What type of .22 parents should get when purchasing that first kids 22 rifle.

I get asked this question all the time, so I did a little research and here you go.

For my kids’ first gun, we went with a cheap BB gun. Nothing fancy, just something so they could learn the mechanics of loading, cocking, aiming and firing. It didn’t take my son long and he wanted to “graduate”, so we looked at air rifles first, but then decided on a .22 rifle (I almost went with a .17, but that was more for me, for rockchuck hunting with my kids so I restrained myself).

Basically, there are a few different kinds of rifle available for kids first rifle: the single-shot bolt action; the bolt action repeater; the lever action repeater; and the pump-action repeater. Now, the only category left is the semi-auto repeater. In my humble opinion, semi-autos  aren’t the right choice for a first kids 22 rifle, but I’m going to list a few here for older kids. You don’t need anything fancy… they’ll be building AR’s in no time and that’s when you can get fancy. 🙂 I hope this helps, and I know I’m probably going to get some argument from you.

I’m a fan of single-shot bolt action rifles for your kids 22 rifle. This is mainly because shooting them requires several steps for loading, time to think about each shot. The whole process is suitable for teaching gun safety and getting kids comfortable with the rifle. When I was a kid, I had a pump-action repeater, but sadly, the market for them is not big—and I can’t understand why because pump-action .22 rifles are a blast (pardon the pun) to shoot. Winchester no longer makes their ancient Model 62, and even Taurus’s faithful copy, also called Model 62, seems to be getting hard to find.

I already have three or four .22’s around the house, but they were all too long for my sons and not the right gun for them. So here are some good choices for your kids.

Savage Rascal .22 Long Rifle

Savage Rascal Youth 22 Rifle

This little rifle is great for kids and one of my favorites. The Savage Rascal is lightweight and the accutrigger helps kids with flinching. Also, since it is a bolt action, it adds a level of safety.

Keystone Arms’ Crickett

Keystone Arms Crickett

For smaller-statured kids, there’s probably no better than Keystone Arms’ Crickett, which comes in several kid-pleasing colors. The little Crickett’s are just over two feet in total length, weigh pretty much nothing, and are excellent “starter” rifles.

Mossberg 702 Plinkster

Mossberg 702 Plinkster

This little gun has a 10 round capacity with a detachable magazine. I suggest loading one at a time until your youngster is ready for going semi-auto.

Remington 597 HV

Remington 597 HVThis .22 is a bit heavier, but that weight makes for better accuracy. Your kid will appreciate that once they advance.

Mossberg Half-Pint

Mossberg Half-Pint

The 801 Half-Pint has a plug that restricts it to a single shot rifle. Once your kid is ready for more, the plug can be removed and replaced with a 10-round magazine.

Henry Mini-Bolt Youth Rifle

Henry Mini-Bolt Youth RifleThis single shot “mini” is one of the best choices for your kids first rifle in my opinion. It has easy-to-see fiber optic sights, it’s lightweight, and kids think it looks cool. Endorsed by the USA Shooting Team.

Mossberg Blaze

Mossberg BlazeProbably not the best option for a first rifle, however this is a great next move up for older kids.

Henry Lever Action Youth

Henry Lever Action YouthOne of the oldest names in rifles is “Henry”, and the Henry Repeating Arms Company makes a classic “western” youth model .22 rifle. It is lightweight and compact with a wood stock, famous smooth lever action and you can mount a scope on it.

Henry also makes a pump-action rifle, and it has a cool looking octagonal barrel, but it’s more expensive….but I’d get one if I could afford it.

Remington Model 572 Fieldmaster

Remington Model 572 FieldmasterThis is what I had when I was a kid. Man, I loved that gun.

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50 Comments

  1. zach at 4:50 am

    How much does the 10th one down

    1. Outdoors International at 6:44 am
  2. Linda Rosa at 7:06 am

    Great article! I agree with your assessment that a semi-auto is inappropriate for a beginner child. The bolt action establishes the forethought of actions making them a SAFER hunter.

