Contributors to this thread:
I am thinking of purchasing a new shotgun for my youngest son (11) for turkey hunting. Would like it to be multi-functional (small game, pheasant etc) but main purpose will be turkey hunting. My only thought is 20 gauge.
Does anyone have any thoughts/input? Thanks in advance!
IMO it is hard to beat a youth model 870 20 gauge. With today’s shotgun loads it is a very effective turkey - upland gun. Hunt
+1 Hunt. The 870 or a Mossberg 500 are a good, affordable choice that are reliable and easy for youngsters to operate.
I killed many a duck, grouse, ptarmigan and even a deer with slugs with my first 20 gauge single shot. Great starter gun.
stoeger condor- over/under 20 guage.
For reliability and functionality, i’ll agree with Hunt on the 870, but if the youngster is slight of build or recoil shy at all, the 11-87 youth kicks a whole bunch less. About twice the cost tho’.
My son is running a youth model 20 gauge he started last year at age 8 with turkeys. We looked at many options and right now for the life of me I can not recall the model we got. However for him we found that a safety on top of the stock was way better than a button on the trigger. Simply put a safety on top allowed him to see its position and move it easily. The button under neath was harder to use and required him to contort in weird positions.
My daughter has an off brand 20 gauge youth model from Walmart, it is a pump action and on sale they are usually $100. I bought it thinking if anything it would be atruck gun, but it is awesome and shoots great for $100. I think pump is way better than break action.
My daughter just turned 16 but since she was 6 she has been hunting turkeys with a Remington 1100. She has killed 14 turkeys with it. It has a youth stock. It fits a small child well and recoil is minimal. Recoil should be less with a semi auto vs a pump.
agree on the 11/87 or 1100 recommendation. My son also learned to shoot skeet with it which is tough with a pump.
I agree that a Remington 1100 is tough to beat for a youngster.
Weatherby SA -08 20 gauge great little gun and about all I use myself anymore. I have Sumtoy choke and its shoots great. I really set it up at first mostly for the youth hunts we do and put a red dot on it to help them. I do like the semi as often its hard for the small kids to work the action and in case of a miss it allows them a better chance at a follow up shot
Both my boys got youth 20's, one a remington 870 express, the other mossberg 500 bantum, they've both taken deer, turkey, ducks and geese. One has been passed "up" to Mom now and she's laid the smack on some turkeys.
At the time the mossberg came with a 50% off to upgrade the stock/forearm to make it a fully sized 500, not sure if they still do
20's can take anything upland/waterfowl/turkey/deer down!
My kids started on a youth 870. They didn't like it. It didn't fit very well and it kicked hard. And I love 870s. I agree a soft recoiling gas semi-auto would be the best.
I'm partial to Remington 870's. My son has taken a couple of spring turkey's with a 20 gauge 870 express and some pheasant with a 20 gauge 870 special purpose. He actually took his first deer this year with a 12-gauge 870 express. He is 12 years old.
REM 1100 youth model Rem 1187 youth model
Rem 870 youth model In that order would be my suggestion. I am a shotgun coach and these are the guns I have settled on myself for youth shooters
Feel free to pm me if you have questions in specific models or why I choose those listed.
I coach youth in all clay target disciplines. A shotgun that doesn't fit properly while using a heavy load is like hitting them across the chest with a baseball bat, not a fun way to start if you want them to continue shooting ... A light slow load in a gas operated 12 gauge like a Remington 1100 probably has the least amount of recoil is the best way to start.
TriStar viper 20 gauge. Soft recoil, lightweight, offered in a youth configuration, and based on a tried and true Beretta action.
870 is a great gun-I own 5 or 6, but is fairly heavy and kicks hard. Especially the express models that have terrible recoil pads.
On any youth gun, or anything I own that kicks, I install Pachmyr Decelerators. The Limbsaver is also a very good choice. Don't rely on the factory pad, which is often about as soft as the heel on a pair of cowboy boots.
Well for one hate most youth shotguns, because they are brutal on their shoulders, both the Rem 870 and the Mossberg,,,,, for some juveniles they can handle them, but most can not. I was a full time firearms instructor for a police dept for over 15 years and I taught a lot of young people in my spare time, shooting skills....
