Youth's first rifle

Finsandtines

Very Active Member
Jun 16, 2015
553
80
Florida
It's that time of year, and I've been itching to buy my sons first rifle. He will have one tucked under the tree this year from dad. My question to you all is does anyone have experience with the savage axis youth package? I'm pretty set on 243 and I can only put my hands on so many with these ridiculous stores around here. I was looking at the 11 trophy Hunter XP but can't seem to find anyone that has it in stock for me to put my hands on. Plenty of the axis youth package available but I'm not sure how they compare. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
 

Hilltop

Veteran member
Feb 25, 2014
3,659
1,877
Eastern Nebraska
I owned one for a while. Decent rifle but the trigger was pretty bad on mine. I followed on-line instructions and trimmed the spring which helped some. I think if I had it to do over again I would have just put a timney trigger in and fixed the issue completely. Other than that, it was a solid rifle. I ended up selling it and buying a youth model 700 in .243. It is a tack driver... Love that gun and so does my son.

For the record, they could have changed their trigger since then- it has been several years since I purchased the one I had.
 

buckbull

Veteran member
Jun 20, 2011
1,931
1,041
It costs a little more than the axis or comparable offerings from other manufactures like the ruger american but I would give the weatherby vanguard youth a good look. Much better fit and finish. Stock has spacers so as your boy grows you can adjust the stock.
 

papabearxx

New Member
Mar 24, 2014
24
0
Reno, NV
I went through this a while back as well. The trigger on the savage axis was pretty bad. I ended up going with a Tikka compact. It is a nice lightweight rifle, a nice trigger, and very smooth action. And best of all it is a tack driver. I also seriously considered the Weatherby youth rifle, the quality was very nice.
 

Eberle

Veteran member
Oct 2, 2012
1,009
13
47
Sasakwa, Oklahoma
My kids shoot a Ruger American Ranch in a 300 Blackout. My son has killed 14 deer with a blackout and my daughter has killed 2. No recoil, we have a suppressor so it's about as loud as a 22 magnum shooting a 110 barnes at 2450 fps. I bought him an axis in a 7mm-08 first. It kicked him pretty good, of course he was only 7 at the time. I too trimmed a coil off the trigger spring. I sold it and bought the Ruger & I'm very happy with it. I think the Ruger American is the best economy gun out their right now.
 
Last edited:

shootbrownelk

Veteran member
Apr 11, 2011
1,543
196
Wyoming
My kids shoot a Ruger American Ranch in a 300 Blackout. My son has killed 14 deer with a blackout and my daughter has killed 2. No recoil, we have a suppressor so it's about as loud as a 22 magnum shooting a 110 barnes at 2450 fps. I bought him an axis in a 7mm-08 first. It kicked him pretty good, of course he was only 7 at the time. I too trimmed a coil off the trigger spring. I sold it and bought the Ruger & I'm very happy with it. I think the Ruger American is the best economy gun out their right now.
I'll second that recommendation on the Ruger American , but in .243. Very accurate, deadly with premium bullets, low recoil and a great adjustable trigger. Economically priced.
 

ivorytip

Veteran member
Mar 24, 2012
3,760
30
41
SE Idaho
I got my 11 yo the savage .243. I almost got 7mm 08. but that .243 is an awesome gun! blasted some jack rabbits 200 yrds out with that thing and it was great fun!!
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
175
midwest
I'd go with a Ruger American in either 243 or 6.5 Creedmoor. I have shot 4 Ruger Americans for myself and others and all have been fairly easy to get to shoot MOA or better. If it was me I'd probably go with the 243 for now and if the kid gets older/bigger and wants more gun the 243 can stick around as a great back-up and coyote gun. Then a 6.5 Creedmoor, 270 win, whatever can be added down the road. That leaves a person with 2 guns that have the same controls and feel that are both capable on big game. A primary and back-up gun depending on what is being hunted. I personally would love to see a 24" barreled American in 25-06 too.

Something I think can be overlooked on kids guns is scopes. I like to put a decent scope on the gun even if it means saving a little money on the rifle to do it. The budget guns today like the American shoot so well a cheaper rifle can perform as well as any of them. Glass isn't quite that way. I think to many people who are used to using scopes with higher magnification tend to put to much on their kids first gun. I personally like the Vortex Diamondback 2-7x for this. It is a good value and has a giant 64ft field of view on 2x. The other scope I like in this price range, the Redfield, has 43ft. It's nice to zoom in when you can, but it's often not necessary and can be counterproductive for a kid with their adrenaline flowing. I shot my buck this year at 144yds with a Leupold VX-6 3-18x50 that has a massive 76ft field of view and I didn't think of increasing magnification, just enjoyed the view. Last years buck I shot at the very end of shooting light at 300yds on 8x. I love having magnification for when I need it, just seldom seem to need it shooting deer instead of long range targets or coyotes. My wife struggles sometimes with my 4.5-14x Leupold on the gun she used with a 19.9ft FOV on 4.5x so I got her a 308 with a 2.5-8x Leupold and she likes it much better. Just something to think about that experienced shooters used to scopes don't notice that newer or less experienced shooters often do.

