My first gun at the age of 11 was am Ithaca 37 in 20 ga. I shot thousands of rounds through that and strongly encourage anyone to have child learn a pump gun for the discipline of making the first shot count and the coordination.
My small-framed, 13 y/o nephew has shot the Remington 870 20 ga. like a champ since he was 11. Last summer he said he felt it wasn't fair to compare our shooting when I was shooting a "12 ga. cannon", so I bought a used Benelli M2 in 20 ga. and carried that all last fall instead.
The M2 is the softest shooting gun I've ever handled and is an absolute joy to hunt with. The prior owner had the stock cut down an inch for his daughter, but had it done so the extra inch could be put back in for an adult or larger youth. What a great option.
Even when I wasn't hunting with Ben this fall, I started taking the M2 with me to hunt roosters, ducks and even geese. It was phenomenal what you can do with a 3" load of 5 shot and an extended choke tube these days. It killed geese just as dead as any 12 ga. I can remember. I can't really say there's any reason a youth starting out today can't shoot a 20 ga. with 3" shells at just about anything for as long as they want.
If Ben is still as ethusiastic and keeps improving, he might earn the M2 as a 16th or 18th birthday present if i can bear to part with it.
I cherish my experience shooting a pump gun for the first 6-8 years before I ever got to shoot an auto.
Just went threw this with my son. Stay away from .410. It is hard to shoot and does not promote success. If your child is having problems with the 28g then it is a bad time to move up to a 20g. I would look for loads that have less oz. of bbs. It will greatly reduce felt recoil. You can also add weight to the stock, that will also reduce felt recoil, after that have the barrel ported. My rule for 20g is for the child to be 80lbs. Automatics spread out the time that it takes for recoil to hit, thus reducing felt recoil. Most of the single shot shotguns are not very good. They are light and increase the amount of felt recoil. When your child is 80lbs you can switch to a pump if you like the 870 is good and the mossberg is good. I feel the mossberg is the better value. Getting an automatic is perferable, any of the 3B's would be fine.
I am not sure if they still make the youth model in the 1100.
Originally Posted by Shawn White
I think they only made that English stock version one year. I still see a few around used, most are in the $450-500 range.
Here is my opinion on the youth guns. I have a son that started coming with me when he was 5 now 17, and now have a 10yr old daughter also.
I had a NEF 20 ga kicked like a mule but he still shot it. I am a Remington guy but the salesman at Scheels talked me into a Winchester because the forarm is mounted further back on the pump. It is so much easier for them to hold and to pump. I did buy my son a traditions als 2100, semi auto youth models in both 20 and 12 which he shot for a few years but he always went back to the win. 1300. I also finally found a NEF 28ga. which too 3 years of looking onliine. My daughter shot it twice last year and that was enough. I think it kicks more than the 20 ga though. This year I will have her shoot the 1300.
I think the kids are better off with a pump vs a semi just for safety and not multiple shots going off. I do really like the 1100 and the Franchi youth models though if you are set on a semi.
I just went to the Remington website and saw they make the 11-87 in a compact model and also the 870 but they have a 870 compact Jr. which has a 12" lop and a 20" barrel. That might be a good option for someone. The only problem with that one is a kid will outgrow it fast.
After I posted last night I seen where Remington seems to be going to the dark side on the political stage ,I will investgate this further and if that is the case ,I will not support any of their products.
I did some more research last night .I have had a Winchester SX3 12 ga for several years and it has never let me down and has been my favorite gun I've owned to date. I found this
I believe I will look into this further. I need to find someone local to get a true measurement to fit my son. When he out grows it it will go to my daughter. As far as the pump vs. semi safety aspect ,thru all the rounds he shot this weekend he was only allowed to load 1 shell each time, and could only load it while on the line. It will remain that way for several years for safety and also mental awarness that the ist shot is the one that counts.
I've owned and still due own several Mossbergs and the best explanation I have of them are " they kill on 1 end and cripple on the other " hardest kicking gun I've ever seen.
I've had a few different ones for my 10yo, and the Weatherby SA-08 20g has been our best bet.
We tried the following -
1. Remington 1100 20g - cut down an inch, kinda heavy, not weighted very well.
2. Remington 870 Youth 20g Pump - great size, ok weight, but kicks like a bronco.
3. Tristar 20 gauge - ( from Academy). Great little gun, super light easy to handle, but would not eject 20g 2-3/4 steel shot for some reason - which worried me.
4. Weatherby SA-08 youth 20g - super light (one of, if not the lightest of all brands), very little kick - all good so far .
Anyone know how to properly measure /fit a gun ? ....I've always been ,if it fits and I can hit, I''l take it .Looking for info on how to properly fit my son so I know what measurements will be in his range .
My Brother started his twin daughters at age 11 with the Mossberg 500 Bantam combo. http://www.mossberg.com/product/shot...am-combo/54188. while not the finest gun ever made but it is good quality and value. It comes with 2 beads on the vent rib, 3 choke tubes, and a slug barrel. It also comes with a certificate to upgrade to an adult sized stock when needed. The bluing is surprisingly nice, it is your typical economy hardwood stock. He put a kick ease pad on them, to reduce recoil. We hand loaded light loads until they were used to shooting them. Last spring each girl harvested a wild turkey with them. Over the summer they were averaging 18 and 19 in a youth trap league with them. Last fall they each dropped their first roosters with them. Not bad for a pair of 13 year olds. If you do not need the slug barrel they have other models without. If you want more flexibility; the synthetic stocked models have a spacer under the pad for an even shorter LOP plus the certificate for the adult stock, a kid can really grow into it. Light loads and a proper fitting gun goes a very long way.
I like my semi-autos, I wish I could budget in a Benelli montifeltro 20 gauge into my collection but hasn't happened yet. A friend of mine has one it has hardly any recoil and is very light to carry. You could have a gunsmith shorten stock if needed.
I think it would be a dream gun for your little girl.
I have one and they do recoil pretty good on the heavier 3" duck loads. Having said that, my Monte 20 ga will be the last gun they pry from my cold dead fingers. I absolutely love mine.
Originally Posted by uplandbird
My 9 year old son who is average to above average in size, shoots a Tri-Star 20 gauge youth semi-auto. Pluses are uses Benelli choke tubes and customer service seems really good. Minuses are really stiff bolt release and no barrel length options. I would like to find him a bit longer barrel for trap shooting. I did end up having the bolt release gun-smithed, it was so stiff he could not release the bolt.
Decent gun for the money, I would buy another. the gas operated semi-auto is the way to go for a beginner. Don't buy into the "I had a single shot as my first gun, that's all he/she needs..." mumbo jumbo! If you want your son/daughter to develop a passion for shooting, make sure you are setting them up with something that does not beat them up every time they shoot.
Two weeks ago he shot his first 3 rounds of trap (75 shots) without flinching. On only his third round shooting trap on an official range, he hit 9 out of 25. And that is with clay's going all angles, and he shot all 5 positions. I think that's pretty good.
Spartazoo, I do admit I've never shot anything bigger then 2 3/4 through the montifeltro. Thanks for letting him know 3 inch has got some bite on the shoulder!