If you go that route, get them trained on the nomenclature of that weapon, and start them shooting light loads, to ease them into the weapon.
For me, and a lot of our young people starting out, I would put them into a Rem 1100 20 gauge, the recoil is very little, and more enjoyable, and them make some great loads today for close in shooting. Yes its semi auto, but they do not need that tube filled at first,,,,,,
again make sure that you get them to be able to handle and understand the nomenclature of that gun, well before season,,,,,,,,,
I have handled a lot of kids, who were actually gun shy,,,,, this might sound crude, but you can over come this with solid training, not like a good gun dog, that was ruined, by some guy, who knew nothing on weapon introduction.....
Do not enter that route, it has to be enjoyable for them..... My daughter started out this way at 10. I was lucky, I was able to get her a Model 37 Winchester, single 20 hammerless,,,,, those guns are too expensive to be made today....
Stay away from hammer guns also,,,,,,,, good luck and have fun
I am sure there are other fine guns
My dad started us all with Winchester 37-A youth model 20-gauges. The brilliance of that is that he could see at a glance whether our guns were Safe (broken) or not. A closed action is a loaded gun. Try keeping track of 3 boys and 2 dogs and you’ll see the wisdom.
But from a recoil standpoint, a double is better and a semi-auto is probably best. I can tell you from personal experience that a #72 kid, a lightweight Youth single and a 3” duck load is a recipe for quite a flinch!!
If I were to let a young person use a semi, it would be only under extremely well controlled circumstances and I’d be doling out shells one at a time with the magazine incapable of holding anything that could turn it into a repeater.
And FWIW.... What’s the rush with the little kids actually pulling the trigger? I tagged along with my dad and older brother for YEARS before I was allowed to carry a gun, and it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm one bit.
Kids don’t need to kill anything to enjoy a good hunt; and no good comes from teaching them otherwise.
Most hunters do go through a phase where flllimg a tag or taking a limit is a major priority, but it’s not a good or safe place to start. Let them learn about all the other aspects of a hunt that make it worth doing it well to begin with.
I can attest to the semi vs pump recoil. My son at 10 would use my beretta semi 12 gauge over the Mossberg youth 20 ga. as the recoil in the semi was minimal compared to the Mossberg pump.
I agree with the guy above that said youth model 870. Or if he’s a big kid, get the standard 870.
My kids shoot an 1187 and an 1100 with red dots on both. We had a few misses until the red dot likely due to getting rattled when the Tom was gobbling and not fully getting down on the barrel with just the bead.
With that being said we use low brass 9s to sight them in and I always run some turkey loads through the guns and tweak the dot if needed when the kids aren’t around. Turkey load goes in the gun when hunting and kids NEVER notice the kick on a bird. If you want to turn them off let them shoot a 3” high brass turkey load at paper! Hell I hate that!
Other thing I do for both is have them wear ear muffs with sound amplifiers. I can whisper to them and they can hear plus they hear the bird really well but there is no loud report as they cut off above a certain decibel. That helps with the shooting and flinching and also protects their hearing. I wish I’d always done this when I was younger as my hearing is not great due to loud noises - mainly guns and chainsaws. I am religious about hearing protection now but it is too late.
The 20s have no problem killing turkeys and we also hunt pheasant with them and kill them no problem.
Walmart sells the youth 1187 20ga for 487.00 here where I'm at . I've bought 2 !
I bought a Tristar Raptor Youth 20 autoloader last week for my 10 year old for $350. It is a very nice gun for the money. Turkish made but has pretty darn good reviews. I wanted an autoloader for her simply to soak recoil. My plan is for her to shoot regular 2.75" high brass. We will be shooting 30 yards max so no need for all the recoil of turkey loads. Anything that will cycle ammo consistently is good enough for us as we will be shooting close range and it probably will only see a few rounds a year. A few to pattern and a few to shoot gobblers.
I started by son at 8 with a compact 870 youth 20ga. To me, the gun was too light and kicked like a mule even with reduced loads. I traded that off on a youth 11-87 20ga auto and it was a huge improvement. He shot that gun until he was 11 and started shooting trap, then they moved him up to a full sized 12ga on the 2nd day of trap league. Out of the whole class of 11yo kids in the trap league I think they only put the 1-2 smallest kids into compact sized guns.
