Over the past 10 years I've bought a lot of rifles, helping kids and grandkids get started. Ruger, Remington, Savage, Howa, it didn't matter. These rifles were bought at pawn shops out of the used gun rack, the vast majority for under $400.00. None of them for over $500.00. My current favorite is a Remington 700 that I gave $350 for. I've paid as little as $125 for a nice Howa 1500 in .270, and gifted it to a nephew who was dead-broke and wanted to learn to hunt.
In this economy, don't overlook the used gun racks. There are some real bargains out there.