Harrington & Richardson Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact
How often have you heard someone tell you to keep things simple? Plenty I bet. And since Monday’s Youth Deer Gun Setup was a rather techie one, I think I’ll go with the keep-it-simple theme for today’s pick.
Really, a rifle doesn’t get much more basic than one of the single-shots from Harrington & Richardson, and for that reason they’re one of my favorites for really young shooters who are moving up from .22-calibers and into their first rimmed cartridge gun. (I particularly like the inherent safety of a single shot—there’s just less to go wrong.) As far as one for a kid’s first deer, the Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact certainly meets the qualifications.
With a very short 11¾-inch length of pull and a maneuverable overall length of just 33 inches, this is an ideal pick for the small-bodied eight- to 12-year-old crowd. That the gun wears a synthetic stock is also practical (takes the knocks well from youths who aren’t used to handling firearms everyday), plus it comes complete with the scope, sling swivel studs, and sling. Originally available only in .223—not my top pick for whitetails—the 5 1/3-pound Superlight Handi-Rifle Compact is now available in .243.
MSRP: The link from the H&R product site to the Gallery of Guns sale sight has the unscoped version at $322.85. The Gallery site didn’t actually show the scoped version in its inventory system, but I’m guessing that version will run you about $25 to $50 more, tops. If this is your young child’s first rifle and you want to keep things economical, I’d go with the scoped version and call it a day.
Bushnell Sport 450 Rangefinder
A simple rangefinder like Bushnell’s Sport 450 is a great way to help your child get their first deer on the ground. I especially like this unit because of its size and ease of operation. The unit sports dimensions of 1.7”x3.9”x3.1” and features one-button operation that’s easily manipulated by a smaller, inexperienced hand. The objective has 4×20 magnification, and the unit ranges from as little as five yards to 999. It comes with a case, a strap and a 9-volt battery (battery included—hooray!) and a generous 320 feet at 1,000 yards field of view. A textured grip improves handhold, your kid will dig the camo, and the Sport 450, like many Bushnell products, sports the company’s Rainproof technology—which leaves you looking only for a solution for how to get your kid to sit in the stand on a rainy day without whining.
MSRP: The price link on the Bushnell site proved dysfunctional, but a quick Google showed the top-end list price to be about $275 for the camo version. I’d go with Googling even if you could get the Bushnell site to work, because most online sources I saw were selling it between $140 and $180ish.
The Author Recommends: The Harrington & Richardson Long Guns Exploded Drawings is a natural pairing with this rifle and a good way to help teach kids just what makes this gun work. I’d also download the Standard Catalog of Harrington and Richardson Pricing and Checklist, an excellent reference for those who like collecting these ever-ready utilitarian rifles.
Harrington & Richardson Long Guns Exploded Drawings
Standard Catalog of Harrington and Richardson Pricing and Reference
About the Author: Jennifer L.S. Pearsall joined Gun Digest in summer 2011 as a books editor. She began her career selling guns in a retail gun shop and handgun range in Northern Virginia in the early 1990s. Recruited by the NRA to join its editorial staff in 1999, she then went on to succeed as a freelance writer and photographer. She's been a competitive shooter in many disciplines, including sporting clays, IPSC, and metallic blackpowder cartridge silhouette, and she has been an avid hunter for many years.
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