Choosing the best gun for your child is never an easy task. If you are going to set your child on the path and way of life that involve firearms, there’s more to choosing a gun than models and brand names. It’s pretty obvious why you just can’t choose haphazardly.
If you are looking to buy your kid his or her first gun, you’ve come to the right place.
For this post, we will review a popular youth 22 rifle, the Crickett 22 LR. But first, we have prepared a quick guide on how to choose a firearm for your child.
How to Choose a Child’s First Gun?
So what are the crucial factors to consider when buying the first gun for your son or daughter? Below are some of the key considerations:
- What Caliber? – Perhaps you’re an avid waterfowler and you are looking to buy your kid a shotgun so he or she can come with you. Or perhaps, you’re a whitetail hunter and you want your young one to be the one to deliver the finishing blow. The first thing to keep in mind is not to overgun your kid. Giving them a firearm that’s too powerful for their age will only make them recoil shy and chase them away from the sport. In this regard, you can’t go wrong with a .22 rifle.
- What Actions? – Many parents go with a single-action firearm because they tend to be more affordable and perceived as safer. However, single shots have the tendency to deliver more recoil and may limit them from doing the necessary follow-up shot. In this case, the beloved bolt-action rifle provides the balance of manual reloading and secondary shots.
- Does it Fit? – On top of selecting the right gauge or caliber, ensuring that the gun fits your kid correctly is also important. Most adult-sized firearms have a length of approximately 14 to 14 ½ inches which is a couple of inches too much for shooters with a smaller stature. It’s a good thing that many youth-sized guns have an average length of 12 inches. A better-fitting gun will enable your kid to become a better shooter.
Remember these critical factors when purchasing that important first gun for your young one.
Youth 22 Rifle Review: The Crickett Youth .22 LR Single Shot Bolt-Action Rifle
Many avid gun owners will tell you that the Crickett Youth .22 LR Single Shot Bolt-Action Rifle is one of the best starting guns for young shooters. Before we get into the meaty details, let’s first check out the key specs of this firearm:
- Caliber: .22 Short, Long or Long Rifle standard or high velocity or 22 WMR
- Action: Manually cocking single-shot bolt action
- Trigger Pull: 2 1/2 – 3lbs. (approx.)
- Safety: Rebounding firing pin automatically blocked to prevent accidental discharge.
- Length Of Pull: 11.5″
- Sights: Adjustable Rear Peep sight, Fixed front sight / Drilled and Tapped to accept Crickett™ scope mounts
- Barrel Length: 16.125″
- Overall Length: 30″
- Stock: Synthetic with Hydro dipped options
- Weight: 3 lbs.
- Single shot bolt action
- Fiberglass and polymer-filled stock with a blued finish
- Ramp front and a peep rear sight
- Manual cocking with a sear block for safety
Looks Like a Toy But…
Most parents will most likely buy a Daisy 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun for their kid’s first gun. That’s fine because it’s hard to go wrong with the classic BB gun.
However, I prefer the Crickett .22 LR Rifle. From its appearance, you’ll think that the Crickett 22 LR is a toy gun, thanks to its fiberglass and polymer-filled stock. However, you’ll be surprised that it actually feels like a real rile, albeit a downsized one.
The Crickett is a tiny gun, it just measures at the legal limit for rifles. This is no surprise since it’s a rifle that is specifically designed for the “children’s” gun market. If you’re going to buy it straight from Crickett, you can choose from the wide range of stock options from the patriotic Amendment to the girlish Muddy Girl Serenity.
As you can see, the Crickett .22 LR Rifle is a bolt action, single-shot only rifle. For its safety feature, the gun has a bolt that controls whether you can cock the weapon or not. To cock the gun a plastic knob must be pulled backward on the bolt to cock the firearm.
Pulling the trigger will shoot the gun and opening the bolt will eject the spent shell.
The Crickett 22 is also available without the added “Key Safety Feature”, although the models that can be found in most stores will have this safety feature. This feature is basically the button on the bottom of the rifle that when depressed, prevents the bolt from closing. You need the “key” to insert into the mechanism around the button to unlock the button.
This is a bit of a controversial feature. While it does keep a child from firing the gun without the key, it’s also very easy for the shooter to push the button accidentally while holding the gun. You can use a scope with the rifle but that would require a special mount that is purchased separately.
