Recoil, mirage, weather, water, abuse, dirt, cold, heat, the back seat of a truck.........thats why you spend money on a scope. Its one of those things that you won't get till you run into a problem. These guys have done this already, I have done it already.
If you aren't scared of a fixed power scope look at the SWFA SS scope. I have one on a .308 and it'll do anything I need at 880 on paper and anything closer on prairie dogs and coyotes. A fixed 10 power is plenty out to 500 in my opinion. I'm running their 5-20 on my 300WM. Its way better optics than the price would indicate. Also, I've been a long time Remmy fan but recently bought a couple Savages. If you stick with the LR obsession, the savage will be super easy to upgrade, change calibers, and accurize.... To a point. Try an accu-trigger model before you buy anything. If you like it, as a lot of ppl do, it'll save you money from buying an aftermarket trigger.
My friend got a Savage 111 Trophy Hunter XP in .300 Win Mag package (Savage Arms) last year from Big R for $549. It came with Nikon 3-9x40 BDC Reticle. This should meet your requirement (if felt recoil is not an issue).
Earlier this year, he had a Holland QD muzzle brake installed for $190 and topped it with Konus M30 6.5-25x44 (IIRC, he paid $219 brand new from another friend). The felt recoil on his current set up pushing factory load Barnes 180 grainers is comparable to .243's.
Good luck and happy safe hunting/shooting!
I voted for my "FREEDOM", "GUNS", and "MONEY" - keep the change - UNK.
"I am always proud of my country!"
"Leadership Rule #2: Don't be an @zzhole." - Maj Gen Burton Field.
Of note, I am considering a slightly used Sendero for just such a project. I think the Remington 700s should be thrown into the mix. They are out there but as mentioned if you need a rifle now, then the Savage family should be given strong consideration.
Of note, I have a friend who has a Stevens in 243 he bought at Dick's and he could not be happier. I have shot it, very nice rifle but of note he restocks all his rifles with wood and he beds them himself.