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What’s the best first gun for a youngster? A .410 or a 28-bore?

What's best for a young Gun to learn with. A .410 or a 28-bore?

Easter holiday activities for Young Shots

Which is the best first gun?

My son, who is 12, is keen 
to start shooting and I am considering buying a light side-by-side .410. However, one 
of my shooting friends thinks a 28-bore might be more suitable. Which of the two is the best first gun?

Many experienced shooters started with a .410. In skilled hands it is an effective calibre, but the average shooter is unlikely to be able to kill birds with it at normal ranges, and a beginner will really struggle with it.

A 28-bore, however, will throw 
60 per cent more shot and produce 
a pattern that is much more likely 
to achieve success. That in turn will give your son encouragement to progress in his shooting career. There are many more relatively 
inexpensive 28-bores  available on the market than was once the case, and a well-fitting 28-bore produces minimal recoil. For a beginner requiring a small-bore shotgun, 
I would certainly recommend it 
in preference to a .410.

28 or 20 bore

Try a 28 or 20-bore with light loads, instead of a .410 to ensure youngsters don’t get frustrated.

Advice to remember

  • A lot depends on the stature of the child
  • Learning to shoot with a .410 can spoil a youngster’s enthusiasm
  • Minimum to start on would be a 28-bore, moving onto a 20 or even a 12-bore as soon as the weight can be handled
  • Use the lightest loads available for the gun’s bore size
  • Make sure the young Gun has some success for encouragement
  • Follow these suggestions and you should have a lifelong devotee
  • Consider buying a good second-hand gun as a first gun. Here is our advice on buying a small-bore gun second-hand.
  • The Beretta Silver Pigeon is always a popular first gun
  • Make sure the youngster is fitted correctly for the gun
  • Buy the gun from a gunshop and you will receive sound advice
  • Think about what the gun will be used for. A bit of vermin control around the farm? Or does the young Gun want to shoot at clays, game or pigeon over decoys?