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At what age do you take your son to the range?

Kylep427

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Was thinking of taking my 6 year old son to the range for the first time on Fathers Day. Have not spoken to the wife yet (she does not care for guns, but understands they make me happy), and would like some others opionions to help my cause.

Any thoughts?

My son is pretty cool kid, we would be safe first, and have fun. Just want to see what others have experienced.
 
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I took my son to the range for the 1st time just before he turned 6 (which he did just this past May). It was during the day in the middle of the week so the range was empty. He shot my 10/22 TD which he loved but the semi-automatic let him just dump rounds down range (the most I loaded at a time was 4).

We went back again after my mother got him a Crickett single shot .22 which was a MUCH better gun for him. It let him focus on aiming and shooting. He was good for about 35 rounds before his attention started to wane. My mother just got him a Savage Rascal which had a better trigger and a shorter trigger pull but we've not had a chance to get back to the range.

All in all I was mostly pleased with his safety (he did manage to sweep me with the muzzle of his Crickett) but I have to remind myself that at 6 he doesn't have the attention span to be spending a couple hours at the range like Daddy. YMMV with your son.
 

joeendris

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Son, daughter, makes no difference. My daughter is 4, she's been coming to the range with me for the past few months.She is present during most of the homework pertaining to firearms. She helps me when I clean the firearms, she helps me restock the travel bags, sorts targets, etc. She has never touched ammunition or a firearm without express permission from me. Up to and including spent brass at a range.

We wash our hands, twice, after handling ammo and/or guns. [wink] And on her 6th birthday, I'll get her a .22 rifle and a pocket knife, like my father did for me. Though she wants the "pink one" [laugh]

I didn't ask permission from my wife, simple as that. I did tell her that I'm not letting this one grow up as a sheep like the other two....it was a quiet couple days in the house [wink].
 
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You might want to have a serious talk about what not to talk about at school afterwards. Excited six year olds can say some things they really shouldn't in this place and time, and your school district has been known to overreact to kids being silly....
 

Kylep427

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My father in law did take them to a Cowboy Action Shooting show in October. He is a reporter for a local paper and did the article with using my kids for it. My wife was very hot about that, but I think he took a lot of the initial heat. Thanks Gerry. As a matter of fact, I have inherited an Anschuntz and a S&W 39-2 from the second wife, so I have been lucky.
 

drgrant

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I didn't ask permission from my wife, simple as that. I did tell her that I'm not letting this one grow up as a sheep like the other two....it was a quiet couple days in the house [wink].

If you don't mind me asking, what happened with "the other two"? Lot older kids, previous marriage?

-Mike
 

pastera

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Son and daughter taken to the range at 11 & 13 after passing their hunter safety courses

Would have taken them sooner but wife hates the fact that they (the guns not the kids) are in the house. At least she tolerates them now that both children have the hunter course completed
 
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I have been taking my daughter to the range since she was 5 yrs old, she's 10 now. She knows the importance of gun safety and is as good a shot as me. They will never know safety and handling unless they are taught it. Children absorb info. and are very curious and it's important to start early with them as they are taught that guns are bad in society even if they are lawful.
 

Billsail

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He will be happy just to see dad shoot. If he gets bored, go get an ice cream. If he shows any interest, make sure you have a .22 with you. Don't push, ask him if would like try shooting some time, and go from there.

This advice is intended for someone in that age range.
 

TZCHRIS

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I think the earlier the better, i waited till he was 9 only because I don't have 'small' stuff to shoot although I bought a BG380 he likes. Wife not crazy about it but it is good bonding time![smile]
 

Mark from MA

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Son and daughter both were 6ish. Shot the 22 pistols. Now they both shoot up to 45 pretty well both in early teens. They don't shoot big rifles but no prob with 223.
 
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My older two I started around 5 or 6. The youngest I was a little slow and she was about 8 or 9. The older two are now gun owners.
 

Spanz

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It varies based on how well you son/daughter can take directions and understand rules, but in my case it was 5 y.o., both for my and my 2 kids.

Start them off on a bolt action .22 rifle, and just teach them good trigger and muzzle direction discipline. They will forget, so you have to watch them until they get it. Best to teach them that when they are young! I have seen plenty of 20 year olds who never learned!
 
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I bought my son his first .22 at 5( he was closer to 6 ) it is the cricket youth model.
It took a few range trips for me not to ALWAYS keep both eyes on him while he shoots.
Now two years later I'm shooting right next to him only keeping one eye on him.
 
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Son, daughter, makes no difference. My daughter is 4, she's been coming to the range with me for the past few months.She is present during most of the homework pertaining to firearms. She helps me when I clean the firearms, she helps me restock the travel bags, sorts targets, etc. She has never touched ammunition or a firearm without express permission from me. Up to and including spent brass at a range.

We wash our hands, twice, after handling ammo and/or guns. [wink] And on her 6th birthday, I'll get her a .22 rifle and a pocket knife, like my father did for me. Though she wants the "pink one" [laugh]

I didn't ask permission from my wife, simple as that. I did tell her that I'm not letting this one grow up as a sheep like the other two....it was a quiet couple days in the house [wink].

