If you reload, you can load a light load for a 12 gauge to reduce recoil. The other consideration is the weight of the gun. He needs to be strong enough to hold up the gun with the proper form for as many rounds as he is going to shoot. What usually happens is that as he gets tired, he will start to lean back, rather than lean forward, to balance the weight of the gun, then his form goes to heck. Short stocked, short barrelled 12 or 20 gauge semi-auto will probably be his next step, when he is ready. Mark
See if Phil will loan you the $4000 that it will take to get that setup, just on the chance your 11 year old, that is shooting a 410, might be able to handle a 9 pound gun. Just an example of getting all kinds of advice on a forum. He is asking how big his kid should be, to shoot a 12 gauge, not what gun to buy. Good advice by BBB. Mark
Take him to a well stock gun shop and have him try an 1100/1187 or 391 in 20ga as well as 12ga and see what fits him. Gauge means squat if he's leaning backwards to cantilever the gun into firing position.
My 10.5 yo son started with a Krieghoff Model 32 O/U in 12 GA-all 75lbs. of him. 2.5 weeks later he broke 25 and shortly after broke 50 straight singles.
The late Frank Little recommended 75 lbs. as the minimum starting weight. Some kids nowadays weigh over 100 lbs. and still aren't strong enough to hold up a gun. If a kid weighs over 100 lbs. and is too weak to hold up a 12 ga. throw out his joy stick first!!
my duaghter started @ age 11 w/ a 391 parallel target RL 28in shooting --1oz estate 8's (and there is a differance , rios 1oz ,she wont shoot-they had a smack to them) no she cudnt do a 25 round --i started shooting the same load so we were the same--goodluck
My son was on a cut down BT-99 at age 8. The barrel was shortened to 30" and the stock cut down to fit him, which is the most important aspect next to loading light loads (7/8 oz) You don't want to turn him away before he ever gets started due to recoil. Break open guns are less complicated for a new shooter and for that reason are safer.
My son and I did gun lifts nightly for three or for weeks until he could do(50per session) along with safety training in the garage before he ever fired a shot. We went to the range and fired ten or so shots away from the fields to get eveything down pat. When we walked onto the field to shoot a round he knew the program, even so, I stood behind him for the first five or so rounds he shot during our first couple trips to the range to make sure he stayed safe.
I'm not a big proponent of starting someone on a 20 gauge, cost of ammo and limited payload are the downsides. if automatic is only the thing that fits your budget, then that's the way go. A cut down 1100 or Beretta 3901RL are good automatics as others have suggested.
My view is to start a new shooter on gun they can learn and stay with, its easier and less costly to up the payload as the shooter becomes more proficient than to start all over on a new gun.
They key all of this is preparation, gun lifts and saftey and everything else falls into place.