Rifles can be found in a lot of calibers. Which is the best one for you? There is no simple response because shooters come in a lot of sizes too. The best rifle for you is the one that matches you and your requirement.
Too big and you will certainly never shoot it precisely. When you start to flinch accuracy flies out the window. A rifle that is unpleasant to shoot won’t see much use. To become a great shot, to bring home game consistently, requires familiarity with your rifle. You need to be comfortable with your top 10 AR 15 rifles, not scared of it. A precise shot with a lighter cartridge beats a poorly aimed magnum any day.
The recoil of a rifle needs to match the size of the shooter. A moderate kick to a 200 pound shooter may be viewed as a mule kick by a 120 pound shooter because the lighter shooter experiences more acceleration from the recoil. The more the rifle weighs lowers the impulse experienced. That’s why a light sporter might be easier to bring in the field but will certainly thump you compared to a heavier target rifle. The recoil is the momentum imparted to the rifle. When you fire, a cartridge high-pressure gas forces the bullet out of the barrel at high speed. Newton said, “For each action there is an equivalent and opposite reaction”. This is called Newton’s 3rd law of movement. So we see the bullet and the rifle carry comparable momentum. The heavier the bullet or, the higher the velocity, the higher the momentum.
The kick will certainly vary with the size and shape of the rifle butt. The larger it is, the more area the recoil is spread over and the gentler it feels. Anything to convert a short high impulse into a longer impulse with less magnitude helps. That’s why gas-operated semi-automatic rifles appear to kick less. A pad to decrease peak recoil also assists. These are commonly installed on shotguns and some rifles. If you don’t have a large body mass, however, need a larger rifle because of the size of the game you wish to hunt then by all means set up a shotgun pad on your rifle. It is essential you don’t flinch. Whatever you have to do to keep from flinching, do it. That might mean a cushioned shooting jacket and shooting glasses and ear protection. It can not be stressed enough that the experience needs to not be uncomfortable.