The best shooters are almost always those who start learning when they are young, so it’s natural to want to buy a rifle for a young friend or relative. You should choose the rifle with care because children often get discouraged by heavy recoil and can struggle to handle larger weapons. The best youth rifle will be small, light, and easy to control. A moderate ammo capacity is best since children will often fire too rapidly when they start learning. There are tons of options out there, so we made a list of the top ten based on their value and ease of use.
10. Weatherby Vanguard Youth
The Vanguard Compact from Weatherby stands out for its adjustable stock. The system includes a space that makes it possible to adjust the gun to fit a growing honor, or to share the gun between siblings and allow all of them to be comfortable with it. The length of the trigger pull is similarly adjustable. The gun has a high caliber but relatively low weight to go with it, so recoil can occasionally be a problem. This is the best youth rifle to be shared among several people, but it is also a good choice for single shooters that are still growing. You can also check out the best 308 bolt action rifles under 500.
9. CZ 455 Scout
The CZ Scout is the best youth rifle for use in competitions. It offers excellent accuracy and handling, along with the ability to mount a scope for added accuracy if needed. The barrel is threaded to take a suppressor, which can help to prevent hearing damage among youths who might forget to wear ear protection. The gun is calibrated to teach ammo conservation. It only holds one round by default, but it can take other 455 magazines to extend that capacity. Youths who want to focus on accuracy or use a suppressor should consider giving this rifle a try.
8. Ruger American Rifle Compact
The Ruger American Rifle Compact is the rifle of choice for young shooters that need high power and low recoil. The .308 model has enough power for most hunters, but it also comes with a good recoil pad to help reduce the kick. The gun’s moderate length and weight are also a good choice for small hunters who can get tired while hauling heavier weapons into the field. The rifle’s accuracy is fairly high, which combines with its other features to make one of the best youth hunting rifles.
7. Henry Mini Bolt Youth
|Manufacturer||Henry Repeating Arms|
The Mini Bolt Youth from Henry is optimized for easy use. In addition to being small and light for easier handling, it has an excellent checkering pattern on the grip and forearm to help young people keep their hands in position. It offers excellent reliability, which helps to keep the user from getting frustrated while they learn. The gun’s components are made well enough to ensure accuracy, and the default sights are lit for improved visibility. This is an ideal gun for brand new shooters who need something that they can learn to use as quickly and easily as possible.
6. Mossberg International 702 Plinkster
The Plinkster from Mossberg is a great gun for casual shooting. The synthetic stock is comfortable even over fairly long sessions, and the gun is light enough for easy transportation. The default iron sights are simple, but they work well enough for most circumstances and they’re great for teaching young shooters how to use basic sights. The gun’s low price is also a serious advantage since it minimizes the investment for shooters who won’t hit the range very often. Give this gun to a young shooter who wants to casually experience the hobby without a major commitment.
5. Savage Arms 11 Trophy Hunter XP Compact
The Savage 11 Compact is a reasonably good hunting rifle in its own right, in addition to being a good youth gun. The gun has a factory-fitted scope and an adjustable trigger, which make accurate shooting easy. The power level is high enough to take down the most large game, and the recoil is on the heavier end of what must young hunters can handle. It’s a great gun for new hunters, but target shooters can use something with a little less power.
4. Remington Model 700 SPS Compact
The Model 700 SPS Compact is the best youth rifle in terms of durability and extra features. The synthetic stock can take a beating, and the combination of a scope mount and an adjustable trigger make it a great introduction to customizing guns. A left-handed model is available, which is also an asset for some shooters. These features make it a great choice for some shooters, but it is far more expensive than many youth rifles. Give it to a shooter that you know loves the sport, but pick a cheaper gun for people who are just trying it.
3. Savage Axis Compact
The Savage Axis Compact is the best youth rifle for people who want a balanced gun. It is reasonably cheap but remains accurate and reliable enough to offer consistent performance for learners. The gun also has a scope mount for people who are ready to move on to more distant targets. It’s a little bit on the heavy side, but most people who are old enough to shoot safely will be able to handle it. It also strikes a good balance between power and recoil. Most young shooters will like this rifle, especially those who will practice until they need a highly accurate rifle.
2. T/C Venture Compact
The T/C Venture Compact is just a smaller version of the company’s Venture hunting rifle. It offers much more power than most youth rifles, to the point where one can use it for deer hunting. That extra power comes with more recoil and some extra weight, which makes it less appropriate for smaller youths. On the other hand, the larger size does mean that it will last longer before they outgrow it. Give this rifle a try for older learners, but be careful about giving one to people who are too small.
1. Keystone Crickett
|Manufacturer||Keystone Sporting Arms|
The Keystone Crickett is the best youth rifle in most cases, especially for shooters who may not stick with the sport. The gun’s low price is its greatest advantage, but it also offers reasonably high accuracy and good ergonomics. It only holds one shot, so it will teach good reloading skills quickly, but it won’t help people learn to use repeating firearms. It also comes in pink, which can be an advantage in getting young girls to shoot! Give it a try if you want something cheap and easy to use with limited ammo.
Making The Right Choice
Finding the best youth rifle for your student or child requires you to find one that fits their size and is easy to aim and fire. That can be a tall order, but a good rifle is a huge asset for a budding shooter. If you know of a good one that we missed, bring it up in the comments so other shooters can investigate it.