Towards the goal of learning to shoot, centerfire or rimfire, I simply have to recommend a Marlin 795, a GI sling, Tech Sights, elbow pads, sunblock, a brick of .22 ammo, an RWVA membership, and a weekend at a nearby Appleseed event. For less than $200 you get all the equipment needed, the weekend is $80, and the RWVA membership is $20. For less than $300 you get the best value in fundamentals training you can possibly obtain and an excellent plinking / small game rifle that you can use for life. I'd really suggest you check out http://www.appleseedinfo.org/as_faq.html
Also, the exposure you receive at the Appleseed and during the intervening time will help you make the longer term decisions on what higher quality rifle(s) to purchase.
For a tack driver, I absolutely love my CZ (.204 Ruger). I see rifles at the range costing more than double of what I paid for the CZ and they don't shoot as well (of course some also shoot better, but they paid a lot more). Yet as much as I love my CZ, I shoot the Marlin a lot more - and quality trigger time (IMHO) is the best teacher.
Just my 2 cents,