Re: First time Long Range Rifle
Seems there are a lot of good calibers being mentioned and not yet mentioned.
If you are going to hunt only up to deer sized game or have a dedicated deer rifle and you are fixated on a long action as evidenced by your buddies preference for .270 and .30-06, might I recommend a .25-06? It's an excellent cartridge and available in a variety of OTC factory loadings, premium and otherwise, as well as tons of reloading components to select from.
I just took two antelope in Wyoming last week with my Weatherby Vanguard S2 (incredible rifle) in .25-06. the first was at 289 yards in a stiff 10 MPH crosswind and the second was at 410. Both one shot, dead right there, kills using Barnes TTSX 100 Gr. at around 3350 FPS.
It's an easy round to handle for almost any shooter except for maybe the very smallest of ladies or children as well.
Just my $.02
I realize 289 and 410 are not the longest of shots but, considering my hunting career thus far, the 410 is by far my longest! I grew up hunting the piney woods of East Texas then Elk hunted the Olympic Peninsula rain forests for Roosevelts and blacktails, thick cover and close shots were always the norm.