In today's world, youth model long guns come in all sizes, shapes, and
calibers or gauges. There is a mighty good reason for that and that reason,
like most other driving forces in our world of supply and demand, is a big
enough demand, which converts into profits for corporations -- the result is
they make more quality youth models.
When I was a youngster, a youth model shotgun was synonymous with
hand-me-downs. One's father, or maybe an uncle, bought a new shotgun so
they benevolently gave their old gun to one of the male youngsters in the
family. For the recipient, it was a glorious day indeed. He owned his very own
shotgun for probably the first time in his life. He was suddenly a gun-carrying
member of that special class, "Hunter." I stipulate, "He,"
because girls were much too frail and genteel to even have been considered a
candidate to shoot a shotgun. However, should they shoot a .22 rifle -- it was a sure thing. "Let's let the
little lady have a go," while they smiled all the while, but not a
Early Youth Shotguns Awful
Youth model guns of the 1950s were special (read awful). The stocks were too
long, they were too heavy, and the barrels were too long. The
recoil also was merciless, often bringing tears to the eyes of the youth, and it left
bruises all over one's shoulder and sometime along the jaw line on the side of
the shooter's face. However brutal and unwieldy the shotgun, a young hunter
never cried, whimpered, or complained. A young hunter would never bemoan the
punishment delivered by the shotgun, and the bruises were a symbol of a rite of
passage to be envied by one's peers.
The only redeeming feature to hunting with the 1950s youth shotgun is the
fact that in the excitement of the hunt, one never really noticed the ear
splitting report, or felt the harsh recoil as they were so
focused on their prey with the adrenaline really pumping.
Ah, those were the good old days!
Today, however, manufacturers have realized that there is a market for
shotguns that will fit a child or woman. Technology also has gone a long way
into reducing recoil to a point that it is manageable. Grown men are now
actually starting to admit that shooting some shotguns can be unpleasant!
Remington Arms Company, which claims credit for being the country's oldest
firearm manufacturer, has a number of youth models as does most other
Model 870 Express, Jr., A Favorite
Remington offers the Model 870 Express, Jr., that is a 20-gauge pump with
a shorter stock and barrel, and it only weighs 6 pounds. My favorite in the
Remington youth line is the Model 11-87 Sportsman Youth, which is a
20-gauge, gas operated, semi-automatic shotgun with a 21-inch barrel, removable
chokes, and it only weighs 6-1/2 pounds. The stock is shortened by 1-inch and with
the shortened barrel, the balance is improved, as is the handling. This
shotgun, like most other youth models, comes with one screw-in choke, but all
of the other chokes are available for a reasonable price.
I was attending a shotgun-shooting seminar once and a lady, who competed in
5-stand and skeet, let me shoot her 12-gauge Browning, semi-automatic shotgun.
The shotgun had the forcing cone extended, it was back bored, and had a special
recoil pad installed. I never felt the expected recoil of a 12-gauge, but just
a gentle nudge when the trigger was pulled. It was a ladies gun, not built for
a real man who has many years experience at holding back the tears when
shooting clays or hunting with a shotgun, but I would really like to have that
shotgun. I have had similar experiences with Beretta's 391
So friends, it matters not if you are looking for a shotgun for a youth,
lady, or yourself, there is no reason for any shotgunner to take a beating.
Seek out light recoil and the shotgun experience will be so enjoyable you will
soon find that you have another addictive pastime that you cannot afford.
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