Depending on his size, at this point a full sized 12ga gas auto with reduced loads would probably be as good as any to introduce him and wont kick much at all. My son is now 13 and has confiscated my Winchester SX3 3.5" and hunts geese and turkeys with full 3.5" shells and has no issues.
The only shotty I've ever owned is an 870 12 ga pump...I love the thing. Can't wait until I can get my kiddos shooting it as well.
The 1100 my boy has is a youth but it is only chambered for 2 3/4”. My daughters 1187 is a youth model as well but is chambered for 3". To tell you the truth my daughters 1187 is a pretty sweet gun. I find myself using it for turkeys rather than my 12! Nice and compact, light, low recoil and patterns well. I picked up some new 3” 8/10 blend that is supposed to pattern unbelievable that I can’t wait to try. I never even heard of 10 shot before I saw this stuff.
I have an old reliable 12 gauge browning BPS that shoots 3” that I’ve killed a ton of turkeys with but it will rattle your teeth!
Something to be said for an auto loader.
Got my daughter the Tristar Raptor Youth in 20 gauge in camo. It shoots great and the recoil is minimal. She easily drops turkeys at 35 yards. She also enjoys shooting sporting clays. She has had it a couple of years now and have not had the first problem. Don't remember what I paid but it was a bargain.
I’m 14 and am shooting a 20 gauge youth sportman model 11-87 that I have shot since 9 or so. Good gun killed 3 turkeys , some ducks, and some sporting clays with it. It’s a great gun in my opinion
Remington 870 compact in 20 here. I have 1 of those square rear sights on it. Remington has a little more weight than the Mossberg so less kick. Both 10 and 7 year old shoot it.
You can kind of see the sight in this picture
IMO I would not consider an 1187 or 1100. They just have too much weight forward. I might consider an 870 if the recoil would not be an issue. I think it is great to get a kid to where they can shoot a pump second nature. It is hard to learn to shoot a pump as an adult without having to think about shucking the shell.
I think the Weatherby SA-08 youth model eclipses the 1100 and 1187 for youth. I started my son on his when he was 8 and he killed a turkey with it when he was 10.
I really can't overstate the importance of reducing the weight in the forearm for youth. It is a game changer. If you have not held a Weatherby SA-08 youth then I would make that a priority before buying.
What Hunt said. The last two gobblers my boy killed were stepped off at 40 and 41 steps, that was just as close as they were coming. Both dropped in their tracks from a 3" load of #6 shot in factory full choke.
I still have the Mossberg 500 20ga. my son won at a turkey shoot some 20 yrs ago. He was shooting a 12ga. Remington 870 I had given him. He thought he was shooting for the Mossberg 835 but that was the adult prize(He was, and still is a big un). When he saw the youth model that he had won, he turned his nose up at it. Said it was a "kids" gun. I said ok, if he didn't want it, I'd take it. It has been my shotgun turkey slayer ever since. I have killed over 30 birds with that shotgun, shooting a standard full choke. Longest shot was 53 steps, shooting 3 inch #6 pheasant loads. The pheasant loads are cheaper than the turkey loads.
And after your son outgrows the youth Weatherby SA-08 you can either get an adult stock for it for him or keep it for a turkey gun for yourself. Those new TSS (tungsten shot) are bad loads. You can shoot 8s or 9s with the same energy that you were shooting with 6s. I have not switched over to them yet simply because I am going to finish out my box of plated lead 6s before I do, but their downrange effectiveness is unarguable for turkeys. I have not shot a bird past 30 yards in 25 years but if you want to be able to clean their clock with a 20 gauge the TSS is wicked. Guys killing birds with .410s now with that load. Dang expensive shells though.
I just loaned my son's youth SA-08 to a friend whose son could not handle the weight forward of his youth 1100.
