Yeah, did the same thing too. :I voted .223 before I read the question. Slap,, ouch. For what you ask, I think I'd go for .308. A bigger bullet might mean the difference in eating and spending a lot of time and energy chasing a wounded animal. The energy might be the more important issue.
Good call on the 2X7. The lower power will aid in light gathering for those low light shots.thanks for all the comments and votes.
i wasn't very specific, because nobody knows what the future will bring.
other than a rifle is always handy to have.
right now i'm leaning towards a scout-ish .308 rifle with a 2-7x scope.
i'm getting my vacation money on june 20th, so i have plenty of time to change my mind and back again.