I just spoke to my neighbor and he's gonna get a price for me. He's got the AR15 in .223 so I can just play with his when we go to the range. His may be a little more fun, but I'll be able to shoot all day without going broke. I have a feeling he may be borrowing the .22.
As far as my son goes, yes, I agree, 8 is old enough to learn to handle a gun but, between the stigma surrounding guns in NJ and the fact that my wife is generally "anti-gun" I need to ease him(them) into it. Plus, some local ranges have air-gun competitions and I thought that would be fun for him. He's extremely competitive for his age (he's an awesome wrestler).