Hunting/medium range rifle
So some years ago I got myself a Savage 111 .30-06 package deal (plastic stock, detachable mag). The intent of which was whitetail and long range SHTF work. Let me say I don't like this rifle. The trigger pull is heavy (really heavy), the recoil is unpleasant, and the group is about 4" at 100 yards. It came with a pre-installed scope that has not impressed me in the least. All I can say is I've learned a great deal about firearms since then.
Since I bought it I've still not been hunting once (never in my life in fact). This year the stars seem to be lining up this year and I'm hoping to take a deer and some pheasant in the next season.
Since I really have no love of this gun (even named it Hillary) the thought crossed my mind that I might replace it with an AR upper chambered for 6.8mm (.23 caliber and above required in KS) or other deer round. Advantages are mostly my familiarity with the platform, and semi-auto. Also, it can come mail order. Cost about $550 from Model 1 and then a reasonable optic. Disadvantages, cost, uncommon round, limited round performance data.
Option 2: replace scope, work on trigger (or have trigger worked), install new recoil pad, hope accuracy improves. Cost, probably less than option 1. Advantages: might like the gun after, cheap, common round good for most critters in the 48. Disadvantages, could mess up the gun, still going to have a healthy recoil, prejudice against the weapon.
Option 3: Get an entirely new rifle (this time with quality in mind). I'd try and go for a common deer round. .30-06, .308, or .270 come to mind. Advantages: I'd have a good quality rifle with longer range capabilities. Disadvantages: probably the highest cost option.
Option 4: take the MAK-90 instead.
What are your thoughts?
Is it reasonable for a non-smith to do a trigger job on this rifle? (smiths are not readily available and the closest is out of my price range)
Another option: drop in trigger
I hear nothing but good about Savage but my experience has been anything but good. Did I just get the wrong model, pick a lemon, or not just know what the heck I'm doing with a bolt gun (operator headspace and timing will get you every time)?
What else might I consider to salvage the Savage?
Is the 6.8mm a sufficient round for large whitetail and mule deer?
What other caliber might I consider in an AR platform for this work? (common ammo is preferable)