Smart move! It's hard to say no once your wife sees the joy in your little girl's face. I started at 5 years old with a Winchester model 02-22 and was hooked right away. I honestly can't remember if my greatest joy came from the actual shooting or just sharing time with my dad, which is something I still cherish, having lost him three years ago. I grew up with a love for guns, shooting, and some of my most precious memories, as we often shot together in father/son events at the Cape Ann Sportsman's Club, and hunted together. God bless you and your little girl!

- - - Updated - - -

My kids 2nd b-day is coming up in august. I think i might let him try the 12 guage with a slug in it. To soon?

I think either wait till he is two and a half or use a 20 gauge![laugh]
 

TBalls

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I think it really comes down to the specific child and his/her attention span & maturity level. I've started slowly introducing some of the more basic safety rules and I'm thinking by the fall I'll feel comfortable taking my older son (he'll be approaching 6). I think the single shot .22 is the way to go, whether a Crickett, Henry Mini-bolt, or Savage Rascal. I'll probably go with the Rascal since it's the simplest/safest to operate (i.e. you can unload it without manually dropping the bolt, and with the safety on).
 
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It varies based on how well you son/daughter can take directions and understand rules, but in my case it was 5 y.o., both for my and my 2 kids.

Start them off on a bolt action .22 rifle, and just teach them good trigger and muzzle direction discipline. They will forget, so you have to watch them until they get it. Best to teach them that when they are young! I have seen plenty of 20 year olds who never learned!

I was about thirty before I ever went shooting! My wife might not like it, but my son will learn about them as soon as I think he's ready. I'm really looking forward to it.
 

Ozman

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Nice responses here. Interesting to see that it seems like 5/6 years old seems to be the most typical answer here. My daughter's first real trip was at 5, after having been brought up on the "Three Rules" with her ABC's. Didn't really start shooting regularly until age 7, with her joining the excellent youth Junior Rifle Program run out of Mansfield by NES'r Scouter Rick. A long haul from MetroWest to Mansfield every Friday night all summer long but Rick runs a first class program for the kids with some great instructors helping him out. My daughter learned a lot more than just rifle shooting from that program...huge dividends in patience, hard work, control, and respect. I highly recommend it.

And I strongly agree with the page 1 reply from DTTTexan about counseling your kids about not mentioning this at school. It kills me to have to kowtow to the ugly PC-ness of it, but trust me, it is opening a can of ugly you don't want to deal with. I could/should start a new thread to relate my experiences with her school over me just being a gun owner after the school shrink found out about that (and not from my kid). I'm still dealing with the fallout years later.

Steve
 
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My twins have started the learning process at age 3 ( they are now almost 5 ) It started 1st by showing them rifles I own and explaining them, along with "who" its ok to talk about daddys firearms and whos NOT ok to talk about them with. My C&R rifles have become a family event, as my boys will assist in cleaning and identification of parts as new C&R purchases are acquired.

In addition, my boys have been to the range but not while I was shooting. During the orientation when we joined HSC my wife and I brought the boys so the could see the range and see others shooting without going all in and having them there while I was shooting....

IMHO, for our family its been more than just "taking them to the range" but more bringing them up in a "gun" family where firearms are just a part of daily life. I believe my interest and collecting of firearms is for the long term and very much hope that someday the collection Im starting will be theirs, so whats more important to me than just getting them to the range is getting them to understand and respect the sport and the hobby

I will add, that I do have a few special considerations as one of my twins is autistic ( although very high functioning )
 

StevieP

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My sons are almost 19, and already 20. Took the younger for his first time last month. Shot the 10/22 and my 9mm and had a blast. We went back again to shoot the pistol more. The older has said he'll go someday but hasn't expressed much interest. I think I started too late to get into it (I'm 46 & just got my pistol last year) while they were younger. I'm confident he'll come around

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2
 

mass

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I think mine were around seven. Now my oldest son has his LTC [smile] and 17yo wants his FID.

One of the coolest things was in a gun store when the youngest was around 8 and the guy behind the counter asked him if he wanted to hold a revolver. His reply was "yes, please, would you please open the action first. He passed the test.

Sent from State prison using contraband cell phone
 
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Aside from BB and Pellet rifles which they learned on from around 6 or 7 yoa., on thier 10th birthdays it was onto the big stuff. Both became very proficient on the Garand, M4 Carbine , Auto pistols and revolvers. My older son when he was 11 was playing a pistol type video game outside of a theater while waiting to get inside. He was about maxing the score and a couple older people were watching for a few minutes and then came over and asked me how old he was. I told them 11 and they were shocked at how he was holding the pistol, bobbing and weaving and hitting the target. It was humerous as they were besides themselves. Just a funny story.....
 

speedy

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My daughter started at age 8. She was raised around them and understands that there are rules when dealing with weapons of any kind. In fact she yelled at me a few times at the range. She is a great shot. My 5yr old son tells me he is ready. We'll see.
 
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