I'm looking at a Pac Nor #4 or #5 contour with 6 flutes or something similar from one of the other manufacturers listed. The reason I'm using PN for a reference is because I'm able to get an estimate on what the weight of such a barrel would be: 3.2lbs or 3.55lbs.
I'd like to have Stockade make/fit one of their Mule Deer stocks on it.
For optics I'm thinking something smaller and more compact. Depending on how cash flow goes with the build I could end up with either: Vortex Viper PST
2.5-10x32 (don't like the illumination dial option though), Weaver Tactical 2-10x36 (favorite choice right now) or a Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x32/42 (price is WAY more than I would like to pay, but I know they're supposed to be awesome).
Haven't decided on what base or rings I'll use and whether or not I'll put a bipod on it. If I end up mounting a bipod, obviously I'll be going over that 8.5lbs limit I'm hoping to remain under.
The Savage action is looking better and better from where I'm sitting =) I can't believe they don't get more hype if so many people are using them, they don't require a smith "fixing" them and they're as cheap as they are. How would you say they compare to a higher end custom "700 style" action? Does it just come down to which one people feel is "easier on the eyes"?
Thanks again for the advice and help!