I'm with both ronn and crittergitter on this. You can't get a better all-around caliber than the 30/06 and, although the 7mm is a great long range flat-shooting gun, it's probably a lot more gun than needed for most whitetail shooting at normal (50-250 yd.) shot distances.
As for brands you can't go wrong with Remington, Ruger, Winchester, Savage in the price range that won't break your bank. Also take a good look at the Tikka T3 Lite - probably the best value and most accurate shooting rifle at any price! Good luck and welcome to the club from Big Sky Country of Montana.