I have a 30-06 pump also, I use 180 grain corelocks & it really kicks,if I go to 150 or 160, would the kick be as bad. Is 150grain efficient for deer
Stick with the 30-06 ... there are many cartridges for deer, any from the .243 up to the Marlin 450 ... some are as good on deer as the 30-06 ... but none are better. PLUS, no other cartridge comes right off the shelf with as many choices in bullet size & type ... from 55 gr up to 220 ... I prefer the bronze point which comes in 150 or 180.
PLUS, aside from the mighty .22, no other cartridge has more availability. You never know where you might have to buy ammo & a general store may be the only place to choose from ... big or small, I have never seen a store out of .22's or 30-06's.
Recoil is easily managed. There are very good recoil pads available as well as muzzle brakes, which really work. Of course, unless you REALLY know what you're doing, those additions are best left to a gunsmith.
One other consideration ... you might want to step up to a good gas operated automatic like the "BAR." The Browning auto is unbelievably accurate ... plus ... that gas operated action will make that 30-06 feel like a .243 ... no kidding. Remember, it's often cheaper to spend a little more on a really good gun that you fall in love with & have forever, than replacing 3 or 4 lesser brands that you tire of in a year or so.
Lastly, remember that recoil is only a problem at the shooting bench ... when you take that shot at a 300 lb 12 pointer at full gallop just 40' away ... you won't even hear the shot![:)]