To be quite frank, the build quality of the Crickett 22 is not the best. Some might even say that the gun feels cheap. Many gun parts would have been significantly improved by swapping plastic parts for metal ones. It really gives off the impression that it was slapped together.
Well, it’s weird to be complaining about the build quality for a gun that’s below $120 but I was definitely expecting better. For many youths, this shouldn’t be a problem, though.
Shooting and Action
While the build of the Crickett 22 is nothing to write home about, it does more than makeup for its shooting performance. With that said, the gun is very accurate and shoots precisely as expected. It’s a well-behaved gun which is important for a child’s rifle.
Since this is a gun that’s aimed at kids, its length of pull is very, very short. However, even adult shooters would find the pull to be quite manageable.
The bolt action feels great and cycles nicely. However, the cocking pull is a bit harder than I expected, probably harder than it has any right to be. The “gripping” system is also located in the back of the bold, which doesn’t accommodate the fingers. Plus, plastic construction takes its toll as it makes the action feel flimsy.
What about the trigger? For a kid’s rifle, the trigger is considered the gun’s heart. Unfortunately, the Crickett 22’s trigger leaves a lot to be desired. According to Crickett, the trigger pull is about 2½ to 3 inches. However, I doubt it since mine feels about 6 pounds on the trigger. The pull is just harsh and rugged.
The Crickett Youth .22 LR Single Shot Bolt-Action Rifle costs about $300, a great price for a child’s rifle. However, the price does come with plenty of caveats and most of the corners that have been cut lie with the build quality.
Although this youth 22 rifle looks like a real gun, its plastic components tell a different tale. Almost feels like a toy. However, this makes the Crickett 22 a great choice for absolute beginners. It is light and easy for young ones to handle and is quite an accurate shot which is great for building confidence.
Pros and Cons
So what are the hits and misses of this bolt action rifle?
- Very accurate for beginner plinkers
- Light and easy to operate for youngsters
- Added safety feature
- Sized right for small hands
- Great price
- Plastic components make the build feel flimsy
- The trigger leaves a lot to be desired
- Cocking mechanism can be tricky to operate
What the Reviews Have Been Saying
So how does the Crickett 22 fair with the other buyers?
Mostly, this youth 22 rifle has some fairly positive reviews. Most reviews say that the gun is lightweight and a breeze to operate. It just has the right size which is ideal for young shooters. One review mentioned that his kid had started shooting accurately with the gun in no time. As mentioned, this is a very accurate rifle which is great if you want to build confidence with your kid.
Many reviews also mentioned that the gun comes at a great price. Here are some examples of positive reviews:
You would be surprised how much fun this little gun is to shoot! Its small size makes it a great pack rifle too. I would recommend this gun as a perfect bug out rifle to someone who does not want to spend a lot. Best money on a firearm I’ve ever spent at Cabela’s. – Taylor88
Got the 22 for my daughter and within half hour she was hitting the target at 50yds with cricket scope. She now keeps asking when we are going to the range. The rifle is great first-time shooters easy to load and shoot. – Jeff M.
As for the negatives, a couple of reviews mentioned that there are several issues with the gun. One reviewer wrote that there were issues with ejecting the casings after just two outings. The cocking mechanism is also very difficult to operate. Several reviews were also not thrilled with the build quality and feel of the rifle.
Take a look at some of the negative reviews:
If you want to expose a youth to shooting, go ahead and spend the money on a better gun. I bought one for my girls, and have had nothing but issues out of it. After two outings, it had issues ejecting the casings. The cocking mechanism is difficult to operate. It is what it is, cheap and low quality. – EdgemoorRedneck
If you happen to see a Crickett dirt cheap, don’t be afraid of buying it, they aren’t really BAD guns… this Crickett I bought second-hand for $50 and others are out there in that price range. Pull out the safety, stick it in your GHB and you have a nice little setup. – Salt-N-Pepper
What We Think
The Crickett 22 rifle comes at a great price which is the main selling point of the gun. As far as a youth 22 rifle is concerned, it’s one of the most accurate shooters out there. It’s very light and easy to operate, making it a good option for beginners.
However, there are some glaring drawbacks to the gun which prevent it from becoming a must-have firearm for youngsters. It’s not a bad gun by any means but I will only recommend it for absolute beginners and there’s an issue with your budget.