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Help with 8 year old - What gun?


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First post to the boards, so thanks for reading. I just started hunting last season. At 33 I decided to start hunting to spend more time with my son and enjoy the outdoors. My 7 year old son and I went out 3 times hunting ducks and dove. I bought a Supernova for me and a little junior 20ga Rossi for my son.


We had our first ducks come in to land at only about 10 yards, and my son got his first shot. Well he missed and his Rossi kicked him really hard.


When the second birds came in at about the same distance, I gave him the “take em.” He didn't shoot because he was scared of the kick.


We dove hunted a little later. I used both guns to see how bad that kick was. I was surprised how hard the Rossi 20ga kicked compared to the SuperNova.


I could wait until he gets older to take him duck hunting again, but I've decided to buy him the absolute best low kicking 20ga on the market for my (to be by season) 8-year old. He’s a tall strong kid and anxious to get his first bird. So hopefully someone here can help me.


The M2 Field 20ga 24” with Comfortech appears to be a great choice. At only 5.7lbs he could definitely handle the weight of the gun. A 14 3/8” length of pull should be okay. That is only slightly longer than his Rossi. I could get it custom fit though, but the kid is growing like a weed. And maybe I should add a recoil tube, although adding too much weight might be an issue.


I really have no idea what to do. I am new to hunting myself and have no idea if the M2 is even a reasonable choice. It is a lot of money, but money I am willing to spend to give me and my son an extra 2-3 years of hunting together. Heck, he probably moves out in 10 years for college. So the clock is ticking if you know what I mean.


My son is just asking me regularly if he can go duck hunting with me this winter. He really wants to enjoy the experience. He wants that first mount on his wall. So bottom line, I’ve got a brave warrior ready to really experience hunting with his dad. Any help anyone can give would be really appreciated.


Thanks for everyone’s time.



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Do you by chance have a dealer in your area that will let you fire the gun before purchasing it? I know we've got a couple in our area so that might be an option for you as well so that you could actually see what the recoil is like on a gun you are going to purchase.


I hate recoil, with a passion and so I know how your little guy feels. My first shotgun was a 20 gauge Nova and that wasn't bad at all, though I'm guessing this might be somewhat limited by price - maybe if you can give a price range of where you'd like to be at it might help give a better answer. There are definitely guns with less recoil, but I can't see an 8 year old holding up something like a Beretta Xtrema 2 due to the weight of the gun, that and it's $1500 or there about.


There are going to be guns with less recoil, but they are potentially going to cost more, but then again some of the guys on here might have some great suggestions as far as some nice recoil pads go or reducers for your existing gun.


You might check out some of the LimbSaver products, and you might also consider a pad for his shoulder as well.


Here is a whole list of manufacturers that make some type of recoil reducer.


As for the gun, it might be ok with one of the above added in, but I'll leave that to some of the other guys that know more to coach you on that. Hope that helps a little and I'm sure some other guys will be along shortly with some better answers. Keep checking back with us and let us know how your hunts go!

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I wouldn't start an 8 year old with anything more advanced than a pump gun.

It's like learning to drive a stick before going to the automatic, and it's safer for others. He has to conciously work the action to chamber another round, so he knows there's one in the chamber and he won't easily forget it.


You don't want to a gun that will beat the kid to death and make him afraid or uncomfortable to shoot it.

Inertia guns, Comfortech or not, are lightweight and they kick harder than just about any other kind of gun there is.


Nova short stock or 870 youth in 20 guage.

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Once you think that you are close to a purchase decision, find a local gunsmith who is comfortable working on whatever brand of shotgun you will be purchasing. Prior to actual purchase, let the local gunsmith know the make and model of the potential shotgun. Then ask him/her what after market pads can be installed....and choose the pad that has the best felt recoil reduction.


BTW, I did the same thing (but came to the gunsmith with the idea that a LimbSaver pad would absorb the most recoil) and my gunsmith came up with a pad (not LimbSaver) that absorbs shock better than anything I have ever used.....and also allowed a custom fit. Now, nobody can tell that the new pad is not "factory original" until they shoot it and note the low felt recoil.

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A Benneli Montefeltro youth would be perfect. And later he could add a full sized stock. These stocks are adjustable for drop- very important for anyone, especially a growing kid. If a kid can't hit they will become disenchated with the sport and you will potentially lose a lifetime hunting partner. The drawback is the price. But if you look at what it cost to hunt and shoot these days and for a lifetime shotgun that can grow with him through his life, maybe it's a good deal. My wife sure does like her gun ( the one she appropriated from me).

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Thanks to everyone for your responses. I am amazed at how many of you took time to respond. So again thanks.


Of the guns all of you have recommended I have the following list of 20ga shotguns compiled:


Benelli Nova Short Stock

Benelli Montefeltro Short Stock

870 Youth

Beretta Auto

Youth 1100 or 1187


Also recommended is looking into something like Limbsaver products, recoil reducer products, and a pad for his shoulder. I will definitely look into what was recommended by SDKIDAHO and NOBEGINNER on these products and finding a local gunsmith who could work on a nice fit for my son using these or similar products.


The pump versus automatic argument makes sense to me. I had been told that the autos kicked less than the pumps, so I was leaning that way. But I understand that learning with a pump might be better. I still am even more concerned with the kick, but this is now a new consideration. I’m really confused whether an auto or a pump kicks more. It might just depend on the make and model of the gun though.


