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May 12, 2008

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Bourjaily on Starter Guns

I found this clip under “Hilarious Turkey Hunt” on YouTube. Maybe I’m stuffy, but I’d have called it: “How Not to Start Kids Shooting.”
http://youtube.com/watch?v=gH2N-n70AXs

Fortunately this kid kills the turkey with the shot that rolls him over backward, so he has a positive, if painful, hunting experience. Never mind that he’s wearing pants the color of a turkey’s head, or that he picks up the flopping bird while pointing his gun at his Dad, who wisely runs out of the frame.

Obviously, the boy has been given way  too much gun and he may be on his way to developing a lifelong flinch. Other kids get .410s, which very frustrating guns to hit anything with. My own first gun was a 12 gauge A-5, but then I didn’t hunt until I was 21 years old, so I was too big for it to knock me over..

I started my own kids with 20 gauge 1100 Youth Models when they were 11 or 12.  The 20 gauge 1100s are very soft shooters and great guns for kids to learn with. When target shooting and hunting we used only light loads and were very careful always to wear hearing protection. Even so my older son started closing both eyes when he pulled the trigger in anticipation of the muzzle blast and recoil after a while.

We had to take a break from shooting, then start back up with air rifles and .22s before he could keep his eyes open. He and his brother are both happy shooters today. If I had it to do again, though, I might go with cheaper, lighter youth pump guns and shoot slow, 3/ 4 ounce reloads to keep recoil down.

I’m curious to know how all of you started. Since you grew up to read a blog called “the Gun Nut” it’s fair to assume that your fathers did something right when they taught you to shoot.

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Comments

ishawooa

My dad never taught me a damn thing about hunting or shooting as it was all to big a pain in the butt for him. I bought my own first shotgun (used A-5 Sweet Sixteen) while in college using a wee bit of my scholarship or grant money. This less than fantastic start in the sporting world is probably why I spend as much time as I can in the mountains with my soon to be 18 year old son. He has been going with me since he was three years old. Its also probably why he has about a dozen rifles, pistols, shotguns, several flyrods, a pickup, three dirtbikes and two good horses. Spoiled? Maybe...but so far so good.

Trae B.

Well this is easy for me because it wasent to awful long ago I was learnin to shoot I started with a daisy bb/pellet gun when I was 8 then came the 22. and 410 the people complaining about the 410 must have had bad guns because I still have mine and it a bit small but its always shot great. I went straight from 22. and 410. to 30/30 and 12 gauges. Honestly ive never even shot a 20 gauge. not that I have any thing against em ive just never shot one.

Dennis L. Crabtrey II

I guess i started earlier than most of ya'll. I got my first gun, a cut down .22 Marlin, when I was 5. Cut down H&R 12ga same year w/ special lame loads for hand thrown Clay birds. Gun rack in my room at 8. Various 22s and shotguns thoroughout my youth, a Browning BL22 and Remington 870 youth 20 both which i still have.

Gun safety was #1: If i touched my guns when my Dad wasn't there i would've got my tail beat! So i never did.
I started shooting centerfire and pistols when i was 25 in flight school.
I just recently started loving scatterguns with my Benelli SBEII a few years ago.

Chris Greiner

My dad started me out with his semi-automatic 30-06 and I was fine until I didn't shoot for a couple years and I couldn't shoot at all, not one round. A couple years later of shotgun shooting(which recoils more but is more reflex so I don't expect a worst pain than there actually is) I know own a 25-06 in remington cdl which comes with a recoil pad I can get about a 2 inch group at a hundred yards. Yeah.

ray

dad gave me a daisy fer Christmas when I was seven, But he was working construction away from home and mom never paid any attention to me so I used to take the ole win 67 out alla time when dad was at work. burned a lot of them ole peters shorts, what came in the chicklet type package..:-)

hardwoodjdc

I started my son on an Ithaca 20 ga. The first thing I had him shoot was a left over garden pumpkin at close range. He has never forgotten the damage to the pumpkin and is 30 now and still mentions it occasionly. Best thing I ever did for safety training an 11 yr. old.

Del in KS

When I was ten my dad gave me a Revelation (Western Auto) bolt action 410 shotgun. The missing was frustrating at first but, probably made me a better shot in the end. Now days my favorite light bird gun is a 28 ga Berreta O/U and a Benelli SBE is my fav for large birds. I agree that a 20 ga. pump is a much better gun for a kid. We looked at the 870 and the Mossberg youth guns for my nephew and decided on the mossberg. He shot a 21 lb gobbler with it the first time I took him hunting. My son does not share my love of hunting and the woods.

