Re: What caliber???
What caught my eye here was you started with whitetail and ended with Dangerous game. The latter causes me to think immediately of a larger diameter than the .30.
I'm a bit recoil shy so I do use a muzzle brake for most practice. I've used a 338 win mag for moose. I also developed loads for my son's 340 Weatherby, again for moose.
Either of these rounds can be downloaded with Barnes 160's or numerous 180's. For the big stuff, you can easily throw a 250-300 grain bullet. You will admittedly over-gunned for whitetails, but if one gun is the focus, I'd rather be overgunned for whitetails that under-gunned for dangerous game.