I have a Nikkor AI-S 300mm f/2.8 IFED which I haven't used in many many years. Cost me an arm and a leg back in the mid 1980s. Superb lens, but big and pricey. Also, I once had a Nikkor AI-S 300mm f/4.5 (non ED). Very sharp, compact and built like a tank.
The 300mm f4.5 may fit your bill.