In defense of a lever gun. in the time it takes to change out a magazine I can top off a lever gun wit 3 or 4 rounds. you can't top off an ar15 without removing the magazine. as far as size goes the 44 Mag carbine is small and light with the same power of a 30-30.
since you say you don't like lever guns the L1A1 FAL in semi auto cn sometimes be found used and are dependable. A good bolt action can be quite servisable such as the Lee-Enfield jungle carbine.
I have an AK and a SKS. Unless being attacked by hordes of Tangos I'll grab my Marlin 336 in .30-30 before I go to the AK or SKS.
The SKS?AK 7.62x39 ctg will penetrate a windshield if need be........There is a video out.........was produced a LONG time ago.....in the early 80s about balistic effects .........I found it to be VERY enlightning to say the least..........it was titled "deadly weapons"
went right thru all the calibers........
We have a couple of carbine version NORINCO SKS models right now.........16 inch BBLs..........for around 220.00 (just came in BTW)
If I hadn't spent so much money recently on firearms I'd jump on one of those carbine SKSs. I like my Yugo, but a shorter/lighter SKS would be a lot of fun.