Years ago I had a S&W 1500 (Howa 1500) in 223 that a friend of mine wanted real bad, so I sold it to him. He rebarreled it to 7mm TCU to match his Contender, and he claimed it was the perfect all-around cartridge/rifle combination. Light bullets for coyotes, heavier bullets for deer. It was just about like a 30-30 in recoil, report, and performance, it killed just fine and was easy on the shooter.
If you are looking for factory chamberings, it would be pretty hard to beat the 357 lever action suggested, but if you are willing to handload I would suggest you take a look at the 6.5 TCU or the 7 TCU.