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Air Rifle Liberty Training Rifle

Started by Cubdriver, October 12, 2015, 01:50:23 PM

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I am looking for an Air Rifle "Liberty Training Rifle." My son is 6 years old and has a definite interest in shooting but I do not think he is quite ready for an Appleseed event. He has shot BB guns a few times with the Boy Scouts and has shot my nephew's Liberty Training Rifle as well. I would like to get him an air rifle to start with in the backyard so that we can practice with it and start getting him ready for an Appleseed Event. I am really looking forward to taking him to an Appleseed in the future, but I am not sure that he has the patience for an all day shooting event right now.

I started out with a Daisy Red Ryder and he has shot a Daisy Buck, but it is difficult for him to cock. I would like some sort of Air Rifle (BB, Pellet, or Air Soft) that would be easy for him to shoot, maybe has a decent trigger pull (to teach him the feel of the trigger break), and is lightweight that he can use to work on the fundamentals of shooting and handling a gun. If it does require him to cock it/pump it, I want it to be something that can be done with a "reasonable amount of effort." I have done a fair amount of research on my own, but am interested to see if anyone else has solved this problem or has any recommendations or first hand experience. I have tried to search the forum to no avail, so if this is addressed somewhere else, please let me know. Thank you for your help.

2 clicks low

I would suggest a LTR instead of a bb gun. If he is ready to learn to shoot, he is ready for a LTR.

Unless you are a rifleman with teaching experience, please bring him to an Appleseed so we can teach him correctly the first time, no bad habits we need to break down the road.

As to being able to go a full day (or 2), bring him Saturday morning. If he gets tired you can take him home and come back Sunday morning or not. It's only $20 for kids.

2 clicks low
"Semper Fritos" 1st. Chicago Chairborne


Like 2CL said if you think he is ready for it get him an LTR. However, if you also want something he can practice with in the backyard, might I suggest either:


I read that Peter Hathaway Capstick used to enjoy plinking with a Pumpmaster even after hunting Africa's biggest game because it let him cheaply practice holding, trigger squeeze, respiratory pause, etc. without touching the pocketbook or shoulder too much.
"That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." -George Orwell


Consider a refurbished Daisy M853 from CMP.  It's a single shot .177 cal. pellet rifle.  It does take a little bit of strength to cock it.

I have one and it's a remarkable little air rifle and very affordable.  Comes with fully adjustable aperture sights and sling.  Also has stock extensions so dad can shoot, too.  :-)

My son was a member of a youth air rifle team, therefore I was able to get a deal through CMP because of that program. 


Gentlemen, I really appreciate the advice. I bought a Daisy 853 from the CMP about 5 years ago and second that recommendation. I absolutely love it for myself and it allows me to practice in the garage, which is legal where I live. I don't think that it will work for my son though, because I would have to cut down the stock and it is "heavy" for a 6 year old. However, I do plan to let him shoot it, as he gets older.

I think I will look at the Crosman some more, however, I anticipate that I will run into the same problem with them that I do the Daisy Buck - it is hard to cock/pump. Right now he can cock them, but he has to put the gun vertically to cock it, or I can do it for him. I am also considering a semi-automatic C02 rifle. Unfortunately, the stores around me seem to only have 4-5 air rifles on the shelf at most, and they are in the box so you cannot feel them, which is why I am turning to the Appleseeders for help.

I looked at the Airsoft rifles, but was not impressed with the triggers. They do not really feel like a trigger because all they are doing is completing an electrical circuit to allow them to fire, thus there is no trigger "break." Also, I have not been able to find one that is just semi-automatic. A lot of them are full-auto, which is not an option that I want for a kid his age. Plus whenever I think of full-auto shooting, I am reminded of what Jeff Cooper said - paraphrasing, "If someone is shooting at me, I hope they are shooting on full auto."

I firmly believe in the Appleseed program. I shot on a competition team when I was in college and still learned a lot from the Appleseed shoot that I attended. When my son is ready (probably in the next six months), I can assure you, that he will attend an Appleseed event ever year. That way he can truly learn to be a rifleman and it will constantly reinforce the basic shooting skills. Unfortunately, the Appleseeds near my house are in frequent or a long drive. I drove 3 hours one-way when I did mine, spent the night, and I was exhausted at the end of it as a 34 year old and in good shape. Also, while I firmly believe in the fundamentals and learning them correctly from a young age, I think it is even more important to foster a love of shooting in my son. I talked it over with my wife, and she agreed that he does not have the patience at this point to enjoy an Appleseed event. He would think it was awesome in the morning, but would probably get tired and hot by the afternoon. That is not to say the situation will not be different in Jan/Feb, but that is our assessment now. I don't want him to get burned out or have a negative experience. I might be overly cautious of this, but I have seen it first hand with both my father and my father-in-law. For example, my father-in-law loves to hunt and spends an average of 80+ days a year in the woods now that he is retired, but none of his kids like to hunt because he did too much too soon with them. That is what I want to avoid and if it means he picks up some bad habits over a couple of months, but learns the fundamentals of how to safely handle a gun and gains a real passion for it, that is a risk I am willing to take.  Please realize that my heart is in the right place, but every situation and every kid is different. Many Appleseeds are in his future though.


