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Thread: What revolver should I get for my son's first firearm?

  1. #81
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with a mid sized revolver like the dan wesson model 15 series.

    It's nothing to get extra bbl/bbl shroud combo's and use anything from 2 1/2" to 10" bbl lengths with low profile or vented ribbed shrouds along with anything from low profile to partridge front sights.

    The 38spl is a fantastic cartridge for a young shooter to learn with.

  2. #82
    Boolit Bub
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    I love the 38 Special for fun shooting. I recently got a Uberti Stallion with a 5" barrel in 38 Special that would be a joy to shoot for a kid I'd think. For those not familiar with this model, it's a scaled down replica of the Colt Single Action Army. The frame size feels more like a rimfire than a centerfire. I've been mainly using mine with 4.0 grains Red Dot and a 125 grain Lee RNFP bullet. Supposed to be around 900 ft/sec but I haven't shot any across my chronograph. Who cares how fast it is though? It's fun to shoot and cheap. A single action is a good training gun in addition to having an aesthetic appeal. Sure 38 Special brass isn't as common as it used to be but if you make it a priority to own one, make a lifetime buy of brass and don't worry about what everybody else is doing. I have something like 2,000 cases and that should last a good while. Starline isn't going to drop the 38 for many years.
    Last edited by 35 Rem; 07-06-2022 at 10:00 PM.

  3. #83
    Boolit Buddy
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    My recommendation is a single action 22 LR. I still have the one I got >50 years ago when I was 13. It is a Ruger Single-six. I learned to take it apart, clean it and care for it … in addition to learning how to shoot it. It’s still accurate and, other than some minor bluing wear, in near new condition despite thousands of rounds down the pipe. My grandson is currently 7 and he will get this revolver in due time. Keep in mind that a boy’s first gun will likely be a legacy gun.

  4. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by GBertolet View Post
    I would go with a S&W 586 or 686, in the barrel length of your choice. Will work fine with 38 spl, and when he grows into it, will handle .357's, and will last a long time, shooting those.
    +1 on S/W 586/686. When my son was ready, I loaded powderpuff loads in .357 - light powder charge and 105gr Lee SWCs. It's is a good flinch test for more experienced shoots too.
    "Wherever was found what was called a paternal government was found a state education. It'd been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience was to commence tyranny in the nursery." -Benjamin Disraeli

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by h8dirt View Post
    My recommendation is a single action 22 LR. I still have the one I got >50 years ago when I was 13. It is a Ruger Single-six. I learned to take it apart, clean it and care for it … in addition to learning how to shoot it. It’s still accurate and, other than some minor bluing wear, in near new condition despite thousands of rounds down the pipe. My grandson is currently 7 and he will get this revolver in due time. Keep in mind that a boy’s first gun will likely be a legacy gun.
    Exactly, Gotta start with a .22. I'v passed down many and they are much appreciated and since not overly expensive. there's little temptation to drop one at a pawn shop cause some new tech bauble as struck their fancy!
    “You should tell someone what you know. There should be a history, so that men can learn from it.

    He smiled. “Men do not learn from history. Each generation believes itself brighter than the last, each believes it can survive the mistakes of the older ones. Each discovers each old thing and they throw up their hands and say ‘See! Look what I have found! Look upon what I know!’ And each believes it is something new.

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  6. #86
    Boolit Buddy
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    Start with a bb gun he can see where the bb flys or a .177 air rifle. Have him learn the basics with a rifle then move on to a pistol when he is older and hopefully more mature .. Saftey first. Always first.. Saftey glasses and ear plugs.

  7. #87
    Boolit Buddy Cast10's Avatar
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    Heritage 22LR/22Mag combo. Good single six. I still enjoy shooting my sons!

    Cheaper side for practice………Good pinker in the woods too!

  8. #88
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    I'd get him a hunter safety course before I bought anything. Kids listen to instructors better than they do parents. Then I vote for a 22 bolt gun and Savage make a REALLY accurate one that will not break the bank.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it. NONE of us are as smart as ALL of us!