  3. Your Kids First .22 Rifle | bullsandbeavers.com at 11:55 am

    […] action repeater, the pump-action repeater, and the the semi-auto repeater. I’m a fan of… read the rest of the article. dtsv.dtse_post_4405_permalink = […]

  4. Tim Elliott at 2:54 pm

    Items in a "perfect youth rifle"… 1. Single shot (to start with). For safety and learning the single shot is best. The ability to change to multiple shots (such as a bolt gun with a single shot ramp and a magazine) is a plus (ex. Mossberg 801 Plinkster Half-Pint). 2. The ability to safely remove a loaded round instead of firing. Some rifles are (in my opinion) too dangerous (for instance, the Crickett when unloading a cocked rifle requires grabbing the "cocking piece" while pulling the trigger and then slowly lowering the cocking piece… like on a cocked hammer on a single action pistol. For a child this is an invitation for an accidental discharge. One slip and the rifle fires. 3. All youth rifles have 16+ inch barrels, but most have a shorter reach due to a shortened butt stock. I would like to see an adjustable butt stock (like an AR rifle) so that the rifle can "grow" with the youth and not just be a "first kids rifle" that he/she out grows (as far as I know no one makes these except the semi-auto AR look-a-likes). 4. Good sights… (and maybe the ability to add a scope or red dot later). As far as I know, no one makes a rifle with all of these features. Savage now has "the Rascal" which deserves be added to your list. Just some things to think about. BTW, I am an NRA rifle instructor and get asked your question often. Thanks for all the pictures… I know that took some work.

  5. Cory Glauner at 7:19 pm

    I agree with the adjustable but stock. I'll add the Rascal to the list. Thank you.

  6. Brian Cox at 10:28 pm

    Tim – what would you suggest for my 7 1/2 year old daughter? She asked me yesterday & if I could teach how to shoot & I don't want this to pass me by. Thanks if you can provide some suggestions. Brian Cox

  7. Debbie Coy-Wheeler at 11:49 pm

    Get her the pink one : )

  8. Carolyn Vaughan at 3:18 am

    take her to Rangeusa

  9. Taylor Pohl at 3:01 pm

    I like the savage mk ll series.

  10. Christine Byars at 8:04 pm

    When is an appropriate age for a child to own a 22 or the proper preparations for a child to start shooting/.

  11. Podi Sombich at 2:47 am

    I think we were around 10 or 12, not exactly sure.

  12. Randy Godbey at 3:02 am

    My daughters started shooting when they was 4

  13. Bob Potter at 11:27 pm

    I've just started looking for something for my 10 year old son. Some of the youth rifles feel too small for him already. But the heavier weight of full size is too hard for him to manage. I stopped by one store a while back and they suggested maybe a Ruger 1022 with a short stock. That can later be switched back to a full stock.

  14. Andy Felty at 12:04 am

    Great choice. Highly customizable, inexpensive to shoot, easy to handle.

  15. Bryce Glass at 12:45 am

    Is it Ruger that makes the collapsible camping rifle .22? The one w/ a hollow butt and the whole thing seals inside? That always seemed like a pretty light, portable option.

  16. What?? No guns!! Are you expecting Zombies soon or something?? 🙂

  17. Bob Potter at 1:30 pm

    He's already shot .22 rifle, 9mm handgun and 20 guage shotgun. He still wants more!

  18. Mt Pisgah Diner at 7:42 pm

    what age is appropriate.

  19. Cory Glauner at 7:47 pm

    In my opinion, it depends on the kid. I think some kids are ready at 10 or 12 (with supervision)… and I know some adults who aren't ready for one.

  20. Bob Potter at 1:02 am

    We ended up going with the Ruger Mark II Compact/Youth model. It was a perfect fit for my 10 year old. A little bigger than the Cricket, etc. and he can always upgrade to a full size stock later.

  21. Bob Potter at 1:08 am

    I agree. Start with a BB rifle and see if your child can use it safely and respects it as a weapon. I took a NRA rifle safety course with my son when he was 10. Its retty cheap and they are great at making sure they leave remembereing the important safety points.

  22. Daniel Kincade at 9:26 pm

    Very helpful thank you..

  23. timing? too soon?

  24. Nick Dallege at 4:15 am

    I am 16 and i'm looking for a good .22 for shooting rabits. I'll be buying on my own dime so i'm looking for something cheap but with enough quality that my friends don't make fun of it. Would a Savage Arms Mark II G be a good choice or should i look for a better rifle?

  25. Cory Glauner at 4:57 pm

    I'm no expert, but I think that would be a great rifle for you. Who cares what your friends think. I go on some pretty "fancy" bird hunts and the guys I'm hunting with are all shooting expensive, high end shotguns. I'm shooting a pump, 870 with a full choke. They laugh up until I outshoot them.

  26. Rick Mulletman at 9:37 am

    Where can get an A-15 for my kids?

    1. Bryan Davidson at 2:53 pm

      At a gun store, but if you were not a troll you would know that. PS it is AR-15.

