Nothing wrong with a BLR if you want one. You'll get the most gun for the dollar right now with a bolt gun. Many budget bolt guns right now are about 1/2 the cost of a BLR, and you'll get a top end bolt rifle for about the same price as the BLR.
A bolt gun is much lighter, more reliable, and usually more accurate. And with no hammer would be safer in theory. Most lever gun accidents happen when shooters try to lower a hammer and it slips off their thumb, or when unloading.
Good calibers would be 243, 260, 7-08, or 308. Any of those will recoil very similar to, or less than your old 30-30. A 260 or 7-08 would be about perfect, but 243 and 308 ammo are easier to find and usually cheaper.