If you don't have a pumpkin a milk jug full of water will make the point.

Bill in VA

I bought my boy a Remington 700 youth model in 30.06 when he was 11 years old. With the "Mangaged" (i.e., reduced) recoil ammo it is fine for youth. He has killed two deer with it already. When he grows up he can put an adult stock on that gun, switch to regular ammo and hunt with it for the rest of his life.

semp

Fox Sterlingworth 12ga double with 28 inch full & modified ... great for the biceps :-D .

Bubba

First Gun:
Oh, for the days of the Daisy BB gun. Shot one window out of the house. (just knew it was empty!) Shot MY OWN big toe! (just knew it was empty!) Thank goodness for BB guns!
First Hunting Gun:
A.H. Fox dbl bbl .410! What I wouldn't give for that little piece of history back. When pop decided I was ready for a little heavier armament, he swapped it for a Stevens, single shot 20 ga. Oh, did things pick up then. The squirrels and ducks fell like rain. At about 12, I discovered the gun sack I was given at Christmas at about 4, (I couldn't keep both ends off the floor!) was a L.C. Smith 16ga. Left full, right modified! With much begging and cajoling, the 'Smith began to make things happen.
Rifles!? My dad had a Marlin 336SC, granddad had a Marlin 336RC. My first deer fell to the 336RC at about 20 yards.
Still have the L.C. Smith and the 336RC.

Bubba

JasonB

My first gun was a Winchester 37A .410 my parents gave me when I was 9 years old. I don't remember missing many squirrels; but I do remember being taught to get close to the squirrel and be sure I had a good clean shot before pulling the trigger. I still have it and hope my daughter will enjoy shooting it one day.

Jeff C

Grandpa started me off with a well-worn Winchester 22 Auto Model 190 and all the .22 lr I could shoot. I moved up to a Winchester Model 100 .243 for the small whitetails we had in southern Arkansas. Those were good times.

VATXHUNTER

At about the age of 7 or 8 my friends and I started out with Rocks and Bamboo spears. We then moved onto Sling Shots and the famous Wrist Rocket.
By the time we were about 10 we had BB guns. We had spring action, Pump and CO2. We even use to have BB gun fights with each other, only shots below the waist.
Try and do that today and your kid will end up expelled from school and in a reform school. We then moved on to the 22s at summer camp or boy scout camp.
At about age 16 I started shooting a borrowed 12 ga. Then at 18 years old I purchased a
30-30 Marlin as my 1st Gun.

Paul Wilke

Started with a bb gun, (no father). Learned to shoot at the expense of English sparrows and big game hunting for wasps in my back yard( Ed Zern article in Outdoor Life I believe).
Uncle Sam provided a Garand M-1, and a 1911.
Made the pistol team at Fort Bragg and the rifle team in Germany.
My 1st. wife, daughter of a gunsmith, gave me a SS 16 gauge, she shoot a SS 410. We shoot ducks and geese together, she never missed.
Many years and weapons later I'm left with a SS 12 gauge, a Marlin 30/30 and am about to purchase either a Marlin 22 or a Henry 22 to replace an older bolt action 22.
I'm hoping these will last me until they become my sons.

Lyn

Red Ryder BB gun at age 8 or 9. My dad let me use his Remington mdl. 48 20 ga. with a full choke. Could only hit squirrels. Not good for dove or quail. Started quail hunting pretty regular when I was 12. Dad let me borrow his A.H. Fox Sterlingworth 20 ga.(the ultimate quail gun--and I still have it today). My grandfather gave me his Remington model 12, .22 octagon barrel pump when I was 15. I've never parted with it.

Zermoid

Grew up shooting BB rifles and CO2 pistols (had a 8 shot Shiloh CO2 pellet pistol that I hunted Crickets with around the house) and a Daisy 880 (?) pump rifle I shot in the basement and backyard. My dad taught me to shoot but didn't hunt, never went hunting til I was 21 or 22. Where I worked my boss was a hunter and he got me into it, shot my first real gun with him, he loaned me a 12 ga single barrel shotgun to take my hunters test with as I had ordered a shotgun from JC Penney's that didn't show up in time! This was in NJ and ALL hunting was with shotguns there BTW. The only "rifle" hunting was with a muzzleloader and you needed a special permit from the State Police to carry that! Did I mention I left NJ ASAP?

