I've heard fantastic things about the Ruger American, but a decent scope and enough ammo to get it zeroed will easily tack another 100+ on the price tag. I would really consider a Nagant (or a surplus Mauser) for now, and wait until you have more income to set up a good aught six or .308. There are online gun sellers, and there are probably FFL holders in your area who would do a transfer for one of them. I recently bought my P938 from Bud's Online. They have lists of FFL holders they have done business with; chances are there are some in your area. They stock Mosin Nagants, and sometimes they have Carbines in stock for prices I haven't been able to match locally. If you aren't experienced with high-powered rifles, though, I do recommend you find someone who can give you some training when you first go out to shoot. None of the options you are looking at, though, will leave you unhappy--just not yet satisfied Good Luck with the search! I'm sure we'd all love to see what you pick up.