Choosing a Shotgun For Young Upland Hunters

You might think a single shot piece is the right choice for a young upland hunter. You’d be wrong.

What happens, when a bird flushes and cuts sharply to the left, flying barely even with the top of the stubble top? If you’ve taught him (or, increasingly, I’m pleased to say, her) right the youngster doesn’t take the shot for safety reasons.

So now have a situation where an 11-12-13-year-old is expected to lower the hammer on a live round by holding it back with his thumb while pulling the trigger—all the while remembering to point the muzzle in a safe direction.

It’s unreasonable to expect a kid to have either the coordination or muscular strength to do this safely. The youngster may do everything right, but the gun still fires accidentally because the hammer slipped.

Contrast this with a magazine or double gun where you can simply flick the thumb button or crossbar back to the on-safe position. A much safer proposition.

So, what should you get your young hunter as a first upland hunting gun?

Because of their recoil-reducing nature, gas autos make the most sense—especially for girls. Lightweight doubles also work fine for kids, although most of them really are too heavy for a youngster to lug around all day when upland hunting.

By the same token, I would look for a 20 gauge rather than a 12. You want your children to become fond of shooting—not afraid of it. Even an auto loading 12 gauge has enough kick that it can hurt young bodies.

For more about choosing the right gun and additional upland game hunting information, check out

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