I’ve shot a lot of critters with AR-10s. I’ve used them on predators, feral hogs and even on a couple deer hunts. But you won’t find me hauling one up the mountain to chase elk in my home state of Montana.

The knock on ARs is that they are bulky, awkward to carry, and heavy for their caliber. For a short jaunt to a blind or treestand, they’re great. For stalking game across big country on foot, not so much.

But the DMPS GII is a rifle that makes me reconsider my reflexive “no” when it comes to shouldering an AR for longer hikes.

The GII weighs about a pound less than a regular AR-10 rifle, bringing it down to the weight of an AR-15 and about three-quarters of a pound heavier than a standard weight bolt action.

The engineering behind it is pretty trick. The designers were able to use a bolt carrier group that matches the dimensions of an AR-15. Two elements allow for this: the unique profile of the bolt, and the use of a bolt key that’s integral to the bolt carrier.

While they were mucking around with the innards of the rifle, the designers also took steps to improve the reliability of the platform. AR-10s can be prone to poor cycling. The pressures generated by the .308 can stress and break the extractors and ejectors. The GII has two plunger-style ejectors in the bolt face, which halves the stress on the springs and the extractor has an innovative design, using a polymer buffer in place of a mechanical spring. According to the guys at DPMS, this polymer unit showed no sign of wear or memory after a 30,000-round test.

I haven’t put that many rounds through the rifle, but I can report that I’ve experienced no failures of any sort over the half-year I’ve been using it.

Enough of the behind-the-scenes data. The real question is, does this rifle merit the “Hunter” model designation. (There are six GII rifles in the DPMS lineup currently, including the Hunter.)

Yes, I think it does. The stock is designed smartly. The accuracy is good. It is lighter and more portable. It doesn’t have a bunch of “tacticool” junk hanging off it.

While I wish it were another eight ounces lighter, I have to say it is the first AR-10 I’ve been tempted to take on a real hunt. That said, I’m pretty sure that one of my bolt guns would still get the nod.

The GII has earned a spot on the podium, but it isn’t quite a gold medal hunting rig. At least, not yet.