Beginner Rifles For All Ages

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People become interested in firearms at different ages. Some of us are shooting BB guns at 5 years old while others don’t have the opportunity until much later in life. Finding the right firearm for you can be the difference of enjoying the sport and never firing more than one round.

With over 300 million firearms in the United States alone, knowing how to use one safely can only be a good thing, even if you don’t own one personally. You can see more on firearm safety rules here.

A BB gun or air rifle is a great place for anyone that hasn’t fired a firearm before. The lack of recoil and muzzle blast make it great for building confidence in a new shooter. I started on a Red Ryder BB gun at a very young age. The exact same one my son got to shoot 20 years later when he started showing interest in firearms.

Lower recoiling firearms can be great for a new shooter because they don’t tend to make newer shooters flinch nearly as much. If you start with a center fire cartridge like a .223 Remington, this can still be a shock to new shooters. You can almost guarantee they will start to flinch.

My mom had an experience that ruined her for years her first time shooting. A Colt Anaconda chambered in .44 Magnum with some nice big hand loads. Going too big can ruin the experience and it’s just not safe. Start off small and they can always move up as they get used to more recoil.

SIZING A RIFLE TO THE SHOOTER

Finding the correct length of pull for a shooter can save a lot of time and bad habits. To do this properly, you’ll want to use the 90

 degree method. Holding your rifle in your hand, hold your elbow at 90 degrees and see where the butt rests on your arm.

A proper adjustment means it rest right on the inside of your elbow. If it runs into your arm before 90, then the length of pull is too long. Too far up the arm means it is too short.

This is where AR platforms are very handy. The collapsible stock that many models have allows the shooter to adjust the length of pull very quickly. They also come in smaller pistol calibers and .22LR for beginners. In places like New York, a collapsible stock makes it an “assault weapon”. This means making a rifle that anyone in the family can use and enjoy is a no-go. This is another way that “common sense” gun control negatively impacts the entire community.

A big part of size is obviously age and size of the shooter. If you try to hand a child a rifle designed for an adult, they may have to ride on top of the stock to get a clear sight picture. A lot of people have learned about scope bite the hard way. Having a rifle that fits the shooter is a huge part of this.

Some rifles are adjustable out of the box, and some have a nice short youth stock. We’ll go over a few of the more common starter rifles here, starting with a couple BB guns and moving into 22LR and other calibers.

1. RED RYDER BB GUN

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.No list of beginner guns would be complete without an honorable mention of this classic. Based on a popular comic, this air rifle has been in the hands of many a young cowboy since the 1940’s. Modeled after the old lever action Winchester rifles, this is sure to put a smile on any young shooters face.

Made with a beautiful wood stock, these look a lot better next to your hunting rifles than a cheap plastic pellet gun.

These are a great option for a first time shooter that has no idea what to expect their first time with a firearm. All the basic safety and motor skills without the intimidating bang., and really they’re still fun after 20 years.

For right around $25 this is something any gun owner can enjoy.

2. RUGER 10/22

Lets get the well-known ones out of the way here. Another rifle that has been in production for decades, however this one is semi-automatic. They come with a 10 round magazine from the factory and have plethora of aftermarket options.

If this is for your daughter and she happens to love pink, that can be a thing too. Nothing would be worse at the range than getting out-shot by a little girl with a pink gun. Be careful if this could hurt your ego, because kids tend to learn fast.

From carbon fiber wrapped and integrally silenced barrels to match grade triggers and actions, this are a platform to build off for years to come. You can also get some pretty amazing magazines for them as long as you don’t live in one of THOSE states.

Newer synthetic models feature a detachable butt pad with the youth model coming in at a 12.5” length of pull. There are different LOP pieces available as well as low and high comb heights for each lenght. Simply unscrew the rear sling stud and the whole piece comes right off. This is great if you want a rifle that can grow with a young shooter.

At just over 5 lbs ours has a pretty heavy trigger. While this doesn’t help with accuracy, it means they have to really want to pull that trigger. It’s nothing impressive in terms of a crisp break, but there are factory upgrades as well as aftermarket offerings.

