First rifle for my son

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by Crunchmeister, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. Crunchmeister


    Feb 17, 2013
    Hello, ladies and gents.

    Calling out to all you firearm fanatics. I'm going to take you back to the proverbial first day of kindergarten. Please bear with me. I know a little about knives, not so much about rifles. I'm looking for a starter rifle, a plinker really, that shoots inexpensive ammo for my 18 yo son. He figured a basic .22 would be fine. He started down the Ruger route with its greatly modifiable rep, then realized it kind of defeated the purpose. Now he's considering a plain jane bolt action that focuses on reliability and accuracy. Any recommendations, including other calibers, would be appreciated. BTW, he outshoot a his uncle with a 30.06 when he goes hunting with him in Canada. He also wants to learn to strip it down and properly care for it as well.
  2. fast14riot


    Oct 27, 2010
    Pick pretty much any Remington, Winchester, Savage, Marlin made in the last 50 years. I really like the Remington 580 series (580 single shot, 581 magazine fed, 582 tube fed) as they are a sturdy design, light weight, not child-sized, and accurate. Savage makes some excellent models as well as the others. Marlin model 60 is inexpensive, reliable, parts easy to find or upgrade and shoots well, I have one too. For .22LR you can find pretty much whatever you want for ~200 bucks on the consignment racks in gun shops or if pawn shops in your area sell guns, that's a good place to look too.

    Check the bore to make sure it is bright and shiney, look for dove tail grooves on top of the receiver so you can easily scope it, check the edge of the chamber for a smashed spot from excessive dry firing (some have a small cut out there to prevent this) check if extra magazines are available too. Look for buggered up screw or pin heads from a ham fisted home smith, and don't be afraid of some chipping wood finish as long as the wood isn't cracked anywhere.

    For new, if I wanted a gun that was going to be a good starter and last a lifetime I'd look at a CZ 452 or a Ruger 77/22. Both are a bit more money, but are extremely nice guns!

    Although, nothing wrong with a stock 10/22. Can always upgrade components later on after he has moved onto other rifles.

  3. AdamFuzzyballs


    Mar 16, 2015
    I know they used to make kits where you could switch the barrel from a .22 to a 410 shotgun. That might be something to look into
  4. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    .22 rifles come in near endless variety, do you have a budget set for this? My first choice would be a stock Ruger 10/22 with a small decent quality scope. There are a few model variations available from the factory, including a cool take-down version that stores in it's own backpack; as well as, a wide range of after market accessories most of which are purely cosmetic.


    If he prefers a bolt action, I would suggest going with a larger caliber. Bolt actions usually means lower rate of fire and more emphasis on long range accuracy. Something like this compact Savage in .223 (model 11/111 hog hunter) might be to his liking. The ammo is very common, low recoil and relatively inexpensive to plink with, yet it can be used for hunting small to medium game.


  5. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    I picked up one of those junior Rossi's for my son when I was just getting him started. But he was like 7 or 8. Break action with both 22 and 410 barrels. But for an 18 yo, I like the suggestion above to go with a .223. I love the caliber, but don't have any in bolt, so I can't help you there. But have seen many positive reviews on Savage, such as the one above.
  6. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    I'd buy a vintage turnbolt . 1930s through 1950s. Mostly they are better than what you can buy knew today and will often either cost no more or actually cost less. Remington, Marlin, Stevens, Savage, etc. When my son was about your son's age he had a couple of "modern" rimfire rifles. Those were gone fairly soon and replaced with a 1940s Mauser and 1970s Marlin.

