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nappie5 11-29-2007 12:38 AM

Hunting rifle for daughter
My daughter has been going "out with the boys" every Thanksgiving for the last 3 years. We thought it would wear off, but it didn't. She got her first deer this year using her cousin's 30/30 I don't know what (but not lever action.) She helped gut the doe and really has buck fever now.

She's serious, so time to stop borrowing guns and get her one of her own. Free is an awesome way to go and a guy from our church heard about this and gave us his old (like maybe 40 - 50 years old) Marlin lever action 30/30. I don't know the model number. All I find on it it is "Marlin Firearms Company Model 30/30".

Gun is in great shape, but her uncle who takes her hunting has warned me that lever-actions are "dangerous" and he is worried about safety issues due to the age of the gun (i.e. built in safties on the gun, not reliability issues for a well-cared for rifle.) On the other hand another cousin would never hunt whitetail in Virginia with anything other than his lever action 30/30 - he says it's the best deer rifle around, but might not be a good first rifle.

I know I will get as many different opinions as there are people who read this, but I have 2 questions. Are there any safety retrofits for old lever action rifles, and what would be a good rifle for the average less than 100 pound gymnast who also loves to hunt. (I think she really enjoyed telling the high school gymnastics team on Friday afternoon, "Guess what I did this morning? I shot my first deer!"

She's hunting whitetail deer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Terrain she's in ranges from wooded to open, but probably not much over 100 yards. Tree stands are available, but she has been limited to the ground, and I doubt if the older guys are going to give up a stand for her - hunting from ground level is a real safe bet. Any other specifics you need to know?

Thanks a heap

(I plink with a 22 bolt action and used to be a fair shot with an M16, but don't do any hunting myself.)

greenjeans 11-29-2007 01:44 AM

Nothing in the world wrong with a Lever 30-30. I have a Marlin that was sold under the JC Penny Foremost Brand. It, also, was given to me and it shoots great. Mine needed a lot of cleaning up. The safety is probably a "half cock" which means you pull the hammer back about 1/4" and it locks to keep it from resting on the firing pin. It will not fire if the trigger is pulled when in this position. To unload, you must cycle each round through the rifle and you must keep your finger off the trigger. Good for deer out to about 200 yards, cheap ammo, and not too much recoil.

Bidah 11-29-2007 01:29 PM

Many thousands of boys have started with that very rifle. There is nothing wrong with it. The only real added safety on the newer ones is that the loop had to be closed to pull the trigger. Take her shooting a number of times with the rifle to get her familiar with it 100 percent, and she will be fine.

Outside of that, I would suggest that you look into an NEF Handi Rifle, which are single shot break open rifles that are quite good and inexpensive. If .243 is ok to use where you hunt, then I would suggest that caliber. Rossi also makes a similar rifle, but I personally do not like it as much.


greenjeans 11-29-2007 04:25 PM

I second the Handi Rifles. I have 7 in different calibers and hunt with them more than anything else. Took the .243 out this morning, but no luck. All of mine have turned out to be really decent shooters.

EHCRain10 11-30-2007 02:35 AM

have to agree with the 243 as a good caliber that will do well for deer and not kick much at all.

Catfish 11-30-2007 06:55 PM

There is nothing wrong with the old Marlins. I have 2 of them I set up for nite hunting coyotes. As for the safty issue there is a few thing she has to watch for, but nothing her cousin that hunts with one could not show her in 15 min. Tell the friend thanks very much then sent him some vension from her first deer with it.

Tanker60A3 12-02-2007 12:46 AM

Daughter's Gun
Before you commit to a Marlin, or any other "full size" gun , you need to check out the "Youth" models from Remington or Savage. These models come in short action, low recoil calibers that are well suited to a typical small stature person.
The Remington Model 7 Youth would be my choice, but the Savage 11 package gun (scope included) has a strong price advantage. The Remington should be able to out shoot the Savage, but at the ranges you mention, the differences would be slight.
If your daughter is comfortable with a "full size" gun, take a close look at a 308 using Remington "Managed Recoil" 125 grain ammo. The recoil is reduced a noticable ammount using that load. I don't have a gauge to measure recoil, but that 308 load feels about the same or less as a 30-30 to me. The 308 also gives you/her more range and game options than a 30-30.

sureshot43 12-16-2007 01:52 AM

I agree with tanker. There are so many options out there now for a kid to grow into a rifle,and the low recoil ammo is tops! I am a remington guy,but(if she needs a shorter stock now,and will grow in a few years) Weatherby offers a youth package Vanguard that comes with a full size stock when You buy it(hows that for convenience). Now about the 243. I have one and really like it(was my first rifle)BUT!!!If the deer are going to be on the bigger side,or if shot placement may ever be an issue,I would rather have a bigger/heavier bullet than the 100 gr. that the 243 uses. This is where a bigger gun with the low recoil ammo starts to shine. She can practice with the low recoil stuff, and come time to head to the field, give her the real stuff(when shooting at an animal,she wont feel the recoil anyway). The 150 gr. 308 ammo is great. Other options that you wouldt need low recoil ammo include:
257 Roberts (if you can find one)
260 Rem.
300 savage(again if you can find one)
Dont forget that it is Her rifle,and she should have a say in what she likes. I cant wait for my daughter to be old enough to hunt. When She does,I would love if She picks out a Remington bolt action. But if She wants a Marlin lever gun,that would be great too(Its what her Great-grandfather used).

sureshot43 12-16-2007 01:57 AM

By the way, that 30/30 that wasnt a lever gun, could very easily be a Remington model788. That is what my 243 is. They are great little guns. If someone has a mind to start handloading for this gun, they can use pointed bullets and make a real difference in the performance of this gun. Then,ignore all the negatives you hear about the 30/30 cartridge.

Tilt 12-16-2007 04:10 AM


Originally Posted by sureshot43 (Post 12721)
She can practice with the low recoil stuff, and come time to head to the field, give her the real stuff(when shooting at an animal,she wont feel the recoil anyway).

I don't agree with that, but to each his own. I have always been a firm believer in practiceing with the same setup you hunt with. Different loads can shoot very differently out of the same gun.

The Marlin lever gun is a great 100yrd brush gun. Since you already have it, I would just put a good scope on it (notice I didn't say expensive scope) and let her practice, practice, practice.

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