GF is right on. I followed my Dad around for a few years before ever being allowed to hunt. In no way did it diminish my desire. A 20 is a great choice and yes an autoloader will be less recoil, but--a pump will function no matter what. Having guided Turkey hunters for 5 years, I have seen the hog daddy 3 1/2 inch shooters and the "Jellyhead" choke guys miss layups on Tom's standing in the decoys. You don't need that to kill Turkeys. 20ga---Low base 7 1/2--IC choke. Call them close and they will be just as dead. Also allows a little room for error if your young one is shook up by the encounter.
I bought my son a 37 Winchester 20 ga, he did use it for few years. Now that gun has not been used for years. I got 3 grandson and they used a Remington 870 12 ga. with inter changing chokes. I went and got a cheap wood stock and cut it down to fit them every year or so I would put a spacer to fit them. Now they use the full stock the gun came with. The 12 ga. has a larger pattern than a 20 ga. which will help the kids. Buy light loads and use the gun like a single shot to start out. I don't want a kid using a auto and they are heavy too.
Both of my boys have started with the youth model 870s. Perfect little gun that is easy to handle, safe, and has a variety of shells and chokes available as they grow and hunt all sorts of birds. As stated, stay away from the high brass heavy loads training and even in the field until they grow into it.
I grew up on semi autos. I shot my first pump, an 870 when I was 16. I couldn’t believe how hard it kicked. I would suggest a semi auto. If you’re worried about safety, give you’re little one, one shotshell at a time.
I bought my grandsons a Weatherby SA -08 20 gauge. I've thought about carrying it.
Benelli Nova pump. Can be had in a compact model in 20 gauge if needed. This is what I started my kids on. It has been a winner. Recoil hasn't been any issue.
Being left handed I've personally shot Beretta over and unders my whole life because There aren't a whole lot of lefty options for autos. A few years ago I bought a Benelli Super black eagle in left, but I just don't shoot it that great or like it (I did like the 3rd shot), so I gave it to a friend. The 20 ga does have less recoil and some people are more deadly with them because of it. I'm about 185 lb and don't even notice the 12 ga heavy loads, but my buddy who is about 20 lbs lighter can't stand 3" let alone 3.5" due to the recoil and shoots 2-3/4" or 20 ga better. The auto will have less recoil, but depending on his size it might not matter much. In my case I've had my 12 ga for 30 years and it's worked just fine, you can get lightly loaded rounds for them if it's an issue and it will last him a lifetime. If you need to go 20 ga, get something like a 870 or Mossberg which are cheap, but in my opinion also totally worthless, but if it's disposable who cares......most of my guns are worth more than I paid for them; not an investment opportunity, but just saying.
I had my 10 yr old daughter start with my 12 ga 11-87. Started with the lightest loads I could find and she was fine with it even being a small kid. We played around with the 11-87 and field loads but when we went hunting I changed up to the turkey load. After the shot on a tom I asked her if she noticed a difference and she replied "yea it was louder".
I feel allot of it is how you go about the introduction and the particular gun. I also have a pump Mossburg and would have never let her shoot that thing. I call it the mule and nobody uses it for long. Seems to always find its way back here when I try to off it to someone lol.
I’m a lefty as well - hence my Browning BPS which is a bottom ejector. Too big for a kid but it’s a great ambidextrous gun.
My kids have been knocking down turkeys with the Remington 870 youth 20ga, great all around shotgun for kids.
Benelli M2 20 gauge. An expensive gun but you won't NEED to buy another one. Not saying you won't WANT to buy more.
By the way - a lot of light 12-ga loads are just 20-ga loads in a 12-ga shell.
And just for the record
YOU GUYS ARE A BUNCH OF FREAKING MORONS IF YOU LET YOUR KIDS SHOOT WITHOUT **EXCELLENT** QUALITY HEARING PROTECTION.
Top-end ear muffs (with amplification so you can hear everything but the gun going off) cost about 1/10th as much as ONE decent hearing aid, and my 13-year-old has been through about 4 pair. Then he got a bionic ear; a pair of those would buy you a nice hunting camp.
So DON’T BE STUPID!!!
I started with a single shot pull back the hammer harrington and richardson break open single shot...and suggest it...let s kid know he has one shot and the pull back the hammer part minimizes misfire greatly a semi auto a bad idea...in my book I know tons of people might think that is what I started with and I did'nt shoot anybody I spent 20 years as a Police Firearms instructor and half in the Middle east with "child Like' students the simpler the safer and better until they become really comfortable handling guns...safety is the MOSt important part in this decision...
