pistol packer, yes, I'd go with a brake if necessary, just drape ear protectors over the neck while hunting and place them prior to the shot. I don't know what's worse, being sensitive to recoil or braked blast...very loud. Another option is to get some 110 TSX/TTSX bullets for practice and deer and just carry some bigger bullets with you to chamber when necessary. May be too much trouble, I don't know, but I'd definitely bypass the 243. To me the 270 is THE starting rifle and also, a PERMANENT love affair. Perfect deer rifle caliber, IMO. Lets face it, what's the tally up to now with bullet selection from 100 grain to 175? What's not to like? If I had to pick a short action, my minimum is the 260 Remington. I think it surpasses the 243 substantially enough to justify it as a harder hitting, short action, easy carry rifle and you can still blast some 140 bullets out of it. Again, what's not to like?
Jimbo, those mule deer are all SW Colorado. And yes, Adam has a bunch of honey holes that always seem to produce! That man is his father.
That rifle is the 700 DM with all the engraving. #3 Lilja barrel, Leupold 6x18 scope, HS Precision stock. Of course I had to test drive the rifle prior to delivery to my buddy, so I was happy to kill a few pronghorn in WY with it using a 150 Btip. Got them all on film too.