well you said you will be in the woods hunting deer in NC so i would say .243 or .270. i would also look into getting a shotgun and using slugs. remington 870s can be found for pretty cheap. theres the obvious hit to range you have tho. I own a browning A-bolt 30-06 and have hunted deer and elk with it and have bagged both animals. the bolt is very smooth and the gun its self is very light and accurate. i think the cheapest A-bolt will run you about 600 dollars but you wont regret the purchase. my dad has owned a couple remington model 700s and swears by them. but in the woods you may also want to consider a semi auto for the faster follow up shot. browning is still a good company, their BAR is a great rifle.