Re: .308 for Deer stalking and the range ???
I know that on one of the military sites I frequent, they hold the AI's in high regard. It is very reliable, rugged, and extremely accurate. Your right about the weight, but they are no heavier than a custom built rifle. They are practically custom from the get go. I would challenge you to use a .308 to 1000 yrds for anything bigger than a coyote. Yes they kill people well at that yardage, but not very practical from a hunting stand point.
600 to 800 yards with a 175grn bullet would be a good combo for that type of hunting and you will need to keep a minimum of a 20" bore to keep your velocity and energy up for killing deer size game. As with any hunting, shot placement is vital. With shortening up your distance, if you plan to stock and know you are going to be in thick brush or the possibility is there, then a 20" barrel 308 would be a great option.
If you want to venture into the 1000yrd range, then a 300 Win Mag would be the better option with a 190+ grain bullet. You will have enough retained energy and velocity to be lethal on deer size game to that distance and beyond with proper load recipes. I know that AI does offer that caliber, so it might be something to consider if that is a real probability of distance for hunting. A 24" plus barrel is key. One guy I know said that a 26" barrel is optimal for the 300WM.
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