Savage Model 11/111 Lady Hunter
Savage makes a couple rifles specifically for youth shooters, but the M11/111 Lady Hunter has some features that, though indicated for women hunters, should work quite well for any teen shooter.
I Googled and Googled and Googled and couldn’t find a length of pull listed for this gun anywhere, but all the PR material said it was shorter than Savage’s normal adult rifles. I’ll take that—I’ve shot plenty of so-called “women’s” guns, and they’re never much, if any, different than their counterparts labeled as “youth guns,” with most length of pull falling around the 13- to 13¾-inch range. I also wouldn’t worry about it as a youth choice, because beyond the fact that I know it already has a shorter length of pull, it has a fairly thick butt pad on the end and the stock is wood. The butt pad can certainly be swapped out for one that’s thinner, and it looks like there’s a solid ½- to ¾-inch of wood behind the raised cheekpiece that could be sacrificed off for a better fit.
That cheekpiece is actually the leading reason I chose this gun as my next Youth Setup. So often it’s hard for a small face on a small body to get lined up properly on a scope, even one mounted low, that a raised cheek swell can really be an advantage. The one on this Savage, though, also runs a long way across the stock’s comb, a design I think can really encourage a smaller body to find the position that gets them a sight picture and get their shoulder and arm around this gun for solid support; to me the gun looks huggable, like you can really become one with it with a little work on the bench. Combined with a rather generous sweep at the pistol grip that also provides for positioning and purchase on a wide variety of hand sizes, this rifle looks to be very accommodating to shorter-statured shooters.
This gun does sport Savage’s venerable Accutrigger. I know, I know, some of you parents are thinking the trigger’s going to be too light. Well, it could be, but remember that, if you can adjust it lighter, you can get it heavier, too. In fact, a heavier trigger would be excellent to use for pre-season bench work as a “teachable moment” regarding trigger control.
The Savage 11/111 Lady Hunter is on the light side, just 6 pounds, so for deer I’d stick to the mild .243 out of the eight cartridges this gun comes chambered in. Barrel length is 20 inches, and overall length comes in at a still maneuverable 39½ inches.
MSRP: The Savage website has this nicely wooded rifle listed at $819.
Weaver Grand Slam Zoom
If you’ve got a kid who’s indicating they want to wander the country taking game large and small, then Weaver’s adjustable zoom Grand Slam bino is one that covers all the bases. This glass clicks effortlessly from 8X to 12X to a whopping 16X, with ample 42mm lenses at the outgoing end. The roof-prism design is easy on small hands, as is the rubber armor—but frankly I picked this one in part because I’m diggin’ its dark brown-and-tan hardware (okay, it could be black-and-tan, hard to tell from the web, but still, just l-o-v-e love it). Just love the looks on this one, and it’s less likely to stand out against most camo patterns when worn around the neck or in gloved hands.
MSRP: $685.49 on the Weaver website.
The Author Recommends: Whether you hunt with your child from the same stand or across a field or valley from one another, it’s good to go prepared. Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need by John D. McCann is a smart reference for any outdoor family to share. On sale now for $15.15 (was $22.99)!
Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need