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Old 04-01-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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I have 2 boys, 7 and 10. I bought a semi-auto .22 Marlin. I've taken them both to the outdoor range. It's 100 yards, giant backstop and never busy. They have both learned with my .22 and are quite good. I've taught them the fundamentals of handling and proper care. They have both read safety guides and I regularly quiz them. They both have nice bb guns and are very careful. They wanted to learn so I taught. They know NEVER to handle a weapon loaded or unloaded with no supervision.

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Old 04-01-2010, 05:00 PM   #12
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Really good web page on gun/hunter safety Hunting Safety Courses and Hunting License Tests Online - Today's Hunter

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Old 04-01-2010, 05:26 PM   #13
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I bought my 6 year old son his first rifle, A Henry Youth Lever Action .22 for Christmas, He loves it!
I've been working on him about not pointing even toy guns at people, But as a 6 year old, Its a work in progress...
He likes to go out to the range with me to shoot, But tends to get board after about 20 rounds.
I think its also wise to wait until they can hold the fire arm itself as well, But that is a personal opinion.

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:18 PM   #14
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I started my son on a bb rifle at 4 years old. I stress safety practices very seriously. I started him on a 22 rifle at about 6. He had a single shot for a while, He is 11 now. He scares the crap out of me that I will not be able to keep up pretty soon. He has confiscated my 10/22. I almost never get to shoot it anymore. He also shoots my Ruger 22/45 pistol. He has shot my 357 a few times. But he really like the 22.

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:21 PM   #15
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The first few times he shot a pistol I stood directly behind him with my hands on his. After I felt he was ok I relaxed a little. We can now share a table and shoot at the same time.

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Old 04-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #16
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While at the outdoor range my oldest son begged me to shoot my Mosin/Nagant M91-30...I did. His shoulder was sore for 2 days but ill never forget his expression after pulling that trigger!
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:48 PM   #17
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When I was growing up in the country long guns were leaned up in a corner. That was the accepted place for them. I was taught at a very early age (4 or 5) to respect firearms. By the time I was 8 or 9 I was hunting groundhogs with the single shot Remington .22 by myself. I started teaching my kids about gun safety at a very early age as well. My son and youngest daughter started deer hunting at about 11 or 12 years of age and are totally safe with a gun. I feel there's no such thing as starting to teach them too early to respect firearms.

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Old 04-01-2010, 08:44 PM   #18
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I bought my daughters their first head sets as soon as they could walk. By the time they started kindergarten they were adept at safety. They started shooting as soon as they asked to, about 9-10. When my oldest went to summer camp at about 12, she elected to do the shooting thing. Single shot .22's on 50 foot outdoor range. The instructor got very upset with her that she shot the center out of the targets from the get go. He asked her how she could shoot so good. She said "we live in the country and my dad is a cop." He left her alone after that and concentrated on correcting the problems with the boys who thought they knew everything. He would march the boys down to her end of the range (she got an exclusive place and the end and unlimited ammo). There they would get the lecture about a girl outshooting everyone of them because she know how to do it "right". She would snicker and continue cutting out the bulls eye methodically walking bullets around the circumference.

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Old 04-02-2010, 12:26 AM   #19
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All very good posts, folks. Just to stick an oar in-

1. Take your kids when you go shooting, if you are prepared to spend some time with them. Does NOT mean that they shoot when they are too young- they get to see YOU shoot- and learn from you. I was about 4 when I was going to turkey shoots with my Dad. Never fired a shot at those until I was about 8- but I loved being around and listening to the big boys.

2. Get them eye and ear protection that fits them- and teach them to put them on the right way EVERY TIME. It hacks me off, but I run into folks that brought their kids to the range, they are shooting a .999 Crunchenboomer Magnum- no hearing protection on Junior, who is sitting on the bench, flinching. I keep a bunch of disposable foam plugs in my range box for the kids.

3. Do not start kids with a gun that will cause them pain, or failure. A 47 lb kid handed a 12 g or an 8mm Mauser for his first shooting experience will not go well. Find a .22 that will fit the kid. All else fails, get a cheap 22 bolt action (used is fine) and a bandsaw that can shorten the stock by 4 inches. When he gets bigger, get him a better gun, put that one aside for his kids.

4. Although I have been saying HE, do not neglect the young ladies. Those that have been around for a spell have heard me prattle about my shooting buddy- youngest granddaughter, age 14, who wants an M1 Carbine for her birthday. She will look you in the eye, and ask you to put money on the next target if you are ill advised enuff to tell her you think its cute that a little girl comes shooting.

5. Keep shooting fun, and within the abilities of the youngster. The 8 yr old should probably not be struggling with a .308 on the 500 yard line. But a .22 on the 25 yard line will put a big smile on his face.

6. Take the kids shooting. In a few years, they will be voting on whether YOU can continue to own a gun.

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Old 04-02-2010, 01:17 AM   #20
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My dad started my brothers and I shooting and firearms safety at about 6 years of age. Our first rifle we got to shoot was a lever action .22. Then to a SXS .16 guage and later to other types as time progressed. I was particularly good and shooting skeet and trap before I was 10 Y.O.

Dad had a "no nonsence" approach to teaching my brothers and I precision and accuracy and to not waste ammo. To not only hit the target but to place the round on the target exactly where you were aiming. It was alot of work on dads part particularly when we were younger.

In our house, when my brothers and I were kids, toy guns were not allowed except for squirt guns. Dads rule. All firearms were locked up at home and none of my brothers and I had any interest in trying to get at them until dad took us shooting or later hunting.


Dad was born in Missouri in 1913 and came from a family of relitively impoverished dirt farmers. Running trap lines and hunting at a young age was a necessity of life for my dad and his brother to help put some food on the table and add to the family income. My dad and my uncle (dads older brother) were crack shots with any firearm they had in their hands. To this day it still absolutely amazes me how they could hit any moving or stationary target they shot at and placed the shot exactly where they wanted it.

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