Well, I finally made my selection on my first rifle and size of ammo. There are a lot of good non-custom rifles out there (Browning, Weatherby, Sako, Tikka, Howa, Remington, Ruger, Winchester, etc.) but after checking them all out, I went with the Savage. It has the new Accu-trigger (nice feature and feel). While I am a traditionalist, and liked the 114 ultra in American Walnut with black cap, and high gloss blueing, I went with the 116 stainless with synthetic stock (Weather Warrior) for what I will be doing, and where I will be hunting (Pach recoil pad on the way). I think the stainless will hold a higher resale value as well. For the money, it just looks like a great value. It may not be the "dream" rifle, but I think it is a good first owned rifle. Likewise, there are a lot of good scopes on the market, and optics quality just appears to be getter better and better for the money. Call me crazy, but for the money, eye relief, and FOV, I went with the Simmons Aetec. I know there are die hard fans with their "favorite", but this is a lot of scope for the money. I will probably only get one other rifle for desert critter shooting (probably .223 or .22), but the first one is going to be in the 30-06. I have shot higher power rifles before, and the recoil shouldn't be a problem. I can find ammo relatively cheap for everyday shooting, and the bullet size selection is VERY impressive for the hunting to be done. The .308 came in as a close second. I can't wait to try this package out, and see if I can be as accurate as I hear the Savage rifle can be.