I'd lean towards the .308 also if hunting is indeed in your future. The .223 is a great cartridge and capable of taking medium game although I personally wouldn't hunt deer with one it can be done. A lot of people pick the .223 for beginner whitetail hunters due to the low recoil thus allowing them to place their bullets where they need to be without flinching. Anything bigger than a whitetail deer and you're going to want the .308. Also when it comes to long range shooting, and believe me I'm no expert, I think the heavier bullets fired from the .308 will help a little with wind drift. I suspect a 150-168gr .30 caliber bullet will drift less than a 90gr .22 caliber bullet. If I'm wrong in that assumption someone please correct me as I have no experience beyond about 250yds.