My son's (BellRinger - now 17, a rifleman, a KD rifleman and a NRA distinguished expert in rifle) would tell you his best memories are spending time with Grandpa in the basement with his red ryder bb gun that Grandpa had to cock for him.  They shot at cans and other fun stuff with a carpet backdrop and didn't worry about form or "doing it right" though SAFETY was TOTALLY stressed.  That was drilled into him over and over and over and over.

He also played with Nerf guns a lot in the hallway.  You would be surprised how well that helped him too.

When he was older, he was able to transition to competitive style shooting with training through Appleseed and the proof is in the pudding so to speak.

Let him be a kid and spend that time with him cocking his rifle for him and just enjoy shooting together.   That time is precious and fleeting.

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our Country will stand in need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its ruin."  - Samuel Adams


Fellow 'Seeders,
Be advised Civilian Marksmanship Program (huge website) continues to offer Daisy 853s, including a sling, decent (plastic) rear sights and multiple, hooded front sight inserts...for $100 plus $14.95 shipping, $22.95 shipping for two - can be sent to your home!  CMP also sells .177 pellets...AND rifle and pistol ammunition...
    If CMP is asked politely, they will include with the rifle several 5-shot pellet "clips," which advance when the bolt is cycled (lever still has to be cocked for each shot).

    Cheapest way to practice until .22 ammo returns...basement or backyard, @ 10 my former life as HS English teacher and school's Varsity Rifle Coach, we used CMP Daisys with 7th through 12th grade gym classes (up to when team was disestablished by School Board in 2000) - and if gym classes couldn't break them, NO ONE can...
    Daisy MSRP is around $400...
    Won't last forever...
PS  2015 Instructor Purchase Program typically expires in December - PM me email address for manufacturers' IPP sheets:  Smith, Ruger, Henry, Mossberg.
"Aim for a high mark and you will hit it.  No, not the first time, nor the second, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting,
for only practice will make you perfect.
Finally, you will hit the bulls-eye of success."
-Annie Oakley Butler
A Rifleman Persists
"Nemo me impune lacessit."  Montresor, via E. A. Poe, 1846


I'd recommend a QB78 or QB79.

They are single shot air rifles, available in .177 or .22
I'd recommend the .22 caliber as the pellets are easier for kid and parents to handle.

They are made of wood and steel, and have the same manual of arms as a single shot bolt action firearm.
No pumping needed like the Daiy 953/853/753.
They do use CO2==12 gram carts for the QB78, paintball tank for the QB79.
The QB78 will run you under $125 delivered to your door, and under $150 for the QB79.

Great guns to teach people how to shoot safely.

A bag of toy plastic zoo animals make great targets for a safari hunt with young shooters (and older ones too!)

Here's something I wrote about 10 or more years ago.....on what airgun to use to introduce people to shooting.  It's a little dated, but still valid.

Why the QB78 or QB79 (Crosman 160 clones) is the Ideal First Sporting Airgun

Airguns are a great way to introduce people to shooting.  One can teach proper trigger control, sight alignment, sight picture, and most importantly, safe gun handling.  They are also relatively inexpensive to operate compared to firearms.  In most locales, airguns can safely be shot inside the house or in the backyard.  Be sure to check your local ordinances.
Airguns range from insanely accurate, low power Olympic .177 caliber "paper-punchers" to high power .50 caliber single shot hunting rifles.  Airguns, like tools, perform best when function meets purpose.   Avoid airguns marketed by "feet per second" as it is a poor indicator of an airgun's utility and accuracy.  Airguns are most accurate when shooting between 380 and 930 feet per second. A fast miss is still a miss, which is why accuracy is the single most important aspect of airguns.  If velocity is your primary aim, buy a .22 long rifle firearm and you'll be much happier.
Airguns have several different powerplants. They can be powered by metal springs, gas springs (gas rams or gas spring), carbon dioxide (CO2), or compressed air.
Only safe, reliable, and accurate airguns are worth owning. Each powerplant has its advantages, but the CO2 powered airgun is the best choice for most beginners. 
For new airgunners, I recommend avoiding airguns powered by springs.  They have unique recoil characteristics and require special techniques to shoot accurately.  Avoid these unless you are willing to commit the time necessary to learn the technique to shoot them accuratelyâ€"at least 1000 shots.  These "springers" are priced from $30 to over $1000 dollars.  The lower priced ones are not accurate and difficult to shoot.  If you go this route, the springers worth purchasing are the Dianna RWS 34 ($270), any Weihrauch (HW30s, HW95, HW97k, HW98, etc $400-$900), the Air Arms TX200 ($700) or Air Arms Pro-Sport ($800). One other recommended spring airgun is the IZH60/IZH 61 (about $150).
A subset of spring airguns are ones that use gas springs (gas struts) instead of steel coils.  These are specialty air guns, generally hunting rifles.  They are more difficult to cock, but shoot as accurately as spring airguns (i.e. you'll need a lot of practice developting your technique).  I recommend waiting on these.  Some quality spring airguns can be changed to gas springs using aftermarket kits if one desires.
Spring airguns and gas rams present an additional danger as you have to "cock" and compress the spring.  People have had fingers smashed, broken stocks and broken noses, black eyes, etc. if they did this unsafely and the spring released at the wrong time.  Hence, I recommend beginners avoid these types of airguns.  If you get one, read the manual carefully.  Read the manual carefully!
Another category of airguns use high pressure compressed air (filled from scuba tanks or highly specialized high pressure pumps).  Often called PCP airguns, for Pre-Charged  Pneumatic, these require a scuba tank or specialized high pressure manual pump ($300) to provide the 3000 to 4500 psi air.   Although super accurate (used in the Olympics), they can vary in power from target shooting (.177 Olympic rifles) to big bore .355 to .75 caliber hunting guns.  These are expensive, $500 - $3500, up to $10,000.
Pump airguns are another airgun powerplant.  The Benjamin 392/297 and Daisy 953, 853 , and 753 rifles are the only ones I would consider. The Daisy's require a single "pump" and are very low power target airguns.  The Benjamin is pumped 3 to 7 times and has more power.  Pumping airguns between each shot can be difficult for children and tiring for adults.   Pumping also makes it much more difficult to keep the airgun pointed in a safe direction.  As the manual of arms is not consistent with bolt action firearms,  these airguns make a poor analogue for firearms training.  These cost between $100-$500, but I'd wait on these for beginners.

