I was in your shoes about a year and a half ago. I decided to go with the Savage 111 in 7mmrm. I put a McGowan 26' stainless varmint contour barrel on it. I shoot 168g SMKs at 3000fps. The gun is really accurate. I have shot out to 1033 yards with it and did well. At 400-615yards the gun is awesome. The added weight of the match barrel reduces the recoil very nicely. Kicks nothing like a 300WM. I would compare it to my son's Rem 700 in .243!!! I did not want a muzzle brake
either, and this gun doesn't need one. If I were in your shoes, and I have been, I just couldn't justify the STW. The way I saw it, if I were going to step up to a STW, then I might as well get a .30 cal or a .338 and put a brake on it and have a cannon. Good luck with your project.