I dont know much about thier rifles but I know they have awsome shotguns.
I see all your points and they are valid however being new to the sport I just don't see the reason to spend over a $1000 for rifle/scope when I can spend around $600-700 for something that will put the same size hole in the same type of animal. I am one of those guys that babies anything I buy so longevity of the rifle is not a concern of mine and if there is a mechanical failure with it down the road I'm not out $800. It seems that most people I talk to have anywhere from 2 to 10 guns in there cabinet so I'm sure as I get a little more into the sport I will be wanting more or diffferent types of rifles. But now I as I sit here and type this I'm realizing that the reason I'm reluctant to pull the trigger (no pun intended) on an expensive rifle is the wife is making me feel guilty about picking up another expensive hobby (atvs & snowmobiles). I think what will probally happen is I will purchase an expensive rifle and it will get snuck in through the basement window into the closet so wifey doesn't see, what wifey doesn't see wifey doesn't know!!!Not familiar with the Mossberg.
Consider this though, the purchase of a rifle is, for many, not all, a once or twice in a lifetime acquisition. Unless the weapon turns out to be a total piece of junk you will be shooting with it for the next 6-10 years, probably more, and it will always be a sentimental favorite.
Make sure that every time you open the case, that specific weapon you chose will make you smile.
Your guidelines sound solid. I spent almost as much on my scope as I did my .270, and now, 12 years later I still have a very dependable hunting rifle. For the type of hunting I do I just do not feel the need for another rifle, I really enjoy the one I have, my first one.
The price range you are stating, and your follow up statement that "money is not an issue" seem to carry some conflict.
Good choice on the scope, but for a couple hundred more bucks a whole new set of options will open in terms of quality rifle options.
Considering your start from scratch point of view, everything else you buy for deer hunting is secondary compared to the weapon you choose to hunt with.
I have looked at this rifle as well and it is an option. Are you using the scope that it comes with, like a stated earlier I will probally be purchasing a leopold scope but if the factory scope is satisfactory then I wouldn't spend the money on the Leopold and I could spend that money on other gear that I need. Keep the input coming guys this rookine appreciates it!If you're open to Savage, check out the Model 110. I've had 2 and I am not sure if I want to ever buy anything else.