The 7.62x39 is adequate for deer, but the 7.62x54R is better. Also, better check your game laws; many states have magazine restrictions (usually 5 rounds), and some ban semi-auto rifles entirely. (Plus the AK could give a bad "image" with some game wardens, even if legal. My motto is "why ask for trouble?")
But don't worry about "wear and tear" on the M-N; WWI and WWII didn't wear them out, so I doubt a few shots in hunting will.