I will recommend the S&W M&P 15 Sport. $650 and comes with sites. Ready to shoot out of the box. I just picked one up a couple weeks back for much of the same reasons you have mentioned. I want to get one while I still can and didn't want to spend a lot of money.
Took it out and shot it this last weekend. Put 120 rounds of steel cased tulammo through it without a hiccup. Ordered a couple of 20 round mags from 44mag.com which were cheap and work great.