  27. Marcos Leyva at 6:01 pm

    A 5 years Old just killed his 2 years old sister. But you ares saying that this shits are very safe. Idiots

    1. Dan at 9:30 pm

      Result of a stupid parent not an inanimate object. People like you know next to nothing about firearms so you can blame the firearm. I bet if someone hit your child with a car you wouldn’t blame the car. Wise up there are enough stupid parents in the world. As a teacher I meet my share.

    2. Terminus WhereDeathIsMostAlive at 7:16 am

      Why do people like you go to places where people are having a discussion you don’t agree with and just vomit on the thread? Do you do this is public?

  28. Rob Anderson at 2:42 am

    Just like the 5 year old who shot his 2 year old sister…

  29. Rob Anderson at 2:43 am

    Not 5…

  30. Ben Freer at 3:03 am

    :Have an 8 year old son. Started out with a red rider to learn about and understand sight picture , trigger squeeze and over all gun safety. Now he has Stevens favorite. It is an awesome 22. I'm 6'2 and enjoy shooting it. My son nailed a ground squirrel at 75 yards with open sights . Awesome tool that will stand the test of time.

  31. Sarah Lou at 3:21 am

    I love being in this family … Nice SHOT …

  32. Andrew J. Haight at 5:49 pm

    Great list. I have my 10 year old son learning with a Remington 572. I like all your choices. Only thing I'd disagree with is the Semi-Auto Repeaters not being the right choice. If your opinion is based on safety then I'd say the parent and child needs to reconsider whether or not now is the right time to learn about gun safety. If they are taught to begin to handle the firearm properly then it's a fine choice. If they mishandle it, they shouldn't be handling bolt, pump, semi-auto or any type at all. So in that sense the semi-auto just gives them more time shooting. More time shooting equals a better marksman and increased familiarity with the gun and it's attributes.

  33. Brandon Lewis at 6:17 pm

    Brad Word

  34. Darrell MacDonald at 2:20 am

    Buy a safe and put the guns up! My cousin's child killed his little brother as well, but how could this happen? My cousin was not very smart and left a loaded pistol in the kitchen drawer. Why would he do that? Who knows? Stupid move by the parent. Shooting sports can be educational, a great way to spend time with your kids, and fun for all ages. It's cliche, but this tragic death (any death like this is tragic) was not caused by the weapon…but by SOME PERSON LEAVING A LOADED WEAPON IN REACH OF A 5 YEAR OLD!!! My 8 year old and I spent this last weekend with several other kids (and their parents) shooting. Was a lot of fun, and NO ONE DIED! Don't call people "Idiots" for enjoying an activity that is safer than driving a car.

    1. lbustin@verizon.net at 9:24 pm

      The NRA Eddie Eagle gun safety program is free for gun safety training programs for young
      children. It basically tells kids who find a gun: 1. Stop! Don’t touch! 2. Leave the area. 3. Tell an adult.

  35. Brittani Morrison at 3:36 pm

    a five year old that probably had no idea about gun safety and should have never had access to the gun without a parent

  36. Anonymous at 8:43 am

    That is a horrible tragedy, but it has nothing to do with the gun and everything to do with parenting and supervision. Guns, weapons, kitchen knives, matches, poisons, tools…etc have the potential to harm children that are not supervised. We don't blame cars for the accidents that kill others, we blame the driver. A Gun is a tool, its the person operating the tool or lack of parenting/supervision.

  37. Samuel Zhang at 10:54 am

    Im 13 and im only 1.5m tall and quite skinny. Would the Savage MarkII be to big of a rifle for me?

  38. My grandson started on a cricket. We have discover he is right handed left eye dominant and are looking for a left handed 22 for him.This is how they are teaching him to shoot at the NRA range,Does anyone know of a maker of this type of rifle?

  39. Zachary S. Holton at 4:05 am

    Ithica M 49

  40. Edward Henrichsen at 6:19 am

    You forgot the Henry youth 22 or the HENRY H001. I just picked up the H001 for $269. The youth will cost about $199. Both of these are lever action and will chamber 22 shorts, longs, or LRs.

  41. Heather Barrett at 4:40 am

    This company makes the best rimfire out there if you want speed and accuracy or just an all around great gun that will last a long time you can pass down. Go to https://www.volquartsen.com/

  42. Shelly McCune at 7:17 pm

    Tim I can't read your whole comment. It stops at #3. Interested to read the rest. I appreciate the help. Can you copy paste and send to shelly mccune Facebook ?

  43. Frank Dorothy at 8:15 pm

    Just found out cricket now has a left hand in there chipmunk line

    1. Cory Glauner at 6:12 am

      Good to know. Thanks.

  44. Peter Clark at 2:28 am

    My kids like to play with gel blaster, not only my children, I am also excited to play with them.

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