you've made the best choice in my opinion. I've got a M70 Winlite in .280 Remington, which is a Classic Featherweight with a McMillan synthetic stock and the old push feed action of the day. The thing shoots like a pussycat, and I've got lots of dental work that is still IN my mouth. My favorite deer rifle hands down. I'm a M70,M98 guy so I'm biased. As stated, Ruger M77 are darn tough rifles, especially the little curved part that you pull to make it go off. If you don't mind spending an extra $100 on a trigger, that would be better spent on glass in my opinion, the Ruger is a fine choice.
I'd stand by your choice of the 30-06, none of the rounds mentioned will do it better in a light rifle with moderate recoil. If you're worried about recoil of a 30-06, I stay far away from a 300 Weatherby. The WSM cartridges are impressive, but don't do anything that hasn't been done before. You WILL pay the price in recoil and you will need premium bullets for reliable performance when game shows up close. There is more variety of 30-06 ammo made by each single manufacturer than all brands of WSM's per caliber combined. That may change in the future, but it is a fact of reality right now.
I'm thinking of picking up a cheap M70 Super Shadow in .270 WSM to see how it shoots and ammo performance to compare with my M70 in .270 Weatherby(2nd favorite deer rifle). How much money can you lose on the deal when the rifle only cost $380? I've got about 3 projects ahead of that at present though, so perhaps I'll come to my senses.
You might be well served with a heavier rifle, like the standard M70 sporter, if you plan to shoot of the bench alot. That's what I have the .270 Wthby in. I will say that the Featherweight is MUCH more pleasant to carry, and I carry it a lot more than I shoot it off the bench. In my opinion, you're looking to take a pounding when you buy a really light rifle in a magnum caliber, short or otherwise.
Did John Browning design the A-Bolt?
There isn't a partnership between Winchester and Browning, they are owned by the same company, so they work together under those parameters.