Yes, AR-15s are very pricey and you probably wont find a good one for less than $700. So thats outa the question. Like someone already stated, M1 Garands are very good rifles, But those are alot more than any AR-15 ive seen. If I was you, id pick up any SKS, as long as its in good condition obviously. They shoot 7.62x39mm cartridges and are a blast to shoot becuase they have minimal recoil and ammo is VERY cheap (you can get a box of 20rds for about $5 in most places). You should be able to find a good SKS for $200-$300 easy. You can also customize the hell outa it. I bought mine 3yrs ago for about $150. Other than that, the Ruger 10/22 is a good choice for plinking, but it is a smaller round and not good for much things other than small game and some target shooting.