I'd have to know what the youth is 'comfortable' shooting before recommending a particular gun. I've seen youngsters who are ok with a 12 gage and others that are intimidated by a 20. Letting them go to the range, shooting a 22 or other light kicking weapon until they *want* to move up seems to work well. I also know grown men who prefer a 20 for most everything. With modern loads, makes sense for many pursuits.
Back in the good ole day we just shot what we could get our hands on. Single shot 12 ga. with a steel butt plate.
And nobody EVER developed a flinch or yanked the trigger!
Lee the BPS is a good option for lefties for the reason you said. I don't really like the pumps, but I do have a BPS that my boss bought me when I was 14 for employee of the year. Lefties only have a handful of options in autos. For the reasons Adventurewriter stated a pump will definitely be a safer option for a new shooter. I'll be the first to admit I've had some accidental discharges.
I own 2 BPS's, 12 and 20 guage. Love 'em. I've seen too many cheap guns - pump and auto - fail, while a *good* pump keeps on ticking.
Video on a youth 870 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc1QviYfgro
the only difference in most guns is a shorter length of pull keep that in mind quite possibly a shorter buttock for a gun you already own is all that's needed. it's what my father did I started with an 1100 & a shortened buttock
Yeah, the availability of either 'youth' stocks or 'cheap' ones that can be cut down and replaced later might be a factor in buying.
Give him a full sized single shot. I don't know how many times I've hunted with kids and looked down the barrel of one of those blasted short barreled youth models. My old man was wise, he gave me full sized guns and I think I was a better shot because of it. I had a friend who never killed a bird in all the years he used a youth model. When he got a 12 gauge, he started killing birds.
Up to five kids a season have killed birds with my son’s youth model 870, most with 2 3/4” shells. Most only needed a few practice shots and killed the first bird they shot at. I carried it several years because it was so light and patterned so well. Rob Keck has killed 100-plus with a 20 gauge. The report causes more flinching than recoil, even if you start them with feather loads. Use double hearing protection. Shooting at empty cans sends the target flying, which also distracts from recoil and report.
Didn’t read all the posts. But at his age I’d buy him something he will use for the long term. 12ga youth, rem 700 youth.... both can do a simple stock swap and continue using the same gun into adulthood. I’ve read too many memory posts of youth guns being sold off, this way if you keep the youth stocks they can be used for the grand kids and so on.
giving a kid a gun that doesn't fit them (to long a butstock) is the stupidest thing iv read so far no matter how he or she holds it to reach the trigger their not going to have proper line of sight.
just looked on eBay 1st page used 870 wood buttock & forend $15.00 synthetic new butstock only $50
short stock 20 auto best w least recoil
Thanks for all the input guys! I have a lot to think about - all this information will be helpful.
Daughter with a whopper she killed with her 1187. 27 lbs. Tom with 1.25 spurs.
Daughter with a whopper she killed with her 1187. 27 lbs. Tom with 1.25 spurs.
My boy with a Jake he killed with his 1100.
My boy with a Jake he killed with his 1100.
Saw a few mention an auto is a bad idea for a kid because the kid has multiple shots. Not sure why that is a bad thing but if you are concerned just load one shell. Neither one of my kids has ever sprayed the woods with their autoloaders! Both have extensive range time. Pretty hard to beat the light recoil on their guns and they definitely knock the turkeys down with them.
I agree my father started me at under 10 with a 1100 12 gage with a short buttock by 15 years old I was consistently busting 20 birds on a skeet range & by 20 had the 3rd highest average at bullrun shooting center in Prince William VA. teach them to use an auto safety & no problem
Another thing to consider is that many Turkey chokes are ported for recoil reduction. My 10 year old started shotgun shooting with a 410 and is now using and 870 youth 20 Ga with light target loads through the ported turkey choke. Recoil is very low and he is shooting well. He will be ready for his first hunting licence this spring - Montana Turkey. As previously mentioned, ear protection is a must. He has a pair of Walker's Game Ear Muffs and they work very well. Pic is of his first wingshot - a Pigeon with the .410 side by side.
