I have a springfield 940E just got it from a man that had no children. He bought it for himself.
Many well-meaning fathers pick up an inexpensive, single shot break-action shotgun to introduce their child or children to one of the shooting sports. I commend them for furthering the future of the sport. However, it's a good idea to keep a little perspective here. I went out shooting clay pigeons to warm up for grouse season with several friends one year. One of the men had brought his young son along, and handed him a break-action 12 gauge, and started throwing clays for him. After a few shots, I asked if I could help, and volunteered to load the gun for the boy between clays. On the 3rd shot, I left the chamber empty, and when the hammer clicked, it was very evident that he had developed a serious flinch after just a few shots. It turned out that his Dad had given him the same hi-base, or short magnum shotshells that he used in his semi-auto 12. I let the young man shoot a few rounds of the low-base shells that I use, and he found them a lot more comfortable. Grouse are not typically armor-plated, and those shells work fine on them. The typical gun of this type is light, and has a fairly pronounced "drop" to the stock. If you combine that with hot loads, they become less than fun to shoot in a hurry. A 20 kicks a lot less than a 12..but try to see it from the point of view of the novice. We want the kids to enjoy shooting, not be kicked silly from guns that Dad wouldn't really enjoy much either. My brother had a Stevens single shot 12 gauge with a 3 inch magnum chamber. With hot 3 inch magnum loads in it..and I mean factory loads, not handloads..that gun was a ferocious kicker. The only reason he kept it was that he had a gunsmith cut the barrel off behind the choke, so it had a wide shot pattern. I never saw him miss a bird with that thing, but he paid the price of bruises and discomfort every time he used it. Try it yourself first, with ammunition that's good enough, not necessarily the most powerful load you can stuff into it. My friend's son, by the way, turned out to be a good wingshot. Have fun with your kid.
I received a 20-gauge Stevens 940E in '68 when I turned 13, and I've had it ever since. That gun taught me one thing in particular - you don't always have a second shot, and this is particularly true for woodland grouse whether there's a second barrel or not. There was some recoil with the 3-inch magnums used for ducks but the field loads I used for grouse were good for shooting all day. Very quick pointer - almost too quick. For me, it was a good choice to learn wingshooting, both from having to make each shot count and the smaller 20-gauge pattern. Moving up to a 12-gauge 870 two years later was a piece of cake.
i have a model 94 20 ga m searies and i wouldn't have a kid use it. the thing kids like a mule.
When I was 8 years old in early 1968 my dad bought me a Stevens 940 E 20 gauge shotgun. What a great shotgun for a kid. When I out grew the short stock a few years later, my dad made an extension for it, I still have this shotgun now 43 years later and it is still one of my favorites. Even though I now have a humpback Browning 12 gauge (yep, a Belgium Browning) and a 12 gauge Bennelli Nova pump, I recently bought a Brazilian 12 gauge single shot break action shot gun because I like the challenge of not always being able to get off a quick second shot.
When I got my Stevens shotgun, people thought nothing of seeing a group of boys, 10 to 12 years old, walking down the street, all carrying shotguns, unsupervised, headed for the woods.....we were just going hunting, our fathers had taught us firearm safety, and committing any kind of crime with those guns was just unthinkable.
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