Are you looking at a 243 strictly because recoil? I am not disputing the capabilities of the caliber. I have killed many deer with a 243 at distances up to 300 yards. I understand shoulder surgery. Back in 95 they sliced me open to stitch my rotator cuff back. Dang thing still gives me fits. Anyway, I would say the best value is in savage. They build them cheap and because they do so you get free floating barrels. Their accutriger is adjustable and though no jewell or even a timmy, for a factory trigger it is pretty good. If you are looking for something that looks good; look elsewhere. I have heard good things about the x7s but have not fired one. I do own a marlin in 45/70 and it is a great rifle. It is reliable and accurate. Also, the chamber seems to be a little oversized compared to other 45/70s I have shot. It makes cambering easier but shortens brass life. It also makes the rifle a little more picky about loads. I would say if you plan on getting the marlin you will most likely get a good rifle. If your undecided, take a look at savage and decide between the two. I hope the new guy didn't just start a fight here. Fact is: everyone will have an opinion based on their experiences in life. These are just mine.