  9. #89
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handloader109 View Post
    11 year old. 22 caliber ONLY. He's got his whole life ahead for larger calibers. Even though 38sp can be loaded down, it is NOT suitable for a pre teen.
    Get him a ruger wrangler, below $200, and he can learn about revolvers. Or get him any number is 22 single shot, bolt or autos.
    But get him a 22

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

    Handloader 109 makes a good point .

    When I was his age I wanted a 22 single shot rifle but Dad got me a .410 pump shotgun ... I was a grown man before I got my 10/22 rifle and 70 years old before I got my Ruger Wrangler...
    Get the boy what he wants ... a 22 rifle or Wrangler revolver .
    The 38/357 Henry is nice , go ahead and get that one also ... he will take it over as he gets older and into more shooting . 22 LR ammo is starting to show up and even go on sale ... I just snagged two bulk boxes because it was on sale at local dealer's .
    Reloading the 357 Henry is certianly a good option ... but shooting a 22 LR rifle , pistol or revolver is just plain old fun .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables
    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  10. #90
    I note that you asked what you should buy for him. If the question is, what should you buy for him that he wants, then you would need to ask him that question.

    I think that you should buy what you want him to have, and let him buy what he wants when he's older.

    When I bought my first gun with the money I earned from a little job, my Dad steered me to buying a used Marlin 39a that was as old as I was at the time. But, what I really wanted was one of those Browning 22 Autos advertised in American Rifleman.

    My older brother eventually bought a Browning 22 Auto when we both were much older. We would both go shooting gophers and my old 39a gave up nothing to his fancy Redfield-scoped Browning -- nothing at all.

    Lesson here: my Dad had something to teach me and he taught me well. I still love my Marlin.

    So now, to your question, which was specific: a revolver for your son's first gun.

    A lot of this depends on whether you are fairly well off and other guns will be in the boy's future, or whether this is a one-time thing that means he will buy what he wants when he's old enough to buy it.

    Another issue is whether you may end up with the gun yourself if he doesn't like it.

    A third issue is whether you just want him to shoot, or whether you aim to teach him other things, as well.

    Shooting from the hip, buy him a 38 Special and Lee mould for 148 gr wadcutters. If you don't have stuff for this, he'll need dies and a can of Bullseye.

    He can learn to cast his own and load up the wadcutters with the old 2.7 gr of Bullseye under those wadcutters and there'll be no problem with recoil, blast, or cost compared to anything else.

    For the gun, if money is an issue, why not look at one of those Rock Island Arsenal/Armscor 38 Special revolvers? They can be had for well under $300 and seem to be pretty good guns.

    If you have some more money, you could go with a Single Action Ruger or a Double Action S&W or Ruger. If it was my kid, I would want to raise him up with correct taste and look for a 4" to 6" barreled Police Positive Special -- you should be able to find decent one for around $500.

    Some have suggested Heritage revolvers -- I've seen them on the range and was not impressed at all with the quality or reliability of them. The cheap Ruger looks nice and would be, I think, a much better choice if I was buying a 22. However, depending how deep you want to get your boy (this would apply to a girl, as well) into guns and shooting, a 38 Spl offers a lot of learning and fun with no more cost. It wouldn't hurt a kid at all to learn casting and scrounging lead, for instance. Pan or tumble lube the boolits if you don't have or want to buy a lubricator and a die.

    But back to the revolvers, the Heritage is made out of zinc (Zamac, actually) and I gave up on cap guns a long time ago, when my "Fanner 50" gave up the ghost and I ran out of "greenie stickum caps." The Ruger has a zinc frame, which I don't like at all, either. Anything made of zinc, I would not want, myself.

    Looking this stuff over, you have to decide your son's level of interest, the goals you have for him, and his physical capabilities.

    I can't see anything that would rule out the 38 Spl revolvers I've mentioned. Or, if you want to expand your own gun "establishment," you could consider 32 S&W in a Colt Police Positive. That would save you a little in powder, lead, and recoil. If the tooling and die investment isn't objectionable to you. I considered just such a route for my Wife sometime back, but ended up getting her a Ruger Mk 4 bull barrel. But that experience and choice doesn't parallel your situation. My only point is that 32 S&W is worthy of consideration as a cartridge and the guns chambered for it.

