In that price range, I highly recommend the Mueller Eradicator.
I have one:
On my .204Ruger, it is very good for the price.
The blob below the crosshairs in this picture is a woodchuck at 342 yards:
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.