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  1. #1
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    Default Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    I have a 12 year old son that wants to start hunting. I thought about starting him on some squirrel hunting w/ a shotgun. I'm not really much of a hunter myself. Would he be better off hunting squirrel w/ a shotgun or rifle? I envision walking thru the woods w/ him and taking squirrels on the move w/ a shotgun as compared to sitting by a tree patiently to take them w/ a .22 rifle. Seeing that he's young, sitting still is a little tougher.

  2. #2
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    lehigh valley, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMH View Post
    I have a 12 year old son that wants to start hunting. I thought about starting him on some squirrel hunting w/ a shotgun. I'm not really much of a hunter myself. Would he be better off hunting squirrel w/ a shotgun or rifle? I envision walking thru the woods w/ him and taking squirrels on the move w/ a shotgun as compared to sitting by a tree patiently to take them w/ a .22 rifle. Seeing that he's young, sitting still is a little tougher.
    I don't suggest walking threw the woods shooting squirrels at random might work at first but they can grow smart as the season progresses. I would suggest stalking them what this does it sharpens the stalking skills used for other bigger animals.You can use 22lr or shotgun it doesn't matter. Just remember any shots in the air with 22lr you are responsible for the 1-2 miles that thing travels on a miss. Shot guns 100 yards maybe.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    Start him off with a pump 12 ga. ( mossberg or 870 type ). Id say a 22lr would be great for squirrels but going with a 12 ga you can move to larger game with it. Just change the type of shell and you can hunt squirrels all the way up to bears with the same gun.
    No longer posting

  4. #4
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    Center Ice, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    My personal opinion is a youth model .20 guage. When I first started, I tried a few different things, including a .22 rifle. I'm a rifle guy, and I normally enjoy them more than any other firearm.. but I found that when hunting small game, my favorite firearm was my .20ga youth Mossberg my parents got me for Christmas. It's just big enough to take down a bird/squirrel/anything else in small game, but it's small enough for a younger kid.

    I'll be quite honest with you, many times I'll still use my .20ga for small game. Even though it's a youth model and it's a bit small for me now, I actually prefer it because I can swing it easier, and it doesn't completely destroy smaller game like the 12ga does many times.

    JMO.
    ...for out of the ground we were taken, and dust we are, and to the dust we shall return.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    I'm on board with the 20 ga. Get him a Rossi or something that can interchange barrels, a lot of times you can find deals where you get a .22 & 20 ga. included. It's a cheap firearm so you won't cringe when he drops it in the mud or a creek.

  6. #6
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    Somerset, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    Some say the Rossi kicks hard but my son hasn't complained about his. Of course we don't shoot 3 inch shells in it either. He's used it to bag several squirrels. His is a 20 gauge/223 switch barrel set with a youth stock.

    Right now, I working on a extension block to lengthen the stock so it fits him better.

    Dale

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    I'm 26 and I still use my .410 shotgun... Almost no kick, manageable noise, and very light... Probably not the best gun for a kid because aim is really important... Fewer pellets means closer shots and less room for error, with some slugs and some practice you can take deer with it as well... lol

    20 ga. if he is on the smaller side and never shot a gun before, but I would stick to the single shot platform as it reinforces the one good, clean shot instead of knowing the second shot is a pump away... A 20 ga. H&R shotty is under $150 at Walmart and would be about the same price at the local shoot store...

    -Chaz
    I like guns... And boobs...

  8. #8
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    Johnstown, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    I've been thinking about this as well. My son turns 11 soon and I can take him on a youth mentor hunt. We have been going to the range every week for the the last couple of months, just plinking and getting used to the .22. His Grandfather told me about the youth mentor program and really wanted me to take him out with the 20 gauge. I have a old single shot that I hadn't fired in a very long time, so I picked up 75 shells and out we went. Well that old single shot kicks hard! harder than my 12ga. Any sugestions on a pump 20ga? My 12ga is a Winchester 1897 that was my Great Granddads with a full length barrel, so it is out of the running since my son can't swing that monster.
    These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Thomas Paine 1776

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    Quote Originally Posted by noslolo View Post
    I've been thinking about this as well. My son turns 11 soon and I can take him on a youth mentor hunt. We have been going to the range every week for the the last couple of months, just plinking and getting used to the .22. His Grandfather told me about the youth mentor program and really wanted me to take him out with the 20 gauge. I have a old single shot that I hadn't fired in a very long time, so I picked up 75 shells and out we went. Well that old single shot kicks hard! harder than my 12ga. Any sugestions on a pump 20ga? My 12ga is a Winchester 1897 that was my Great Granddads with a full length barrel, so it is out of the running since my son can't swing that monster.
    I have a Mossberg the I like... They're cheap, don't kick very hard, and are a pretty good shotgun for the money.

    Like I said, I still use mine after all these years because I like the ability to swing it easier, as well as have the stopping power of the 20ga.. Best thing is to just take the youngster out and have them hold different ones, and see which fits them best.. consider the kick secondary, as many of them will be about the same these days...

    Also, don't rule out .410's either. They can be nice little shotguns. They aren't quite as popular right now, but it can be a nice size shell to learn on.
    Last edited by NikeBauer21; October 4th, 2010 at 10:56 AM.
    ...for out of the ground we were taken, and dust we are, and to the dust we shall return.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small Game Hunting - Rifle or Shotgun?

    Well I think that I'm going to use his Grandfathers 20ga, and see if he likes hunting. If he does I will pick up a Mossberg or Remington youth 20ga. If he doesn't I will pick up a Marlin bolt action .22LR. He loves to target shoot, I'm just not sure how he will handle cleaning the squirrels.
    These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Thomas Paine 1776

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