I actually ended up getting him the H&R Single Shot .25-06, Marlin owns H&R now. Nice gun but a little barrel heavy with the long barrel. It also kicks a little more than I expected, actually more than my Marlin 30-30. The good thing is Anthony is a big 12 year old and handles and shoots the gun without a problem. If I were to do it again and especially for a younger kid I would go with the new XS7 from Marlin that now comes in .243, I think that is a better round with less kick and ammunition is easier to find in the stores. The XS7 is also about 1/2 pound lighter than the H&R which doesn't seem like much until your kid walks around with it on their shoulder for a while. I honestly think Anthony's next gun is going to be a Marlin 336W 30-30 just like mine, he really likes how the gun is shorter and better balanced when holding it free hand.