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What’s the best first gun for youth?

The Question

Hi Ken,

I’m 13 years old and I just completed my PAL and CORE [B.C.’s hunter education program]. Now I’m wondering what would be a good first gun for me.



The Answer

Congratulations on getting your PAL and CORE certification. Before selecting your first firearm, you need to decide what you plan to hunt. For small game, it’s tough to beat a .22. Look for a good single-shot or bolt-action; there are lots of quality options on either the new or used markets.

If bird hunting is your plan, I’d suggest starting with a 20-gauge single-shot or pump-action, preferably with interchangeable chokes. In a fixed-choke model, select IC or modified. Fit is very important with this and you may want to look for a youth-sized shotgun.

If you’re looking for a rifle, you’ll need to match the calibre with the game, but again ensure you select a rifle that fits your body size well. I’d recommend a single-shot or bolt-action. For deer-sized animals, calibres such as the. 243 and .25-06 are good choices to consider.

Good luck in the field,

Ken Bailey

Ken Bailey

Ken Bailey

An all-around hunter, Ken Bailey enjoys pursuing waterfowl the most. Based in Edmonton, Outdoor Canada's longtime hunting editor Ken Bailey has hunted every major Canadian game animal, in every corner of the country. For many years, he’s shared his deep knowledge of game behaviour, and wide expertise with all manner of firearms with OC's readers. His work has been recognized numerous times by both the Outdoor Writers of Canada and the National Magazine Awards. Ken is a committed conservationist, dedicated to habitat preservation, sustainable harvests, and passing along our hunting heritage to the next generation. He's also an avid fly fisherman, and a pretty darn good game chef.

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