Question of the Day: What’s The Best Beginner’s Rifle?

Think youngster OR adult new to shooting.


  1. avatar GS650G says:

    mine was a Marlin 60

  2. avatar Silver says:

    My first rifle was a S&W M&P15 Sport, and it does the job great for the reasonable price point.

    Many start with .22s though, so it depends what they’re looking for. a Ruger 10/22 is always a solid choice.

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  3. avatar DrewR55 says:

    Are you talking bolt action or semi-automatic? Personally, I’m a fan of the Ruger 10/22 for people new to shooting. If you would prefer a bolt action I’m sure there are some very nice .22’s. If you’re looking for something larger how about the Remington 700, maybe in .308?

    Do they still make those pump action .22’s? My wife’s grandfather has an old Remington UMC pump .22 that struck me as a neat firearm.

    1. avatar Aharon says:

      Remington and Henry make a .22 pump rifle.

  4. avatar Martin Albright says:

    Any decent .22 would be great.

    One thing I would insist on for any beginning shooter: Iron sights. Using iron sights teaches you the fundamentals of marksmanship in a way using an optical sight cannot. In fact, I would liken optical sights on guns to automatic transmissions in cars: A person who can use iron sights can always use a ‘scope, but the reverse is not true, just as a person who can drive a stick can also drive an automatic but the reverse isn’t true.

    Interesting that semi-auto .22’s are so much less expensive than bolt action. With centerfire guns it seems like it’s the other way around.

  5. avatar Pascal says:

    Savage Arms Mark II Series. Add a scope a you have the weight of a bigger caliber rifle but can practice with cheap 22lr. They also have 17 HMR and 22 mag versions.

    With all things in the beginner territory, fundamentals and reliability are key as well as low cost

    1. avatar JT says:

      +1 to the Mark II

      Although it wasn’t my first gun, it’s my most recent addition.

      It’s easier to get your bearing with a bolt action, rather than go crazy with a semi. The price is also pretty fantastic, it’s damn accurate for a .22, and the accutrigger is effin fantastic.

  6. avatar Nate says:

    Bolt action .22lr of some sort. Makes shooter slow down, take shots carefully, and teaches them the basics of rifle operation.

    1. avatar Tdubb says:

      I concur. Bolt action with iron sites.

    2. avatar RuffRidr says:

      Agreed. My kids first learned to shoot with a BB gun, and then moved onto a Springfield Model 15. The simpler the better, in my opinion, when starting out.

    3. avatar APBTFan says:

      Absolutely a manually loaded rifle of some sort. For those new to guns its too easy to forget there’s already another round ready to go with a semi-auto. Just a few hours ago my buddy and I gave his 13 year old son his first shooting lessons. Although I have a wonderful scoped Marlin 60 I brought my (very sadly no longer in production) Taurus Model 62 carbine with a tang sight. The boy loved it and the fact that he had to consciously load each new round which, as Nate pointed out, made him slow down and make the shot count. The temptation to just go buck wild with the rounds must be dealt with on a semi-auto but the option simply isn’t there with a pump, lever or bolt gun which I feel leads to more focus on making each shot count towards making that can jump further away.

  7. avatar Jason says:

    CZ 452. Scout for kids, one of the iron-sighted models for adults. With Tech-Sights. And a ticket to an Appleseed class. America needs riflemen. That’s how you get them.

  8. avatar miforest says:

    any accurate bolt action 22. get good ammo and a decent scope and youre off to the races. that weatherby 22 looks fantastic. you could not go wrong with that if you have the $ to spare.

  9. avatar BLAMMO says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with an M-16. Chances are, more people had their first shooting experience with that than any other rifle.(*)
    * Almost certainly surpassed World-wide by the AK-47; but I’m only talking about defenders of liberty, not commies or terrorist pukes.

    1. avatar APBTFan says:

      For those training their commie terrorist puke kid or friend the AK-22 is very nice.

  10. avatar mmasse says:

    +1 for the Ruger 10/22. Get the fundamentals down first and then introduce larger weaposn

  11. avatar Aharon says:

    There are fine beginner .22 cal guns from Henry (lever-action), Ruger (semi), CZ (bolt), and others. I’d suggest one with iron sites or for a new owner to put iron sites on their gun.

  12. avatar Nick says:

    +1 for the Savage Mark II. Hard to beat for the combination of AccuTrigger, accuracy, build quality, and price. I personally wouldn’t go for a 10/22 with the stock trigger (IMO bad for learning) or bolt release (really annoying), but those can be fixed with aftermarket parts.

  13. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    Definitely a bolt action .22 lr. If you can find an older one with micrometer adjustable, aperture sights, so much the better.

    The Savage Mark II FVT is a good choice for a new gun. Very nicely set up out of the box and it’s gaining a strong reputation in youth shooting circles for a beginner rifle with a modest price.

  14. avatar Rokurota says:

    My son just shot his first firearm this week. He shot best with my Remington 597 (scoped), but he preferred the big ol’ Stevens 66B that I’ve had since college. I think he liked working the bolt.

    One consideration — make sure the beginner can hold the rifle. My Stevens is too long and heavy for my wife to shoot offhand (the kid used a rest), which is why we got the 597.

    I also agree that a first rifle should have iron sights and bolt action. Also, make sure the shooting distance is short to begin with — none-a this “you should be able to hold a two-inch group at 50 yards” business. With both my wife and son, seeing those 7-yard groups built confidence.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    For a kid, a single-shot .22LR. Nice ones can cost all of $100, new, out the door. For an adult, a bolt action or autoloader in .22LR would be a good choice. For an experience handgunner who wants to get involved with shoulder-fired guns, why not an AR15? It makes for an easy transition.

  16. avatar Dave J says:

    A TC G2 with a .22 barrel and one of the new M4 style stocks so that the LOP may be adjusted as the young shooter grows. As mentioned above the Savage bolt actions are great accurate starter rifles for the $ but the standard stocks are long for the smaller of stature. When the young shooter wants to step up a caliber or two…you simply purchase a new barrel. Get them while you can as I doubt S&W is committed to the platform.

  17. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

    Without a doubt the bolt-action 22 caliber equipped with iron sights. Having to manually chamber new rounds is much safer for the new shooter and encourages discipline.

  18. avatar Tom says:

    Bolt action .22lr. I like the CZ452. Actually, I have trained Wife & Kids with Ruger 10-22 and Nylon 66; although these actually were my childhood rifles, which were not purchased with them in mind. Do as I say, not as I do.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    How about an H&H 700 Nitro Express to separate the wheat from the chaff?

  20. avatar GS650G says:

    Barrett .50 cal is a great plinking gun from 1000 yards or so.

    1. avatar Goym says:

      Ive had good experiences with a 50 caliber rifle as a first gun, good for hitting cans and squirrels at 1000 yards.

  21. avatar Slab Rankle says:

    Long standing tradition is for a beginner’s rifle to be a .22 LR of some kind. Doesn’t really matter which, as long as it fits the budget, shooter, and situation. Go with the 10/22. I still remember my dad paying $60 for a brand new one.

    I went from a 10/22 to a Remington 1100 12 gauge in the same day (I still have it), but then I was born with the ability to shoot, so my story is not typical.

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