I hope I dont get hammered for this, but if this is your first rifle you could always put it away and go with a little smaller caliber and build up your skills and then move up to the larger calibers. If you used a 12 guage, i cant see recoils being an issue, i should have read closer, but you could always pick up a 243. I hunted with one for years, and it served me well. It taught me the basics, and allowed me to practice a lot and I could also use it for coyotes. Some will say its not enough, but I never had an issue with the deer not going down. Once you develop a good shooting form then you can move up to larger calibers. I feel shot placement is key and if you practice enough and know where the bullet is going, you can move around in calibers and pick a rifle that is comfortable for you. I have heard really good thing about a 25-06 and a 280 remington. Really a 243- 30-06 is all you would really need, just try and shoot a few different calibers before you buy one and see which you like the best.