Airguns I recommend for beginners are powered by CO2 (carbon dioxide) and use the CO2 cartridges or paintball canisters.   

Here's why I recommend CO2 airguns:

•   CO2 airgun have little to no recoil making shooting pleasurable (spring guns recoil)
•   CO2 airguns are easy to shoot accurately (it's more fun when you hit your target)
•   There is no pumping between shots, allowing you to maintain your position.
•   They give you lots of shots before you have to replace the CO2 cartridges or refill the paintball tank.   Both are easily available.
•   They are much less expensive than PCP airguns.
•   CO2 airguns are easier and safer to use than spring guns with no difficult spring or gas ram to compress
My recommended airgun for introducing people to the shooting sports is the QB78 (uses CO2 carts) or the QB79 (uses Paintball tanks). 
The QB7x is based upon the American Crosman 160 (production ceased in 1971).  Versions of the QB78 (QB77, QB79, AR2078, AR2079, etc) cost between $105 to as much as $350.   
For that money, you are getting an airgun made of traditional steel and wood, is easy to shoot, accurate, and, most importantly, operates the same way as a single shot bolt action rifle.  Thus, one can easily transition from this QB78 airgun to a real firearm like the single shot bolt action Cricket, Chipmunk, Remington 510, Anschutz, Savage Rascal, etc.   
Even better, QB replacement stocks may be found for $25; thus it is rather painless to cut down a stock to fit a child or smaller shooter.  I recommend buying a spare stock (or 2nd rifle).  This allows you to size the stock to the child.  More importantly, they can "paint and decorate" it to their liking. 
I also recommend the .22 caliber over the .177 caliber for two reasonsâ€"it is easier to handle the larger .22 caliber pellet, and the .22 caliber pellet makes targets react more lively.  You can hunt rabbits and squirrels with the .22 out to about 25 yards with careful shot placement.
I recommend buying the QB78/QB79 rifle from
Steve Archer at Archer Airguns:
If you choose a standard stock rifle, I do recommend his "Gold Service" maintenance upgrade. 

If you choose the Custom Deluxe QB78/QB79, the options I recommend, in order of priority are:
1. Hammer Debounce Device (HDD )(for more shots while making the rifle a bit quieter)
2. True 2 Stage Trigger Kit (better trigger)
3. Valve XP Tuned (more pellet velocity/speed),
4. and Bolt XP Tune (even more pellet velocity)

Other great CO2 airguns are the Daisy 887($450), the Tau-200 ($600), and CZ200.  .  These great CO2 airguns are more for target shooting..  For those prices, you could get several QB78s and have lots of fun competing within the family against each other. They however are not $2-$3K Olympic rifles.

These recommendations are based upon decades of personal experience and ownership of many of the airguns mentioned.  I've owned or shot many airguns spanning all powerplants and cost levels ($30-$3500).  I've also coached precision air pistol for junior shooters who've placed nationally.

Plastic toy animals bought by the bag are a favorite target for going on a "Safari hunt" in the back yard. Most importantly, ensure you have a safe target and area beyond the target.  Airguns can be dangerous and are not toys.  The QB78 is often used for squirrel hunting.  Always wear eye protection.  Keep your shooting between 10 and 30 meters.  Use a safe target backstop like a box stuffed with clothes/rubber mulch with a wood or metal backstop.

No one I've recommended the QB78 family of airguns has been disappointed.  If you are, I'll buy it from you minus 15%.  I have yet to buy one like this.  Most folks buy more QB78/79 airguns..I myself own several variants that I use to teach with
Stay Safe!