When choosing a youth rifle, sometimes what seems to be simple isn’t as simple as it seems, but you can get lucky.
by Chick Blood
I don’t mean that as a one-line definition for the new Savage Rascal. Sure, it’s a .22 caliber youth rifle. There’s no advanced rocket science required in working up and peddling one of them. I suppose that’s one reason why there are quite a few being dangled in the marketplace, right? Only partially right. There are youth rifles and those that claim to be youth rifles, if you know what I mean.
I happen to own a youth rifle. It cost my Dad five bucks brand new when he bought it for me. I was five years old. He taught me to respect guns and how to shoot with that little Winchester Model 60A. Seven years after he gave it to me I won my first Boy Scout Merit Badge with it. It can still print five shots inside a ten ring at 50 yards with the original iron sights. On one occasion, using premium ammunition, it outdid my Anschutz 1413 at 25 yards, but I’ve since donated that Anschutz to a charity raffle (yeah, I’ll take a tax deduction.)
Like the Anschutz, the Winchester is a single shot, historically and actually the most accurate among rifle actions. Unlike the Anschutz, it is small and light. Once a year it returns to the range during an open-to-the-public fun shoot at my club. There, junior first timers line it up on balloons, severely shaken-while-full soda cans and rimfire metallic silhouettes. Except for that, it has been semi-retired to a permanent place in my vault. It is not for sale.
A few months ago, my brother-in-law called me regarding a youth rifle suitable for his son, Theo. I told him it required a firearms ID card for him to purchase any shoulder arm in his state of residence. The brother-in-law is a superb recording engineer who can make the worst croaker and stringed instrument plunker sound like music made in heaven. He has little interest in firearms other than the usual concerns regarding his son having, caring for and shooting one. I told him I’d think over his request and get back to him with a recommendation. As I started this article off by stating, things aren’t always simple as they seem. A studied response required checking out a number of youth rifles.
Read more in our January 2013 issue. Back issues are available.