I'm looking to buy my first rifle bigger than a 17hmr. The things that i want it for are mainly just to go plinking around....target shooting, prairie dog hunting, just having fun. So i would like something affordable to shoot a lot(probably will not be reloading ammo). However I don't want to have something completely useless at hunting things on the smaller end (deer, antelope etc.) until i will eventually probably get a .30-06. I was reccomended a bolt action .223 because it's cheap to shoot and the general consensus is I could take something down with a decently placed shot. I still would like to hear opinions though.
*Yes I am aware of the ammo shortages but it doesn't seem to be a terrible problem here.
*If hunting I wouldn't need to shoot anything passed 200 yards
any advice you fine gentlemen have got would be appreciated