Sorry for the long wait on the reply. Apparently the website stopped notifying me that you had been commenting.
Matthews - I shot this deer and a button buck the year before with Hornady interlock 150gr spire points (product #3120) over 49.5gr of Varget. It was about a 40 yard shot through medium cover, broadside to slightly quartering towards me. I don't think it broke any brush before it got to the deer. It was a touch high, so I missed the heart, but it was a double lung shot. He dropped in his tracks. Complete penetration with an exit hole of a little smaller than a Kennedy half dollar.
For the record, I think the 174gr round nose interlocks (#3130) shoot better out of my nagants, but I couldn't find any when I was putting together my hunting ammo.
Grindl - I think the M-N makes a great deer rifle if you have one that shoots straight. As for tearing them up, I haven't noticed anything unusual, but everyone else in my family shoots 30-06 so I suppose it is relative.
Even - I have been happy with the Leatherwood Hi-Lux scopes. If you are looking for something that fits in with the general price range of an inexpensive project I don't have any problems recommending them. I have 3 and have not had any issues so far. One of my buddies had one on a scout that I built for him that he rattled the internals loose on. They did honor the warranty, though it took a few months to get the new one back. I also have a Leupold FX-II scout on another rifle. If you can afford one, it has notably better brightness and field of view. I haven't had a chance to use a Redfield scout yet, but they also make one.
Deathscythe - If it wasn't pretty enough to stand out, I wouldn't have modified it to keep on this rifle. But yes, every time I touch one of these things with a cutting tool I can hear the collectors screaming at me in my head.