Originally Posted by rad
You can get a decent Savage in whatever caliber suits your hunting terrain for about 350. If you live in Bwana country, shooting mountain to mountain, a 7mm Rem Mag would be the ticket. In the dense forests where most shots on game are <100 yds, 30-30 or 06 is good enough. Personally I use my Remington 700 XHR in 7mm 08 for deer.
As far as optics, I'm happy with my Nikon Prostaff that cost around 160 bucks. Leupold snobs have given props to it, if that means anything.
I have a Sako in a 7mm-08 and it is a good deer gun. I don't know if I would take it after elk though. If you get into a situation where you have a long shot, you could screw yourself.
I also agree with some other posts. It all depends on how far your average shot is where you're hunting. A 30-30 would work great for a 100 yard shot, but it it's a 400 yard shot, good luck.