    If you do buy current production stay away from current Marlins and Remingtons. Though pricey, I recommend the CZ rifles for current production .22LR rifles. Heirloom quality.
  7. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    Cz 455
  8. Shoki


    Apr 10, 2007
    I'd say take him to the gun store and have him handle a few. If he's comfortable with .22 and wants to go for a larger caliber without a huge recoil, .223 is a great option. I think the Ruger American in .223 would be an excellent choice. Ruger makes a great gun, they can be had new for under $400, and .233 is a great intermediate round.
  9. Crunchmeister


    Feb 17, 2013
    Thanks so much, you guys! He was leaning towards the CZs. He spent about 4 hrs researching it. I will pass on the info. Recoil's not a problem. It's more cost and availability of ammo. If he could afford the ammo, I think he'd go with a big bore distance shooter, if that's an accurate statement. He works to save for college next year, so this will come out of his college money. So long term cost of ownership is a factor. He loves to shoot and wants to refine his skills. Up until now he has only shot up in Canada. He goes hunting with my extended family and has learned to gut, skin and process the larger game. (He knows the value of slave labor, which endears him to the older guys, and he doesn't want to be one of those guys who kill and then need someone else to do the dirty work, lol). But their motto is "one shot, no suffering" for the animal and he wants to ensure he has the skill set to honor that as much as possible.

    Xander, I want to especially thank you for bringing up those finer points. I knew there would be a lot of little details of which I was clueless. Darn I love this forum.
  10. DocT


    Mar 25, 2012
    I was 9 years old and I got a 22 Winchester semi-auto, a deluxe model. I still have that rifle a half a century later. A nice Ruger 10/22 would be a keeper your child could grow with and pass down to his son.
  11. shaving sharp

    shaving sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    I am saving for a CZ. I have two Ruger 77/22 rifles. They have beautiful wood stocks and are built like a high power rifle.
  12. KDUJ


    Aug 4, 2008
    Everyone who enjoys shooting and hunting should own a nice .22 rifle. They are inexpensive (even in today's over pricing of ammo) and reliable. Its great way to improve you skills and have some fun at the same time.

    Marlin, Savage, Henry, Taurus and Remington: all make some very nice .22’s in bolt actions as well as lever action and pumps. For rifles and shotguns I much prefer one of these simple styles over semi-automatic. They are easier to maintain and should there be an issue while in the field they are easy to service.
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    At 18, he is starting (I suspect) to think beyond just blowing a lot of ammo in the Ruger 10/22. Yeah. They are great for plinking.

    CZ would be very high on my middle price range list in 22LR. Hard to beat them really. Never liked their safety much, but you get used to it.

    On the higher end side of things, the Remington 547 is a wonderful rifle (over $1000 however). If he doesn't get the CZ, I'd look for a nice clean "used" Remington 541-S or 541-T. The 'S's are well known for pretty consistent accuracy. Savage made a American version of their Mark II that was really nice with classic wood stock and so forth. Discontinued, but a fine rifle! Yeah, I have one. Or should say I have one of each of the ones mentioned.

    I sort of got the impression that he is not "NEW" to 22's. I might be wrong. But, the Savage Mark II in general is a very good rifle with consistent out of the box accuracy regardless of what configuration you might select. I just never really liked the plastic stocks much.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  14. vanslem6


    Oct 4, 2014
    No Mosin suggestions?
  15. Shoki


    Apr 10, 2007
    If big recoil and hulk-finger trigger/safety operation are ok, then a Mosin is an excellent choice. Don't take that as sarcasm I LOVE me some Mosin Nagants but they aren't for everyone. Ammo is dirt-cheap when you buy surplus and the trigger can be tweaked by a knowledgeable craftsman but I don't know if it's a great option for a first hunting rifle. Finding one in decent shape is fairly simple but the prices are rising and you can pick up a modern rifle with a nicer trigger, easier safety, and better all-around quality for not much more. Heck, my first large-caliber bolt action rifle was a K98 Mauser but I don't think I'd recommend it for a beginner who's fresh off a 10/22. ;)
  16. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    I'd recommend a turnbolt for the .223 cartridge also. Again, a CZ also. CZ 527. Set trigger. Simply an outstanding rifle all around.
  17. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    If going bolt action .223, my choice would be the CZ 527 as well.
  18. cricketdave

    cricketdave Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2008
    You might want to think about a 270 instead of the 223, the ammo is a bit more expensive but its a flat shooting all around game getter.
  19. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    .22 is a good starter rifle.
  20. 00ChevyScott


    Dec 3, 2010
    He'll be old enough for a larger caliber rifle by the time you find any decent quantity of .22lr in stock anywhere these days.

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