I had an AR-15 in 7.62x39 special order from Colt that was sorta nice, but I sold it to pay for school.
The Ruger 10-22 is hard to beat for just plain cheap fun, and can be tricked out to be a tack driver at 100 yards. Also good for kids to learn on.
I don't really care for Soviet Block style weapons, even though I can use them in a stupor, but a cheap (machined receiver, not stamped) SKS can be some cheap shooting fun at the range.
funny you recommendedd the two i was thinking about.
I have a 10/22. It and the ruger .22 pistols are essentials IMO. I never really took to the AK/SKS platforms. I respect them but I never had the ambition to support the caliber or the platform. I like tack drivers-rifles that can shoot .2-.3 MOA out to around 400 yards. That kind of accuracy should be the standard we all strive for any more IMHO. The days of casually shooting a case of ammo up at the range are over. training needs to focus on cold bore accuracy and precision.
Yep... except the magazines will cost you both arms and a leg.