Article Date: Monday, November 14, 2011
By Bob Humphrey
There are many rewarding aspects to being a parent but one of the biggest for me was being able to introduce my kids to hunting. They started, like most kids, plinking with .22s, then graduated, first to a .410, then to a 20 gauge shotgun. When it came time to hunt big game, I needed a rifle.
First I tried the used market, but discovered there weren't many around. Folks, it seems, either held on to what they had, or passed them along to someone else. Next I weighed my choices on a new gun.
I first went through this process with my daughter. Initially, I went with a break-action single shot. This is a good choice for a young, first-time hunter due to the safety and simplicity.
While mounting a scope however, I discovered the height of the hammer necessitated a high base. That, in turn, required the shooter to raise their cheek higher off the stock than even an adult would be comfortable with. Running out of time and choices I swapped the single shot out for a bolt-action - a Remington Model Seven in 7mm-08. I reasoned that even when this girl grew into a woman the youth stock would still fit her smaller frame.
The caliber choice was more a matter of what was available at the time. I would have preferred a caliber for which reduced recoil loads were available.
My son was a different story. He used his sister's gun his first hunting season, and took his first deer with it. But two things became immediately apparent. First, he needed his own gun. Second, he would eventually outgrow a youth stock.
I discovered the perfect solution: Mossberg's 100 ATR Super Bantam. It has a shortened length of pull and pistol grip, shorter barrel and a supple recoil reducing butt pad ideal for a young or small-framed shooter. It served my son well for a couple seasons and he took several deer with it.
But teenagers grow fast, and it wasn't long before he'd outgrown the youth stock. No problem. Super Bantam models also feature an innovative adjustable stock. By adding the insert, his youth gun became an adult gun.
With more time to shop, I also opted for .308 for it's greater versatility. He started out with reduced recoil loads. But when he pulled a Maine moose permit, we were able to elevate to 180 grain Winchester Silvertips.
The 100 ATR Super Bantam is available in .243 WIN, 7mm-08 Rem. and .308 WIN. It comes with a 20-inch fluted barrel with a 1:0 twist; weaver-style bases; a black synthetic stock convertible from 12-13" LOP; a 3-9x40mm variable scope and weighs in a 7-3/4 lbs. I, and more importantly my son, found it an ideal gun for a boy growing into a man.