My recommendation is check the used gun racks. Most decent bolt actions will shoot well enough to get you started. Buying used guns will save $. About 25 years ago I went with my father to pick up his rifle. We were close to (if not in) Ontario,Oregon. Intermountain Arms was the store. All I remember is rows upon rows of guns. If its not too far, and still in business it could be worth your time.
As to caliber, 223 will get bullets to 1000 yards. But if it is breezy your groups will be difficult at best. But that is what teaches you to judge wind. If you want to deal with less wind drift get a larger caliber. 308 win. or 30-06.
You can't fix stupid....however ignorance can be cured through education!