||02-18-2013 10:32 PM
My top four picks.
1st choice for me is an unusual one, my 6.5x55 is my most accurate rifle, the least expensive to shoot with either factory or handloaded ammo, and is simply perfect for deer class game. I buy Prvi ammo for $13 a box and it shoots 3/4" with boring regularity, my handloads vary from easy sub moa with 120gr, cloverleafs with 140s, to one ragged hole with 129gr SSTs over RL19, brass is very well designed and lasts a VERY long time. Easily the best ballistics of the cartridges listed, which cuts down on wind drift and energy loss at range making this not just a decent paper puncher but a competitive F class 1,000yd competition cartridge, I know several people who use it for that, six different types of quality match ammo are available at my last count. Very low recoil too. Only problems with that one is it is rather hard to find a modern action rifle and if I want anything other then Power Point or Core-Lokt ammo I would have to order online. I would also consider it's modern cousin the 6.5 Creedmore for 1,000yd shooting, it is the first commercial cartridge designed spacificly for that role and factory ammo matches what my 6.5x55 handloads do.
2nd choice 308 Win, shoots good with both cheap factory ammo and handloads, more then enough gun for deer class game, and it is also available in several high end match loads. Only real advantages this has over my 6.5 is you can get a rifle and ammo at just about any Wal-Mart.
3rd choice 270 win, a solid all around cartridge that can be had at most local stores, mine have historically been good shooters just not 6.5x55 or 308 good. They don't have 6.5mm ballistics but almost make up for it with slightly higher speeds, makes for a great open country hunting rifle but impact speeds can be excessively high while hunting up close in the woods. Sadly no real match loads are available from the factory you will have to load your own if you want to be punching paper at very long distances.
4th choice 243, the speed of a 270 and the recoil of a 6.5x55, ammo is everywhere and affordable. It is available with match ammo but unfortunately you need an aftermarket barrel with a tighter then factory twist to use the good stuff. Enough gun for deer but less then ideal for that role. Throat erosion can be an issue as well if you shoot alot, the 243 crams alot of powder through a rather small bore so barrel life is much less then the others listed here, also tends to have the worst external ballistics of all the cartridges listed unless you are going to use that custom barrel and heavy VLD style bullets. Sounds pretty bad but if you can afford the custom stuff it does come together beautifully.