Rifle prefrence varies from person to person, and everyone has their favorite, I have owned alot of bolt actions so I can recommend more then one but choose what fits you well. Here is my basic caliber breakdown.
Pros: Shoots flat with minimal recoil and often considered a very accurate cartridge (as are all 308 besed cases 243, 260, 7mm-08) ammo is inexpensive around $20 a box for basic ammo (Power points or Core Lokts)
Cons: Often considerd the minimum for deer, effective range is 200-300yards before you go below the standard 1,000 ft/lbs
Pros: Very fast and flat shooting with a bit more punch then the 243, recoil is still on the light side, alot of fun to shoot.
Cons: Ammo costs more then the more common calibers, around $28 a box, muzzle blast can be excessive in shorter barrels, this is very much a magnum cartridge without the magnum name, try to find a 24" if you can. Only advantage it has on the 270 is a slight reduction in recoil.
260 Rem (you can use the same pros/cons for the 6.5 Creedmore too)
Pros: Super efficient light kicking cartridges with a very long effective range, as accurate as bullets get, they are common in 1,000yd matches.
Cons: Ammo is harder to find, they don't sell it at Wal-Mart
Pros: Fast, flat shooting, powerful, long ranged this cartridge does it all. Perfect for deer and adaquate for elk class game. $20 a box ammo and you can still find it in our current ammo panic.
Cons: Not as efficient as some of it's more modern counterparts.
Pros: Crazy fast 3300fps speeds, shoots as flat as the legendary 257 Wby Mag! Very powerful much like the 7mm Rem Mag with slightly lighter bullets and a noticeable reduction in recoil.
Cons: As with all magnums ammo is pricy and you cannot use just any old cup and core bullet if you want reliable penetration on game, premium bonded bullets cost even more.
Pros: As with all 308 case cartridges it is highly prized by competitive shooters for it's accuracy, super efficient it gives alot of downrange punch for it's modest recoil. Same level of killing energy as the 270.
Cons: No Wal-Mart ammo, normally runs $28-$32 a box. You have to handload to get all of that super efficiency, they don't make most of those super bullets in factory form.
7mm Rem Mag
Pros: Massive killing energy out to ranges you will probably never shoot, very accurate in some rifle the Secret Service counter snipers use it. Plenty enough gun for large game.
Cons: Harsh snappy recoil in light weight rifles, ammo is pricy around $40 a box for the decent stuff. The stupid belt on the case is a completely useless appendage and I don't know why that drives me crazy.
Pros: All you will ever need in the brush, easy to shoot and 30 caliber, been filling freezers since before freezers were invented (JK)
Cons: Slow moving, short ranged rainbow trajectory but inside 150 yards you will never notice.
Pros: Efficient, powerful, manageable recoil, accurate, this is the standard by which all others should be judged, it is that darn good.
Con's: What cons? While not everyone loves it's "do it all" personality nobody will argue it usefulness as the ultimate utility cartridge.
Pros: Nothing better then old faithful, does everything the 308 does with 100fps more speed and a little more recoil won't hurt you......much.
Cons: About as much recoil as the average shooter can put up with, I love it but I have been shooting high powered rifles for a long time.
300 Win Mag (WSM)
Pros: Devastating power for anything in North America, more then enough for elk and even moose, kills deer like they were hit by a bullet train.
Cons: While all magnums can cause excessive meat damage this one takes the cake, nothing spells jello like a 30 caliber at 3200+fps, recoil can be downright painful in a poorly fitted rifle. OVERKILL for any deer inside 300 yards IMHO