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Any tips on helping a 7 year old get over being gun shy? He’s big for his age and shoots his 22 cricket with no problems. However he shot a youth 20 gauge and a 410 shotgun and said they kick too hard. I then got one of the rubber recoil reducers to put on the end of the stock but he refused to try it- just too afraid. Any tips on helping him get over this?
 

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I got my kid one of those shoulder pads. It slides in her trap vest. There are other ones too that strap on. I also take her out for ice cream after shooting as a bribe.
 

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Wow, I never heard of anyone being bothered by the recoil of a .410. Part of the problem could be that the shotguns he shot were ill fitting, a shotgun that doesn't fit the shooter can enhance felt recoil. Many times people give kids guns that are too long or they are not holding the butt stock tight against the shoulder and the stock slams into the shoulder instead of pushing against it. I would check to see if the guns fit and how the boy is holding them. Single shot shotguns are notorious for not fitting. Before yousend money on another gun I would work on checking the fit and the way the boy hods the guns. Another consideration if the fit and hos shooting technique are not the problem is to go to a gas operated semi auto shot gun with a good recoil pad.
 

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Any tips on helping a 7 year old get over being gun shy? He’s big for his age and shoots his 22 cricket with no problems. However he shot a youth 20 gauge and a 410 shotgun and said they kick too hard. I then got one of the rubber recoil reducers to put on the end of the stock but he refused to try it- just too afraid. Any tips on helping him get over this?
Is the recoil being felt by his shoulder or his face? Maybe both.

As someone pointed out, gun fit can be the problem. However, try to make sure that the gun is firmly in his shoulder and that his cheek is pressed down on the comb of the stock. Maybe get a small pad to put on the comb for him to press on if he is getting hit in the cheek.

Also, don't let him shoot these guns off the bench until he is ready for this. Shooting off the bench typically causes more recoil issues.
 

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even to this day when we sit and shoot on the bench I use a knee pad between me and the gun... one of the hardest kicking guns we have is a Mossberg youth 20ga pump gun, I even hate to shoot that gun. Fit and how he is holding it may be an issue also..
 

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Exactly. He may just not be ready. If you push him he may never be.
I agree. What is the rush to get a seven year old shooting a shotgun? I have kids in that range. They have all shot .22's and .223's. I have a nine year old that will be moving up to 6.5 Grendel and light .260 Rem loads this year. Give it time and work up slowly.

FWIW, the recoil energy on a 20 gauge is around that of a .270... probably a little much for most seven year olds. The fact that he shot both the 20 and the 410 tells me that he shot them in that order. He may have been able to handle the 410 (still a huge step up in recoil from a .22) but had already been conditioned by the 20 gauge to be recoil shy. I see a .223 class rifle as a great tool for moving up from .22's. It has a little bit of recoil and a lot more noise/muzzle blast. I think getting used to the noise without adding much recoil can be a good step. It won't be necessary for all kids but it doesn't hurt. Everyone is different and size isn't always a determining factor.
 

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Exactly. He may just not be ready. If you push him he may never be.
Give him time... don't push it keep it fun
That's my thinking as well. 7 is young. Kids change so fast in those young years, by the time hes 9 he may be pestering you to take him out to shot.
 
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Yep give him more time. My 2 girls were 13 and 11 this past spring. My 11 year old will shoot anything. My 13 year old hates shooting guns and yes even the 410. I have 2 and hates to shoot them. BUT I bought a crossbow this past year and she loves shooting it and is quite good with.
She hunted spring birds and some deer this fall. This could be an option for your boy. To get him used to pulling that trigger and forget about the recoil for a few years. .22 for squirrels.
 

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I agree. What is the rush to get a seven year old shooting a shotgun? I have kids in that range. They have all shot .22's and .223's. I have a nine year old that will be moving up to 6.5 Grendel and light .260 Rem loads this year. Give it time and work up slowly.

FWIW, the recoil energy on a 20 gauge is around that of a .270... probably a little much for most seven year olds. The fact that he shot both the 20 and the 410 tells me that he shot them in that order. He may have been able to handle the 410 (still a huge step up in recoil from a .22) but had already been conditioned by the 20 gauge to be recoil shy. I see a .223 class rifle as a great tool for moving up from .22's. It has a little bit of recoil and a lot more noise/muzzle blast. I think getting used to the noise without adding much recoil can be a good step. It won't be necessary for all kids but it doesn't hurt. Everyone is different and size isn't always a determining factor.
My son loves shooting an ar-15 in .223 just as much as his .22. I am glad he is just getting used to shooting. We take the 30-30 and 30-06 to the range and he does not want to touch those ones yet and I am not going to push it.
 

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I also agree to give him all the time he needs. I honestly think letting a kid that young shoot a .20 gauge might have been a mistake. I'm not trying to be harsh, just giving my honest opinion. My Uncle did the same thing with me when I was a kid but with a 12 ga. and it cured me from wanting to shoot for too long. My Dad was not happy with him. I also agree with dce about muzzle blast probably scaring some kids. My kid is also a big kid and I put off letting him shoot a shotgun until he was 9. I was still very concerned at that age. I've also seen too many kids develop a flinch due to their Dad's putting a deer rifle in their hands that they have no business shooting.
 

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this is what you need.

https://limbsaver.com/products/protective-shooting-pad

use it for the .410, it will feel like the.22lr, then leave it at that for a while. i bet its the noise and the recoil from that 20 gauge. was he wearing a coat or just a shirt ?

i use the limbsaver protective shooting pad when i shoot slugs from my 12 ga. i can shoot a full box with no bruising and very light recoil with nothing but that pad over a shirt.
 

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I agree with others that loud noise is a big factor. Get good hearing protection and let him listen while you shoot. The Limbsaver recoil pads do wonders as well. Winchester was making Low Recoil/Low Noise AA loads in both .410 and 20 ga. If you can find lite loads and, again, let him watch and hear you shoot them first, that may help. If he's still not ready, be happy to let him continue with the .22 and maybe introduce him to .22 shot shells for added fun. At that age the priority is to have him enjoy shooting whatever he wants and is ready to shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys for all the good tips and info. I will not force him to shoot a gun he doesn't want to and I will try to take him with me more when I go shooting so he can be around the noise more (with good hearing protection of course). I will look into some of the recoil pads and leave it up to him to decide when he's ready.
 
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