Well I got my rifle back from the gunsmith today. Rick did a very nice job of lightening it up. He also polished up the trigger. It's a work in progress, there wasn't time to cerokote the barrel for example but even so its very nice.
I took it shooting and recoil from a field position wasn't a whole lot more then before I lightened it up. Muzzle rise is a bit more but not awful. Not a whole lot louder as far as I can tell. I always put ear plugs in hunting anyway.
I tried both a fixed Leopold 2.5 scope and a 1-4 Leopold scope. Both work well. I think I'm a bit more precise on 4x. But the 2.5 has a bit more eye relief. I like that extra margin of safety for not getting "scope eye." Also its easier to shoot both eyes open and use peripheral vision.
Sadly I broke off the front site when I tried to tap it sideways. I ordered an aluminum replacement and a site pusher. Hopefully they get here in time for hunting. I suppose I could hunt scope only. But I like backup. I'll probably just hunt with my 358 Winchester. It has a scope and a backup red dot.