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I own an SAR-I and its a great gun but I have never considered either it, or an SKS as a hunting rifle.

Maybe Im just old-fashioned or mentally warped but I would tend to agree with Klaus. I no longer do any hunting, prefering to improve/maintain my rusty skills shooting paper, but even if I were to take-up hunting again I would use a Mosin-Nagant.

Most importantly I would prefer the Mosins caliber as far as "killing power"....Im a firm believer in taking the prey down as quickly and painlessly as possible but for me another issue comes into play. I prefer bolt-action rifles for sport and hunting because they require me to actually concentrate on each shot thereby developing my skills. Semi-autos encourage "peppering" the target with multiple shots and because of the smaller caliber, I would be afraid of an "unclean" kill.

Have you considered a Mosin-Nagant for your son?...seriously?

If the M44 packs too much kick I would think one of the unissued Yugosalvian Mauser M48A rifles would be a DREAM to hunt with!
You can get a Russian M44 in unissued condition for about $75 with ammo costing about $50 per can of 440 rds. The unissued Yugo Mauser can also be bought in "mint" condition for about $175 with the ammo costing even less.
 

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As much as I like Mosin-Nagants, especially the M44, I would NEVER recommend one for a 13 year old unless he is about 6ft3in and 240 lbs.
I think I may have been the first person to mention the Yugo M48 and really must repeat. Their high quality (they even have a teak stock!), good accuracy, low-recoil and huge supply of cheap ammo make them a STEAL at anywhere from $80 in average used condition upto about $160 for one in mint/unissued condition like I had.
My other point was my personal preference of a bolt action rifle for young shooters if the goal is to focus on concentration, accuracy and patience.
Whatever you decide I am sure your son will be THRILLED! I sure wish my dad had been so cool.
 
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