Just to be different...
.260 Remington. It's based on the .308 case, just like the .243 is. It will shoot a much better bullet for deer than the .243, with very little more recoil.
I imagine the .260 with a 120-125gr bullet would be just about the best "beginner" rifle there is.
I always felt that if I got to the point where I thought it was time to bury my firearms, it was actually time to pick them up..