Auto loader all the way. Look for a used one if new is too expensive.
I have smaller frames kids and the auto loader in my link was the best call for me so it didnt beat them up. Very happy with this gun and it didnt break the bank at all. TODDY
Well, thought I would update everyone on what we got. I had to take cost into affect and after weighing our options per your suggestions and some online research we ended up getting a CZ 720 20 gauge semi-auto - came with 5 chokes.
Couple things - it was cost effective as well giving us the most for the cost. Can use it for turkey, upland etc. I am actually thinking of using it this year for some sporting clays!
We shot it the other day and it is really nice shooting gun - and if my soon shoots like that at a turkey he will have no problem harvesting his first turkey this year.
Hope he enjoys it and it works well for him. As for weighing options on this thread did anyone even bring up a CZ? LOL
i must be the only 16ga guy on here. about the same weight as a 20.
Nope, the 16 is sweet!!! I love them, the shells can be a little pricey though.
I've been trying to get a setup for my daughter, she will be 7 in May, and this post was perfect timing. I have a youth model 20 single shot that I was going to put a red dot on for her. After reading this I took my wife's SX2 12 out with some 2.75" #6 shot. The gas operated 12 kicked considerably less than the single shot 20. I will add that the SX2 has had the stock cut down to fit my wife so it works well for the daughter too. She will be trying for her first turkey with a 12 gauge and she is all about it after some practice in the yard the other evening. I also recommend the Caldwell Deadshot Fieldpod Shooting Rest for the youngsters, and dad for that matter.
JohnMC - Yeah, i thought the same thing when I purchased the CZ...LOL. I took everything into consideration. Most semi-auto were too expensive. The guy at the local shop showed me the CZ and that fit what I was looking for in a gun for my son. Multi purpose gun, 20 gauge, semi-auto and reasonable price.
I posed the questions to see what others had and their thoughts - it was very helpful and I thanked everyone - that is why I thought it would be nice to let them know what we decided to go with.
Again - thanks everyone for you input.
I just organized a youth clay shoot at our club. I bought a Mossberg 20ga youth pump action for the kids. My 12yo daughter shot the Mossberg and a Remington youth 20ga 1100. My daughter liked the pump better. A few kids were using a .410 side by side but had trouble breaking clays at distance. They were able to break more with 20ga. I read 85 lbs seems to be the minimum kid weight to handle and take the kick of a shotgun.
First turkey at 11 years old
First turkey at 11 years old
My son has killed a bunch of turkeys using a Mossberg 500 Super Bantam. Adjustable stock length with both bird and slug barrels. Great little gun!
New England Arms-Pardner 20 gage
Son has shot 3 turkeys with it started trap a couple of years ago is averaging 21 birds per round. Shot a 23 yesterday after not shooting all winter.
When asked how that happened replied: " there hasn't been enough time for me to relearn my mistakes yet"
2018 MN snow bird- 8 yds
2018 MN snow bird- 8 yds
This one came in right at end of shooting hours last year.
My boy at 11:15 this morning! 1187 20 gauge. Great hunt! We heard him gobble, moved in on him and set up and my boy shot him at 27 yards 3 minutes later! He was pumped! Big Tom - 11” beard, 1.5” spurs and weighed 25 lbs.
My daughter started at 8 with a 870 youth 20 and does great . My son begged to hunt at 8 so I had him shoot an old decoy with trap load and he wants nothing to do with a shot gun after that. Maybe it was a good thing now he loves archery even more:)
Well guys....success with the new gun makes for a great experience I hope he never forgets!!!
Congrats to your son. I like his hat.
Congrats to your son B and G! Love it when guys ask for advice and then actually come back later and show what they did with it! Great memories for you guys.
That’s awesome congrats to you both!
Awesome!!!! Great job. Congrats to you both.
great ! and wearing an original jim crumley tree bark hat, the very first camo that wasnt military surplus.
Check out the Rossi 20 gauge/22 youth combo. bought one when i was 9
Beautiful bird - huge congrats to your son. Memories to last a lifetime!