You can often find new ones on sale for under $200 at your local gun shop. We picked up the 50th Anniversary Edition for just under $250.

3. THOMPSON/CENTER HOT SHOT

This is a smaller version of their popular Encore line of rifles, just chambered in 22LR instead. The Hot Shot is targeted towards young first time shooters from 6 on up. They also include a spacer to allow it to grow with them.

While the single shot break action design may not lend itself to fast plinking, it will make sure they get to focus on fundamentals.

A lot of companies take a full size rifle, chop a few inches off and call it a youth model. T/C went all out and made a miniature version of their Pro Hunter series.

The trigger on ours came in at just under 4 lbs, which is light enough for great accuracy while still being nice and safe.

With a length of pull of 11.5” and a overall weight of 3 lbs, this rifle is compact and light enough for even the smallest shooters.

These can be found for just under $250 in most local gun stores.

4. ROSSI TRIFECTA

Not all beginners are small children, and this is another great single shot for anyone that may be looking for a training rifle and hunting rifle. However the 13.25” length of pull is geared towards older shooters and may not fit a youngin very well.

The Rossi Trifecta comes with 3 barrels chambered in 22LR, 20g, and .243 Winchester. This allows the shooter to practice with their hunting rifle all day with cheap 22LR ammo. A quick barrel swap and you’re ready for some whitetail.

For less than $400 a new shooter can get a feel for several common calibers without breaking the bank.

They have made the barrel swap process pretty pain free. Loosen the screw, remove the forend and swivel. Open the action, replace the barrel and forend, tighten the screw and on your way you go.

5. CZ 457 VARMINT AT-ONE

The last rifle on the list is our editor pick as well as being the most expensive. At over $600 this bolt action rifle is packed with features. If you’re looking to tell the wife that it’s “for the kids” this may be perfect for you.

This rifle has a quick adjust length of pull from 12.5” to 14.25” as well as 5/8 worth of adjustable comb height making it perfect for shooter of almost any size.

One of their most popular models, this rifle has a 16.5” heavy profile barrel with 1/2-28 threads for a suppressor or muzzle brake.

The laminate stock is pillar bedded for extra stability without adding as much weight as an aluminum block. This also helps to keep the price of the rifle much lower while keeping 90% of the same features as the higher end competition style rifles.

The newer 457 models feature the long awaited push to fire style safety like the american made competition. They also shortened the action by nearly an inch and slab sided it to decease weight as well as the footprint. This makes for a nice short bolt throw.

The short bull barrel gives the powder plenty of time to burn, without being so long that it starts slowing the bullet down again like longer 22LR barrels. This also decreases barrel “whip” and is much stiffer than a longer low profile barrel. All of this adds together to make a tack driver out of a basic rimfire.

The 455’s stamped bottom metal has been replaced with a classy two-piece interlocking system.

With all the new styling features, they also got away from the 90° degree bolt throw and went with 60° instead. This allows larger diameter ocular lenses and lower ring heights when mounting a scope on the rifle.

Last but not least, the new adjustable trigger has weight, creep, and even over-travel adjustments. This allows the shooter to dial in the trigger exactly how they like it.

The 457 models keep the easy swap barrel design and reliable polymer magazines. This allows you to swap from 22LR to other calibers like 22WMR or 17 HMR with ease.

With the ballistic tip 17 HMR rounds, this rifle will drop a woodchuck well past 100 yards with ease.

All of these features come together to make an amazing rifle for anyone willing to fork over the cash. If you go by the thought process of “Buy once, cry once” this may just be the rifle for you.

RIGHT FOR YOU

Any of these rifles will do a great job of sending lead down range. The only real question left is which one is right for you.

We have highlighted everything from single shot break actions to the semi-automatic 10/22. There should be something here to fit just about any new shooter and let them learn safety and practice the sport without learning to flinch.

If there’s something you think we missed or another review you’d like to see please leave a comment below.