. Especially for fun shooting. It’s not fun paying for boxes of .223 at 35 cents a piece.  22 you can buy a bucket of bullets at Walmart for cheap. 

This is true 

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I have guns.  I shoot the larger calibers when sighting  them in and hunting. That’s it. Too expensive. I use my 10/22 and my 22 slabside for most all target/fun shooting.   My kids shoot both.  

Edited by boots11234
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Hard to argue with the 10/22.  Great gun and cheap ammo.

However, if you want to get a little "exotic" you can pick up a Mosin Nagant 91/30 Russian surplus rifle for cheap. This is a great shooting gun.  The equivalent of roughly a .30-06 but it shoots eastern bloc ammo spec of 7.62x54R cartridges.  These rounds can be had for very cheap when you can find "spam cans" of surplus. I think the price has gone up on the guns a bit but with 17 million made you should be able to find one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmVJYB3uDkc

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I'll echo the .22 as well.  I think it's the perfect first gun for a teenager.  There are a lot more things that go into shooting than just pulling a trigger.  Get the fundamentals down with something cheap and easy and progress from there.

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Another vote for the 10-22. As someone else said, unless he's specifically going hunting, or just wanting to shoot at longer distances, there's no need for a larger caliber for fun shooting. Also, with the right ammo, 10-22s are highly accurate, even at up to 100 yards or so. I've shot groups smaller than 1 inch at 100 with a 10-22 (scoped, of course). 

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1 hour ago, Dezbelief said:

If your shot is true any caliber would do the trick. I wouldn't put an inexperienced kid up against a 400lb hog.

Ok, what do I do with 30-50 feral hogs then? I don't want them near my small kids. 

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11 hours ago, boots11234 said:

Unless he deer hunts there really isn’t any reason for a higher caliber. Especially for fun shooting. It’s not fun paying for boxes of .223 at 35 cents a piece.  22 you can buy a bucket of bullets at Walmart for cheap. 

One more vote for a .22. It's not like this is the only rifle ever - they are inexpensive enough to get another one as time goes on.

The cost factor pointed out is huge, especially for a young person. What will happen is he'll go shooting with friends, and he'll end up using their 22's after 15 minutes because he's out of ammo. 

Myself, and every other gun guy I know uses .22's for the bulk of their target/fun/plinking shooting, both pistol and rifle. We bring out the other things for a few rounds,  but if I'm shooting for an hour, 40 minutes is spent with the .22.  

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2 minutes ago, jwb said:

One more vote for a .22. It's not like this is the only rifle ever - they are inexpensive enough to get another one as time goes on.

The cost factor pointed out is huge, especially for a young person. What will happen is he'll go shooting with friends, and he'll end up using their 22's after 15 minutes because he's out of ammo. 

Myself, and every other gun guy I know uses .22's for the bulk of their target/fun/plinking shooting, both pistol and rifle. We bring out the other things for a few rounds,  but if I'm shooting for an hour, 40 minutes is spent with the .22.  


This.  This.  This.  Even as an old dude who makes footballguys cash (LOOK AT ME) I still shoot the 22 most of the time because of cost and its cheap and easy on the body.  Both rifle and pistol.  Now sure, it is fun to pull out the 45/70 or the ruger 480 when I want people to LOOK AT ME but its only for a few rounds.

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4 minutes ago, Buckychudd said:

Ok you guys are talking me into the .22.  My only concern is they're not as fun to shoot.  Doesn't feel all that different from an air rifle.

But for a first gun maybe that's fine.

A Ruger 10/22 is around $200 for the base model. The take down (it breaks in half for easier storage) is right around $300. You can add 25 or 50 round mags easy enough to allow more plinking and less reloading at the range. Drop the $200 on that and if he takes to this hobby and commits to it, then maybe go for something bigger later. The good news is, if the rifle is well maintained, it doesn't drop much in value so it can be traded in on something bigger later on. 

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5 minutes ago, Buckychudd said:

Ok you guys are talking me into the .22.  My only concern is they're not as fun to shoot.  Doesn't feel all that different from an air rifle.

But for a first gun maybe that's fine.

For the 10-22 specifically, there are also conversion kits to make it look like a machine gun, etc. Folding stocks, drum mags as someone mentioned above, and lots of other add-ons. Can also drop the action into a custom "regular looking" rifle stock. 

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12 minutes ago, Nathan R. Jessep said:

For the 10-22 specifically, there are also conversion kits to make it look like a machine gun, etc. Folding stocks, drum mags as someone mentioned above, and lots of other add-ons. Can also drop the action into a custom "regular looking" rifle stock. 

They can be bought off the shelf already decked out in a tactical get up and are still pretty cheap. Less than $350. That being said, a S&W .22 AR style rifle is really fun to shoot. I have the Colt version of one of those. I wish I would've gotten the S&W.

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2 hours ago, TheFanatic said:

They can be bought off the shelf already decked out in a tactical get up and are still pretty cheap. Less than $350. That being said, a S&W .22 AR style rifle is really fun to shoot. I have the Colt version of one of those. I wish I would've gotten the S&W.

I have an M&P 15-22 and it's one of the most fun guns to take to the range and shoot.  I put a cheapo red dot on it and it is a blast.  I set it up exactly like my AR-15 just to plink with.  

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41 minutes ago, notoriousbill said:

I have an M&P 15-22 and it's one of the most fun guns to take to the range and shoot.  I put a cheapo red dot on it and it is a blast.  I set it up exactly like my AR-15 just to plink with.  

Same, only with a Colt M4. $30 red dot and a handful of extra mags and it's a blast. I wish I had gotten the M&P (which is Smith and Wesson) because the barrel is sooooo much better than the Colt. 

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9 hours ago, Buckychudd said:

Ok you guys are talking me into the .22.  My only concern is they're not as fun to shoot.  Doesn't feel all that different from an air rifle.

But for a first gun maybe that's fine.

I’m told an AR-15 is fun to shoot. Investigate bump stocks in your state. Seems like a no brainer. 

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10 hours ago, Buckychudd said:

Ok you guys are talking me into the .22.  My only concern is they're not as fun to shoot.  Doesn't feel all that different from an air rifle.

But for a first gun maybe that's fine.

Admittedly, it is an easy shooting rifle, but it's still a "real" gun. A well-placed .22 can kill someone. 

As far as fun, I have more fun with my .22's than any other gun I own. I'll bet others here say the same.

Edited by jwb
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On 8/5/2019 at 8:11 PM, boots11234 said:

Unless he deer hunts there really isn’t any reason for a higher caliber. Especially for fun shooting. It’s not fun paying for boxes of .223 at 35 cents a piece.  22 you can buy a bucket of bullets at Walmart for cheap. 

Shoooooot mane!

You can get AE 5.56 NATO Green Tip for .26/rd.

Plinking .223 can be had even cheaper like Wolf hollow points for .19/rd 👍🏼😁 

 

 

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3 hours ago, [icon] said:

Shoooooot mane!

You can get AE 5.56 NATO Green Tip for .26/rd.

Plinking .223 can be had even cheaper like Wolf hollow points for .19/rd 👍🏼😁 

 

 

Just gotta be careful with those Wolf and the like.  Some AR's do not like to feed them.

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