I am 11 years old and want to start shooting but I’m not sure where to start! Don Brunt replies...

Q: I am 11 years old and I want to shoot but I don’t know where to start. I believe I should buy a .177 or .22 airgun for small game, or possibly a .410 bore shotgun. Please advise me on how to start shooting.

DON BRUNT replies: I would recommend a .177 air rifle to start with as its trajectory is a little flatter. However, at 11 years old you are too young to buy one, so it will have to be purchased by an adult. Also, don’t forget that legally you must be closely supervised by someone over 21 years old at all times when using it.

Hunting with an air rifle will teach you a great deal about fieldcraft and I would wait a year or two before moving on to a shotgun. The .410 is actually rather difficult to shoot as the shot load is very light, and therefore a great deal of accuracy is required. You would be better served to wait until you are big enough to shoot a 28- or 20-bore. These are easier to shoot, and you will be able to keep shooting it for several years, whereas you will quickly outgrow a .410. When you do move to a shotgun try to get some lessons from a qualified instructor, as it’s a very different technique to rifle shooting and you will learn far quicker if you have a little help.