first, welcome from southern oregon.
second.... mules kick, guns have recoil and is generally less with smaller calibers IF the guns are of similar weight. its newtons 2nd law.
ruger mkIII is a very good gun, well under $300 if you are just getting a standard , no frills plinker.
.22 is the cheapest bang for your buck....increases the amount of shooting you can do on the dollar spent