Need advice on airgun for youth training

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by Siege, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Siege

    Siege Active Member

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    Apologies in advance for the long post.

    Here's the problem - I don't know much about the state of the industry and the models these days, and I'm hoping someone here might have significant recent experience in the area of teaching youth shooting with airguns to be able to tell me what the most appropriate air-rifle under, say ~$150, might be for a 7 year-old. Hopefully something that will last, too.

    I see lots of models, but most of the ones I'm seeing labeled for youth aren't much better than the cheap Daisy models I had as a kid, and I'm sure there must be better out there.

    That said, I'm concerned an "adult" model is going to be ergonomically incorrect for a child of his stature (he's a little tall for his age, but not ridiculously so), with a stock that is too long, pump too hard to actuate, etc. I'd also like it to be scope-ready at minimum, and ideally come with (a decent) one. In addition, I'd prefer it not be a CO2-model so as not to have to deal with the expense and limitation of running out of propellant, but I'm willing to consider it if that's what it takes. I have ZERO intention of him doing any hunting with this, but I'd also like to be able to get a decent range out of the thing with a flat trajectory - at least 25 yards or so. From what I'm seeing, a bi-pod mount is probably asking too much.

    I find, for example, a "Crosman CYT6M77 Spring-Powered .177-Caliber Youth Break Barrel Air Rifle With Adjustable Grow-With-Me Stock", but it lacks mounting for a scope, and lists no FPS.

    Then there's a "Ruger Explorer Youth Break Barrel .177 Caliber Pellet Gun Air Rifle" that does supposedly have an 11mm dovetail rail, but I can't see where it would be unless it's what the rear sight is mounted to, which is WAY far forward for having good eye-relief, I should think. Also, it's a mere 495 FPS.

    Finally, I find an "Umarex NXG APX Multi-Pump Pneumatic Youth .177 Caliber Pellet or BB Gun Air Rifle" that looks a decent choice maybe, but the reviews are... iffy, and they all seem to say to throw the included scope in the trash at minimum, defeating some of the purpose.

    There's a Bear River B1155 model that seems to be meant for youths, but is not in stock anywhere I look, and there doesn't seem to be a significant difference between it and the "Sportsman 900" adult model.

    All of the above have some pros and cons, I guess, but none of them (except maybe the Bear River) seems a particularly good choice.

    Or am I overthinking this? Would a standard ("adult") model be just fine, with or without scope? Both my kids are tall for their ages and growing like weeds, and for my oldest I'd like him to get at least a few years' use out of it before he's ready to move on to .22LR, when his little brother (who will be turning 3 reasonably soon) can hopefully inherit the air rifle. Regardless, I'm looking for something I can teach gun safety and marksmanship with - not a toy - but also isn't going to "break the bank". Still, if there's something genuinely good for youth shooting, I'm willing to consider spending a little more to get a quality product that will last.

    Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated, particularly (but not solely) if you've got active experience teaching youth marksmanship.
     
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Most break-barrel spring piston guns are HARD to cock.
    More than a 7 y/o can handle. Maybe a strong and athletic 12 y/o could

    I don't know of anybody that makes an ideal youth training rifle, which would be a side-lever cocking spring piston action, 5 shot repeater using loading clips / speedloaders, shooting all-lead .177 wadcutter pellets at about 600 fps thru a real rifled bore, weighing only about 5-6 lbs, and having both iron sights (preferably a peep rear) and a scope base.
     
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  3. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    The cheap ($50-$70) multi-pump pneumatic air guns can be good for 7 to 10-year-olds depending on their skill level.

    A kid would have to become a very good marksman to outgrow the accuracy potential of these rifles.

    If you try them with several different brands and weights of pellets, you will probably find a pellet that would group 5 shots into the size of a nickel at 50 feet.

    When your kid can come close to doing that from the bench, have him practice the other positions until he can do that from the prone position, then get 1.5" groups from the sitting position, and finally 2" groups from the (unsupported) standing position.

    when your kid can shoot that well, at 50 feet, THEN it would be time to move up to a much bigger and more expensive air rifle or a .22 rimfire, possibly loaded only with low powered ammo such as CCI's "Quiet" round or CB Longs.

    Adult air rifles can be quite accurate out to about 35 yards,
    which is more than twice the distance of a cheap multi pump air rifle.
    And if you go with the rimfire option, CCI's "quiet" ammo will be very accurate how to 50 yards.
     
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  4. DonT

    DonT Deplorable bitter clinger.

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    May I suggest also, that you get in contact with your local 4H club? 4H has youth air gun competition programs, a good way to get youngsters into an organized shooting sport and into learning about air guns in general. Just a thought.

    https://4-hshootingsports.org/
     
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  5. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    This adult air rifle Comes with a scope and it's on special clearance sale for only $40. It might be worth it to get this and if the kids can't handle it (which I predict to be the case), then YOU can have fun plinking with it while they shoot their smaller, lower powered guns.

    When the kids are ready for an adult air rifle, you'll already have this one on hand.

    https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/marksman-model-2070-break-barrel-air-rifle-combo
     
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  7. Siege

    Siege Active Member

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    Thank you both very much for the advice, it will be considered carefully as I review my options. The scope definitely isn't a necessity, and in fact having iron sights has always been a requirement for any firearm I purchase... I even went out of my way to get rails and mounts that still leave the irons visible, so maybe just sticking with them - at least at first - isn't a bad idea anyway.

    As for an adult air rifle on the cheap for myself, that's a great idea, and a MUCH cheaper way for me to keep my own marksmanship skills up without having to spend >/= $1 every time I pull the trigger on my own rifle.

    Also, I had not considered 4H. I didn't know they had an airgun course/program, but I should have considered them by now regardless, and will be looking into that promptly.

    Again, thank you both very sincerely, the guidance is greatly appreciated.
     
  8. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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