    I agree that 32-20 might not be optimal, and for a younger and/or smaller-handed shooter, like a boy or girl, a small framed Colt or S&W is a better way to go than a medium I/E or K/L frame.

    Let us know what you got!

  11. #91
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Onty View Post
    VERY ACCURATE ONE! Period! The worst possible thing for beginner is to start with average handgun. Showing him that handgun is accurate takes away a big dilemma for every shooter when facing holes all over the paper; is it me or a handgun?

    Also, I would start with target on 10 meters or yards, and when he is confident shooting at that distance, move to 15, than to 20 and 25.

    As for handgun:

    1. TC Contender, if you can find it with 38 Special barrel. If not, get one in 357 Magnum, and few hundred 357 Magnum cases. Since you already reloading 38 Special, you have everything else to reload 357. Contender is accurate like rifle, it has good trigger, long distance between sights (10", 12" or 14" barrel), and you can get it fairly cheap, just ideal for beginner.

    2. As a next choice I would consider either S&W M52, or one of those target grade S&W revolvers in 38 Special.

    Just my 2 cents...
    S&W Model 52s are going for $2500+ and mags are $250!

  12. #92
    Boolit Master Randy Bohannon's Avatar
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    Handguns are for when you can’t get to a rifle, so the rifle first. You and him get a couple of bolt action .22 rifles and go a Appleseed event. You and him will learn more about shooting in two afternoons than a lifetime of figuring it out on your own I can’t recommend this more than anything, building good safe habits and being accurate is what it’s about. Good luck with your choice.

  13. #93
    Boolit Buddy Krh1326's Avatar
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    Huge fan of my SP101. Grips available from Hogue and others, small frame. Fine in .38 spl , and the boy can’t outgrow it when the .357 cartridges go in.

    .22 was the “thing” when I was a boy, but with prices as they are, and reloading options out there…. I’ve heard the term “ .38 spl is the new .22 “

  14. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Krh1326 View Post
    .22 was the “thing” when I was a boy, but with prices as they are, and reloading options out there…. I’ve heard the term “ .38 spl is the new .22 “
    Exactly! Except this was true for me over 40 years ago.

    I was a young worker with a stay-at-home wife who sewed clothes and baked bread for our four little ones. We drove old clunkers I repaired and spent very little money.

    I went to the range and dug range lead and cast it in a 45 round nose Lee mould, and pan lubed it with the Lee kit.

    Also, out at the range, there was someone who shot a Thompson or something on the pistol range. Often, I could climb on the bench and retrieve several hundred 45 Auto cases from the gutter above. The "penny a primer and penny for powder" formula worked quite well, except that on gopher hunts, my valuable free brass was thrown all over the sage brush.

    I thought about this problem and decided I needed a revolver (altho my Dad considered this quite a "step down" from a 1911.) I was quite young and impressionable and my friend who owned the LGS told me that, back in the "old days," real target shooters only shot Colts -- S&W was looked at as equal to an Iver Johnson to that crowd.

    Soon, I ended up with a pair of old Colts. My LGS friend had a pretty crazy shop, and in the corner was a box of 38 brass that I bought priced by the pound. I began with a Lee 140 gr. Mould, but graduated to a Lyman 358495. Many caps were busted and even a few gophers were felled with those boolits when the 22 got boring over the course of a day.

    As Krh suggested, I found out that “ .38 spl is the new .22 “ a long time ago. Primers are now more than a penny a piece, but Bulleye is still pretty cheap @ 2.7 gr. a load. For a young fella or gal who is interested, there's a lot of lessons to be learned with this scrounging-casting-reloading-shooting combination. It's hugely more constructive than video games and is something that can be done together, whether at the range or afield.

  15. #95
    Boolit Buddy
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    We decided to look at our kids as if it would be the only centerfire handgun they would have. We wanted it to be easy to learn, carry, shoot and reload for so we decided on .357s. The guys have GP100s and my daughter has a 4" Service Six. They normally shoot .38s out of them. They also all have rimfires for target practice and training. Ours are aged 11-15
    Last edited by Cargo; 08-02-2022 at 06:58 PM.
    Cargo

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check