For cheap, reliable, and did I mention Cheap! - consider an SKS.
Don’t bother with the SKS-M. Had one, and while it did feed reliably from AK-47 mags, just a simple part exchange on the regular SKS will give it 20 round capacity without the long mag hanging out the bottom.
And, where else can you get UGLY for so little outlay.
Also, it is more accurate than most any Mini-30.
However, the Ruger has the Garand action and is made in the USA. Heck, they're prettier than the SKS too.