$1,000 to $1,500. It will be next tax return season (coming fast, after Fall, after Christmas, then bingo! ) Price does not include scope.
I have no AR's and no experience with them. I have an .223 Interarms Mark X that likes 55gr but keyholes 62gr. I have a Saiga unconverted 16" 7.62x39. Live in the ban state of NY, so just as if the federal ban is still going on (exact same law, just never expired here). Which means most plain stuff is available, but flash suppressors and bayonet lugs have to be pre-ban, I believe. Pre-ban 30 round mags are around for money, 10 rounders are standard.
I kinda like the looks of the older M-16 style rifles. But it'd be nice if the handle came off in case I wanted to scope it. Probably be nice if the front sight came off for the same reason. But I've seen a fixed handle pre-ban that I'd consider, for the classic blac rifle style.
I don't have a specific purpose in mind. Don't need, but want. My Saiga is a good home defense gun and has a detachable side mounted scope. I've got my bolt .223 for woodcucks. A Savage 10FP .308 for playing sniper. And a couple more bolts in .308 and .30-06 for deer.
I think accuracy expectations are something like 1.5" at 100 yards would be nice (if scoped and a good day of my shooting). My Saiga will do 3.5". My 10FP I can do .75". So, over 2" would not thrill me much for this type of gun. If my expectations are unrealistic for this type of gun, I adjust them. I'm quite happy with my Saiga.
Partly I want to get an AR while I can. Not saying they will be outlawed, just saying I want one to sort of stick my nose up at any anti-gun movements. I'll find some 30 round mags for that reason, too.
Home defense use is a possible reason or use, but mainly this would just be a range gun. Not a safe queen, as I would shoot it. But looking like a Vietnam era rifle might be one preference (conflicts with scoping it, so I'm not sure).
Of course, I don't want any jams either. Hopefully as reliable as my Saiga