I'm on a small pension and Klacks are just not taken out of the house where I live (Canada), so that leaves the Simonov and the Ruger Min-30, which is a very nice little gun. It will take a lot of abuse and it is reliable.
I just bought an SKS, having avoided the manymanymany Chinese ones over the years. Some of them are very accurate, others are a complete waste of ammunition. And nearly all of them don't feed well with the detachable magazines, which the gun was never designed to use.
But there is hope. Right at this time, the Russian Army is disposing of its war-reserve SKSs in order to make room for Klacks as the new Nikonov comes into service. I just got a Russian SKS, made at Tula in early 1956, which was right at the very end of production. It has one tiny repair in the woodwork, otherwise it is a new rifle. It has a chrome-lined barrel which, quite likely, I won't live long enough to wear out. It cost me a hundred and sixty-nine CanBucks, plus taxes: C$189.28 total. It came with a sling, ammo pouch, cleaning kit, oil bottle and belt pounch for same, and even a charger (stripper clip). Of course, it has a cleaning rod on the rifle and it has the obligatory blade-type bayonet attached. This might come in handy if ever I am attacked by an angry gopher but, more likely, it will go into my spare-parts bin because it is more than likely that the rifle will shoot much more accurately without it.
If you get an SKS, you can remove the bayonet easily and you have a nice, light, good-pointing, handy little rifle chambering a low-power cartridge which is barely adequate for deer-sized animals.
I collect and evaluate military rifles as a hobby. I don't regard ANYTHING in 7.62x39 as an adquate hunting rifle because it doesn't matter what you do with it, you just don't have enough power to make a clean and humane kill within normal parameters of error.
Also, I fail to see what good there is to spending tons of money to make the thing look 'evil'; that just gives more ammunition to the people who want to take away all our guns. Not only, that, it's largely a waste of your money. Why spend money on a plastic stock when the thing comes with a laminated wood stock which is stronger than plastic and likely will outlast it? Remember, almost all plastics are effected adversely by many factors, including age and )especially) ultraviolet light..... which just happens to be a major component of sunlight. On the other hand, I have rifles with laminated stocks from World War Two and they are still perfect.
Why not just get the Russian SKS (better made than the Chinese ones and they CAN be made accurate), keep it original and spend your spare $700 on a REAL big-game rifle. Or set yourself up handloading so that you learn a lot more about guns and what makes them good/bad. You'll still have $400 left over.... and that's enough to buy a really decent long-range rifle, second-hand. Of course, it won't be black or plastic.... but it will have about 4 times the effective range, given that you are good enough to hold it.
worked in gun shops too long