If you’ve ever asked the question, “What first rifle should I get?” You’ve probably received the standard answer: “something in .22 LR.”
Indeed, this is an excellent introductory round. It establishes the core elements of breath, sights and trigger — the fundamentals necessary for a new gunner to blossom into a proficient rifleman. The one thing that .22 LR rifles can’t do, is prepare shooters for the recoil of centerfire rounds. You could graduate from .22 LR to .223 without too much trouble, but the cost of .223 ammo and a rifle that fires it accurately can put this beyond the economic reach of many new shooters. A less expensive solution is to buy a bolt-action rifle, chambered in 7.62x54r or 7.62×39 and two cases of ammo.
Some of you are gasping at the prospect of a new shooter blasting off rounds from the Mosin Nagant, beating their shoulder up and scaring them off from shooting forever. This might happen, but if they learn proper form from their .22 LR starting rifle, then the Mosin will be a substantial, but not unmanageable increase. In the event that the shooter is too recoil or noise sensitive to enjoy a Mosin, a Serbian-made Zastava M85 Mini-Mauser in 7.62x39MM can be purchased for around $400.