I would pay $300 or $1500 if my son can handle the kick. So I just want the best quality, lowest kicking 20 gauge shotgun I can buy. After reading all these suggestions and reading on the manufacturers’ websites, I’m leaning toward the Nova Pump Short Stock. I just love Benelli, so I know my bias is part of that. I would buy one of the other recommended guns though if I knew it would kick less than the Nova. I wish the Nova had the Comfortech stock. I would think that would help reduce the kick. Why isn’t that part of the Nova? Also, if I knew that the Montefeltro kicked less than the Nova, I would reconsider the auto versus pump argument.


So I am still working through a ton of issues, but now leaning toward the Benelli Nova Short Stock. I appreciate everyone posting responses. I feel much more knowledgeable now than this morning. I’m looking forward to any other responses you may have.


Thanks again. Chad

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Recoil is a pretty simple concept.

There are two things that lessen actual recoil.

The weight of the gun, and re-directing gas in a direction other than straight out of the muzzle.


A gas gun of otherwise equal weight will have less actual recoil than will a pump, inertia, or break open gun.


Recoil and felt recoil can be reduced with the use of several aftermarket products.

Mercury recoil reducers and weight and use kinetic energy to lessen actual recoil, while advanced shock absorbing pads can reduce felt recoil by dissipating its effects over time and area.


To be honest, I don't think the Comfortech system reduces recoil nearly as effectively as a nice mercury reducer and a good pad.


A mercury reducer on an intertia gun can cause problems because the inertia system relies on recoil to function.


I can hold my SBEII at the hip and fire it, and it won't cycle light loads at all. That's because there's no solid resistance to make the action perform properly.


All recommendations are good.

If it were my son, I'd go with the pump for the reasons stated.

I just don't think an 8 year old is mature enough for a semi-automatic weapon.

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You have allready done the most important thing you could have done! Introduce him to Hunting. This will be a lesson he never will forget and will allways charish!! Your choice of a Single Barrel shotgun would be in question to me just due to the reaction he had. I started with a 12 Guage H&R Topper Model 48 which was built in the 1920's no choke no butt pad and i had the same feelings he had but was probably a couple years older than your son and my shoulder was toast. Thing kicked like a MULE like most singles do!! Did ya let him shoot a 410? I would have let him busted a few rounds with it maybe before a 20 Ga? Put the ear plugs in a little farther and get him a shoulder pad and maybe a butt pad if the gun will allow him a proper fit and he will let you know what his limits are!:) He just needs some more practice to acclimate to shotguns and their actions and if he is tall and strong just do the Benelli Pump 20 everyone spoke of but watch the loads and ear protection!!:)

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  • 2 years later...

sorry I probly shouldn't be saying this on a benelli forum


but get him or her a 410 / 20 gauge if u think he's up to it


but start him off with a pump so that he learns early how to conserve ammunition and how to acquire a target better


if he is heavy set and able to handle the benelli nova or super nova 20 guage youth then go for it


I would really recommend a mossberg 410

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After shooting 150 rounds through my M4 my daughters shoulder started to get a little sore and her arms became tired as it is a little heavy, so she tried a Remington 870 20ga youth model. She loved it as it was lighter for her and therefore she was able to get it back into her shoulder better.


Do you have any friends with a 20Ga your son can try?




PS. I should read the dates on the first page. This is an old thread.

Edited by markhb
Should read the dates first before responding
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How does the gun fit him? at 7-8years old you might want to consider a youth model. Sounds like he also needs a little more trigger time. Get him out there doing a little recreation shooting. Blasting cans and milk jugs filled with water is a fun way to let him focus on the fundamentals and get the recoil off his mind.

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I don't think that that your are going to be able to add a recoil tube to the M2. You can do that to the older models but not the newer ones. You might look at the youth model montefeltro and buy him the full size stock when he is ready for it. You really aren't going to be able to cut the M2 stock down either.

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Hi, I just thought I'd jump in here and say that I think it's great that you want to start him off with a quality piece . But I think a fella that young should start with a nice bantam 410 pump . It has a much tamer recoil than a 20 , is still capable of getting things done , and being a pump is inherently much safer for the reasons the other guys have mentioned . Just my 2 cents worth

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Guest McDaddy

Start with the pump then move up. I started all three of my sons on a Mossberg 200 (now called the 500) Pump . It's inexpensive (the Maverick is even cheaper) and after a season or two of hunting, they moved up to a new gun and the 200 got passed down. Now 27,25, & 22, they all have nicer guns than me. As for the 200; I just sold it to a man who has a son in my school district. He's a 4th grader and has already hit 23 out of 25 clays with it.

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I agree with Tucker about starting a youth out with a pump. You'll probably save money on shells as well.


1. Wingmaster 20ga with Limbsaver or Kickeez for my 8 year old. Before you buy anything, you should pick one of these up and feel them. They are very nice.


2. If you're set on an auto----Beretta all the way. The 390 20 ga is sweet. My best friend started his 6 year old out on one (I wouldn't do that) with a cut down stock. The Monte 20 ga has a youth/woman stock that you can order (Approx $250), but the recoil is a little more than the 390.


Good luck. jed

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