22 Hornet, maybe? The 223 is a good choice, but if you could find a well discounted 222 at a gunshow, that'd do just as well, except that the storebought ammo wouldn't be as cheap.
As for what rifle, most of the gun makers have compact bolt actions. And if you happen to find a rifle that doesn't have the right length of pull, if the rifle is a short action Ruger MkII I have just the stock for you. It's in perfect shape and leaning in the corner of my woodworking & reloading shop.