RE: Light vs Average weight hunting rifles
As far as I'm concerned, the lighter the better...most "real hunting" is done at ranges no farther than 200-250yrds, and that's a stretch!!! Compact bolt rifles or short leveractions are very capable of sufficient accuracy at this range, probably double it in fact.
Compact bolt rifles tend to recoil much more than their leveraction bretheren, but then again, they're typically chambered in much higher pressure rounds at higher velocities...while as you mentioned, a compact bolt gun might weigh 6.5# naked, a compact levergun can get as light as 5#!!!!
I don't necessarily believe that weight is the only thing that makes a rifle easier or harder to carry afield. IMHO, the more important aspect is the size....Compare a Ruger 77 compact, Win 70 featherlight (pre-64), a Marlin Guide gun, Marlin 1894 carbine
The Ruger compact is 6.25# naked and 35.5", the Win. is 6.5# full length, Guide gun is 7# 37", and the 1894 is 6.5# 37".... Between the two bolt guns, there isn't much difference in weight, but the compact is MUCH MUCH easier to carry...However, the Guide gun, only a half pound heavier, seems much more difficult to carry than the 1894. IMHO, leveractions are much easier to carry in general, if for no other reason than the flatness of them and the fact that they're designed to be carried.
Try some on, see how you like them, whether you think they'd feel better or not has no effect on how it actually feels...I always think I'd prefer a 3.75" bbl on a vaquero, but it never handles well for me. If you can't keep steady with a compact rifle, it doesn't matter how handy it is to carry.
I ALWAYS prefer to carry the "handiest" rifle I can, which, to me, means the best combination of weight and size, without compromising power and accuracy...typically the Marlin Guide gun or 1894 wins out for me, while my new Winchester 94 Ranger Compact (33" 5.25# .30-30) is probably going to take the place of the best long WALK, mid range hunting rifle I have.
"When you tell a fellow to go to hell, you had better be sure you can get him there."--LBJ