The gun my nephews will start out on is a CZ 7.62x39 carbine with a 1.5-4x VX-R Leupold. I can set them up to take shots of 100yds or less on a doe for their first hunt, and the cheap FMJ ammo available will help me afford to let them practice a lot before the hunt. I'll re-zero the rifle before the hunt with Hornady's SST load or one of the hog loads available with a good expanding bullet. It's not a long range set-up by any means but with the FMJ ammo costing $240/260 per thousand I can afford to let them practice cheaper than I can even load 243 ammo and we can spend more time shooting and less loading. The low power scope with the lighted crosshair will help them find and focus on the target even with the adrenaline flowing. As they get better with scopes and ready to shoot more distance we will step up to the 243 or 25-06, but I think this is an ideal starter gun if ranges can be kept short.
 

Finsandtines

Very Active Member
Jun 16, 2015
553
80
Florida
Thanks for the feedback all. I like what I see from the Ruger online, now if I could just get my hands on one of these guns to check them out it would be nice!
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
4
Oregon
The Ruger is the rifle I steered my brother to for his son, in 308. We hunt elk quite a bit and he is convinced he'll draw a youth moose tag... Very accurate with it's favored factory ammo, the stock is a little cheesy, but we liked how it felt in our hands. Trigger was fine considering the price. You usually get what you pay for, but this rifle delivered value/performance better than expected, IMO anyway. There are lots of good factory set ups anymore for kids.
 

buckbull

Veteran member
Jun 20, 2011
1,931
1,041
The Ruger is the rifle I steered my brother to for his son, in 308. We hunt elk quite a bit and he is convinced he'll draw a youth moose tag... Very accurate with it's favored factory ammo, the stock is a little cheesy, but we liked how it felt in our hands. Trigger was fine considering the price. You usually get what you pay for, but this rifle delivered value/performance better than expected, IMO anyway. There are lots of good factory set ups anymore for kids.
Most of the complaints I have read concerning the Ruger American is the stock; especially if you put a bipod on it. the forend will flex and hit the barrel pretty easily so its claimed. Lots of youtube videos on what people are doing to stiffen the stock. Rumor has it that ruger has stiffened the stock, but I haven't read proof of that. Boyds makes a wood stock for the ruger american that would fix the issue. But then, if your spending another $120 to replace the stock why not just buy a tikka or weatherby. I've had my eye on the ruger american predator for a dedicated coyote gun but reluctant to buy the american due to the stock issue since I'd probably want to have a bipod on that rifle.
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
4
Oregon
Most of the complaints I have read concerning the Ruger American is the stock; especially if you put a bipod on it. the forend will flex and hit the barrel pretty easily so its claimed. Lots of youtube videos on what people are doing to stiffen the stock. Rumor has it that ruger has stiffened the stock, but I haven't read proof of that. Boyds makes a wood stock for the ruger american that would fix the issue. But then, if your spending another $120 to replace the stock why not just buy a tikka or weatherby. I've had my eye on the ruger american predator for a dedicated coyote gun but reluctant to buy the american due to the stock issue since I'd probably want to have a bipod on that rifle.
My nephew uses a Stoney Point rapid pivot bi-pod. Does not flex/pre-load it, or press down with anything but the rifle weight, just sets it down and shoots. Have not noticed problems, but I will look for that next time I am with him. Howa used to make some nice affordable guns with a hogue stock, ranch/predator styled, may still, not sure but could be worth a check. I got one in .223 some years back, really like it.
 

buckbull

Veteran member
Jun 20, 2011
1,931
1,041
My nephew uses a Stoney Point rapid pivot bi-pod. Does not flex/pre-load it, or press down with anything but the rifle weight, just sets it down and shoots. Have not noticed problems, but I will look for that next time I am with him. Howa used to make some nice affordable guns with a hogue stock, ranch/predator styled, may still, not sure but could be worth a check. I got one in .223 some years back, really like it.
I've looked at them online, but not many dealers of HOWA around here to get my hands on one. I have a couple weatherby vanguards that HOWA manufactures and they are impressive for an economy rifle.
 

BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
847
747
7-08 for the win...and by a large margin.

My nephew is a whopping 68 pounds and 12 years old. My Brother bought him a wrong-handed Remington 700 youth 7-08.

While waiting for some 120 grain nosler BT's to show up, tried out some 140's to get it on paper...

Shot fair out of the gate, shots 5-10 after shooting the first five to zero:



The 120's showed up and they shot pretty fair with a mild load of H380:



Shot 3 as fast as I could cycle the bolt at 200 yards, prone, off my pack to confirm drop...right where it was supposed to be.



Loaded up a hundred rounds and sent it off to my nephew. He had a NR Wyoming elk tag and came down to give it a go. Found a big herd of elk on public.

One shot with his 7-08 at 70 yards, the 120 Nosler BT broke the on shoulder, took the top of the heart off and was lodged under the skin on the off-side. Cow went about 10 steps, sat on its butt, and flipped over dead.

 

BuzzH

Very Active Member
Apr 15, 2015
847
747
Recovered 120 BT from my nephews cow...hard to ask for better performance.



I've shot 8 elk with my 7-08 since 2013...its a great round. Light recoil, frugal on powder, long case life, accurate, yada yada...and kills wayyy better than it should.
 

rjroberts15

Member
Jun 8, 2016
121
9
CA
Buzz,
Great info. I've been thinking about a gun for my son for some time. I've been thinking about a model seven in 7-08 or a model 70 in 7mm -08.
 

droptine

Active Member
May 19, 2014
236
0
Minnesota
Buzz, do you know what you're getting for speed with the 120's? My 7-08, I'm shooting 139 sst over 40 gr. H4895 .010 off the lands and getting an average of 2660 fps. Of 11 consecutive shots, only 8 fps spread. And can hit a 6" plate all day long at 500 yds.