I might have a different take than some of you. First rather than pick the caliber, I'd pick the rifle. It really tends to be a personal thing. Young, strong guys don't really care about weight (within reason....a half pound or pound really won't make a difference to them). Second is I'd pick the factory rifle with the best off the self reputation for accuracy/reliability. I realize this is a bit subjective, but there is lots of data out there to give you the low down on a gun. Once you've done that...then choose your caliber.
If you are sticking to deer and larger bodied animals, then I'd stick to .270/7mm or larger, and you really don't need to go larger than .30. If you are capable and want to shoot out to 4/500 yards, then certain calibers will outshine others. I really wouldn't worry about recoil either as you can mitigate that with a muzzle brake. I probably have you totally confused now.
My choice for ONEgun and caliber would be in the .30 calibers...just because I own 3 of them. I happen to like the .30 mags because of their great ballistics with 150 & 180 gr bullets. My benchmark is 3000 fps for me. Whatever bullet weight I choose, the gun (my reload) needs to get to that level or better. I shoot a .300 Wby for deer, elk and larger game. It has a MB so its recoil is like shooting a .243. Mine is not a factory gun, it is a custom built commercial mauser. I also have two 30-06s, but they cannot match the Wby performance.
If I was buying a new rifle it would be a Savage or Ruger. The Savage probably is the best out of the box performing rifle out there. With that said, I'd buy the savage in .300 Win Mag as you probably can't get it in Wby calibers, not sure as I havn't checked recently.
Whatever you choose, work up a good load and shoot it ....and then shoot it some more. No substitute for range time. Good luck.