Scott

I began with an ancient J. Stevens Arms 16 ga. double. My brother and I started when we were both about 9 years old. He got a little bit of shoulder pinch when he first pulled the trigger on that shotgun and ever since he's been a little gun shy. I'm now 43 and he's 42. I'm the gun nut and he's not. I'm still hoping he'll forget about that pinch and cross over into the light.

james

My first guns were hand me downs. A Topper 410, I might not have hit much, but I sure did have fun and an Winchester model 06 22. I learned to shoot the 22 pretty darn good.

Bernie Kuntz

My father started me on a single-shot Sears bolt-action .22 when I was nine. When I turned 12 he bought me a Sako Forester in .243 Win. that I still own.

My first shotgun was a miserable bolt-action .410 made by Hawthorne. It was tough for me to shoot well. When I was 16 Dad got me a Rem. Model 870 Wingmaster in 16 gauge. I had it restocked and reblued almost 30 years ago and still own it!

Dr.T

I started out on a little .22 pump action (Circa 1930's)that my grandfather used to carry on his saddle on their little ranch "for coyotes and such". The stories he used to tell about what he shot... Went deer hunting with my father a couple of times with sporterized military 30.06's that he and my grandfather used to have. Started about 11-12yrs old. Both my father and grandfather have passed, but those guns are mine now. Have taken my son and his buddy through Boy Scouts and Rifle (.22's and .50 black powder) & Shotgun (12 gauges)> merit badges. They are much better shots at their age than I was at their age (14). My son and i got drawn for cow elk this year and will take his buddy along but we will be using those same guns that I started with and continue to use quite successfully. I am looking at getting my son a .270 of his own but Mom is not too keen on the idea. We'll see...

Dr.T

I started out on a little .22 pump action (Circa 1930's)that my grandfather used to carry on his saddle on their little ranch "for coyotes and such". The stories he used to tell about what he shot... Went deer hunting with my father a couple of times with sporterized military 30.06's that he and my grandfather used to have. Started about 11-12yrs old. Both my father and grandfather have passed, but those guns are mine now. Have taken my son and his buddy through Boy Scouts and Rifle (.22's and .50 black powder) & Shotgun (12 gauges)> merit badges. They are much better shots at their age than I was at their age (14). My son and i got drawn for cow elk this year and will take his buddy along but we will be using those same guns that I started with and continue to use quite successfully. I am looking at getting my son a .270 of his own but Mom is not too keen on the idea. We'll see...

semp

WalMart?

I just read that WalMart is gonna start a video database for all firearm transactions. Also, that they will instruct sales staff to refuse anyone every involved in a firearm 'trace' . Now I'm not sure what all this means ... but it don't smell right. Now, it don't mean dick to me as I don't shop WalMart anyhow. I'm not really sure what the WalMart experience is other than it's great fodder for 'Larry the Cable Guy' .

I believe in the local, small business, gun shop. Find one then cherish and support it with your business. May cost a bit more ... but not always ... my guy usually beats MSRP by 10 ---> 20% on gun sales. No deposits, no waiting for NICS ... I just tell him what I want, fill out the 'yellow sheet' and I get a call when it's ready.

As for WalMart, what's next ... 'short arm inspection' for condom purchases?

semp

Bubba

semp

Last firearm I purchased at Wal Mart, I was treated like a leper!
The assistant store mgr would not allow me to carry the gun out of the store. I was "not" allowed to check the contents of the carton "inside" the store! I wasn't just escorted to the front door, but all the way to my vehicle! Only with the box "inside" the vehicle, was I allowed to open the carton to check that all was as purchased! "My" local Wal Mart no longer carries any type firearm except black powder and BB/pellet arms! They make it really easy to shop for arms elsewhere!
Last time I was in my "local" GUN store, one pound of Triple 7 cost a bit over $20. I told my buddy, "Let's go to Wal Mart, it'll be cheaper there!" Boy! Was I surprised. The same canister of Triple 7 at Wally World was nearly $36!
I shy away from WM, but they have driven most local grocer's out of business and is the only place to locate some items. I, unfortunately, still have to shop there for those items. I buy every thing else locally!

Bubba

Jon

I started on an AR-15, my father was a range Master in the army and he thought it was a good gun to learn to shoot with. I also learned with a .22 remington bolt and a Nylon 66. For shotguns I shot my moms 870 .20 gauge. I hunted alot with that until I got my own H&R single shot slug gun(one of the most accurate tac shooters I have ever owned or seen under 200 yrds). As for pistols my father had a colt mark V in .357 that I shot .38's out of, great starter cartridge on pistols in a heavy revolver.




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