Great input. BountyHunter, the Savage factory barrel definitely can outshoot me at this juncture. If I am understanding you and DAN TEC, it sounds like my best bet may be to leave the chambering alone for now. After all, I can get to 3000 fps with the 168gr HPBT. That should be good for several hundred yards beyond my skill level right now.
After I spend the necessary time at the range/ p-dog hunting etc, for my skills to reach the effective range of the -06, I will be in a much better position to know what I want/"need" in a LR caliber and rifle. Money would be better spent on optics, rangefinders, etc that are not gun/caliber specific and would help me learn "the basics."
Am I barking up the right tree, here?