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Youth deer loads

Started by KyBoarSlayer, September 13, 2011, 08:24:50 AM

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I have been working on youth deer loads for my son since he was 8, and thought I would share some of my experiences. I would be interested to hear about other reduced loads that work well for younger shooters or women, yet still take deer cleanly.

Me and Mark started off in .223. At that time, I hade a Ruger mini-14 and I loaded it with Speer 70 gr SPs and 748 powder, SOrry i dont  remember the charge weight on that,  but it would have been in the SPeer manual, probably 25 or 26.0 grains. We never took a deer with that load, but I was always nervous about the little 22 caliber bullet. I would like more anchoring power, especially in a deer load. Dont want to lose the kids first deer, thats no way to start.

So, I started experimenting with my Marlin 30-30, and I believe I have found an excellent solution. I now use Speers 130 gr Hot Cor flat point bullet, the lighter bullet results in much less recoil, especially in front of IMR 4895. I get 2010 fps out of 29.0 gr, and around 2091 from 31.0 gr. The 29.0 gr load is really pleasant to shoot, almost non existent recoil. The 31.0 gr load seems to group a little better, but they are both very accurate and light on recoil. And will they take a deer ? you ask. You bet. From a trajectory standpoint, i would stick to 150 yards, and if you put it where youre suppposed to, I believe it would be a good end result.

FYI: you can crank the little 130 grainers up a bit using blc(2) powder. THere I am able to get 2435 fps from 37.0 gr of BLC(2), turning the 30 - 30 into a true 200 yard gun. Although at these levels we're back to full power 30 30 loads, so may or may not be applicable to youth at that point.

I hope this helps other shooters looking for reduced loads for youth. I have found the 30-30 to work well for this application.
I will point out that Mark is 11 now, and able to shoot stouter loads. I think we'll head out with the blc(s) version this year : )

Here are some pics from a successful youth hunt with the 29.0 gr IMR 4895 load.

I include this one to show the blood trail the bullet caused, Needless to say, tracking was not a problem.

Hawks Feather

Tell Mark congratulation on the deer and thanks for the reloading info..  I bought a 30-30 a year ago and have been having some (not nearly enough) fun shooting it.  A time or two ago at the range, I had a kid that wanted to shoot the gun.  He did, but the kick was a little much for him.  I will load up some of these in case a youth shows up again. 

If anyone else is interested in some "youth" loads you can find some at:  http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Youth%20Loads.pdf



Nice read Ky~
I appreciate ya sharing that with us.

Mark!, what can I say?...you da man!  Nice job Buddy. :wink:
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I wasn't equipped (nor interested) in rolling my own when my boys were younger. Because of that, my options were obviously limited.

We found early on that quality off the shelf .223 Rem ammunition loaded with an appropriate bullet (TSX, NP, TBBC, Win PP), good shot placement, and keeping the shot range respectable (typically well under 100 yards) there was absolutely no issue with piling up game. My two boys, nephews, and their cousins over the years have given numerous feral hogs, deer, and exotics a dirt nap with the .223 Rem

My youngest boy was particularly fond of his .22 Hornet loaded with 45gr. Nosler Solid Base (Nosler Custom Ammunition).

The Marlin Youth "Spikehorn" 30-30 is also a good choice. My boys had one of those for awhile too. Thankfully Remington has a Managed Recoil load utilizing a 125gr. PSP Core-Lokt @ at reported 2175fps at the muzzle. A breeze for the boys to shoot with minimal felt recoil, and was extremely effective on game. My oldest boy several years ago slayed a young bull Elk with that lever action and load.

I dabble with reloading now, but sure did appreciate Remington offering several Managed Recoil loads.