...okay, maybe not for a few years, but I was thinking about a few different ones. I really like Marlin's model 915Y and also their 981T. They are tough and very affordable from what I've seen. I don't know if I should buy a youth model size for him or if I should get a full size. Should I just wait until he's old enough to choose for himself or what?
I was kinda thinking along the lines of a bolt action, but the Ruger 10/22's have caught my eye too. A lever action would be alright, but I want something he can take out into the woods and not worry about destroying a $600 rifle with all the add ons.
I am a proponent of single shots here. Either break action (what i got my son, then for my daughter as he grows into a full size) or bolt. The repeaters are nice, and he can shoot mine, although they are a bit heavy and long for him right now, but, the youth fits him well, allows him to take time to aim and to squeeze the trigger right, and makes him think in terms of only one shot.
I got a Rossi .22/.410 combo with interchangable barel. The NEF that I wanted with a .243 also was very difficult to find, Until i got the Rossi.
But that is just me $.02
My only suggestion would be to pick a rifle in a youth model that has an adult model that is almost identical (except for size, of course). This way, if he hits a growth spurt, all you have to do is buy an adult stock and change them out.
If not, I don't know what his body size is, but if he's small, you may want to check out Keystone's Cricket models. They have a rifle/scope combo under $200. It's single shot, however. Which may also be good for a learner.