If you want something with more punch and want to feel recoil at the range (I can understand this its why I like the .45-70) get the .30-06. Plenty of cheap ammo around for it and you should be able to buy it anywhere they sell ammo. If you are going to be hitting paper at 50 yards and want to really evaluate your shooting, just work at getting those groups tiny, and I mean tiny.
When I got my Stevens, I went out right away and bought three cans of spraypaint (flat brown, green and tan) and painted the stock camoflage. It looks pretty cool now, I wasn't a fan of the blue stock. Some say the stock is too flimsy, but I would say just try it out before you start thinking of swapping or stiffening it somehow. The stock is comfortable for me, fits me well.