Ruger Mini-Thirty Tactical
I was looking for the same type of gun as you, went with a new Ruger Mini-Thirty Tactical Rifle, and could not be happier!
Its short (about 37"), light, no protruding pieces like an AR-15, accurate, and fires a cheap but powerful round (7.62x39). And it only cost about $800. Also, its about as reliable as an AK and is very easy to clean. I clean my guns every time I shoot them, but my father has the same gun and has put about 1000 rounds of russian steel through his without a cleaning and has yet to have any problems.
Its really the perfect gun. The ammo is the cheapest centerfire rifle ammo you can find so you can afford to shoot it, and they make higher quality ammo for hunting or self defense.
Accuracy is more than enough. I shoot about 2 MOA with cheap russian steel ammo, that means at 300 yards you're still putting rounds in a 6 inch circle. Considering most medium game (people included) are shot under 150 yards, this gun is great for hunting, self defense, and of course SHTF scenarios. Where I live, its rare to have a sightline over 200 yards anyway.
Another bonus is, unlike the AR, its unlikely to be banned anytime in the near future. For me that was an issue since I live in a state where AR's are already restricted to some degree.
The only complaint I have about the mini is that the factory magazines are expensive and aftermarket magazines are pretty bad.
If Ruger made a mini in .300 blackout, it might just be the perfect gun (assuming you can find the ammo for it!).