Alaskasourdough, After all that it looks like you saved one pound over my tikka but spent a bunch more money and trouble. Mine was $499 on sale at cabelas. My point was for the price and what you get in performance the Tikka is hard to beat. You can go custom and spend a lot of money to save a pound. But you may be limiting yourself by taking away some long range ability that was the purpose to begin with. It is extremely hard to shoot long range with a light rifle and the Tikka is about as light as you can go and retain good long range one shot kill ability out to a half mile or so. It can be done but takes a mighty good shooter with excellent form. I would say maybe one percent of shooters maybe could take my tikka weight rifle and be dead on one shot kills at a half mile. Just way more to consider than just weight. How light is light enough to not be cumbersome? How light is to light to not be accurate at a half mile? The little 3x9x33 scope you mentioned is not a good long range scope
in hunting light conditions. My 13.9 ounce swarovski is very good.
I am not saying the tikka is the best thing that a guy could come up with but for the money does a very good job. It also has just enough weight in it to be effective at fairly long range if a guy is a very good (excellent) shooter.
Thanks for all the info in your long post. Enjoyed reading it.