Don't over look the short mags by browning. i have 25 WSSM for my pack in hunts, super light weight light, short stalk, and short action. 300 yards is it's max effective range, in my opinion at least. They make it in a 243 too. Phenominal caliber and gun.
opps... that was supposed to be stock, not stalk But check it out, great ballistics.
I know i already put in my two cents here, but I want to point out that the 7mm-08 is a much more flexible round. You get a really good selection of bullets available, with better ballistic coefficients than the .243. Recoil is negligable, and downrange energy is much better. It is also a perfectly capable elk round with a good 140 grain bullet.
I shot my first buck with a .243, but my kids will be shooting theirs with a 7-08.
I would definitely go with the 7mm-08. My mom uses it for everything. She has killed elk, deer and antelope with it at distances over 300 yards. Real solid caliber.
Bone Trail Posse
I also agree with the 7mm-08, I bought my niece (12 years old) a new Savage Edge youth model, and made some reduced reloads shooting a 120 grn Nosler Ballistic tip at around 2800 fps. That rifle and load is super accurate, it shoots 3-shot half inch groups at 100 yards. The rifle and scope combo only cost approximately $350.00. She shot her first buck this past season with it and the bullet performed perfect, a one shot kill at 200 yards. I will load full power loads for her when she gets older and hunts bigger game.